Instagram is on fire, shown by their growth from 600 million to 800 million users in a 4-month period. They’ve grown from their simple Instagram feed to the dynamic new features like 24-hour lasting Instagram Stories, and a Live Video feature.
Instagram Stories are not brand new. Even back in 2016, I wrote about how to develop your Instagram Stories strategy (it’s still applicable if you’d like to take a look!) But, Instagram does continue iterating, which has brought more and more interest as time has gone on.
What are your roadblocks to using Instagram Stories?
As popular as Instagram is, there are many businesses that haven’t even touched it yet. But, why? Perhaps they…
- …have a fear of disappointing followers
- …are unsure of what to feature
- …aren’t confident they’ll be able to stay consistent
- …don’t want to take the time to learn how to do it
Whatever the reason is, one thing we all know is that if we want to mimic the success of others on Instagram, we need to leap over that roadblock.
That’s why we’re here today.
I’m here to give you the know-how to jump straight in and to use Instagram Stories and Instagram Live to your advantage.
As a little motivation, 99 Firms pulled together some stats regarding the benefits of using Instagram Stories. Take a look:
You might feel like you’re the only one who isn’t yet on Instagram Stories, but that’s not the case at all!It's not too late to jump into #InstagramStories. Only a fraction of business owners are currently using it, and there's still a spot for you at the table! Click To Tweet
The stats below indicate that there’s a ton of room for you to sneak in early and capitalize on the Instagram Stories audience. One thing to note is that these stats will just keep growing, so as with many things, “right now” is the best time to jump in.
What kind of content can I share on Instagram Stories?
Really, the sky– or at least your creativity– is the limit as far as what content you share within your Instagram Stories.
Here are some ideas for you:
- Behind-the-Scenes: Showcase your workspace, your newest inventory, your equipment, etc.
- A day in the life: It might seem mundane to you, but it’s not to us!
- Showcasing your business partnerships: Having others in business who support you is a strong way to show credibility.
- Shoutouts to followers: Recognizing your followers for the great things they’re doing or the content their sharing can strengthen their love for you.
- User-generated content (UGC): Your beautiful business photos have their place, but adding in photos that your customers are sharing can allow your prospects to see themselves using your products or services.
- Sneak previews: Raise your followers’ endorphins by sharing what’s coming up (leaving the full details for later).
- Teasers: While in a sneak preview, you might expose the actual content without the context, teasers give just a little less. Tease your upcoming surprise with a hint, and get those followers to come back for the full reveal.
- A reveal: It’s the full sha-bang! Surprise your followers with something new, be it an announcement or a new product/service.
- Tips and Tricks: There’s always more to a product or service than meets the eye. How can your customers take your product or service one step further?
- Step-by-step instructions/guides/tutorials: Think about any topic related to your industry, and walk your followers through it.
- News about your industry: Share news about your company or industry. Be your followers’ source of information!
- A tap-through game: What a fun way to encourage some interaction. For an example, see the @wholefoods highlight below.
- Surprise announcements: The more your followers catch you surprising them, the more they’ll want to proactively look for your Instagram Stories (think flash sale, giveaways, etc.).
- Poll your audience: Whether you’re hoping to get the answers you need to make your next business move, or just engage your audience, polls are fun for everyone.
- To increase your DM 1-to-1 conversation: Encourage comments on your Instagram Stories. All comments go to DM, and now you have the opportunity to chat 1-on-1 with your followers (ahem…prospects!).
- To show that you’re human and relatable: Our Instagram feeds are normally very put together. Instagram Stories gives you the avenue to expose a bit more about yourself, which can be the start of your followers relating to you.
- To more deeply explain something: Take the time in your Instagram Stories to go more in-depth about any topic.
- Promote your business: That’s why we’re here, right? While most promotions are passive, it’s ok to make the “ask” every once in a while!
- Promote one of your Instagram posts: Is there a post you really want more engagement on? Point your Instagram Stories to it!
- Share quotes: Everyone loves a good quote. Warm the hearts of your followers by sharing your favorites.
- Share success stories or testimonials: Next to word-of-mouth, testimonials are one of the best ways to gain prospects.
- Review another product: It doesn’t have to be all about your company. Feel free to review other products, especially if they pair well with yours!
- Encourage your followers to go to your other channels: If they love you on Instagram, they’ll also love you on Facebook and Twitter.
- Share your favorite things: This can be anything you’d like – books, songs, products, food, restaurants, anything at all!
- Progress posts / Before & Afters: Whether you bake, sell skin care, have a cleaning service or other, most brands have some form of before and afters they can share. They’re fun – go for it!
Going back to 99 Firms‘ infographic, here’s a quick view of what others are sharing.
Oh, and in case you’re nervous about the fact that Instagram Stories only offers vertical video, don’t be! 94% of all mobile phone users view their videos in portrait mode, according to this study.