By Eric Worre
Instagram has quickly become a major social media platform, and more and more people are discovering the advantages of using Instagram for their business.
In our profession, Network Marketers around the world are using Instagram to build their brand, attract followers, and turn those followers into prospects.
One of the features of Instagram that has had a big effect on how businesses can use the platform is Instagram Stories.
What are Instagram Stories?
In 2016, Instagram introduced the story feature on its platform. Instagram Stories appear at the top of your feed and automatically deletes itself after 24 hours. Officially, this feature is “a way to share all the moments of your day, not just the ones you want to keep on your profile.”
But the Instagram Story can easily become whatever you want. With it, you can post multiple photos and videos in a slideshow format. You can add different effects to each slide such as text, stickers, and doodles.
Why Are Instagram Stories Important for Business?
Stories have become essential to building your business on Instagram. In fact, stories can reach 250 million daily active users.
This kind of short-lived content can increase engagement if done correctly. Content that captures your followers’ attention and entertains them will raise their interest in you and your brand. They will then keep coming back to see if you have something new to share.
With stories, you can showcase your product, life, or opportunity. You can show how a product works, changes over time on a project, or just snippets of your life.
There are three key ways Instagram Stories can be used for your business:
- Entertain your followers – share whatever it is that you found enjoyable that day so that they can get a glimpse into who you are and attract more people to follow you
- Showcase your product or opportunity – create curiosity in your product and opportunity so that they want to hear more, or even offer special discounts and deals
- Get to know what your followers think – you can include a poll and get a better idea of what your followers want
What Makes a Great Instagram Story?
There are 6 things that make a great Instagram story. You don’t need all of these in every story but try to use a combination of them every time you create a new story.
- Real – Use first-hand experience as much as you can. Or use the experiences of other people.
- Truthful – Don’t claim your product can do something, if it can’t. And don’t present yourself as someone you’re not. Your followers want to see who you really are.
- Emotion – Connecting to your followers through emotion is one of the most effective things you can do whether that emotion is joy or pain.
- Valid – Make sure you are posting about something relevant to your brand and/or what your followers are interested in.
- Simple – Don’t make the images or video too extravagant. You need to capture people’s attention quickly, and an image that has too much going on will most likely be passed over.
- Attentive – Pay attention to what your followers like. This may take some trial and error but see what they find appealing and engage with.
Tips for Creating an Instagram Story
#1 Make it Visually Appealing
With the nature of Instagram being visual, you need to capture your followers’ attention so that they don’t keep scrolling past your story.
Make sure you stick with the overall theme of your brand, but don’t be afraid to try new things and new filters to appeal to your followers.
#2 End with a Call to Action
For some users and most business accounts, you can now add clickable links to your stories. You can direct users to your website, blog, sales/event page, or other links.
This will help your followers engage with you and help you see who might be interested in your product or opportunity.
Don’t think you have to send your followers to your own content either. You can send them to an interesting article, video, or website that provides more information on the topic of your story. By directing your followers to other content, you are providing them with value that will help them see you as a trust-worthy source of information.
#3 Use Branded Hashtags
Using hashtags allows you to engage with other accounts on Instagram. People will be able to find your content through the topics you have used in the hashtags.
With Instagram Stories, use hashtags relevant to your target audience. If you selling a certain product, use hashtags that relate to the issue that your product helps solve. If you are simply providing insight into your life, use hashtags that relate to your brand and the kind of people you want to attract (i.e. #stayathomemom, #entrepreneur)
But be careful that you don’t overuse the hashtags. While Instagram does allow up to 30 hashtags per post, many people have found that 11 is the sweet spot for hashtags.