How to use Instagram Stories for Business

You’ve probably noticed Instagram’s newest feature – the Story banner – but is it worth using?

Yes, many users have jumped at the chance to make use of this update, but could you use the Instagram Business Stories?

Instagram has always been about capturing life’s highlights in carefully curated images, so the idea of the story feature is a change of direction, will it dilute the quality of Instagram’s content?

How it works

The idea of Instagram stories is very similar to Snapchat stories, you post an image or video (of up to 10 seconds), or series of images and videos, and it will last for 24 hours. Content shared to stories won’t appear in your profile grid or feed, and after 24 hours have elapsed the story will disappear.

This quick-content is great for users who want to stay up-to-date with brands they are following, but are too busy to search or scroll through their feed. Businesses can adapt their content to gain the interest of their audience, creating visually engaging, informal posts.

One of the great features in Stories is the ability to customise your content, using filters, emojis, text and freehand drawing – this allows a more lighthearted feel and means you can utilise humour and show your creativity.

You might choose to use the Stories feature to capture Behind the Scenes shots or videos, a sneak-peek of an important event, company meeting or new project, anything that gives your followers a glimpse inside your business. Audiences engage more easily with brands who show a bit of personality and the real faces behind their corporate identity.

Brave Little Tank
Brave Little Tank

So, is it any good?

There are certainly benefits for businesses using Instagram Stories, with significantly larger audiences compared to Snapchat and a wider age range of users. There is also the option to see exactly who has viewed your story – this is great for businesses, as they can gauge which users are interested in this type of content. Companies could then use this information to create a new targeted customer list, or if they wanted to start using Snapchat.

Instagram Stories allows businesses to get more involved with their customers, without clogging up their standard news feed, and gives followers the option to choose to see more about businesses they are interested in. Stories are also helpful to keep your audience engaged with your company, as individual posts can have limited visibility, whereas Stories are featured in the top banner.

Another benefit of the Instagram update is that once you have created stories you are able to either save them, or publish them to another Social Media account. You can also post specific images and Story content to Instagram, offering the potential to promote the Story, in case followers hadn’t noticed it on the top banner. Instagram’s users look for visually appealing services and promotions, so behind the scenes footage at an event or a sneak peek into the brand can allow a relationship to form with your audience. Featuring a glimpse of new services and products can help keep your followers wanting more.

Similarities to Snapchat

Comparisons are inevitable and Instagram Stories has been dubbed Snapchat for adults! However, many people have gone further and claimed the new feature is a ‘blatant rip-off’ of Snapchat. An interview from TechCrunch with the CEO of Instagram saw his admission to the similarities and that Snapchat “deserves all the credit”. Although he was quick to defend the platform’s move, saying the importance was in how the format was put to use by each individual network.

Instagram Stories has quickly become popular, however, some users feel the feature dilutes the key aspect of Instagram – the sharing of high quality, polished imagery – and would prefer the channel sticks to what it does best.

The consensus in the office is we’re all for it! While the main focus of Instagram remains showing a featured selection of amazing photos, the Stories feature adds a fun, playful element – showing the reality behind the polished images. It’s a great feature, especially for small businesses and personal profiles, and an exciting way to engage with customers.

5 great ways to use Stories:

Behind the Scenes
Meet the Team
Live Content
Tutorials
Raw Content

Not used Instagram Stories yet? Here’s a quick How-To!

Instagram Stories are shown in a banner at the top of your feed, all accounts can share stories, from friends and family, to big brands and businesses. When someone has a new story you’ll see a colourful ring around their profile photo. To view the story, simply tap on their profile photo and the story will appear full-screen. Once you’re viewing a story, you can tap to go back and forward through content, or swipe to jump to another user’s story. Unlike normal posts there is no opportunity to like or comment, but you can message the user directly.

Creating a Story

Instagram Story ExampleCat Instagram StoryCat with laser eyes Instagram Story

  1. To create a new Story, tap the “+” icon at the top left, or simply swipe right.
  2. Once the Story camera is open you can take a new photo or record a video, just like normal.
  3. You can also use any of the images you have taken within the last 24 hours, simple swipe downwards in the stories camera to view the gallery.
  4. You can draw, add text, emojis and use filters on images, to personalise your content.
  5. Once your story is posted it will be available for just 24 hours.

Helpful Notes

Viewed Instagram StoryHidden Instagram Story

Your stories will follow your normal account privacy settings, however, there is a useful option to hide your story from anyone you don’t want to see it!
When watching your own story, you can view who’s seen each photo and video by swiping upwards.
Stories content is temporary, but you can choose to feature a particular part of your story by posting it on your profile, you can also save it to your device.

Alternatives to Instagram

flickr

If Instagram doesn’t float your boat, then there are a few alternatives to this App. The most popular is Flickr. Instagram is great for sharing your best images, but Flickr is there if photography is really your passion. Professionally laid out, you can share your images and videos with a whole online community. Although the site is a little outdated compared to Instagram, users can still post their best images, which can be perfect for a business. Find out more about alternatives to Instagram.

If you’re wondering what we get up to on our Instagram, come and take a look!
Alternatively, if you need assistance creating your Instagram Story, or getting started on this app, get in touch on 0333 121 2013.