In a world where we instinctually reject a lot of advertising, i.e ‘Skip Ad’ on YouTube.
And even pay to not be marketed to, i.e Spotify Premium.
Instagram Stories offer a saving grace.
I like to think of it as a conveyor belt of consumption.
You get on it by innocently clicking on a photo of your friend’s dinner. Before you know it you’ve tapped through 30 people’s Instagram Stories, watched 5 adverts, swiped up to see links from influencers’ wardrobes, and you’re not sure where the last 20 minutes of your life went.
Once you’re on the conveyor belt, it’s hard to get off.
The addictive design of Instagram Stories has us stuck viewing them for longer than we ever plan to. We don’t know what’s coming up next, and after watching one it’s easier to keep clicking rather than exiting and choosing the ones we want.
I’m not basing this on my personal experience alone. Instagram Business insights show you how many people clicked forward on to the next Story from yours, and how many left the conveyor belt. Looking at Hopper HQ’s account, on average 80% of users ‘Forward Tap’ through Instagram Stories rather than ‘Exit’, proving that people like to stay on for the ride.
Instagram Stories therefore lock users into watching things they didn’t even know they wanted to, which is why it’s the perfect place for businesses to be. Don’t believe us? Check out this infographic for 30 amazing business case studies!
Here are 11 things you can start doing on Instagram Stories now to raise your brand’s profile, grow engagement and convert more customers! 📈🙌Instagram Stories lock users into watching things they didn’t even know they wanted to, which is why it’s the perfect place for businesses to be! Click To Tweet
P.S for more tips for your business Instagram account, check out:
🎯 How To Create A Winning Instagram Marketing Strategy 🎯
#1 Announcements 📢
Due to the instant nature of Instagram Stories, they’re a great way to share company announcements such as new products, new staff members and general news! These moments are a great opportunity to post behind-the-scenes footage of the company that wouldn’t necessarily earn a spot on the main profile. Your followers will feel like they’re privy to the latest info, as well as getting to know you and the business. These personal insights could be anything from packaging a new product, to playing a prank on a colleague. They will help convey the human side of your company, and consequently boost brand awareness and engagement!
#2 Collaborations 👥
Instagram Stories offer a great way for businesses to collaborate! You can team up with a relevant business you think your followers could benefit from getting to know, or perhaps a customer who happens to be an influencer. I’ll give you an example:
Content curators Quuu are a start up operating in a fully remote team, and so their Instagram account concentrates on all aspects of remote work and co-working. During the month of February, Hopper HQ was working remotely from Thailand, and we saw a great opportunity for a collaboration. We prepared ‘A Day In The Life Of A Remote Team’ to feature on their profile, and their team put together a series of video tips for staying productive while working remotely, which we posted on our Story.
This gave both businesses some new exposure, and was generally a lot of fun to produce! Similarly, we could’ve posted a Q&A interview with Quuu, or mutually shouted out/promoted one another.
Just a heads up, some of these kinds of collaborations might be paid for, particularly if they involve influencers! Even so, there’s loads of different ways you could collaborate over Instagram Story, so think about how your business could benefit from it.
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#3 Highlights ⭐
Instagram Story Highlights have been a game changer since they were released in December 2017. For most users they act as a personal show reel of ‘best bits’. But for brands, being able to pin Stories to the top of your profile essentially acts as an extension of your bio. As a business you can utilise these to tell people that land on your page who you are, what you do and why you do it, as well as displaying your product or service. Create Stories for the purpose of being Highlights, with an eye catching cover they’ll transform your Instagram page into a brochure!
These are both great examples of companies utilising Highlights in their Instagram marketing!
#4 Polls ⚖
Gone are the days of boring customer questionnaires, get your answers with just a tap! Using polls in your Instagram Stories is a great way to drive interaction with your followers. You can use them for market research, customer feedback, or just to get to know your audience and have a bit of fun!
#5 Links ⛓
⚠ Sadly, this feature is currently only available for accounts with 10k followers or more ⚠
If you belong to that lucky group of businesses, then good for you, as you get to include external links in your Instagram Stories! As we all know, Instagram doesn’t allow functioning links anywhere but the bio (they’re trying to keep us on their app, and it’s working) so to have them in Stories is a serious bonus. The link will redirect users to a browser within Instagram, meaning when you cross off you’ll pick up right where you left off. Make the most of this feature by including clear call to actions in your Stories: ‘SHOP SALE NOW’, ‘START FREE TRIAL’, ‘BOOK TODAY’ so people know where they’re heading when they ‘Swipe Up’.
#6 Templates 📋
⭐ NEW CRAZE ALERT ⭐
You might have noticed an emergence of Story Templates being used by influencers and on-trend brands. These are nicely designed templates that can be screenshotted and completed by users, predominantly so their followers can get to know them. For example:
As you can see, these templates are branded by the influencer who designed them. When their followers screenshot them and fill them in on their own Instagram Stories, they are essentially doing their marketing for them. There is a great opportunity for brands to get involved here! Think about your target audience and the things that they engage with. Then make a Story Template in your company branding for them to complete and share. Fill it in yourself too, as it’s a great way to give your followers some more information about your business or company culture!
💡 Anyone who makes a template off the back of this blog, I’d love to see them! Drop me a tweet (@Nicola_HHQ) or send them direct to @hopper_hq on Instagram! 💡
#7 Tag Locations 📍
Instagram is all about community and bringing people together over shared interests. Increase the discoverability of your Instagram Stories by always tagging locations! They will be added to that location’s official Story, and therefore people that don’t follow you will be able to watch them. Such a quick and simple trick that will get you far more impressions on your Stories!
#8 Use Hashtags #️⃣
Similarly, hashtags in Instagram Stories work to the same effect, meaning that your Story will be added to a larger Story compiling every Story using that hashtag (that was a mouthful). Do your research on which hashtags are most used by your target audience and your competitors and include these in your Stories!
Instagram is all about bringing people together over a shared interest Click To Tweet
#9 ‘New Post’ 🤳
Due to the current workings of the Instagram Algorithm, it now matters how fast your Instagram posts get engagement (read more here). As a result, more and more users have begun promoting their most recent post on their Instagram Stories, usually blocking out the thumbnail to entice people to click on to their profile to see it. Those with over 10k followers can link to the post with a CTA to ‘Swipe Up To Like’, encouraging higher and faster engagement. This trick must be working from the huge amount of accounts doing it right now, so go give it a try on your business Instagram!
#10 Contests 🎁
Got a great product or service to give away? Create a bit of buzz by hosting a contest on your brand’s Instagram Story! The good thing with hosting competitions over Story is that there’s only 24 hours to enter, creating a sense of urgency for your followers. Photograph or video the prize and include rules for entering, i.e ‘reply to this Story with your email address to enter’. You can then collate all the data to randomly pick a winner after the competition has ended!
You can also use Instagram Stories to promote a competition being run on your main profile! As a result of the current algorithm, many of your followers might not see a post announcing a giveaway. Use Stories to tell your followers and push them in the right direction to enter! Using hashtags such as #giveaway, #contest and #competition will make your Story discoverable to people that don’t follow you, and therefore increase your reach!
#11 Live 📽
Instagram Live offers a great way for businesses to drive engagement! Prepare for it in advance so you can let your followers know it will be happening and promote it elsewhere. The more viewers and engagement your Live video gets, the more likely it is to be featured in ‘Top live’ on the Explore page, so it’s good to try and get as many people tuned in as possible. This will also give you and your colleagues time to plan what you’ll be doing and saying during the live stream!
If you’re wondering what kinds of things your business could use Live for, the possibilities are endless! Many brands use Live to unveil new products or features, document events, film interviews, hold Q&As with their followers or offer limited-time discounts.
Instagram are trying to push Live to become the next big thing, so they help promote it by notifying your followers that you’ve started a live stream. Live videos also hold pride of place at the top of the Stories bar! This means your video will be the first thing people see when they get on the Story conveyor belt.
Parting Words 👋
So that’s it from me! I highly encourage you to use Instagram Stories for your business. With over 300 million people on the conveyor belt every day, it’s a no-brainer to include in your social media marketing strategy. Utilise the temporary and laid-back nature of Stories to show off how awesome your company and product/service is!
Happy posting 😍
✨ Do you use Stories in any other ways? I’d love to hear about what works for your business! Leave a comment or tweet me @Nicola_HHQ! ✨Utilise the temporary and laid-back nature of Instagram Stories to share how awesome your company is! Click To Tweet
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