Creative Ways to Use Instagram Stories

If you’re looking to grow your Instagram following and engagement, you should venture into using the Instagram Stories feature. Similar to Snapchat, these don’t appear in your feed, and are only available for 24 hours. There are 500 million daily active users,  and ⅓ of the most viewed Instagram Stories come from businesses, so if you’re not including Instagram Stories as part of your social media marketing strategy, you should be. Here are some ways to use the feature so you’re not left with the same old boring and bland content over and over again.

Instagram Takeover: Guest Host

If you want to reach a larger audience with your Instagram Stories, you can host a takeover with another Instagram user with a following similar to yours. You’ll want to make sure the collaborator has a highly engaged audience so when they introduce your content, there’s a better chance those people will follow and engage with you, too. Partnering with an influencer this way is a great way to build buzz for your brand. Read more about how to execute an Instagram Stories Takeover here – because it’s not a good idea to hand over your account password.

Doing this regularly keeps your content varied and encourages people to come back for more. You can choose multiple people from your company for a “Day in the Life” story, or partner with other businesses in your industry to swap stories for the day, too.

Poll Your Audience to Learn More About Them

One of the best ways to boost your Instagram engagement is to use the poll feature in Instagram Stories. Though the feature isn’t really new anymore, using it increases the chances your audience will do something for you. And if they do something for you once, they’re likely to continue to do things for you in the future.

Ask simple questions and give simple answer options. You can use the poll feature for a bit of market research without your audience ever really knowing that’s what you’re doing. For instance, if you have a product you want to make available in multiple colors, but you can’t decide which ones will be the best, you can simply ask what your audience’s favorite color is, and leave the options you have to choose from. Then, make the product available in the most popular answers.

Use the Messaging Feature

Instagram wants to serve people the content they want to see, which means engagement is critical to your success. Using Stories to encourage people to message you will boost your engagement rate. However, before you use this option, make sure you’re genuinely interested in interacting with your audience, and have the time to respond to what people message you. If people take the time to message you only to find they are ignored, you’ll have wasted your effort. Messaging with your audience is a great way to build relationships with your audience – and after all, that’s really what social media is all about.

Tease Your Audience

If you’re planning a product launch, use photos and video to tease about the upcoming launch. It’s a wonderful way to warm up the audience and prime them to buy once you’re ready. Take a look at this example from J. Crew, who used Stories to tease the launch of new rose-colored glasses.

Creative Ways to Use Instagram Stories - Sachs Marketing Group

Show Some Love With Shoutouts

Doing shoutouts to members of your audience helps build relationships with people you like and share similar content. Using Stories allows you to keep your feed clean and aesthetically pleasing since you don’t have to interrupt your style with screenshots of another user’s account.

Post a screenshot of the user’s account with text that says who they are – telling your audience to follow them, too. Or, post a photo of yourself, with a bit of text telling people who to follow.

Swipe Up

The Swipe Up feature is only available to Instagram Business profiles with at least 10K followers, so if you’re not there yet, keep working on growing your following with these other tactics and keep this one in your back pocket until you get there.

Swipe Ups are a great way to get people to engage with your content and drive traffic back to your website.

For instance, the Minimalist Baker, shares new simple plant-based recipes. In the daily story, she shows you how to make the recipe so it’s fun to watch. And to make things easy for her audience, she always includes the full recipe with ingredient list in a Swipe Up. It’s fun and engaging, but still gets traffic back to her website.

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