When Instagram Stories’ daily users had grown to 200 million in early 2017, it became apparent that Instagram had outshined Snapchat. It’s quite evident why a huge number of social media influencers and brands decided to make the switch. Instagram Stories is constantly evolving, adding new features now and then that are very advantageous in promoting businesses.
With the app’s new feature, you can post as much as you want without flooding your followers’ news feeds. Since stories last for only 24 hours, this takes away the pressure of consistently posting carefully crafted content on your feed. Now you can show a more fun and less formal side of your brand in the stories you share.
Tips and Tricks to Beautify Your Instagram Stories
Before you begin conceptualizing ways to advertise your business through Instagram Stories, it’s important to first be acquainted with its alluring features. The following are tips and tricks you can practice:
Apart from the normal mode used in taking pictures or videos, you can also broadcast a live video. Users who have enabled Live notifications will be instantly notified as soon as you go live. They can also interact with you during the broadcast in the comments section.
Another mode loved by many is Boomerang. As implied in its name, it allows you to record one-second videos looping back and forth when played. There are multiple brands across different industries that often use Boomerang to highlight their edge.
In Rewind mode, you can shoot videos that play in reverse, letting you create unique illusions. Hands-free recording allows you to record videos without holding the record button the whole time.
After taking a photo or a video, you can overlap it with a customizable text. There are currently four font styles to choose from. You can also tweak the font color and size, and even add highlights to the words.
In the text, you also have the option to mention another profile by typing “@” before their username. This becomes a link, redirecting viewers to the mentioned user. This is a great opportunity to partner with other accounts with relatively the same audience you’re looking for. According to this blog, this kind of collaboration can contribute to a significant increase in engagement activity on your account.
Stickers can be dragged across a photo, pinned to a video, and have their size adjusted accordingly.
Apart from the default stickers available, another one is the Geotag. This is used to provide the location of where the story took place. When clicked by the viewer, a map of the location is revealed along with other photos and videos taken in the same spot.
Hashtag stickers allow your stories to be seen by those browsing through the same trending topic. It’s a good way to increase your visibility outside your own circle of followers.
Instagram has also recently added GIF stickers. You can search for any kind of GIF suited to your post by simply typing the keywords describing what kind you’d like to use in your story.
Polls allow you to ask a question to your followers and customize the responses. Viewers will then be able to vote between two choices. As this guide suggests, polls are actually an effective way to gain feedback and insight from your audience.
This feature lets you draw on your story by tapping any of the following tools: a highlighter, a pen, and a brush. You can also tweak the brush size and color. There’s even a glow pen you can use, which gives your doodle a neon effect.
One trick you can try is placing a canvas over your story. You can do this by tapping the highlighter tool and pressing it for 3 seconds. You can then use the eraser tool to reveal your story in shapes or letters.
Using Doodles gives you the opportunity to exercise your creativity and enhance your story with an artsy appeal. More Doodle hacks you can explore are revealed in this tutorial.
Swipe Up Call-To-Actions (CTAs)
On Instagram, a CTA appears as an option that can be swiped up, linking viewers to a product or website. You can customize each CTA and design it to suit the preferences of your target market.
Promoting Your Business
Now that you’re familiar with the tools available on Instagram Stories, the following are a few ideas you can use in advertising your business through this medium:
Show Teasers of a New Product
Because Instagram stories are fleeting, this is a perfect way to tease your followers and build the hype by gradually revealing a feature or two about upcoming products.
Give Your Followers an Inside Look
Give your followers a quick glimpse of the creative process behind your product or the culture inside your business. This builds their trust in your marketing method and makes them feel connected to your brand beyond its facade. Nordstrom Rack fashionably achieves this by going behind the scenes on one of their photo shoots.
Show a Preview of Your Website Content
Creating a simplified version of your website is also a great way to lure your followers by giving them an enticing summary of what’s in store for them. You can see how Real Simple used this technique here.
Advertise an Event
Whether it’s a conference or a product launch, Instagram Stories is a great platform for publicizing an event to gain more exposure. You can also do a live broadcast of the occasion to let followers know what they’re missing and encourage them to join or at least keep an eye on the next one.
Keep Up With Trends
It’s important to stay updated on the latest stories and developments in the industry. You can incorporate these in your Instagram Stories to immediately attract your followers’ attention.
To maximize the use of Instagram Stories in promoting your business, don’t be afraid to experiment. Try out the different features and see which ones work best with your audience. The secret is to keep your content entertaining enough for your followers to stay interested and engaged.
Callum is the head of marketing at Warble Media. They are a boutique website design agency in Dubbo, NSW, Australia. He is passionate about helping local small businesses achieve success with their marketing.