As Instagram Stories turned the big TWO recently, it seems only fitting to do this post on one of our favourite features. We also have something exciting we want to share with you soon regarding Instagram Stories so stay tuned!
If you haven’t yet ventured into the realm of Insta-Stories Land, here are a few stats to kick things off.
- Instagram now has a whopping 1 billion monthly users
- 500 million of those users are on the app every single day
- Over 300 million Instagram users are on Instagram Stories everyday
- Instagram users are adding additional 10 minutes per day of time on the app because of Instagram Stories
- 1 in 5 Instagram Stories posted by a business results in a direct message
How interesting and very exciting that out of the people who are spending time on Instagram each and every day, over half of them are actually on Instagram Stories!
One of the best parts of Instagram Stories, from our perspective as a business owners and marketers, is people are now spending more time on Instagram because of Instagram Stories – an additional 10 minutes daily!
Now you know a few more mind-boggling Insta-stats to wow those at your next networking event, let’s explain what Instagram Stories is and how you can leverage it in your business to create meaningful conversations with your followers, drive traffic to your website and sell your products and services.
What is Instagram Stories?
Instagram Stories is content shared in Instagram itself, typically photos and video.
Instagram itself has actually described the story feature as ‘something that lets you share all the moments of your day, not just the ones you want to keep on your profile.’ They’re great for bite-sized content. Really quick content, informal content, aimed at being more conversational and light-hearted than your regular Instagram posts.
You can also share text-based images created using Instagram app itself or you can create them externally and upload them to your Instagram account. The key thing here is that the content goes away after 24 hours unless you add it as an Instagram Story Highlight. Your photos and graphics last up to 6 seconds while your videos can be up to 15 seconds long.
It’s literally one of the easiest pieces of content to create as Instagram has everything built in. You can create boomerangs, stop-motion, type, reverse videos – all these different types of content right there on your phone!
It’s a really powerful tool especially if you’re still on the fence about using video in your business. Content disappears after 24 hrs so it really doesn’t matter what you do – if you look goofy, if your hair and makeup isn’t done – it’s going to go away anyway so it’s a great opportunity to start trying out video in your business.
How to leverage Instagram Stories for your business?
Instagram stories is one of the best ways to grab your followers attention, grow your business, and get more customers and clients. It’s a great way to connect and engage with your audience, get your message out to more people and enhance your Know-Like-Trust factor. It gives people an insight into who you are, your personality, your style, what you have to offer, and how you can help them.
It also works the other way around and gives your audience the opportunity to connect with YOU. Potential clients or customers can let you in from behind closed doors, start trusting you and reduce those barriers to enquiry.
Here are some ideas to start showcasing your personality, creating connection (and ultimately) help grow your community or tribe.
A Day in the Life
This is probably the most simple way to use Instagram Stories for your business and we’ve started here because you probably already use Stories like this on your personal account, right? Take your followers on a journey of your day. Give them snippets of your everyday life, your workspace, your office cat, ‘insta-hubby/boyfriend’ etc. This format breaks up the business/hustle vibe, helps people get the know you as a real human being, doing real life things and adds those personality elements to attract your ideal clients and customers.
Some people are hesitant to do this for fear of looking unprofessional, but there’s definitely no better way to showcase who you are and what you do. Trust us on this one.
Behind the scenes/Sneak peeks
Humans are nosey creatures, it’s a fact [well, we think so anyway]! Build buzz around your new ideas and create network exclusive content and make your audience feel special by taking them behind the scenes or giving them a sneak peek of an upcoming project, product or event. Remember, what you think is normal and potentially uninteresting, people want to see.
Drive traffic to your website/blog post/freebie
Use Instagram Stories to promote your recent blog post, freebie download, podcast episode, course, services – anything really!
This also doesn’t necessarily need to be in the form of the Instagram Link in Bio either. Many people use the excuse of not having the ‘Swipe Up’ link as to why not to do this.. THAT’S NOT A GOOD ENOUGH REASON! Consider creating actions and then ASK your audience to direct message (DM) you for more information then you can then send the link and start a conversation in your inbox.
HINT: With the introduction of IGTV, you can now get around the ‘Swipe Up’ feature and link to your IGTV through Stories.
Instagram Polls for market research
Empower your audience by asking for their opinion or for feedback AKA market research. Use the answers to better streamline your content or systems and processes. Bonus, it also boosts engagement!
You can use this feature to find out what your audience is thinking and for market research. What burning questions they might have about some aspect of your business or even you? You can use the answers as a way to show your industry expertise and show you know your stuff. Bonus here too! It also boosts engagement. The trick here is to not ask something that’s too specific – keep it to open ended questions (Remember, if your question requires a simply yes or no, then perhaps the Poll feature is better. Or, try rephrasing your question so it requires more than a simple yay or nay).
Probably the most impactful feature of all of Instagram Stories is Instagram Live because it creates instant connection and instant engagement.
You can use this feature strategically to do a Q&A (potentially with questions from the above Question Feature) or just answering directly on the Live.
Another really interesting and engaging way to use Instagram Live is by going Live with a friend. This doesn’t have to necessarily be a ‘friend’ but you could interview an expert from a business that’s in the same field as yours, but doesn’t compete. Using the same scenario from above, you could do a Q&A with them with questions from your audience.
Theme Days or Content Series
Create a weekly themed day or content series like #TipTuesday (share an industry tip each *cough* Tuesday) #WorkWithMeWednesday (get your audience to share what they’re working on today) or #SaturdayShoutout (got an account you’re crushing on this week that might help your audience too? Share it with your followers). You could even do your weekly Instagram Lives as part of your content series. These days are great because they happen consistently, every week. Your audience learns to expect your content on this particular day and can anticipate it.
Hopefully these ideas have shown you just how easy it is to create content for your Stories and just how incredibly important it is to be leveraging Instagram Stories to grow your business.
Are you ready for the next step? We’ve created a The Instagram Stories Roadmap for you, the 5-step blueprint for how to create profitable Instagram Stories for your business.