How to Use Instagram Stories for Your Business

If you are anything like us, you may have opened your Instagram app this week to find a huge update had launched. At first we were intrigued, then annoyed and then confused…"isn’t this basically the same function as Snapchat?"

After some research, we found that this weird new feature is called “Instagram Stories” and it lives at the top of your newsfeed and expires after 24 hours. So, is it the same thing as Snapchat? Pretty much, except instagram has taken what snapchat created and made it even better. Here’s why:

The Advantage Instagram has over Snapchat:

The most obvious answer to this is that it is much easier to use. While snapchat was pretty difficult to figure out, Instagram has streamlined the process of posting and added hints throughout the process.

Most powerful of all is Instagram’s impact in the social world – it already has a network of active and loyal users who can easily follow new people and discover different parts of the world, services, goods, and other things to enhance their lives. So the potential lack of community users feel when on Snapchat is eliminated on Instagram.

Should I Start Using Stories?

We always suggest any way you use your time is beneficial in reaching the goals you have for yourself or your business. Just like any other form of social media, if posting a story will not allow you to work towards certain milestones or goals (like reach new people, book new clients, gain followers, connect with likeminded creative, etc) then this isn’t for you.

 

instagram stories
instagram stories

Want to give it a shot? Have you decided that Instagram Stories will, in fact, help you reach your goals? Great! What now?

- Use Strategy in Creating Content: What do your followers want to see from you? If you are a business owner, would showing behind-the-scenes stories add to the credibility of your brand? If you are a business owner, would showing how you work or create your art sway potential clients to book you based on the care and creativity you put in to it? Think about these things and how stories can benefit you.

- Don’t ReInvent the Wheel: Stories are just that…stories! This feature allows you to share snippets of your life in a very powerful way. Think about how you can piece together the story of your day in a way that contributes to showcasing your business, blog or brand. Example: Creating a piece of art from start to finish, sharing the set-up of a styled shoot, interior designer sharing planning process and completed vignette, photographer making edits, blogger showing the making of a blog post. 

- Show Your Personality: While we think Instagram is a powerful tool to help curate your brand, show what your work is all about in a professional way, we think of using the Stories aspect of the app to show more of your personality. This doesn't stick around long or show up on your Instagram profile, so it's okay to be a little goofy, have fun and really connect with people, past just showing your perfectly styled home or wedding photos.

- Be Intentional: Don’t post stories JUST to post. If it isn’t valuable, wait until you have something relevant to share. Followers will appreciate fresh, purposeful content, over throwing up something for the sake of staying ”active”. While people can’t unfollow a story, they can most certainly unfollow you! (Psst! Sometimes showing your personality and having fun by sharing a story on Instagram is a perfectly valuable reason to share!)

- Wallflowers & Attention Seekers:  A person who posts so rarely you forget you were ever following them is who we refer to as a wallflower. These posters can come across as spammy, because it is hard to connect with and get to know them due to their infrequency. So when their content pops up, it can be difficult to engage. Someone who posts many, many times a day (or within the same hour!) is someone we refer to as an attention seeker. This is the person that posts 20 images or videos of the same thing. Instagram is meant to share a quick image of your day, what you are working on, etc. Now you don't really have to be careful about posting too much, because your story will disappear after just 24 hours. Keep your curated photos and Instagram strategy the same (and keep this wallflowers/attention seekers idea in your mind for that!) but have fun posting stories throughout the day, if you choose!

With so many users on Instagram we feel like this feature is here to stay, so take your time and get comfortable with it while you decide if this will be a beneficial part to your business goals!

Happy ‘gramming! How are YOU using the new Story feature?!

* Sources: via, via