When Instagram Stories first came out in August last year, all anyone could talk about was how Instagram had copied Snapchat. That’s how it was perceived: as a thinly veiled attempt to steal Snapchat’s market share.
While this is true to an extent, it’s also a fairly one-dimensional view of the feature. Instagram Stories isn’t a copy of Snapchat, it’s a better version of Snapchat.
And not just for regular people… but for businesses too!
Like they did with photo and video sharing, Instagram has managed to turn ephemeral messaging into an effective tool for businesses without ruining it for consumers.
Indeed, Instagram Stories is one of those special channels that’s equally attractive to both regular people and businesses. And it offers features for both!
Whether you want to share fun and lighthearted content, promote a marketing campaign, or even drive ecommerce sales, you can do it all with Instagram Stories for business.
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How to Use Instagram Stories for Business
True to Instagram’s easy-to-use interface, creating a story on Instagram is actually very simple. However, because Instagram has released so many new features for Instagram Stories in the past few months, it can be a bit difficult to keep track of them all.
We’ll get to some of those later, but for now, here’s a refresher on how to create Instagram Stories for business:
1. Swipe right from your home screen or tap the camera icon in the top left corner of the screen to open the Instagram camera.
2. Take a photo by tapping the record button or take a video by pressing down on the record button for up to 10 seconds. You also have the option of taking a type, live, boomerang, superzoom, rewind, or hands-free video.
·Photo: Select your most recently taken photo or video
·Thunderbolt: The flash button.
·Arrows: Switch from front-facing camera to back-facing camera and vice-versa.
3. You can also upload a previously taken photo or video from your camera roll by swiping up or down.
If you select a photo from over 24 hours ago, a date sticker with the day, month, and year that the photo was taken will automatically appear. You can remove the sticker by dragging to the trash icon at the bottom of the screen.
4. Tapping anywhere on the screen will bring up the text tool. You can play with text size and color, and you can also use the “@” sign to tag another account, or the “#” sign to share a hashtag.
Instagram recently launched the ability to search for Instagram Stories by location and hashtag, meaning that if you include a hashtag in your story, other users can see it even if they don’t follow you!
5. Select from one of three different pen styles to doodle on your photo. You can also erase any drawings that you add to your story with the eraser brush.
6. You can also add stickers by selecting the sticker button in the top right corner of your screen or by swiping up on your story. Some of the more important ones include the location sticker, hashtag sticker, mention sticker, selfie sticker, poll sticker, emoji slider, and question sticker!
7. You can also swipe right or left to apply different filters.
8. When you’re done, tap the “Next” button to share!
Your story will appear at the top of your followers’ feeds, but it will also be visible on your profile page by tapping your profile picture.
9. You can find out how well Social Auto Poster Review. This will display the number as well as the names of people who have seen each photo or video in your story.
To see insights for your Instagram story, head to your profile and select the Insights icon in the top right corner. Next, scroll down and tap “Get Started” in the Stories section.
Now when you open your business profile, impressions, reach and other metrics related to your stories will be included in your Instagram Insights under the Content heading.
There are a ton of other hidden features on Instagram Stories that we haven’t mentioned. If you want to learn about some of the more popular ones, we wrote a blog post about them!
How to Create an Instagram Stories for Business Strategy
With more people using Instagram Stories every day, it’s important to have a strategy in place for sharing content if you’re using Instagram Stories for business.
This is especially true if your goal is to grow your Instagram engagement.
When Instagram added the suggested Stories section to the top of the Explore page last year, they introduced a new way for people to discover content on Instagram. Like with the Instagram feed algorithm, the Instagram Stories algorithm makes it easier for people to find content that they might be interested in, even if they don’t follow the account that creates it.
In other words, if you’re able to get your story featured on the Explore page, it can mean a ton of new followers and engagement! And the great thing is that it’s possible to optimize your stories to have a better chance of appearing on the Explore page.
How Often to Post on Instagram Stories for Business
Unlike regular Instagram posts, which are subject to the sometimes fickle Instagram algorithm, Instagram won’t penalize you for posting too many Instagram Stories.
This likely has to do with the ephemeral nature of Instagram Stories: because a story only exists for 24 hours, there isn’t much pressure for Instagram to prioritize some posts over others on a users’ feed.
This might change in the future as more accounts starting using Instagram Stories regularly, but until that day, it’s important to know that you won’t get penalized… by Instagram, that is.
A few months after releasing stories, Instagram introduced the ability to mute other users’ stories.
To mute someone’s Instagram story, all you need to do is tap and hold on their Instagram Stories avatar. This moves the story to the end of the queue and prevents it from autoplaying.
You can think of the mute tool as a way for Instagram users to block annoying accounts. Because of the way people watch stories, if you post too many stories at once and it takes your followers 15+ taps to get to the next account’s story, there’s a good chance you might get muted.
That’s not to say that posting a ton of Instagram Stories is a bad thing. It really comes down to your content and what your followers expect from you!
Some accounts can get away with posting 10+ Stories a day, while others are better off posting just a few times a week.
Take @wework for example. The international shared workspace company often posts 10+ stories each day. And it works for them! People love their rich content and it’s become a part of their brand:
While posting multiple times a day works for some accounts, it might not work for you.
It can take a lot of time and planning to create a 10+ Instagram Stories, so if you think your time is best served elsewhere, it’s probably best to stick to just a few Stories per week!
Plus, if you consistently post a ton of stories, your followers are going to expect you to continue doing so.
At the end of the day, there’s really no “optimal” frequency for Stories, but it’s good to have enough throughout the week that people look forward to seeing yours without getting tired of your content!
Due to their ephemeral nature, Instagram Stories can only exist for a maximum of 24 hours. That’s 24 hours of being at the top of your followers’ feeds!
So even if you post a story at a time when the majority of your followers are asleep, they’ll still be able to see your story at the top of their feeds when they wake up.
In other words, don’t stress out too much about posting your Instagram Stories at optimal times. The whole point of Stories is for the content to be current!
That being said, if you’re looking for immediate engagement on your Instagram Stories, posting when your followers are most active will help.
What to Post on Instagram Stories for Business
Like with regular posts, if you’re using Instagram Stories for business, it’s good to post a mix of fun, lighthearted content and promotional content.
Instagram Stories is a pretty relaxed place in general, and the quality standards are a lot lower than they are for regular posts.
So don’t be afraid of posting something goofy: a short video of your office dog or a picture of your team out for post-work drinks!
The great thing about Instagram Stories is that because they’ve created so many cool tools, the world is really your oyster. You can get as creative as you like with your stories — and there are a ton of great examples out there!