Instagram stories have now overtaken Snapchat stories as well as engagement on Instagram posts. We will run you down on the top 10 things you can do to get results for your small business today! These stories only stay on your page for 24 hours so are a great way to test out new content and keep your fans updated.
1. Post regularly / consistently.
This is a hard one for most people especially those just starting out, but thinking you can just post when you feel like it will usually end with poor results, so stick to a plan and change anything if it is not working with your audience.
2. Post engaging content.
Engaging content doesn't mean it takes hours to create, it can mean just taking the time to see what resonates with your audience and then creating something they can engage with. Whether it be photo, video or graphics from scratch, you can make things that evoke emotion quite easily. See step 5 for documenting your process.
3. Keep it within your brand.
Ever see those brands who post any meme or funny picture on their story? Yeah, you don't really want to be that. It's all good posting funny pics or rending videos on your accounts but you have to make sure it is giving out the consistent brand message that you want and is content that your audience kind of expects. For example, if you were running a restaurant account, you would just post a funny picture of a recent football match because it was popular, this could lose trust with your audience if they don't see it as relevant. Keeping on brand also means using the same fonts and colours in your captions and filters on your photos, you want your audience to recognize your content as yours straight away when they are whizzing through their stories feed.
4. Learn from other accounts.
Watching stories from other accounts can be a great way to learn new ideas for creating your stories, they don't even have to be local, just follow those accounts creating consistent and engaging content in your industry to get ideas for variety in story content and implement some into your own plan.
5. Document the process.
This is somewhat of a new trend in the business space, but documenting your process, depending on how comfortable your are on camera can be a great way to connect further with your audience and advocates of your business. By showing them behind the scenes and what you are up to on a day to day basis, they can relate ore to the struggles of running a real business and may want to engage more over time. This can include just doing selfie video throughout the day and talking directly to your audience about your experience and also asking some questions if you feel the timing is appropriate. So think about documenting rather than obsess about creating. The more content you create and save the more you have to share and re-purpose later on.
6. Use all the features.
There are loads of features on Instagram stories that you can use to engage your fans. Stickers, emojis, polls and questions are the main ones you want to try along with cool captions. A good idea is changing the caption if you have a long piece of video that is split up on your story, this can keep the viewer more engaged and reduce the chance of them clicking next. Polls and questions are great ways to get feedback from your fans and customers so use them to find out how they feel about a topic or what content they want to see from you.
7. Encourage conversation and user content.
Throughout your stories it is a great idea to encourage your audience to reply directly to your story, whether you have a question or a request of them, this can create conversation and become a great was to build trust in the dm's and humanize your brand. User generated content could be one of the best marketing methods for you especially if you have a physical location like a restaurant, you can then share their story on yours if they tag you in it, a great way to show social proof.
8. Geotag / Hashtag some of your stories.
Geo-tagging can be a good way to reach new people in your local area so use this maybe once a day or every other day by tagging your location which will hopefully get you to appear on the local feed if Instagram thinks your content is good and not spammy. If you geo-tag all the time you run the risk of looking spammy to people that just want to causally browse their local feed. Hashtags are also a way to reach a new audience but it will require you to experiment which ones are good and get views for your industry, when you have put them in text on your story, you can shrink them right down so they are off the page and don't make your story look too promotional.
9. Treat it like a story.
Instagram STORIES. Your stories should have a start, middle and end to each day really so that your fans can relate better and see that they are almost having a conversation with another human. If you were documenting leading up to one of your events then you can get on selfie mode and introduce your story and tell your audience what the rest of the content for the day will include then finish by closing off by reflecting on the day and wishing them a good night, these little touches can make all the difference and separate you from other brands on Instagram.
10. Have a plan.
Finally, having a plan , may just be the most important step of this guide, as it means you can bring all the things you have learned about stories together and show them off confidently and consistently to your fans on the platform. Write down each day what it is your are going to post and think about moving your customers through a journey of content that you would want to go on, obviously you may not have the resources to create epic content every day, but having a solid plan and bank of content will set you on your way. Remember to analyse your results if you can after each day or each wekk and do more of what is being engaged with and less of what is being clicked away from.
Bonus Tip: Stories highlights are a new feature that allows you to package your stories in categories and keep them on your page permanently, so if you have lots of content you should definitely think about making them into highlights as your fans can come back again and again to watch and engage.
So yeah, there you have it, just focus on posting consistently and learning from what works and you'll be having a blast on stories in no time.