Instagram has seen many changes over the years but one of the biggest and important changes for Instagram was the introduction of Instagram stories in August 2016.
Originally a Snapchat feature, Instagram Stories gained popularity due to its large existing user base which Snapchat didn’t have. Instagram stories currently have more than 500 million active users a day.
A story is a content that is available for the viewer for 24 hours from the time of posting. A coloured ring around the profile image of a user indicates that there is a story which is active and unread, clicking on the profile image will show the stories. It turns grey to let the viewer know that they have seen all the stories in that account.
Recently Instagram has also added the ability to run paid ads on stories pages giving marketers more control in reaching out to their audience. The ability to edit the images with filters and stickers was the icing to the cake for customer engagement.
Instead of focusing on how to create an Instagram story(by clicking the camera icon on the top left of Instagram or a simple swipe to the left in the home screen), I want to focus on how other Instagram users are using Instagram stories to their advantage.
Why this topic right now? That is because you will understand why it is important and how you should be using it! Below are the four reasons how you can Instagram stories to your advantage
1. Marketing, driving traffic to your website or even selling of products
I reiterate, saying stories are great for marketing one’s website, their product and even boost their followers along with keeping your audience engaged. Since stories are on the top of a user profile is one of the first things that the user sees when they visit a profile. Hence a great way to show what you are all about.
You can place links, or even provide links to other accounts driving traffic to the required page. And with the time limit, you make sure that your content is always new and fresh.
On top of that, if you were to swipe up on the story that you posted, you will get the insight which shows the reach of your story, who have interacted with it. In turn, understand how your story is performing and people that are interested in them. More on this in a later post.
2.Creating engaging content
Yes, stories enable you to create content! You even get the option to save the content that you have created so that you can share the same on other social media platforms. But remember filters and stickers will not work since you are just downloading an image but will show up.
The two tools at your disposal available in Instagrams stories are:
Instagram helps you to quickly improve the quality of your boring looking image to a more vibrant one or to the effect that you were looking for. Selecting a filter is as simple as swiping right after you have selected the image.
With stickers, you can make Instagram stories more engaging. There are stickers which could help you gather data and not just for aesthetics purposes. Example: Hashtags, locations stickers etc. I will get into more details on how to use every sticker in a later post and will update the link once it is up.
The most important feature for Stories is the ability to engage with your audience! With tools like Questions stickers and Poll Stickers, you can engage directly with your audience by asking them things like what they want to view or to get feedback on your products, showing new products or posts. This is the tip of the iceberg, you could do a lot more with them. Subscribe to make to findingcities to get an update on when I will post so that you won’t miss when I post on how to use different stickers on Instagram.
Instagram also enables to run advertisements on Instagram stories. To advertise stories you can do it from Facebook Ads Manager or just the app itself(swipe up on the stories and click the promote icon). This is a great way to drive traffic to your website or even sell a product. I have seen many companies using Instagram stories for the same.
There are quite a lot of steps and planning that go into advertising and I will cover all that in my later post. So do subscribe to my newsletter to be updated when they are posted.
Instagram Stories Coloured Ring and Highlights
As mentioned earlier when you post a story on your Instagram page, you get a coloured circle over your profile image showing that you have posted a story on Instagram. This, in turn, is content for you and to show others that you have been active in the past 24 hours. So times this is a great way to show that you are a regular user and engaging with your audience is the best way to grow your business.
A much more recent addition to this is Instagram Highlights (which was added in 2017), which lets you show your stories on your profile page without any time limit, at least till you want to delete it. Any user visiting your profile has a high chance of viewing your highlights since it is placed just below the bio in your profile. Giving you an extra chance to impress the viewer to follow your profile or get to see your product. So don’t miss out on that opportunity!
This blog post should have given you the reasons why and how you should use Instagram stories and highlights. But there are much more that you need to understand to make the full use of these tools. I will be posting on them soon. As to not to miss out, do subscribe to my page below and follow me on social media to be updated on the next post.