How to Leverage Instagram Stories to Grow Your Business

Not only is Instagram one of the best tools for staying in touch with family and friends, it’s also a powerful tool for marketing your business – if used correctly.

ComScore’s 2017 study on digital trends pegs mobile at almost 70 per cent of digital media time spent, and that figure has been growing with each passing year. And what’s at the vanguard of this growth? Apps like Instagram and Snapchat – something savvy marketers have long since picked up on.

Instagram Stories

Debuting in August 2016, Instagram Stories has added a fascinating wrinkle for marketers. It enables customers to discover, shop and buy products directly from the Instagram app. In fact, it’s estimated up to a third of the most viewed stories on the platform were created by businesses. Stories work because they’re fun to watch and quickly digestible. Once viewed, they disappear. Like Snapchat, this temporary format lowers the stakes and allows marketers to get loose and have a little fun with their brand.

How to Use Instagram Stories

Once you open the Instagram app, using stories is a piece of cake. Click the camera icon in the top left or the ‘+’ on your profile picture. This opens up the stories part of the app.

  1. Tap the white circle at the bottom to take a picture. Alternatively, you can hold the circle to record a video. Tap the gallery icon in the top left of the screen to use an existing photo on your phone.
  2. Edit the photo using Instagram’s robust set of editing options. From here you can add filters, emojis, even animated GIF files to enhance your creations.
  3. Finally, tap “your story” to send the photo to your public story.

Benefits of Using Instagram Stories

Latest estimates put the number of daily users of Instagram Stories at over 500 million. It’s an audience that spends a lot of time on their phone and one you can’t afford to ignore. Here are the main benefits of marketing through Instagram Stories:

It’s Temporary

The good thing about Insta Stories is their temporary nature. There’s no need to invest countless hours of thought into constructing the perfect campaign. As long as what you post aligns with your brand value and tone of voice, it’s ok if the production values aren’t amazing.

Experimentation

The 24-hour lifespan of an Instagram story provides the perfect place to get experimental with your marketing. Try and push the envelope with your ideas and see what customers respond well to. If a story proves a hit, take that idea and use it for a conventional Instagram post or run it on your other social channels. Instagram Stories offer a suite of customization options like emojis, gifs and stickers. Use them liberally and have some fun. Marketing works best when it’s wrapped in a positive and fun piece of content.

Measure Success

How you can track the success of the above experimentation is by placing links in your stories. Consider running special offers through your stories and track how well they’re performing. If you run a business account with over 10,000 followers you can prompt customers to “swipe up” to directly link out to your store.

Featured Stories

The featured stories section of Instagram Stories takes the most popular stories in your area and displays them prominently. To maximize your chances of featuring in this popular page, make sure you’re hash-tagging and geo-tagging all your posts.

Additional Software

If you want to get more creative with your photos, consider using a graphic design program such as Canva. This free and simple to use tool allows users to quickly create graphics that are perfect for Instagram Stories.

Find Out More

Ready to improve your Instagram marketing? GD Commerce works with several clients on their social media, delivering sustained increases in leads and conversions. Let’s meet for a chat and talk about raising your social media game.


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