How To Guide: Making the most of your Instagram Stories

Many of you are now using Instagram and the power of stories is gathering. Stories are the pieces of content that stay on your profile for just 24 hours. You can save them onto your bio, share them to your Facebook account and use them to connect with your audience.

Do I really need to post stories you ask? It’s entirely up to you but stories are proving a great way to really get to know your audience, communicate with them and to build stronger relationships.

It might be useful to firstly think about why users go onto the stories of their favourite IG accounts. Stories are they to reveal something special, unexpected, personal or inspiring. They might entertain, empower, excite or inform. They are the added sprinkles on a cake that make IG a place to stay in touch with all the time.

From a small business point of you, this certainly can feel overwhelming and it is worth approaching them with care and focus so that you don’t inadvertently spend your life crafting content ad not actually running your business.

If you are a story user, then here are a few great tips to make sure you are making the most of them.

  1. THE PLAN – Start to make a plan about what stories you want to tell and how they fit in with, and are different from, your main posts on IG. For example, you might have a super stylish Instagram grid that is on brand, beautiful and inspiring so you decide to use your story for the stuff that is important but doesn’t fit the grid. This might be behind the scenes, you making something, you chatting directly to your audience about your day/products or offers or even just some fun stuff that helps your audience get to know you better. However, planning it out will give your stories a better theme and help your audience know what to expect from you and want to click onto your stores more often. If you post stories about a range of things, then why not use ‘Highlights’ as a way of saving the best to your profile for those who may have missed the story when it was live. [We will cover this is the next How To Guide]
  2. THE CREATIVE – Stories are designed to be watched super quickly, to be entertaining and to be visually stimulating. IG offers you a whole range of tools to add interest, fun and excitement to your stories and really your audience expect to see that. Stickers are fun ways to add labels, emotions and emphasis to an image in your story. GIFS are super fun ways to enhance what you are sharing too. You can also add hashtags that are part of your brand and tagging another account is a brilliant way of making your stories seen. For example, you might be collaborating with another small business and you take a pic of your meeting and tag them into the story. There are also ways to ask questions on your stories and to add polls if you want advice or feedback. Again these are brilliant ways to engage your audience and build relationship (not to mention get valuable feedback almost in an instant!)
  3. THE CONNECTION – Like with all social media, creating a call to action is so important otherwise you just end up sharing lots of content without ever getting the business you need. If you are lucky enough to be a verified user or have over 10k fans then you get to add links to your stories. However, there are way to encourage your audience to take action with those tools. If you re sharing news or offers, make it clear where they can get more information, book or share. This might be by adding a ‘link in bio’ sticker or telling them where the easiest place is to get the information. You might also like to invite users to DM you. Evidence shows that stories are increasingly leading to Direct Messages or users sharing stories into their own stories. What a great way to get to chat to fans and build relationships that might lead to buying.

If you want to discuss this further – head to the Facebook group and post your questions – we can all join in. Otherwise – feel free to DM me on IG @simplygreatbritain!