If you use Instagram, you’ve most likely come across Instagram stories.
They’re very much like Snapchat but with one big draw, for me. They’re on Instagram, which I already use! I could never get to grips with Snapchat. Like many other business owners, I’m already trying to juggle six social media profile and a seventh just seemed to be the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back.
However, I loved the idea of Snapchat. So when Instagram introduced their stories, back in summer 2016, and it meant that I could snap away and not have to introduce yet another social media platform into my online marketing strategy, I was so excited and I’ve been experimenting with them ever since.
Following various discussions with other business owners, I know that a lot of people want to utilise this new feature, but don’t really know how to make the most
So for today’s FYI Friday, I thought I’d tell you everything I’ve learnt about Instagram stories, over the past year and show how I use them.
As a business owner and content curators, we only want to share the very best quality posts onto our social profiles. After all, once it’s on the internet, it can be there forever! And it’s a representative of our brand and our services.
We work long and hard to come up with new, engaging posts that are both visually and emotionally appealing. And whilst it might be appropriate to share a picture of your lunch, or a smiling selfie, every once in a while, there are very few brands that would benefit from a timeline full of pictures of avocado on toast and cups of tea.
So, this is where Instagram stories come in. The beauty of these stories is that they only last 24 hours. So this means we can afford to be a little more informal and liberal with the posts to our story. Stories were actually introduced to curb the problem of oversharing to ones feed. Which means that whilst it’s advised to share to your profile just a few times per day, Instagram actively encourage you to share away, when it comes to your story!
Think of your main profile as an advert and shop front for your business. You post your very best, carefully thought out, most valuable content there and people can scroll through your feed for years to come.
But with your story, you can use it as an online diary to share what you’ve been up to on a day to day basis; your lunch, your selfies, your pets and on the whole, a lot more of your personality. You can add fun filters, stickers and drawings, if you want to bring it to life and really inject some character.
You can tag other Instagram accounts, by typing and using the ‘@‘ symbol. This is super useful for promoting other business, tagging brands you love and giving shout outs.
New stories appear in a bar at the top of your feed and because less people use them than use their ordinary Instagram profile, coupled with the mystery of Instagram’s ever changing algorithms, that determined who sees your posts, your chance of being seen by a wider audience is increased when you post to your story. And as it disappears with 24 hours, you can post to it a lot more frequently than you would to your profile and fill it up with fun, personal content.
I think it was the great Gary Vaynerchuck that said something along the lines of ‘document, don’t create’. He suggests posting to platforms like Snapchat and Instagram stories around 6-7 times a day. Now, that seems a lot, but when you’re taking his advice and ‘documenting’, rather than ‘creating’, it’s not so tough. This takes so much pressure off!
All you are doing is living your life as you would without Instagram, but taking a couple of pictures/videos along the way. And really, with Insta stories, anything goes.
We’ve already talked about lunch and selfies… So what other content might you add to your story?
You might want to say good morning, via video and tell Instagram what you’re up to for the day. You can take a picture of where you’re working. You can take photos and videos of the people/animals you’re with. Of a work in progress. Of a beautiful view. Of what you’re wearing. Of the weather. Of a product you love… There are endless possibilities when it comes to Instagram stories.
And here’s another super valuable tip. The more you do it, there better you’ll get at spotting those shareable moments.
For me, I’ve used my story so much now that it has just become second nature. If I’m going to lunch, I share it. If I’m going to work, I share it. If I’m staying home, I share it… It really is my little online diary.
Aswell as all of this, you can also use your story to promote whatever other content you have going out into the world right now.
You can upload pictures from your camera roll, by going to your story and swiping up to reveal your recent photos. This means you can screenshot blog posts and share them, upload images from recent shoots or projects, etc.
Using the text and drawing tools, you can add details to your posts and tell your audience all about your latest work.
And lastly, let’s talk about the ‘swipe up for link’ feature. Instagram is slowly rolling out a feature that allows you to add a link to your story, where your audience can swipe up to go to your relevant blog post/video/website.
I don’t have it yet and I’m getting super impatient for it. I update my Instagram app every day or so in hope of it appearing on my story.
But most verified accounts have it now, as do a lot of larger accounts, so I would assume that it’s only a matter until everybody has this feature. And that will be another game changer.
Up until now, Instagram has only allowed links in your biography. So being able to post content to Instagram, with a direct link, is a huge progression in terms of business usage.
So, I hope that has given you a little more insight into how to use your Instagram stories. They’re a really neat little tool and can be so much fun. I’m utterly obsessed with mine and often don’t stop until I’ve watched every single story on my news feed.
Give it a go and see what you think. It’ll really allow your audience to feel like they’re getting to know you better.
And for bonus points, tag me in your story so that I can see you’ve found this useful!