Unleash the Power of Instagram Stories

Instagram, what once was a simple social media app designed to share pictures and connect with friends and family, has morphed into a cultural powerhouse with over one billion monthly active users and has become an incredibly powerful marketing tool for businesses of all sizes.

Over 130 million users engage with shopping posts alone on a monthly basis. Not only that, users can now make purchases directly through the app.

With its large and dynamic audience and its social commerce, it’s almost impossible to think of a reason why your company shouldn’t be taking advantage of all Instagram has to offer. 

There are several ways to share content on Instagram. You can post a picture or video to your feed, you can create and share a reel or you can post to your stories.

While each feature is beneficial in its own right, let’s take a deep dive into Instagram’s story feature, what it is, how to use it, and why your company should get on board.

What are Instagram Stories?

What is an Instagram story? Instagram defines stories as a feature that lets you share all the moments of your day, not just the ones you want to keep on your profile. As you share multiple photos and videos, they appear together in a slideshow format: your story. With Instagram Stories, you don’t have to worry about overposting. Instead, you can share as much as you want throughout the day — with as much creativity as you want. You can bring your story to life in new ways with text and drawing tools. The photos and videos will disappear after 24 hours and won’t appear on your profile grid or in feed.”

Instagram stories are a perfect way for brands to experiment with different kinds of content because, unlike your beautifully curated feed, stories disappear. Businesses can use their stories to post everything from unedited behind-the-scenes videos, photos of their new products, short informative clips, or how-to videos.

Stories are a great place to show customer appreciation by re-sharing their followers’ stories and posts. You can also post live videos on your stories and take questions from your followers in real-time.

How Do I Post?

Step 1

Tap on the plus sign in the upper right corner. You’ll see a drop-down menu, click on “story”.

Step 2

From here, you can click in the middle circle near the bottom of the screen to take a photo or hold the circle down while filming, or you can click on the square in the bottom left corner to upload a picture or video from your camera reel. Just like the camera on your phone, the thunderbolt icon turns on the flash, and the two arrows allow you to switch between the front and forward-facing cameras.

Step 3

Once you’ve uploaded your photo or video (or take a new one) you’ll want to check out all the features at the top of the screen. 

Starting in the upper left corner you’ll see an X. If you click on the X it will give you three options, Discard, Save Draft or Cancel. 

The first icon will ask you if your photo or video is branded content.

The downward arrow icon allows you to save your content to your camera roll before posting.

The music icon gives you the option to add music to your story. When you click on the icon you’ll see a long list of trendy songs or you can search for a specific song in the search bar.

The three little stars icon allows you to apply a filter to your video or photo. You’ll see the different options of filters along the bottom of the screen

The icon with the smiley face is chock-full of different options you can add to your story. You can tag your location, mention other users, ask your followers a question, post a poll, add a gif, add a link, add a sticker, and more. These options tend to change depending on the time of year or current events. Be sure to scroll through and check them out!

The next icon is a scribbly line. When you click on it you’ll have the option to draw directly on your photo or video. The color options are found at the bottom of the screen.

The last icon allows you to add text to your photo or video. When you click on it you’re given different options as far as font and style go.

Step 4

Now that you’ve designed your story to look exactly like you want it to, it’s time to post it! In the bottom right corner, you’ll see a button that says “send to”. Once you’ve clicked the button you’ll see you have the option to post to your story, send it to your close friend’s list, or send it to an individual user.  Click the “Your Story” button and then “Done”. 

Voila!

And that’s it! You’ve just created your first Instagram story! Easy peasy. To view your story, click on your profile picture in the upper left-hand corner. In the bottom left corner, you’ll be able to see who has watched your story, on the bottom right-hand corner you’ll see a circle icon with a heart. This allows you to add your story to your highlights.

Clicking on the three dots next to the icon gives you several options such as; delete, save, share as a post (which allows you to post your story content directly to your feed), copy link, share to, add paid partnership label, and story settings.

The story settings allow you to customize the story feature to work for you and your company. Be sure to look through all the options.

The Why

Now that you know what an Instagram story is and exactly how to use it, it’s time to dive into the why. To start, 500 million people use Instagram Stories every day, and that number is consistently growing. 500 million! And while not all 500 million will see your stories, that’s still a massive audience. Not only that, stories are now the way 61% of Instagram users view content from the people they follow.

The latest Instagram stories statistics reveal 58% of Instagram users have become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in stories. Those three facts alone make it easy to see why more and more companies are posting content to their stories. That and the fact that you can link products directly in your stories. Instagram users viewing your story can go from viewing to purchasing your products on your website in a matter of seconds!

Need a little inspiration? Consider one of these story types to get you started:

  • Product promotion
  • An inside look or behind the scenes footage 
  • Influencer takeover or collaboration
  • How to or instructional videos
  • Customer appreciation posts
  • Contest or giveaway promotion