Introduced in 2016, Instagram Stories have become a critical feature in marketing brands on Instagram.
Instagram Stories allow businesses to share links and drive traffic to their websites with ease. They are a major improvement over the old system of putting a URL in the text field of your Instagram bio and asking customers within post descriptions to find the link in the bio.
Stories are also a great way of showcasing your products or services and updating your followers on sales, important news or recent arrivals. Think creatively to create Stories your followers and ideal customers will want to interact with.
Ready to make your business stand out? Use a combination of these tips, or all of them, to make your brand create eye-catching, relevant Instagram Stories that will send customers to your website.
18 Tips to Create Instagram Stories for Businesses
1- Use natural light for shooting
Creating Instagram Stories through imagery gives your users a way to interact with your brand or brand’s products in a creative and natural way. They come to see what you have to offer, so why not give that to them through your Stories?
Make sure when you are shooting your images or creating a short story clip, you use natural light. Not only does it showcase your products better, but it also helps users see true color hues of products. Try to minimize or completely eliminate any shadows in images. It looks unprofessional and also can change the color combination of the image and product.
2- Add links
One of the most important aspects of Instagram Stories is the ability to add a link. Users just have to swipe up on your story and they will be redirected to your website or other destination. This is such a huge advancement from having to create links in your bio and hope the users go back to click them!
Stories give you opportunities to use photos, video, or other graphic design elements to entice your followers into engaging with the story and visiting your link.
3- Share your day or behind-the-scenes images
Sharing a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes activity of your business will allow you to give your followers a sense of inclusion in your brand. Try sharing photos from your office space, videos of employee hijacks, or other secondary content related to your ongoing campaigns.
Many brands have successfully used images of projects as they are getting started in their Stories. If you have photos of projects you’re allowed to share, such as event set-up, demolitions, or draft-to-concept, people will love to see them!
4- Go live
Live streaming has become a popular way of reaching audiences with spontaneous messaging. Use Stories to go live and broadcast events as they are happening, offer a question-and-answer session for your customers, or even just use it to say “hi” to anyone watching.
Remember, when you go live you have the opportunity to record much longer than you would if you were doing the live as a story. Stories give you 15-second clips. Instead, your story should highlight the time you’re going start your live feed so others make a note and come back to your page when you are live.
5- Show off a new product or service
If you have anything new about to hit your shelves or have added some new highly-anticipated services to your line-up, revealing them using the Stories feature is easy and effective. It creates buzz and allows you to get feedback and showcase release dates.
Your followers will love feeling in the loop by being among the first to hear about your new product or service. You could also use Stories to highlight an existing product. For example, Butterfinger wanted to increase in-store sales of its fun size candy bar. To do so, the company created a special Instagram Stories campaign for Halloween and reached 12.4 million people. See the campaign in action below.
6- Use locations
Location hashtags are a great added benefit for Stories. If you’re a local business, like a restaurant, real estate agency, or boutique, locations are great for those who are within your ideal target audience radius.
People search for hashtag locations when they are looking to visit places, move, want something in their area, or are looking around their town’s circumference. Use this to your advantage in your Stories.
7- Use #hashtags that are appropriate and on topic
Hashtags are a great way to get your brand seen by the masses. Create a hashtag strategy for your Instagram Stories that benefit your brand.
If you are new to the hashtag game, make sure you research what certain hashtags are being used for. To do this, simply go to your search bar and type in the # symbol + your hashtag. A drop-down will appear with similar searches and you can click on the appropriate one to see what posts populate.
If the posts do not relate to what you thought they would, don’t use that hashtag. A good rule of thumb is to use a few hashtags with 0-10,000 posts plus a few with 10,000-99,999 posts, and a few with 1 million plus posts. Don’t overdo hashtags on Stories. Leave that for your actual posts.
8- Use animation
Instagram Stories with animation tend to increase audience engagement. People like to have action and interactive features when they are searching through their feeds. Plus, it’s an easy way to grab someone’s attention, someone that could lead to a sale!
9- Add music
A really great feature to spark attention with Instagram Stories is to add music to your Stories. Here are easy steps on how to do it:
- Log into the Instagram App
- Go to Instagram Stories – tap on the camera icon on your homepage (top right corner)
- Tap on the “stickers” button
- Click on “music”
- Search for a specific song or search by genre
- Fast-forward or rewind through the track to get the snippet you want to use for your Instagram Story
- Post the story as usual
Not seeing the music feature from within the Instagram app? Here are the countries where this feature is available: US, UK, New Zealand, Australia, Sweden, and Germany.
If your country is not on this list, don’t worry, there are workarounds to getting music on your Instagram Story such as using SoundCloud.
10- Poll your audience
In 2017, Instagram updated Stories with a new feature that allows you to add an interactive poll to engage your audience. By giving your followers the chance to vote on something, whether it’s just for fun or for something more significant, you’re letting them feel like they’re a part of the decision-making process in your business.
This is also a quick and simple way of learning more about your audience to help you determine an appropriate course of action for your business based on customer wants and needs.
11- Share content from your followers
If you’re seeking ideas for content, an easy solution is to create a Story that shares content generated by your followers or other Instagram accounts related to your industry. You can credit the original content owner right in the Story.
12- Use your Smartphone or DSLR Camera
Creating Instagram Stories doesn’t have to be difficult, and you don’t need fancy tech gear to complete it. If you have a smartphone, use your iPhone or Android camera. Most iPhone and Android models come with a clear and high-resolution camera that takes the guesswork out of having to spend a ton of money on a DSLR camera.
Of course, if you have the investment ready and you want to take your videography to the next level, we recommend purchasing a DSLR camera. Here are some options to choose between.
13- 15-second video captions
Remember, with Instagram Stories you only get 15 seconds to capture your audience’s attention. If you want to post a live video, crunch the talking points into 5 quick bullets that you can read off in 15 seconds. If you can’t get the point across in 15 seconds, opt to go live instead.
14- Video editing apps
With the advancement of apps in the marketplace, video editing has been an easier process for those who want to up their Instagram Story game. If you’re not finding features you want to use or love under the Instagram Stickers, you can create your Stories in another app, save to your phone, and upload like normal through Instagram.
Here are some apps that we recommend:
Adobe Premiere Clip: This is a free app that allows you to edit on the go. With an array of options such as music, filters, and design, you’re sure to find features you want to add to your stories in no time.
FilmoraGo: This is another free app that allows you to edit on the go. Choose from themes, texts, titles, overlays, filters, elements, and transitions.
Quik: This app is from the creators of GoPro so you know it has a ton of filters, animations, text, and elements that are high quality and easy to use.
15- Keep branding consistent
Even though these are short Stories, you should still aim to keep your branding consistent throughout. Use the same fonts, colors, and imagery that you would if you were posting a sales page, website copy, or posting to a social media channel.
16- Pinning – Font Options – Super Zoom – Boomerrang – Slow Motion – Text frames
Instagram Stories wouldn’t be Stories without a few emojis, music, text frames, and funky fonts – or would they? No, we don’t think so. That’s what makes them stand out from posts and other social creative content.
Be sure to evaluate the Stories posted by your competition, by brands you aspire to be like, and by those within your niche. Don’t copy them, but use their styles to gain inspiration and keep your Stories relevant.
17- Story Highlights
Have you ever been to an Instagram page and noticed it has branded covers on its story topics? These are called story covers and they go over the story highlights.
Highlights are topics from your Stories that you want to keep permanently on your profile. Unless chosen as a highlight, the story will disappear after 24 hours.
18- Test your editorial calendar
Just like with posting, you should create a Stories editorial calendar so you know what to prepare in advance and so everything is consistent.
Test your Stories to see which gain the most attention and then continue to create more of those types of Stories. Stay away from repeating ones that underperform. It’s not that they were bad Stories, they probably just didn’t interest your audience.
Four questions to answer when writing your Instagram Story headline:
- Is this headline useful for my audience?
- Does this headline differentiate my brand?
- Is this headline specific to what I am trying to show?
Does this headline create a sense of urgency?
If you’re struggling to create Instagram Stories that are engaging and tailor-made for your business or industry, we can help! Contact Dream Local Digital today to learn more about how we’ve assisted other small businesses in growing their Instagram presence and getting the results they want.