If you're already using Instagram for your small business, you may have noticed a new feature available to you on the platform called Instagram Stories (IG Stories). IG Stories allows you to share photos and videos on Instagram that appear in a slideshow format for 24 hours. You can share photos, hands-free videos (you don’t have to hold down the video button to record), live video, and our personal favorite, Boomerang. Similar to SnapChat, Instagram lets you decorate your post with text (different fonts now, woo!), stickers, emojis, hashtags, your location, filters, and more.
With so many social networks available, it may be difficult to know where to spend your (limited) time. IG Stories is a great tool to connect with your customers and partners, but it’s not for every small business. See if one of these describe you and your goals:
You want to connect with customers while at a local event.
Have you ever unfollowed an account because they posted too frequently? (We have.) When you're at an event, you may want to share more than one photo with your followers so they can see everything from the decorations, to a team selfie, to the delicious food you're eating. This is where IG Stories comes in.
You want your customers to connect with your methods.
It’s important to differentiate yourself from your competitors, and often that means showing your customers the process and methods you make your products or deliver your services. You can post “behind-the-scenes” photos and videos of the creation process of your product, how you package the product, a day in the life of an employee story, etc. Share content that your customers would not have access to on your website. This will keep them entertained, curious, and interested in your next post.
You want to offer special coupons and codes to loyal customers.
Offer your followers a special coupon or code that expires at the end of the 24-hour story period and refer them to the link in your Instagram bio. This should take them to a page where they can redeem the offer and browse your products. You want your followers to keep coming back, so consistency is key.
You want to share live coverage from an event.
Using the live video feature, you can record and post footage from a special event, making your customers feel included and a part of your brand.
You want to advertise new products.
You can advertise any of your new products on your Instagram story. This will give your followers a sneak-peek of what’s in store for them, especially if your products are seasonal and may not always be in stock. IG Stories is a great way to showcase the items you’ve been working on and what your customers can be expecting to purchase soon.
IG Stories is worth exploring to build brand awareness and attract new customers.