Growing Your Business Through Instagram Stories
September 4, 2017
Is it Snapchat? Is it Instagram? If you haven’t been living under a rock, you are well acquainted (maybe not by choice) with one of the newer features that Instagram rolled out to its faithful users: the ability to create “Instagram Stories” *cough cough Snapchat for Instagram.*
In an effort to get users to share more content and compete with Snapchat’s ever growing popularity (158 million daily users to be exact), Instagram launched Instagram Stories this past August. The feature lets users create a string of images and videos that disappear after 24 hours. Sound familiar? But after everyone’s instashock passed, celebrities, Instamodels, Instadogs and even businesses embraced the new feature and made it work.
Instagram Stories lets businesses engage with their customers and prospects with a more complete message compared to a single, filtered image. But how can the average Esty seller or small business owner make a splash with the new Instagram Stories feature? Here are a few ways to leverage the new feature to help grow your business:
Who doesn’t love a special offer? Create a sense of urgency for your audience and entice your most loyal followers to closely monitor your Instagram Story by sharing exclusive discounts and offers. Post a photo, video, and other related content and highlight the message that, as soon as the story expires, so does the one-of-a-kind deal.
Rewarding your followers gives them a little extra incentive to keep watching your brand’s content, but also makes them feel like a savvy shopper. J. Crew used the ‘Gram to solicit advance sales of their Jane in Pink sunglasses. Not only did they announce the new sunnies on their Stories feed, they also gave followers who watched the Story first dibs.
Everyone knows that social media shows only half the story. But through Instagram Stories, brands can give their audience a sneak-peek of their business’s normal operations and use the new feature to post behind-the-scenes content.
Show your audience how your company makes its products or how your specialists perform the services they provide. Give your audience a peek at how your brand does what it does — from the people to the product. Customers enjoy seeing the people and personalities behind the business, and the transparency you show will help build trust with your target audience.
Story takeovers are a great way to increase your reach while bringing in a fresh perspective to your brand. Just like on Snapchat, you can also do takeovers on your Instagram Story. A takeover involves taking over another Instagram account, typically for a 24-hour period, where you provide tips, news or exclusive content. In return, you also take over their story and reach their audience driving them back to you.
Takeovers are unique because they act as a partnership to provide a mutually beneficial exchange of value. You get a chance to connect with an entirely new audience and the person who takes over your account gets to do the same!
Clothing company Eddie Bauer frequently hands over its Instagram account (which has over 60K active users) to influencers. These influencers are regular users who have built a large following by sharing picturesque, outdoorsy photos that align with the Eddie Bauer clothing brand.
Just like a trailer builds excitement for an upcoming blockbuster (I’m looking at you, Smurfs 3), your Instagram efforts should do the same and be an insight into what is to come. Take a look at your company’s event calendar and see if there are any upcoming events that your target audience can follow along with. Inviting customers to a networking event? Or holding an upcoming webinar? Then your audience needs to know about it. Instagram Stories gives brands a platform for getting these messages across loud and clear.
With 400 million active users on a daily basis, Instagram Stories offer an amazing opportunity to further engage with your followers and ultimately promote your brand. If you make your stories entertaining and valuable, your audience will grow to love them and read them with a sense of urgency. So, what are you doing? Get your Story out there!