The Full Guide to Using Instagram Stories

Instagram is one of the fastest growing social networks in the world. But it’s not just for sharing food and holiday pics – it’s also a great tool for businesses and entrepreneurs of all kinds.

The nature of Instagram makes it super useful for product discovery but it’s also a more visual, information and real time way to communicate with your customers. One way to do this, and to bring your clients closer to your brand, is with Instagram Stories.

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Instagram stories provide amazing opportunities for businesses using the photo sharing app. Not only do they offer another way to be creative with your content, they can also help you increase your engagement levels, drive traffic to your website and even make sales.

Instagram Stories Explained

It took me some time to get the hand of Instagram stories. I love the versatility of it and use it to feature behind the scenes, great locations or fun moments during photoshoots.

Getting Started

It’s super easy to add content to your Instagram Stories:

  • Click on the Stories and Live section at the top of the screen

  • Choose your content and then check ‘Format’ at the bottom to access a range of settings for your content. From here you can choose different visual styles and filters.

  • To create a picture, quickly tap the white circle you see at the bottom of the screen. If you want to create a video, hold the white circle down.

Adding Some Customisation

Once you’ve got your first Instagram Story in the bag, you can take some time to make it unique and appeal to the right audience. Ideally, the first thing you want to do is add some hashtags to ensure that searchers on the platform can find your content.

  • Look to the top right of the screen, and you’ll see an icon that looks like this – Aa. Click on it and a cursor will come up on your screen.

  • Find the hash symbol and tap it. Now – without including any spaces – write your desired hashtags and hit return.

Aside from adding hashtags, there’s more you can do to customise your Instagram Stories. Adding text is a popular option and means you can let a little of your personality shine through!

  • Find the Aa symbol again, then just type whatever you want to say.

  • Hold down and drag the text to the desired area of the image. You can also pinch the text to make it bigger or smaller. Play around and be creative!

  • If you want to add some flair to your story, click on the marker icon on-screen and select the colour and brush type you want.

  • Press down on the screen and drag your finger to draw or write your additional elements. Easy, peasy.

Visuals are Key

As you already know, Instagram is visually led, and stories are no different. It’s all about capturing your audiences attention with beautiful images and videos. Just like your Instagram feed, your stories should be on brand, although there is a little more flexibility when it comes to stories, as they only last for 24 hours.

Via stories, you can publish both images and videos, but they need to have been saved on your phone within the last 24 hours. When it comes to creating on brand content this can pose a problem, as it’s likely you’ll be using content you’ve created in advance. There’s a simple solution, as you can simply screen shot old content to reuse on your stories.

Add That Personal Element

As already mentioned, the content you post on your stories doesn’t have to be quite as strict when it comes to being on brand as your feed. This presents the perfect opportunity to add that ‘back stage’ vibe, giving the users that watch your stories that little bit extra. Adding a human element to your Instagram stories will help your audience connect better with your brand. Try including behind the scenes videos in your stories strategy.

Deliver Results

Stories are a great way of building engagement with your audience, but they are also proven to be a great driver of sales. The time limit behind Instagram stories creates more urgency, which means promoting time limited offers via stories a great way to boost sales. Be smart about how you use your stories – offer limited promos, and sale events exclusively to your story viewers. Don’t forget that you can also add a hashtag or two to your stories, add text and tag other accounts to extend your reach.

Analytics and Management

As with any marketing activity, it’s a good ideas to keep an eye on performance. This will tell you whether you’re hitting the mark or still have some work to do. Just locate the ‘Your Story’ icon and then swipe upwards from the bottom portion of your screen. You should now be looking at a new screen which gives you lots of useful data, such as how many views your Store has had and who’s watched it.

You can then shape your strategy moving forward using these results, to generate even better results.

I find it a great tool for behind the scenes and on the go story sharing How have you been using stories?

Rachel xx