Instagram is a powerhouse platform for businesses looking to connect, engage, and convert their target audience into customers. Among the many Instagram features is Instagram Stories, a dynamic and valuable tool businesses use to enhance their marketing efforts. IG Stories have the potential to give your business the visibility, engagement, and conversions it needs to stand out in a highly competitive industry.
This article discusses Instagram Stories and everything you need to know about leveraging them for your business’s Instagram marketing.
First, let’s start from the root…
Table of Contents
What Are Stories?
Instagram Stories is an Instagram feature that allows Instagram users to share texts, images, music and videos that disappear after 24 hours, with their followers.
You can share as many stories as you want at a time. Sharing many stories within 24 hours forms a glowing ring around your profile picture, forming a slideshow-like presentation.
Each story will last up to 15 seconds before the viewer is automatically moved to the next story.
This presents a fantastic way for business Instagram owners to showcase their products and services to their audience.
Why You Should Use Instagram Stories For Your Business
As a business owner, the stories feature enables you to create awareness for your brand in a fun and engaging manner. This means driving traffic to your profile and website and creating compelling call-to-actions for your products while entertaining, educating, and informing your audience.
Because Instagram stories disappear after 24 hours, they create a FOMO (fear of missing out) concept, making your followers view them immediately after you post them.
This is a great money-making opportunity for your business, as you can create irresistible offers to get your followers to take a specific action fast.
And since they’d miss out on the offer if they procrastinated, you’d record a good conversion rate.
These stories on Instagram are also an excellent way to update your followers about your business activities without sharing them on your main feed. You could share certain details about your business that you wouldn’t want to leave permanently on your main feed.
One of the fascinating things about these stories is that they’re interactive, as they prompt the viewers to send you a message. This allows you to engage your customers and build a strong connection in the long run.
Are Instagram Stories Different From Posts?
Instagram stories are different from posts in many ways. One of the major differences is that stories appear only on your profile, while posts appear on your followers’ feeds.
Another thing is posts are evergreen, whereas IG stories, just like Facebook stories, are available for only 24 hours.
Apart from the placement and duration, another key difference between IG stories and posts is the images’ size. Instagram posts have a square shape, with a size of about 1080x1080px (a 1:1 aspect ratio).
However, Instagram stories are in vertical formats, with a size of about 1080x1920px (a 9:16 aspect ratio).
There are many more differences between Instagram stories and posts, such as making text-only posts and adding background styling to your videos and images, which are only available on Stories.
Table Showing the Differences Between Instagram Stories and Posts
Appear only on your profile
Appear on your followers’ news feed
Disappears after 24 hours
It is evergreen until the Instagram account is deactivated
Vertically shaped, with an image size of 1080x1920px
Square shaped with an image size of 1080x1080px
Allows text-only posts
Doesn’t allow text-only posts, except in image format
How To Create Instagram Stories
Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating Instagram stories for your business:
- Open your Instagram app and log in if you aren’t already.
- Click on your profile picture from your home screen to access the Stories camera. You can also access this feature by swiping right from your home screen.
- Tap the Shutter button at the bottom of the screen to take a photo, or tap and hold to record a short video. You can also swipe up to select a photo from your phone’s gallery or tap the gallery icon to do the same.
- Tap the icons at the top of the screen to add text, stickers, music or drawings to your photo or video.
- Customize your privacy settings by choosing whether to make the story visible to all your followers private or public, restrict specific people, or show it only to a select group of followers (maybe friends or family).
- Publish your story. It can only be seen by those who follow you or those you allow to see it, and it disappears after 24 hours.
- You can also share text-only stories using Create Mode on Instagram Stories.
Tips For Creating Engaging IG Stories For Your Business
Here are vital tips to help you create Instagram stories that generate leads for your business:
Keep It Authentic and Simple
Instagram stories should be less formal than posts. They’re vital for building a stronger connection with your audience, as you can share behind-the-scenes content, employee stories, user-generated content, etc.
Therefore, keeping your stories authentic and simple is essential to build trust with your audience.
People view stories to unwind or learn things in snapshots, not to be burdened with the bureaucracies of your business. Think about it this way. What can you do in 15 seconds to steal your followers’ attention and get them to take a specific action?
The answer should give you insights into why your stories should be kept simple and authentic.
Use High-Quality Visuals
Visual quality makes a lot of difference on Instagram. People rarely engage with your content if you use poor-quality images and videos. Therefore, you must ensure your photos and videos are high quality and visually appealing to your audience.
If you’re working with your Stories camera, ensure proper lighting and that the background adds relevant context to your story. However, if you’re using a photo or video from your gallery, ensure they meet good quality standards.
Furthermore, you can use the filter feature on your Instagram Stories editing page to make your stories more visually appealing to your audience.
Maximize Instagram Stories Features
Leverage the interactive Instagram Stories features, such as stickers, polls, countdowns, questions, quizzes, etc., to make your stories more engaging.
Followers on Instagram are wired differently from those on Twitter or Facebook. As much as they’re going through a business page, they want to be entertained and wouldn’t hesitate to leave once your stories become too long or focused on one thing.
Therefore, you can use the features to ensure your stories don’t bore your audience at any point.
Also, features like polls and quizzes encourage viewers to engage with your stories, while the countdown feature urges them to take action or miss out on important offers.
Your visuals might do a good job of entertaining, educating, and getting your audience to take action.
But a compelling caption goes a long way toward enhancing the effectiveness of the visuals. Adding clear and concise captions to complement your visuals helps add context and make your key points more vivid.
Captions are also a good way to make your stories more accessible to a broader audience. You can add hashtags to your stories’ captions so that when people search for those hashtags on Instagram, they can see your story.
Include a Call-to-Action (CTA)
One of the things that makes Instagram stories good business tools is their FOMO-triggering capacity. It allows you to incorporate CTAs and gets reasonable conversions, as people don’t want to miss out on offers that might expire as the Story disappears.
You can use CTAs to encourage your followers to take different actions, such as sending you a direct message (DM), clicking on a link to read a blog post, visiting your website, buying a product, or entering a contest.
CTAs increase engagement and conversions for your business, helping you achieve your business goals.
Create Story Highlights
While Instagram stories disappear after 24 hours, you can keep them permanently on your profile by turning them into Instagram Story Highlights. This is especially useful when you have stories that get many engagements and conversions within 24 hours.
Story Highlights helps you curate these stories, enabling them to attract more engagements and conversions for your business.
You can create unlimited Instagram Highlights on your profile, each with a limit of 100 photos or videos.Story Highlights helps you curate these stories, enabling them to attract more engagements and conversions for your business. #Instagram Click To Tweet
Incorporate User-Generated Content
IG Stories is perhaps the best way to show your followers how your customers feel about your products or services. You do this by showing content your customers created after receiving your product or service, getting your followers to trust you more.
User-generated content provides social proof for your brand and incites engagement and conversion from your followers.
Consistency is vital to the success of any marketing effort. If you want your stories to generate the needed results, you must be consistent with your strategy. Create a story series so you don’t exhaust all your Instagram Stories content at once.
Furthermore, use Instagram Insights to monitor the performance of your stories, then optimize accordingly and consistently to improve your results.
What Else Can You Do With a story?
Apart from posting photos and videos on your story to attract engagement or conversion, you can do lots more with them. Here are some of them:
You can add polls to your Instagram Stories to assess what your followers are interested in or get their opinion about your products and services. Poll responses come as Instagram messages (similar to Facebook Messenger).
Creating polls helps you understand and serve your customers better.
Add Fun GIF Images
Adding GIF images makes your Instagram Stories stand out, especially when they appear to a new audience searching through a hashtag’s result page. This is because GIF images are catchy and tend to pop off the screen, attracting people just scrolling through your Stories.
Geotags In Your Instagram Stories
Adding Geotags in your IG stories lets people know where you are or have been. It works well for open houses, restaurants, retail stores, etc.
If you don’t want to pinpoint your exact location, you can use a city or state and not be as specific. It also helps others know where you are from and gives your account more visibility.
Share A Link (URL)
This is the best new feature on Instagram today. Before, you needed to have 10,000 followers to share a link that users swiped up to visit a page. But now, you can add URLs to your Stories by using Instagram’s new clickable link sticker.
Since these new link stickers are much more visible, you can attract followers and direct them to your blog, product page, or destination page.
How Often Should You Post Stories On Instagram?
A recent study shows that 5 stories a day are necessary to be seen and grow your Instagram account. This is because, when posting 5 stories daily on Instagram, the retention rate went up to 70%.
The study shows that most exits from stories happen within the first 3 posts.
Small brands with fewer than 5000 followers post, on average, 3 IG stories per month. However, posting several stories per day drives better results on Instagram.
And, like on most other social networks, video content does best!
Keep in mind that using IG Stories also helps with the Instagram algorithm and increases your visibility. However, you can also share your Instagram Reels on your Stories and messages to increase your visibility on Instagram.
How To Watch Competitors’ Instagram Stories Anonymously
While only your followers can see your stories, others can also view them without following you, especially if your account isn’t private or you’re using a Business Instagram account.
There are different ways people can view Instagram Stories anonymously.
Even you can adapt these ways to your Instagram marketing strategy to spy on your competitors and learn from their marketing efforts and mistakes.
Here are some ways you can view Instagram Stories anonymously:
- Create a new Instagram account and conceal your identity.
- Switch to airplane mode before watching a preloaded story
- Use free Instagram Private Story Viewer apps.
These methods only work for public accounts or Instagram business accounts. However, there are ways you can view a private Instagram account anonymously.
Instagram Stories FAQs
Can you View Others’ Instagram Stories Anonymously?
Yes, you can view people’s Instagram Stories anonymously in a few ways. But the most common is with Glassagram, Instagram Private Story Viewer tools like InstaStories, IgAnony, StoriesIG, Ghostify, etc.
Can you View a Story of People whose Instagram Accounts are Private?
No, they must have a public profile or an Instagram Business profile.
How does Instagram Stories work?
As the name implies, Instagram Stories allow users to share their business stories through texts, images, and videos within 24 hours.
To access Instagram Stories, log into your Instagram account, tap on your profile picture at the top left of the home screen, or swipe right from your feed.
You can now take photos or videos or select from your gallery. Or, you can also share text-only stories using Create Mode on Instagram Stories background.
How do you make a Good IG Story?
Making a good IG Story requires you to have a clear objective of what you want, then use high-quality images and videos visually appealing to your target audience. Use Stories to tell stories about your business, especially the behind-the-scenes that shows your audience the extent you go to provide them quality service.
How can I Promote my Instagram Stories for Free?
Here are vital ways to promote your Instagram Stories for free:
- Create compelling stories
- Use hashtags
- Leverage location tags (geotags)
- Share user-generated content
- Share polls
- Tag relevant accounts, etc.
How do you Get Attention on Instagram Stories?
Here are a few ways you can get attention on your Instagram stories:
- Begin with a captivating text, image, or video that grabs attention
- Tell a story
- Leverage interactive features like polls, quizzes, etc
- Add animation and effects
Why Stories Instead of Posts?
Stories’ key advantage over posts is that they allow you to temporarily share events and stories, especially those you don’t want to keep permanently on your news feed.
Can I see who Viewed my Instagram Stories?
Yes. You can see who viewed your Instagram Stories by opening them and swiping up on your screen. However, you won’t see them if they view your Stories anonymously.
How can I Increase my Story Views?
You can increase your story views by:
- Creating high-quality content
- Posting consistently
- Using hashtags and location tags
- Sharing user-generated content
- Posting at optimal times
- Using visually appealing images and videos
- Leveraging interactive elements like polls, and quizzes
How do Instagram Stories differ from Instagram Reels?
The major difference between Instagram Reels and Stories is that Reels are public, while Instagram Stories are visible only to your followers.
You can edit and add more effects to your Instagram Reels than you can to your Instagram Stories.
What’s more? Reels are longer than Stories, as they can last up to 90 seconds.
How Long Can an Instagram Story Video be?
Your Instagram Stories video can only last 15 seconds. However, you can keep adding them to form a slideshow-like presentation until you exhaust the video.
Start Using Instagram Stories for Your Business
Have you started using Stories on Instagram for your account yet? I’d love to know more about your experience in the comments below. If you haven’t, I hope this serves as a guide to help you make the most of Instagram Stories for your business.
Sign up for my online Udemy Instagram for Beginners class below to learn more about using Instagram for your small business. This online class gets updated occasionally with newer strategies and tools for Instagram.
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