Should Your Business Use Instagram Stories?

IG Stories BLog.png

NOTES FROM EPISODE 23 OF THE GO ROGUE PODCAST

BRYAN FITTIN-@HEYBRYANHEY . LOREN LEWIS-@thislovelylewislife

Should Your Business Use Instagram Stories?

Instagram is a simple and creative way to share content relevant to your personal life or business and it’s a platform that will only continue to grow. So this begs the question should your business be active on Instagram, specifically with Insta Stories? To answer this question, we are going to dive into the why’s, how’s and tools of IG stories!

With 50% of businesses creating at least one story a day on Instagram during a typical month, Instagram is always rapidly changing and implementing new tactics that aim to assist in increasing awareness and engagement. A few of these new ideas they are looking to roll out in the near future are:

  • Donation buttons on posts where if you want to support a business, foundation, charity, etc. you can just click the donation button right on the post to donate instead of clicking the link in the bio.

  • Currently Instagram has a feature where you can add a shopping bag to a post and users can click on the bag and go to the website to purchase the item. Well, it is in the works that Instagram will be making items available to purchase directly off the platform instead of having to visit the website. The only caution with this is that you want to be sure your feed does not turn into a selling feed. It is still vital that you keep your feed looking aesthetic and engaging because that is why people visit Instagram in the first place. 

  • There is a feature where you can create your own personal filter and you can apply them to your photos with one tap.

  • In some markets, Instagram is testing hiding like counts hoping that this will make the platform a safer place with less online negativity. This is also trying to ensure that the reason you are getting likes is because of the content you are posting instead of how popular you are.

Instagram stories have been a pivotal part of the companies growth and it allows businesses to promote products or services in depth while maintaining a clean page. It provides companies with the opportunity to have more intimate and direct connections with their followers. According to the Social Report,

“Instagram stories hit the scene in 2016 and show no signs of slowing down as we roll into 2019, the platform lets brands share quick updates about their products and lets them quickly engage with their audience without creating an entire Instagram post and they work. As of June 2018, 400 million instagram users use insta stories daily, up from 300 million users in October of 2017. Since that time, Instagram has added tons of new features that are sure to increase engagement and attract more users in 2019. This means that it is more important than ever to be on Instagram stories.”

Like with anything else, there are things you should and should not do on your Instagram story. Just because you have the opportunity to share an unlimited amount of content on your story, does not mean that you should! Here are a few tips about how to make your Instagram stories more attention grabbing to make sure that people actually spend time looking at your story and not just clicking to the next one:

  1. Do no document everything that is happening throughout your day. This will make your story way too long and to be brutally honest, people most likely do not care enough about what your day entails to sit there and watch your whole story. The only exception to this is when a special event or something cool is happening.

  2. In relation to the above tip, the pace of your story matters and you should try to stick to a 3-5 segment story max. Do not just sit there and talk for ages because Instagram stories puts the control in the users hands and they will click to the next story if you are just rambling about something they are not interested in. 

  3. To tee it up, if you are going to talk, have a quick beginning explaining what you are going to be talking about, then in the middle cover the topic you introduced, and then wrap it up in the end with a resolution to the problem you were talking about or just share something of value with your customer. 

  4. To help garner more local attention, you can look up local hashtags that will help in getting you on the trending list for your area. This is also a way to see what is going on around you and to see what people are interested in looking at.

When you take the time to produce your Instagram stories right it shows you are invested in doing it right. You want people to get excited when they see you have posted a story. There are things that Instagram has built into stories that will encourage people to be enthusiastic to look at your stories like, polls, questions, quizzes, or sliders that allow users to interact directly with you. The great thing with polls or questions is that you can post your audiences replies and show others what feedback they are giving! 

Furthermore, there are tools available outside of Instagram that can help you make more attention grabbing and engaging stories, most of them being apps. Some of these are:

  • Unfold: This app has 150+ templates, advanced text tools with curated fonts and stickers, 10 different filters and effects, and it allows you to export your stories in high resolution. It also is connected to Unsplash, which provides free, high quality stock images.

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/unfold-create-stories/id1247275033

  • Story Art: This app has a lot of animated features, 500+ templates, 40+ themes, text type with various fonts, high quality filters, and you can adjust your stories speed. 

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/storyart-insta-story-maker/id1403688089

  • Canva: This is a graphic design app that is great for beginners. It includes educational tools and can be used to create almost anything from stories, posts, banners, thumbnails, cards, evite, posters, logos, cards, collages, brochures, presentations, etc. 

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/canva-graphic-design-creator/id897446215

  • Adobe Spark Post: This app allows you to create animations, bring in icons, preload template, and make collages, posts, quotes, flyers/posters, invitations, presentations, ads, banners, thumbnails, etc.

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/adobe-spark-video/id852555131

  • Storyluxe: This app is perfect for finding filters, backdrops, and templates!

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/storyluxe-templates-filters/id1324447436

These tools are amazing for making content that is all branded the same way and coherent, the only problem with fantastic apps that have beautiful templates is that once it gets popular and everyone starts using it, you will need to find something new because your stories will start to look like everyone else's. However, these apps are definitely worth using because when your stories are appealing they will stop your audience from skipping over your business. Another great resource is the App Store, which will show upcoming apps so you can hopefully utilize them before everyone catches on! 

So, if we have not fully convinced you why business owners should employ Instagram stories, maybe this will help:

”To start with people seem to love the feature and it can be really effective. The average time spent on Instagram since the introduction of stories is 28 minutes with over ⅓ of them watching stories everyday. Studies show that 20% of stories posted by a business result in direct interactions with users.” 

That is not just people clicking on it, it is actually people engaging with your business. This is the whole purpose of social media, to interact with your audience. It allows you to show the humanity of your brand and makes an automatic connection for those who are interested in your business. Overall, Instagram stories help you stay top of mind, they diversify your strategy, you can use real-time marketing, they stay in your followers feed, they increase your business profile, they allow you to save and repurpose content, and most importantly, they help you connect with your target audience!