Let’s face it. Whether you’re snapping a picture of your Coconut Caramel Macchiato or trying to dig up some information on a potential employer- Instagram will be up there as your first port of call. With 1 billion monthly active users, it’s fair to say Instagram has bloomed from a blog splattered with pictures of food and cats into a fantastic marketing platform for businesses worldwide.
With new features sprouting regularly, it’s an effective way to not only showcase your business but to communicate with clients, influencers and an ever-thirsty audience.
So, what is an Instagram story you shout from the crowd? To put briefly, amongst all the other engaging features, your story is a chance to project updates, promote yourself and keep followers engaged in your daily goings-on. It’s live on your feed for 24 hours and over 500 million people partake every day so it’s easy to imagine why it is so vital for a business to stay on top of such an innovative platform.
Stories Are Discoverable
“Discoverable” basically means anyone can see your story whether or not they follow you. Why is this beneficial to your business? Because people will instantly be able to see your story and know what you’re all about. In the same way, other accounts become visible to you making it a great way to network and discover potential clients (a fantastic opportunity to reach new audiences and express any of your ideas more uniquely). In addition, once your business account hits 10K followers, you’re granted the gift of a ‘swipe up link’ creating higher engagement and an easier medium of driving traffic to your site.
Tagging, Hash-Tagging and Locations
The power of these three words is astonishing. Let’s begin with tagging. In your story, you have the ability to tag other accounts regardless as to whether you follow each other or not. This strengthens relationships (and might even build new ones!) by making you and the account on the receiving end feel valued and acknowledged. Should a larger, possibly more well-known brand tag you on their story, your business instantly becomes visible to completely different audiences that otherwise may not have even come in contact with your company.
Hash-tagging is slightly different. Based on what your story is about, you can place hashtags (if your story is about cars then you can #mercedes, #wheels, #silver) in a way that allows the entirety of Instagram to find your post easily with the search of a word or in the discover section. With hashtags, you have the potential to reach thousands of Instagrammers in your region, within your industry, of a similar mindset, or across the globe.
Locations are pretty much self-explanatory. In your story, through the use of the location sticker, you are able to geo-tag your story to one precise location. The location tag is probably your best bet of making it to the aggregated Instagram story so this is definitely not one to forget. Studies show that posts with a location tag have a 79% higher engagement than those without one! Furthermore, when you tag a location, such as a neighborhood, the tagged picture or video could be visible in the Cities Story. If, as a business, you are proud of your origin or conversely, very focused on your surroundings, this is the perfect way to get local audiences engaged and talking about your brand.
Keeping Your Audience On The Hook
Through multiple stories, you can engage with your audience by showcasing snippets of new projects being worked on without giving too much away. This gives you brilliant leverage on your customers as it gives them *just* enough information to leave them craving more. These sneaky peaks can make a follower go from feeling average to exclusive to your business and let’s be honest- who doesn’t want to feel special? By introducing a hype, you give your followers a need to continue this journey through your story. Alexander Mcqueen used this technique perfectly. A campaign released showed beautiful women running through a jungle in various pieces of clothing, displayed across a range of stories. The lack of explanation created an air of mystery around the campaign and more importantly – induced curiosity. And what does curiosity lead to? Clicks, my friend.
So you want people to get some insight on exactly what it is that you do. Live streaming is the perfect tool to break down that imaginary wall and gift your audience the ability to see things from your point of view. Remember, Instagram stories sit right at the top of people’s feeds so more often than not, these are going to be the first points a customer is likely to click. And the cherry on top? When you use Instagram Live, you’re bumped to the first position of the stories shown on the feed AND users that follow you will receive a notification to say you’ve gone live! Studies even show that 80% of people would rather watch a live video from a brand than read a blog. So, get your cameras at the ready, identify your unique selling point and plaster it across the platform.
Finally, you’ve followed all the points, created an engaging and stimulating story and your audience reacts amazingly! It would be a vast shame for it to just disappear in the space of 24 hours. From the brilliant team that brought you the ability to add gifs to your story, I present to you: highlights. A story of yours that highlights a course of events taken over a period of time can now be added to your profile allowing other users to watch your previous work without the worry of it vanishing. This is a great way to showcase past work almost acting as a portfolio for your company. Ecommerce brands especially have a lot to gain from using highlights on their profiles. Any product-related stories can be saved as individual highlights as well as separate highlights for seasonal collectives, new arrivals and more. Another brilliant way to utilize highlights is to create a testimonial or review section. This promotes your credibility and provides full transparency for your audience who are thus more likely to buy into your brand if trust what you have on offer.
It doesn’t matter in which order you decide to implement the tips mentioned, using Instagram stories is a certified way to engage with your audience and improve business interaction. If you have any questions on any of the points mentioned, please get in touch with a member of our team.