Instagram Stories for Business: 6 Helpful Insights

As one of the leading social media platforms in the U.S., Instagram has become an essential tool for brand marketing, and with 300 million daily active story users in the Fall of 2017, the Instagram story has changed the way we promote content and expand our audience in a fun and authentic way. Small business or large — if you use Instagram stories for your business, you need to know why they will benefit your overall social media management marketing strategy. And if you don’t use Instagram stories? Well, perhaps we can convince you to get creative and try them!

Why should you use Instagram stories?

Why bother with ephemeral content? In a word — flexibility.

1. It gives you power.

A temporary format keeps your audience anticipated and engaged. It also allows you to be less sales-driven and more carefree. Maintain professionalism and avoid being too personal, but feel free to take advantage of the story’s non-permanence to showcase your business’ individuality!

2. It lets you experiment.

Stories are an excellent way to determine what content works best for your page. Experiment with a diverse range of content (pictures, videos, gifs, special offers, contests) and use those statistics in your Instagram business page for future reference. If a sneak peek story performs better than a live video, upload it as a permanent Instagram post.

3. It saves you time.

A unique and engaging Instagram story can be posted with just a few taps of your finger. Although you still have to consider how to implement your brand, stories allow you to take a break from the schedules and the planning, which saves you time overall.

How should you use Instagram stories?

Treat your story like a digital portfolio where you display your product, content, and brand. With so many fun, artistic, and interaction-based features, stories should be used to connect with the following you’ve already developed and increase your exposure to potential audiences, as well. Here are a few ideas:

1. Instagram Highlights

You can now create story highlights from any content you’ve shared to your story in the past. This turns your stories into long-term content that exists at the top of your profile. Highlight titles and cover photos give you the opportunity to utilize your brand’s colors and logos. Check out these examples of businesses using covers well!

Embassy Suites St. Augustine Beach Instagram

J. Crew Instagram

ATL Bucket List Instagram

2. Polls/Direct Messaging

Instagram’s new Poll feature can be beneficial because of the insights that they offer. Pique interest with your audience and even incite feedback with a Poll! Ask your audience what they want to see or what their favorite product is and gain some incredible resources along the way. This can also be done by requesting your audience to reply to your Story with a Direct Message. Check out this example from Boardwalk Church (@boardwalkchurch):

Boardwalk Church Instagram Story

3. Tags/Mentions

Instagram allows you to tag your location in your story, a feature that can increase your exposure by allowing users to browse through other content with the same location. Mentions are another way to increase your own brand awareness or interact with other brands/users. For example, you could feature one of your own fans via a shoutout on your story by mentioning their handle/username. This will not only delight your follower, but it will also remind your audience of your presence and engagement! Here’s an example from @sinclairsmercantile of a location tag to increase reach on a sale, as well as a fun little gif to spread excitement:

Sinclair's Mercantile Instagram Story

No matter how you use them, Instagram stories are the centrality of Instagram’s platform. We hope you’ll start including them in your social media strategy. Remember to have fun with them!

Pipeline Social Media offers three approaches to help businesses increase their social media presence: full social media management, hands-on social media training for staff, and monthly social media monitoring programs to coach teams along the way. Pipeline also designs and develops custom websites and landing pages, search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns, blogging, and email marketing campaigns. Contact us to learn more.

Sarah Brown
Social Media Community Manager
Pipeline Social Media

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