Instagram added Instagram Stories as a way to compete with the app millennials are obsessed with, SnapChat. Now it’s become its own entity and brands are finding unique ways to use it towards their marketing and content efforts, from increasing online traffic to generating foot traffic to offering special deals.
What are Instagram Stories?
First, you may be saying to yourself, “I’ve seen these ‘Instagram Stories’ before but what are they exactly?” Great question. Instagram Stories is a feature that lets you post images, 15 second video clips, or text, that vanish in 24 hours. It also includes a “live” function, which we will only cover briefly today. Why would something so ephemeral be beneficial to your content strategy? Instagram Stories is a great tool to help your brand stay top of mind because they’re shown in real time. This means each time you add a story, your brand pops to the front of the line-up and your followers are more likely to see it. Also, the more often you post content that incentivizes users (i.e. coupon codes, secret sales), the more your followers will be trained to check your stories on a daily basis.
It might seem like a lot to digest, but don’t worry. We’re going to break it into seven very simple steps you can take to use Instagram Stories to increase sales.
If you’ve ever played around with Instagram Stories, you’ve likely come across these delightful, simple polls. As a brand, this is a great way to get immediate feedback about what your customers are interested in. For example, let’s say you run a nail polish company, and you’re having trouble deciding which color to release next. You can post two swatches and poll people on which one they’d be most excited about. You’ll gain instant feedback and you’re also helping to generate buzz for your upcoming product launch.
2. Offer Flash Discounts
Instagram Stories is the perfect place to announce a flash sale because it’ll expire within 24 hours. It’s also a way to reward users that are heavily invested in your brand because it’ll only be seen by customers who are constantly checking in.
3. Use Links In Your Stories
An important thing to note is that Instagram Stories becomes an exponentially more useful tool once you hit 10K followers. Currently, verified accounts or accounts that have over 10K followers have the ability to add links to their Instagram stories, which is huge because it means you’ll be able track traffic and conversions from Instagram Stories campaigns.
4. Influencer Takeovers
Is your brand thinking of working with influencers in your industry? If so, doing an Instagram Story takeover is a great way to get your audience engaged with your content. You can give an influencer free reign to engage with your users, promote particular products, and utilize their social media clout to help you gain new brand loyalists.
5. Behind the Scenes
Nowadays with social media, transparency is the name of the game. Some people DO want to see how the sausage is made. Afraid you don’t have anything interesting to show your customers? You’d be surprised. These behind the scenes Instagram Stories can cover everything from exclusive makeup tutorials to showing the baking process of your world famous cupcakes to revealing what goes into remodeling a storefront for opening. That’s right, you can literally turn watching paint dry into something fascinating.
6. Go Live
Want to explain the merits of a product or service in detail? Want to answer user questions immediately? Go live on Instagram Stories. Rather than limiting you to 15-second video clips, this allows you to live stream to your followers. When you go live, your profile image will appear at the top of follower feeds with an eye-catching, colorful ring around it. Once live, you’ll get real-time comments, likes, and questions from your customers.
7. Launch a New Product
Part of the challenge in marketing a product is building mystique and having control of the product’s story. Instagram Stories can help you build a curated launch campaign for any of your products. Depending on your brand aesthetics, you can upload anything from beautiful HD videos set to music or fun boomerangs that tease the product or service.
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