How to Use Instagram Stories To Help Your Business

instagram stories from airbnb, audience interaction

Why Instagram Stories Have Power

Let’s start with why Instagram stories have such potential power. With the increase of influencer marketing and Instagram stories, the average feed post per week has gone down each year. When stories were introduced in 2016, the average number of feed posts per week from influencers was 3.3. Now in 2020, the average number of posts has dropped to 2.3. 

Another perk of Instagram stories is that they are only up for 24 hours. This feature helps you to post more authentic and behind the scenes content that you may not normally post to your feed. This is a great feature to do employee spotlights or takeovers, Q&A or content that just requires minimal post production. Everlane is a great example of this type of story content. 

Since the introduction of stories, there have been several upgrades to engage your audience in different ways. These upgrades help to keep the conversation going about you, make your brand more personable and get quick feedback from your audience. 

instagram stories
Instagram stories by Hopper

Why Instagram Stories are Engaging

Instagram has added so many features to Instagram stories that help increase engagement. These features are easy to use: polls, Q&As, emoji sliders and more. If you add stickers like these to your stories a few times a week your audience engagement will definitely increase – which will then help your Instagram algorithm ranking. 

Feature #1: Polls

Polls are a great way to get your audience to engage quickly. This is one of the fastest ways to get your audience involved and you get instant engagement boosts. Influencers and content creators often ask questions that seem meaningless, but they get tons of engagement for these Instagram stories without actually creating anything. It also helps build a strong sense of community as your audience feels included in decision making. 

As a brand or business you can use these to ask your followers which product or color scheme they prefer, where they would use or wear a product or even use them to tap into current events that align with or support your company values. 

Feature #2: Emoji Sliders

These are a great way to get quick reactions and are very versatile, thanks to the wide range of emojis you can use. Emoji stickers can also be used in more creative ways. Take a look at Lush Cosmetics for example. They regularly use polls or emoji sliders to see what kind of content their audience would like to see, which products they prefer or even to see what skin type their audience has and put together a skin routine based on the answers. Their creative use of these stickers is a great way to involve the audience. This encourages engagement and makes their audience more likely to take note of product recommendations. 

Feature #3: Question & Answer

These are a great way to engage your audience. You are able to get feedback, questions answered or questions asked in a timely manner. These enable you to either reply via DM or repost them as additional Instagram stories. Both help your audience feel seen and heard. 

Feature #4: Quiz Stickers

Quiz Stickers offer light-hearted and easy ways to communicate with your audience. You can share details about your brand story, a product launch or test your audience on topics related to your brand. 

Feature #5: Chat

One of Instagram’s more recent features is the ability to create and join a chat. These chats can host up to 32 participants and enable you to lead a group in conversation about a topic that you are interested in. This feature allows you to pick who gets to join the chat. Since there is a limited number of participants, chat can be utilized as a focus group for different product ideas or marketing concepts. 

Feature #6: Live

This feature is a great way to catch the attention of your followers. When you go live, it sends a notification to your followers that you are going live. It is also a great way to encourage questions and comments from your audience.

instagram stories from airbnb, audience interaction
Instagram stories from AirBnB

Your Social Media Strategy

Instagram stories are another powerful asset in your social media toolbelt. A smart social media strategy can leverage Stories to interact with your existing audience and expand your online presence. Give it a try – what’s to lose? Your story self-destructs in 24 hours!