Instagram blew up recently with their new “stories” function. Besides openly ripping off Snapchat, the stories are pretty functional to grow your brand or your business.
Actually, I’ve enjoyed using them a little bit! They’re great because they offer additional exposure to your audience, and another way to connect. When you post a story, people can message you based on each post just like on Snapchat. This allows more interaction and engagement with your followers on Instagram!
Plus, I’ve noticed that I have more exposure on my stories than I may have otherwise on each post I create for Instagram! Instagram looks like they’re giving a little more runway and exposure to your audience via stories, so make sure you check it out!
I’ve been monitoring how people have been using stories, and it’s actually pretty similar to the way that they use Instagram. Even though the platform is similar to Snapchat, people use it differently. Rather than streaming your face (the way Snapchatters do), Instagram stories are about posting sweet pics through your day of beautiful things and environments. it’s kind of like a behind-the-scenes slide show. Not to mention, everything that’s posted is beautiful.
So the question rises, how do you use this to grow your business or brand?
Let me jump right in and give you some tips to use stories to create hype around you.
Give Your Followers Behind-the-Scenes Access
Much like a VIP at a club or a show, give your audience behind-the-scenes access. Show them what you do in your business or with your brand. If you have a product, show how it’s made or the production process. If you’re a photographer, show yourself choosing new pics to edit, or live on a shoot with a client. If you’re running an online business, show what you do through the day that only insiders would see! Show some secrets, create some mystery and give another dimension to your brand.
This can be done a variety of ways.
I would start with something on the first image that says “VIP ACCESS” or “INSIDER ACCESS” or something like this to intrigue. Then snap away! Try just posting pics with some text on top, a series of videos or explainers, or mix still and video. Remember to ask your followers to send you a message and connect with you too so you can start engaging even more with them and building relationships.
Show Your Day-to-Day… (if your life is cool!)
Allow me to preface this by saying that no one will be interested in seeing the day-to-day of a normal person’s life. The reason why they’re on social and watching your stories to begin with is because they’re using social as a tool to dream, and escape from the normal realities they face on a daily basis. Give them something to love and aspire to!
For example, I have a friend that is mostly normal all around, but she recently got invited to NY Fashion Week care of JCrew. JCrew invited her to NYC to take part in a stylized-fashion shoot specific for fashion week, and she was one of the new models (without any modeling experience or crazy amounts of Instagram followers!). She got to see all the behind the scenes for a JCrew art directed photo shoot, live with all the craziness that happens at these events. And she did it for 2 days.
This is an example of something that you’d want to show through Instagram stories as a day-to-day. Had she decided to broadcast the moments throughout the day (even more “boring” ones) her followers would have LOVED it! They’d see her modeling for a major fashion brand, eating lunch with the creative director and having someone do her hair and makeup.
Mostly they’d be able to place themselves in her shoes even for a few moments and say to themselves “maybe I can have that cool of a life too!”
I know… it sounds kind of vain, but I promise you that if your followers don’t WANT YOUR LIFE, that you won’t have a following. It’s just how it goes. It’s part of psychology. If your followers admire you, what you stand for, and the life you live, they’ll follow you and engage with you.
Alas, with all that… if you have cool stuff that you do on a day-to-day basis—show it! It’ll gain you street cred with your audience and build your brand.
Show a Curation of Your Day
I keep seeing these types of stories on Instagram, and they totally resonate with me so I’m sure they do with others too. Some of my favorite Instagrammers are posting a curation of their day on their stories through static photos.
For example, I’ll see something like 4-6 pics of coffeeshops and cool scenes in NYC throughout the day, or coffee-shop hopping in Los Angeles. They’re just a string of beautifully taken static shots to give you another type of Instagram gallery (within stories). Just with the story feature, they disappear in 24 hours creating more urgency to watch them!
Get Up Close and Personal: Do an AMA (Ask Me Anything)
Get to know your followers, and allow them to connect with you on a more personal basis. This is an opportunity for people to get up-close and personal with your brand. Of course this builds more brand awareness for you, and consequently will earn you more Instagram story views.
An “ask me anything” is where you announce to your followers that they can submit any questions, and that you’ll answer them on your story for the day. This is a terrific way to humanize your brand.
Create Giveaways in Your Stories
I love to do giveaways on my Instagram feed. I’ve found that announcing the giveaways every day on my story and telling people what’s in the giveaway and how to enter has been really great for engagement. They’ll go straight from my story to my gallery and comment on the giveaway post!
Source: Business to Community, article by Emelina Spinelli (http://www.business2community.com/instagram/use-instagram-stories-market-brand-01660434#ripsaZPzewLlj1bi.99)