As a business, you may be on various Social Media platforms and try to use them to connect to your primary audience in different ways. If you’re already on Instagram, have you gotten involved in stories yet? If not, maybe you’re still waiting for someone to tell you why they’re a good tool to use as a business. Let us enlighten you!

Instagram Stories are a more recent addition to the Instagram updates and it may not come as new information that they’re flat out copied directly from Snapchat.

sharing boomerangs via instagram stories

The team all viewing the latest boomerang on Social Progress

Facebook (who owns Instagram) also use stories, but it’s a much more recent fixture still, and doesn’t seem to have picked up much traction yet.

When Facebook tried to buy Snapchat for $3bn a few years ago and their generous offer was refused, Facebook simply adopted their feature and they’ve bossed it ever since. Instagram gets over 400 million daily uses of its stories. So, let’s ask instead; why wouldn’t it be good for business?! Surely something that is used that frequently is beneficial?

If a person or business likes or follows your page on Facebook or Instagram, they may organically see your posts when they scroll down their newsfeed. But how far do they need to scroll or whether they have the patience or interest to keep going is often a question that businesses use. Facebook and Instagram place their buttons for stories right at the top of their channel! That way, as soon as you get on to check what’s happening on Social Media, your channel with your story is right there. You can’t miss it.

The images and videos are visible for just 24 hours. You can use hashtags, tag friends or other businesses and lather the posts with emojis, gifs, locations, the current temperature and more. You can also add polls to gauge interest between choices. For example, if you’ve a new product in two colours – which one are people more likely to buy? Or even to find out which employee deserves Employee of the Month?!

A more recent feature is sharing other stories in your own story whilst still keeping all of the tags active. A user can be creative, ad hoc or professional, so they’re ideal for meeting all sorts of different tones and agendas held by any single business. The benefit of this is, if you’re a business that sells a product and your client shares a video of them opening your product when they receive it in the post – you can add this to your story, add a hashtag and tag in the client. They’re getting recognition and you’re allowing someone else to promote your services.

Example of a poll in Instagram Stories

As well as this, it’s possible to use them as previews for new products, videos or services and as the picture is only there for 24 hours (unless deleted) it doesn’t have to be used within your actual Instagram feed, and previews can last for just a few seconds, so people will have to watch over and over to get any idea of what’s going on. It’s like a sneak peek into something exciting! Another feature is to create sequences of photos by adding more to each photo every time you add to the story so that it’s a developing image. The possibilities are close to endless depending on your ambition and goal and of course, time.

A serious drawback to Instagram Stories that larger businesses can cash in on, but small businesses can’t however, is the “Swipe Up” feature. This feature allows a user to add a hyperlink to a photo. Just by swiping up on the picture when prompted, you’ll land straight on the page the business wants a user at. This is perfect for product placement, services or testimonials;

anything that is new. This is ideal when you realise another fall down of Instagram is that you can’t add hyperlinks in posts; just one solitary link in the bio which can be tactically changed if need be. So, what’s the drawback?! Well, this feature is available only to users that are verified or have 10,000 followers or more! Getting in contact with Instagram (Facebook) is not an easy task, so if you want to be verified, you have your work cut out. Verification is primarily for celebrities or accounts which people may like to impersonate, so your ‘Average Joe’ simply doesn’t qualify for this; you’ll need to be seriously popular to hit 10,000 follows!

Here at SoPro, we’re all for the use of Instagram stories, but it can be quite time consuming and they really have to get their act together with the ‘Swipe Up’ feature to allow businesses to use this more as an active marketing tool. If you want more information about how to use Instagram and Instagram stories, speak to us for a little training or keep an eye out for our workshop changes in 2019.