Are you ready to dive into the world of Instagram stories? There are major benefits for businesses that are active on Instagram stories. With this new way to share creative content, stories will help your followers engage with your brand like never before. Instagram stories also give you a chance to expand your network and reach new followers.
While every business should approach Instagram stories in a way that is unique for their brand, there are a few basic strategies that should be helpful for any business account—so let’s dive in!
How often/When to post
Unlike posts in the main feed of Instagram, stories live for only 24 hours before they expire and are archived. When you have an active story, it lives at the top of your follower’s feed. When they see your profile picture framed with a colorful circle, it indicates that you have added a new story for them to check out.
So, how often should you be posting? According to a study by Buffer, you should post one to seven stories per day. There’s a fine line between posting enough content and too much. Instagram has made it easy for your followers to mute you if they want, and people typically don’t hesitate to mute accounts that spam them with too much content. With that being said, you will want to pay close attention to each story’s insights. If people have to tap through too many stories, they can become disengaged and drop off.
Since Instagram stories are only active for 24 hours, there is no good or bad time to post. They will be highlighted in someone’s story feed until they either watch it or it expires.
What to post
The possibilities are endless—you can use Instagram stories to post a mixture of behind-the-scenes, promotional content, and lighthearted fun. With that being said, Instagram gives you a few features that help you create the most engaging content, including stickers, polls, location tags, and hashtags.
If your business is throwing a big Cinco de Mayo party, you could record a video of your staff setting up for the big event. Make sure you add a location tag to your post—it is clickable, and people can open up a map right from Instagram to see where you are.
You could then post a picture of the treat table and run a poll asking your followers if they are more excited about the cake or the candy in the piñata.
When the fun is at its peak, don’t forget to snap a few photos or videos of customers who have shown up and ask them if you can tag them in your story. This makes it possible for them to share that same story on their own page. Not only will your followers see it, but your customer has just invited their followers to check you out too.
You can also use Instagram stories to share articles, videos, and more. While this feature is quite beneficial for businesses sharing blog posts and other links, Instagram only allows pages with 10,000 or more followers to “swipe up” and link to an external source. Finally, just like Instagram posts that live in the feed, adding hashtags to your stories is key to gaining new followers. Hashtags, along with location tags, make your content discoverable to others who do not already follow your page.
Instagram Live stories allow you to stream a video real-time to your followers. They can engage with you, ask questions, and you can answer right then and there. This is also another good opportunity to let your followers get a view behind the scenes of your business. Just like any other Instagram story, it is active for your followers to view for 24 hours.
So, what happens if you have a story that performs really well? Is there a graveyard of content that sits in the depth of the Instagram void? Yes, there is, but don’t worry, if you have a story that performs well, you can resurrect it and feature it in a highlight on your page.
Highlight bubbles live at the top of your Instagram profile, right below your bio and above your square feed. Categorizing your highlights is a good way to help people explore different aspects of your business that are important to you. You could make a highlight for happy customers, behind-the-scenes, employee features, and more. If you have an Instagram Live that you want your followers to be able to reference, you can download the video to your camera roll, then upload it to IGTV, where it can live indefinitely.