In this day and age, social media is pretty much a necessity for any business. As you’ve probably noticed, everyone and their dog is on Instagram. It’s the place to be for anyone who’s...well, actually just anyone. Today, we’re focusing on Instagram, the second most popular social media platform in the world (right behind Facebook)! With the potential to reach over 1 billion users worldwide, why wouldn’t you want your business to be there?
Now here’s the catch: simply being on social media won’t make your business a digital success. What a scam, right? Not only is social media in general extremely popular (you read “over 1 billion users worldwide” in the last paragraph, and that’s just Instagram!), but social media platforms are constantly changing and evolving. We all know the saying, “don’t mess with a good thing” but that doesn’t apply to social media! Because people and the world are constantly changing, and new apps and platforms are being created every day, current social media platforms have to switch things up and add new features in order to stay relevant and exciting.
Just look at Instagram, the star of this blog. They started off only allowing users to post square photos to a feed that were also visible on their individual profiles. This was cool and great at the time- they had fun filters, you could comment on your friends’ pictures, everyone loved it. Then what happened? People started adding borders to their photos so they didn’t have to cut off their shoes in their #OOTD mirror selfie. Not the worst thing to happen to the feed but obviously Instagram was missing a feature that its users wanted, so they started to allow portrait and landscape photos! Then, YouTube got popular and Snapchat added a Stories feature. So Instagram implemented long-form video with IGTV and added a Stories feature. You see the trend here? They’re evolving to stay relevant and exciting.
Like we discussed above, Instagram is more than the feed. They have quite the growing list of features now, with a big-ticket item being Stories. Instagram Stories are vertical photos or videos that can be up to 15 seconds long and disappear after 24 hours. They don’t show up on your regular Instagram Feed but are displayed at the top of the app or through the user’s profile. There’s less pressure when it comes to Instagram Stories, since users typically create and post them in the moment. This means you can put out less curated, more unfiltered content and not worry that it will throw off your brand aesthetic or seem out of place on your Feed. Instagram Story ideas could be new product releases, behind-the-scenes, or how to use your business’s products.
Stories allow you to reach people in a different medium and are great supplements to Feed content! Not only can you create unique Stories, you’re also able to repost stories from customers who tag your business and share feed posts to Stories.
There are tons of reasons why people choose to support small businesses over big corporations, one of them being that they enjoy supporting the person(s) behind the business! Customers like how personal a small business is and they enjoy the unique products and services that they provide. Because the person behind the product is a big thing, Instagram Stories are a great way to connect with your customers on social media! Not to mention, over 500 million accounts use Instagram Stories everyday and ⅓ of the most viewed stories are from businesses!
Once your business becomes popular enough in the digital realm, you can start to add links to Instagram Stories with the Swipe Up feature! Currently, you can add a Swipe Up if your account has at least 10,000 followers or is a verified account (with a little blue check mark). If you don’t have 10k followers or a verified account, you can still link your Stories to a promotional IGTV video. It’s not the same as directing users to your website, but at least they can still learn more about your business and potentially click through another link in your IGTV!
We already mentioned that Instagram Stories disappear after 24 hours of when they were posted, but that’s only if they don’t get added to a Stories Highlight. Story Highlights show up on your profile under your bio, before your feed. This is a great place to house things that people want to know about your business! Some general Instagram Story Highlight ideas include what your business is, products and services you offer, and frequently asked questions.
You can also add Highlight covers from your camera roll and rename your Highlights so that your profile still looks cohesive and users can easily find what they’re looking for!
One of the best things about Instagram Stories for businesses is how creative you can get with your posts! Instagram offers tons of interactive and fun features like quizzes, polls, stickers, and GIFs that you can’t use in your Feed. In addition to being fun, limited-edition posts, they’re also a great way to build brand awareness and provide your followers with unique and behind-the-scenes content from your business. If you’re still not sure how to get started with Instagram Stories for your business, get in touch with a social media marketing agency today!