Welcome to Marketing Monday, where I give you tips and tricks for being your own content marketer. This week’s post is all about Instagram stories: what are they and how can they help you grow your small business?
Instagram stories and Facebook stories have both been getting a lot of attention lately in the world of social media marketing (and just in the world of social media in general). I have to admit that, at first, I wasn’t interested in them and so I didn’t pay that much attention to them. But there’s been so much discussion around them lately that I decided to investigate. Could they really be the game changer for brands that everyone seems to think they are?
How Instagram Stories Work
Instagram stories are posts on Instagram that can only be viewed within the first 24 hours after the photos were uploaded. After that, the picture disappears and can never be viewed again on Instagram. Even while the picture is available, followers cannot “like” or make public comments on the photo. But followers can ask questions of the brand by sending them a direct message and brands can respond within the story, which is a pretty cool way to interact with your audience.
When someone opens their Instagram app, the top of their feed will have a bar with the profile pictures of people they’re following who have recently shared stories. If they have recently shared or added to a story, there will be a colorful ring around their profile. By tapping on their profile picture, you can see the story in chronological order, from oldest to newest.
The photos you include in your stories don’t appear in your profile, although, if you want to feature a particular picture from the story, you can add it to your feed so it will appear in your profile.
You can also use Instagram stories to poll your audience by adding the “poll” sticker in Instagram. The poll will disappear after 24 hours, but you’ll still be able to see the results of the poll, as well as analytics regarding who saw your story, who interacted with it, etc. I definitely recommend using this option. Not only are polls a great way to interact with your audience and get them to engage with your content, but they’re also a great way to gather information on your audience, which lets you create great content tailored to them for the next campaign.
How Instagram Stories Can Help You Grow Your Brand
Because of the immediate nature of Instagram stories, they are great for events. If you’re at a convention or hosting a launch party, you can take pictures throughout the event and include them in your story. That way, anyone who views your story can see the latest on what you’re up to and feel like they’re experiencing the event with you.
2) Running Promotions/Special Offers
If you’re having a sale or running any other kind of promotion or special offer for a limited time, Instagram stories are a great way to feature that special offer. You can post all kinds of photos of the cool stuff that’s on sale and make people feel like they have to rush over right away to buy it.
3) Get Your Post in Front of More People
Facebook and Instagram used to show posts in chronological order, but now they use an algorithm to guess which posts are most relevant to you so they only show you those posts. Instagram stories are a way to beat that algorithm by going straight to the top of your followers’ feeds.
4) Live, Timely Content
Live videos have also been getting a lot of attention lately with Facebook heavily promoting them and many social media strategists saying they are the way of the future. They may very well be, and if that’s the case, Instagram stories (and Facebook stories) are another way to take advantage of that trend.
People like live videos because they tend to be less polished and more authentic than most of the other videos uploaded by brands, and because they like content they can interact with in real time. Because Instagram stories offer both those options, they offer another way to connect with your audience.
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