If you’re familiar with Instagram, then you know that Stories have been around for a while now. If you prefer Twitter or Facebook over Instagram, then you might not know about the feature of this incredibly popular app. Essentially, Instagram added a Snapchat like feature to its platform where users can post images and videos to their “stories,” which disappear after 24 hours.
Using Instagram Stories to promote your small business might sound confusing at first. If it disappears after 24 hours, then why bother using it?
The truth is, every online advertising opportunity matters. The pace at which we consume information in 2020 is extremely fast, and if your audience uses Instagram, then you need to be advertising on the platform in the best, most up-to-date way possible. Posting to your business Instagram account’s Stories is a fantastic way to stay at the forefront of your customers’ minds and to extend your advertising reach.
Instagram Stories can be used in different ways, including…
- Growing brand awareness
- Product promotion
- Advertising a sale
By learning about and using Instagram Stories to promote your business, you’re capitalizing on your advertising opportunities.
Growing Brand Awareness
If you consistently create quality content and post it to your Instagram Stories, you can grow awareness of your brand. Quality content draws in more viewers, and you want the maximum number of viewers possible for your Stories.
Developing quality content probably sounds like a big task, but it’s not as complicated as it seems. When businesses post to their Instagram Stories, the content is often more informal than a traditional page post. Informal content takes less time to create, and it can actually be an enjoyable process – it can be fun to share about the hard work you put in to your business!
By informal content, we mean the “behind-the-scenes” inside look at how your business operates. This could be an image or video of your warehouse full of a new shipment, or a box full of orders that’s ready to go out the door. It could be a video about part of the design process for a new product label, or it could be about the product itself.
When you upload a video to your Stories about the design or production process, you’ll draw in customers who really care about your business.
Brand Awareness Tip
When you post to your Instagram Stories, make sure that you tag your business location. There’s one very good reason for this: brand awareness. When viewers of the Story tap on that location tag, it sends them to a page containing all the posts that people have created and tagged your business in.
That means that your Story viewer isn’t just seeing your content; they’re also seeing posts from real customers who enjoyed your business enough to post about it and tag you in it. This is a great opportunity to grow awareness of your brand.
Creating a behind-the-scenes video or image post and adding it to your Instagram Stories can help grow awareness of your brand – and it can also help you promote specific products. If you’re really excited about a product, whether it’s something you’ve had on the shelf for years or it’s something you’re launching now for the first time, it’s a great idea to feature it in your Instagram Stories.
Make sure that you take the time to capture the product in its best light. Spend time photographing it from different angles. If a video would be a better way to feature it, then definitely take a video!
Before you tap “Add to Story,” make sure you put on the finishing touches. You can experiment with filters, but don’t use any that take away from the appearance of the product. You also shouldn’t use a filter that makes your product appear like something it’s not – for instance, don’t choose a filter that change the coloring of your product! This will only lead to disappointed customers.
After choosing a filter or to stick with the normal image, add Stickers. Don’t forget that location tag, but make sure you also add different shapes and text highlighting the product’s best features.
Product Promotion Tip
When you want to really focus in on one product, you can create a series of Story posts about it. Each image can be the same one, or each image can be different, but all need to include the product you’re highlighting in its best light.
The key factor here is to change the text on each image, and make sure the text on each different image highlights a different part of the product. That draws the viewer’s attentions to all its awesome aspects!
Advertising a Sale
Sales are an important part of any small business marketing strategy, and Instagram Stories are a great opportunity to promote your sale. You can add several images to your Story of all the products that you are putting on sale, and then you can also add various “Sale” stickers to the images to help it stick in the viewer’s mind.
You can even announce a sale on your Instagram Stories before posting about it anywhere else. If you go this route, you are rewarding the people who view your Stories with the first chance at purchasing your products at a reduced rate.
Stories are also a great place to introduce contests, and you can reward a contest winner with a giftcard to your sale. Because you can include polls and “Ask Me Anything” style question stickers (where customers can answer a specific question OR they can ask you their questions), Instagram Stories are a great place to interact with customers and bring them in to your sale.
When you have an upcoming sale, you can create one post about it that stays permanent on your account page, and in the description for the post you can direct your viewers to look at your stories for all the details. That way, you don’t have to interrupt the aesthetics of your main account page with tons of details about one specific sale.
Instagram Stories are a Major Opportunity
At the end of the day, you will need to decide on how Stories work best for your brand, your style, and your products. You should have a specific objective when you post to your Stories, and when you post well, you’ll leave an impression on your potential customers.
If you’re proud of the Story you’ve created, you can always add it to your Highlights, which sticks to your account page (right under the bio/business description). No matter how you choose to use them, Instagram Stories are a fantastic way for small business owners to advertise to customers!