Instagram Stories for Business
Instagram, a photo and video-sharing social networking service owned by Facebook, is used by millions of people to share their personal life with friends and family. But did you know that IG can be effectively used for a business? It is used by over 25 million brands with 80% of users who follow at least one business.
There is a lot to know actually about how to use it effectively. If you have a business and are looking for ways to expand your reach, then this is it. In this article you can learn many of the best practices to help you become an Instagram master!
- Branding with Instagram
1.1 How to get followers on Instagram and compete with others in your industry.
1.2 Optimize your Instagram profile
1.3 Share Instagram Stories to Facebook
1.4 Use Instagram Features
- Get an Instagram Business Profile
2.1 Run Stories ads
2.2 Have a definite objective
2.3 Use recommended ad dimensions
- Incorporate UGC & EGC
3.1 User-generated content
3.2 Run Instagram contests
3.3 Employee Advocacy
- Use Hashtags
4.1 Create Behind the Scenes Videos
4.2 Categorized Stories highlights.
4.3 Use Instagram Stories Templates
- How one small business grew substantially using Instagram
- Some tips to increase engagement
In 2004 Facebook came on the scene and was just something you added to your marketing strategy, maybe. In just a few years “Social Media Marketing” became a thing and just as important as any other marketing strategy.
Competing with a long list of other social media apps and sites, in 2010 Facebook offered a new obsession, Instagram, which quickly gained millions of users. It wasn’t the best social medium for business, more for people who wanted to show personal pictures such as their vacation, food or their pets.
Then on August 2, 2016, Facebook introduced “Instagram Stories” and became a more effective social media platform for business. With the addition of Stories ads, now there are over 2m monthly advertisers on Instagram. But you don’t have to pay for ads to make it useful for your brand, you can use it to get followers on Instagram just posting for free.
Instagram Stories allow you to capture and post related images AND VIDEO content in a slideshow format that appears in your followers’ feeds. With the addition of text, drawings, and emoticons, images, and video clips, there are a lot of creative possibilities to promote your brand.
Similar to Snapchat, stories only last 24 hours from the time of posting. Still, there’s plenty of creative freedom that your business can take advantage of to get your message out. Followers can also view Skippable Ads in between your stories.
One advantage of Instagram Stories is you can show more content in one place without creating a lot of individual posts on your Instagram page.
Get your story told!
If you are not promoting your business with Instagram Stories, you should. Using stories to connect with your audience is an easy decision when you look at these Instagram statistics.
● 1 Billion+ Instagram accounts are active every single month worldwide
● 500 Million+ accounts worldwide are active every day
● 80 Percent of accounts follow a business on Instagram
● 500 Million+ accounts use Instagram Stories every day
● Only Facebook and YouTube have more people logging in
The Purple Circle
If you update one of your Stories, Instagram puts it the beginning of your feed with a purple circle around your profile photo. Followers will then know you’ve recently updated your Story. You can save your Stories as “Highlights” to your homepage as static content. These Stories stay as content that doesn’t disappear on your Instagram page.
Now that you have a better idea of what the story is on Instagram Stories, here are best practices to make your Stories come to life and encourage engagement.
Best Practices of Instagram Stories for Business
Branding with Instagram
To get followers on Instagram and compete with others in your industry, create content that is high-quality, visually pleasing, and valuable. Viewers will see content as ‘valuable’ if it is:
Optimize your Instagram profile
- Use a high-quality profile picture that represents your brand.
- Use your bio to precisely describe what your business does, how you serve clients and why you are expert in what you do. This will determine if someone will turn into a follower.
- Use your business name, not your personal name if possible. One that is consistent on all the platforms you use and accurately represents your brand.
- Add relevant Instagram hashtags to target your audience to help people understand what you do and what you offer so they will want to engage with your content.
- Instagram only allows one link in your bio, so maximize its use by sending traffic to your website or landing page.
- Instagram is a mobile platform so make sure you have a landing page optimized for mobile
- To boost engagement, create a branded hashtag for your business
- Add a call-to-action to encourage followers to subscribe, to shop on your feed or to visit your website or landing page
Share Instagram Stories to Facebook
Facebook owns Instagram so you can post Instagram Stories to Facebook Stories. Just create your Instagram Story, click the send to button, and then tap the sharing options button at the top of the screen. You can turn on Facebook Story sharing for all posts or just the current one. This practice will increase your reach by a good deal.
Use Instagram Features
Creative touches such as unique captions and overlays make Stories different from traditional posts. You can use a variety of Apps for Instagram to make your photos pop such as Boomerang, Hype Type, Over and Adobe Spark that all have features specifically made for Stories. Take advantage of Instagram features like Questions Sticker and Polls, and share the results of the polls to make your Stories interactive.
Live Video – You can do live videos on Instagram just like on Facebook. Followers receive a push notification letting them know you’re going live. They can comment on or like your Live Video stream in real-time. after your video ends, it is gone and doesn’t save to your account.
Get an Instagram Business Profile
If you want to have your personal profile recognized as businesses, you can get a free Instagram Business profile that has additional features. You will need to have an Instagram personal profile first, but you will get additional features such as:
● Ad targeting
● A contact button
● Additional contact info: website, email, address, phone number
● Instagram Analytics
● Promoted Posts (Like Facebook “boosted” posts)
● Call-to-action buttons
● And more
Instagram analytics is a very useful extra feature that provides data that shows who your followers are when they’re online and more. Performance metrics on specific posts and stories provide insights into how your audience is engaging with your posts. Over 15 million companies are using Instagram Business, don’t be left behind your competition.
Run Stories ads
Using visual ads is vital, and it helps to be running a promotion that will interest your customers. In addition, you want to test multiple advertisements and advertising formats, including Instagram story video ads, Instagram story image ads, and Instagram story carousel ads. You can even incorporate Instant Experiences.
Go through Facebook Ads Manager and there you can create a new campaign and choose the Story placement.
To make sure you have a good ad promotion and are using great creative content that will convert:
Have a definite objective
Think about what you want to achieve with your ad campaign. Choose from these Stories ads objectives:
- Brand Awareness
- App Installs
- Video Views
- Lead Generation
Use recommended ad dimensions
The same ad dimensions won’t work with all platforms. IG recommended ad sizes will make your feed ads and Stories ads have the most visibility.
Incorporate UGC & EGC
User-generated content (UGC) and employee-generated content (EGC) are great ways to build relationships with your audience with little work.
User-Generated Content is any content that has been created and added to your profile by followers that promotes your brand. It can be pictures, videos, tweets, blog posts, testimonials or other content
People love creating and sharing free content for brands, so it is cost-effective — you don’t have to spend money producing or promoting. Moreover, content posted by a customer is trusted more than content produced by the brand itself. Try adding UGC to your ad campaigns to give it extra credibility.
Run Instagram contests
One of the best ways to get a lot of user-generated content is to run Instagram contests because they rely solely on UGC. Instagram contests inspire followers to create the best content they can make about your brand or product to win a prize. Just make sure to monitor and moderate entries to keep control of your brand image and keep inappropriate pictures posted on your hashtag.
Employee-generated content (EGC) such as videos, images or blogs, promoting your brand values, differentiators and benefits of your business are content that can build a deep relationship with your audience. Showcasing your employee’s content is motivational for them and gives your company a chance to stop talking about itself and demonstrate the content its experts are producing.
Hashtags you include in the caption of a specific Instagram post or in a comment are clickable and increase engagement expose your content to many more viewers. Users can click through directly from your photos to see other posts that use that hashtag. Also, make sure you create a branded hashtag for Instagram User Generated Content and encourage followers to post with that hashtag. hashtags than without using them.
Create Behind the Scenes Videos
Audiences like to know what happens behind the scenes in your company. Even if your business is successful, showing behind-the-scenes videos helps create a personal relationship with viewers. You can go live or post an IGTV video to gain instant attraction.
Categorized Stories highlights
Categorizing stories with headers make it easier for viewers to look through different events, products, and services of a business. Highlights are the perfect example of balancing all your resources into a single page. Highlights are just like a dashboard that comprises all the vital glimpses of your business from where viewers can select as per their requirements.
Use Instagram Stories Templates
Instagram Stories templates are pre-made layouts with graphics, text or animations you can edit to fit your stories. By using the same (or similar) templates for your Stories, you can create cohesive, branded stories that align with your business. They are a great starting point for creating your own stories posts and it makes it easier to work as a team on your Instagram account.
How one small business grew substantially using Instagram
This insulated water bottle company created ads in Instagram Stories and realized a whopping 80% increase in revenue!
Hydro Flask says their double-wall, vacuum-insulated, stainless steel water bottle keeps liquids “Colder. Hotter. Longer.”
How did they get their message out on IG so effectively?
To increase awareness and sell more of their products, this small business worked with a performance marketing agency to run ads on Instagram Stories. The Hydro Flask team followed best practices and created branded, engaging vertical videos promoting upcoming sales, new insulated water bottle colors, and a limited-edition Collection.
To reach the right audience they showed the video ads to lookalike audiences based on their most valuable customers. To increase the audience size more, they also added other interest-based audiences that aligned with the Hydro Flask brand and its ideal customers.
From November 2018 to February 2019, Hydro Flask realized the following compared to the previous 4-month period:
· 12,000 purchases
· 80% increase in revenue
· 16X return on ad spend
Impressive don’t you think? Let this and other success stories inspire you to add Instagram Stories to your social media marketing campaign. Read many others like this on Instagram Business Success Stories.
Some tips to increase engagement
When posting your Instagram stories do these things:
● Plan a cohesive story ahead of time
● Choose the best time to post
● Add a link to your website
● Add a poll sticker
● Crowdsource opinions from customers
● Give viewers a unique offer
● Go behind the scenes
● Include focused hashtags
● Make an impact in the first 4-5 seconds
● Shoot your story vertically
● Turn one long video into multiple stories
● Use calls to action
● Use Geo-tagging to specify your audience
● Share time-sensitive deals and specials
Let’s hear your story!
If you need help with social media marketing with Instagram or Facebook, at PrimeView we have a whole team ready to serve you! Let us help you create your Instagram stories and spread the word about your brand. We can certainly help you achieve your goals.
Contact us today or fill out a request for proposal and we will get back to you ASAP.