Answer this question honestly: Does your business’ main Instagram grid get showered with all your love and affection, leaving your Instagram Story begging for attention?
I’m imagining a few hands raising into the air right now. Fair enough, social media can take up a gargantuan amount of time and energy. But by favouring your pretty, shiny Instagram feed instead of also getting to know its slightly rawer, but equally as wonderful sibling, Instagram Stories, you’re losing out on potential business.
Sounds a little extreme? It’s not. Out of Instagram’s 500 million daily users, 300 million are using Instagram Stories. In fact, TechCrunch recently stated that time spent by users on Instagram Stories could soon surpass time spent scrolling the main Instagram feed. Do I have your attention now? Great. Let’s talk about how your business can use Instagram Stories to get more engagement, more website traffic and more customers.
1. Increase brand awareness
Posting more than once a day on your Instagram grid can now be seen as overkill but adding to your Instagram Story several times during the day is considered best practice. It’s the perfect opportunity to encourage your followers to get to know your brand and business more intimately. Behind-the-scenes snippets of photoshoots, fun office antics or videos of you sharing some helpful advice are easy ways to foster connection. The less polished, the better. Plus, the more engagement and views your story garners, the more likely it’ll appear on Instagram’s “Search” page (hello new followers). People buy from people, right? So let your followers into your world.
2. Drive website traffic
Half the battle with social media is getting people to move from a platform (in this case, it’s Instagram) onto your business’ turf so that you can show them what you’re all about, sign them up to your newsletter and allow them to purchase your product. Accounts with over 10,000 followers are able to include clickable links in their Instagram Stories that allow followers to “swipe up” to view them. I’m constantly amazed by the number of businesses that have the ability to use this priceless function but don’t.
Don’t have 10,000 followers yet? You can still use your Story to direct users to the link in your bio.
According to Instagram, one in five of a business’ organic Stories results in a direct message from a follower. It’s in that direct messaging space that you can foster a connection with a potential customer and can send them clickable links when needed.
3. Find out exactly what your customers want
Because you’re a smart cookie, you’ve created an Instagram strategy that’s positioned your account to attract followers that could eventually convert to customers. Well done, you. Now it’s time to think of your Instagram Story as an excellent (and near instant) tool for gathering feedback and improving your product or service-based offering. Create polls to find out what types of products your followers want to buy or find out what their biggest pain points are. Invite your followers to ask you questions that you can then answer in following Stories. The options to get to know your potential customers, and what makes them tick, are endless.
4. Get highlighting
The only potential downside to Instagram Stories is that your wonderful content automatically vanishes 24-hours later. The solution? Late last year, Instagram began archiving Stories and allowing users to create “Highlights”, a permanent place to store your business’ key Stories content. Located above your main grid, your Highlights are a fantastic feature that every business should be utilising. Want a place to showcase your videos that answer customer FAQs? Create a “FAQs” highlight. Want to show potential followers that your products are effective? Create a “Reviews” Highlight that features past customer testimonials you’ve shared on your Story. Want to showcase your amazing events? You know what to do.
An announcement from Instagram last year revealed that 50% of businesses on the platform didn’t produce a Story in the last month – don’t be one of them, yeah?
Edwina Carr Barraclough is a Premium member and the founder of By Edwina, a consultancy that offers brand, social media and content strategy, copywriting and media coaching. Edwina is also a journalist who writes for The Sydney Morning Herald, News.com.au, Mamamia, Body & Soul and more. Head here to learn more about her and here to see her Instagram Story.