Instagram is an extremely popular social media network that over ⅛ of the world, or 7.7 billion people, is currently enjoying! It allows users to share their photos and videos, follow others and search for content based on keywords.
While Instagram is not intended specifically for business use, such as LinkedIn, all of the biggest and many of the smaller brands around the globe are seizing the opportunity to connect with a broader audience. Learning how to use Instagram stories, a great newer feature of this platform, is a proven way to engage with your customers.
Instagram Stories Explained
Instagram users are able to share content by uploading it to their profile grid, but they can also create stories, which is a feature that shows photos and videos in a bar at the top of the main feed. Unlike regular content on the feed, stories disappear within 24 hours, making it more tempting for your followers to view your stories daily, or risk the chance of never seeing them again.
When your followers open their Instagram account, they are able to see circles with the accounts they follow that uploaded an Insta-story. All they need to do to see it is to click on it to see it. In addition to uploading your content, you can add music, text, images and locations to your stories. Note that your followers can’t like or comment on stories like they can on other content.
How to Use Instagram Stories
Creating a story is extremely easy; just click the “+” sign on the top left of your screen. You will have the option to upload content from your phone or to use the camera to take a new video or photo.
The screen will provide you with the options to customize your content with filters, stickers, drawings and text. You can check analytics of who has viewed your story by clicking on it; you will be able to see every single person who saw the story, along with a total count.
Tips to Encourage Engagement with Instagram Stories
Tag Your Location
If your business has a physical storefront, make sure to tag it in every single Insta-story you create. The location tag will show up right on the story, allowing your followers to clearly see your business name.
Instagram allows users to search for companies in certain locations, such as “hair salon New York,” and is a great way to connect to a new customer base.
Hashtags are keywords that you can add to your story along with the # sign. Examples include:
Instagram now allows users to search stories by hashtags, so as long as you know what keywords your customer base will use, you can attract them to your profile with your hashtags.
Polls are a fun feature on Instagram stories that allows you to ask your followers to vote on a certain topic. After adding a photo or video, add the “Poll” sticker to your story and write your question with two answer choices. Voters will be able to choose their selection right on your story, and you can see the answers.
This is a great way to engage with your followers and ask them what they prefer to see in your stories, what questions they may have, what products or services they are mostly interested in and more!
Instagram is a fun way for you to connect with a wide range of audience online. It can be a great marketing strategy, but since there is so much competition, it may be helpful to work with an Instagram specialist or influencer to truly make your business stand out on this social media channel.
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