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How to make the most of Instagram Stories as a small business

Dylan Urquhart
Marketing Manager

Once upon a time, Snapchat reigned supreme as the king of disappearing content. However, the app faced a serious obstacle in August 2016 with the launch of Instagram Stories. Fast forward to today just months after Snapchat rolled out a cumbersome update and was declared ‘dead’ by none other than Kylie Jenner, and there’s no denying that Instagram Stories has succeeded as the new and improved Snapchat.

Garnering over 250 million daily active users, Instagram is a treasure trove of fun features that, when utilised correctly, allows your small business to engage and connect with your followers on a whole new level. Here are some ways that your small business can make the most out of Instagram Stories.

Instagram for businesses

What are the benefits of Instagram Stories for small businesses?

They’re a casual alternative to Instagram posts

We all know that curating your small business’s Instagram feed is a lot more challenging than it seems. Posting content that is timely and relevant to your small business while honouring your Instagram profile’s aesthetic and colour theme is one tricky balancing act. Enter Instagram Stories.

Thanks to its fleeting 24-hour lifespan, posting an Instagram Story is a great way of documenting something timely, spontaneous or silly that may not seem significant enough for its own permanent post. A behind the scenes of a photoshoot, the before and after of a haircut, the arrival of new stock, or even a new Instagram post are all common subjects of Instagram Stories.

With almost 700 thousand followers, Princess Polly Boutique is an online clothes retailer that routinely uses Instagram Stories to post about new stock, the behind the scenes of their photoshoots, and ‘get to know you’ segments with their models, make up artists and photographers.

It puts a face to a name

Instagram Stories is the perfect way to humanise your business by presenting the faces behind the names. As daunting as it may seem, jumping in front of the selfie camera to introduce yourself, take your followers for a quick tour of your workspace or speak about whatever’s currently on your mind is a priceless way of connecting with your followers on a more intimate level. With Instagram’s Live feature, you can even converse with your followers in real time or participate in an informal Q&A.

With almost 2 million followers, cult fashion and lifestyle blog Man Repeller regularly uses its Instagram Stories to follow the daily lives of its writers. Whether it’s New York Fashion Week, just a day in the Man Repeller office, or the process of choosing their outfit in the morning, these Instagram Stories give Man Repeller’s millions of followers an insight into the daily happenings of their staff and have allowed readers to reach first-name basis with specific writers.

There are endless features to utilise

The list of Instagram Story features is long: there are the usual location tags, temperature, timestamps, gifs, stickers and emojis. However, the features that will be most beneficial to your small business are hashtags, mentions, polls and the ability to embed external links. Avoid being overwhelmed by these various functions by honing in on the ones that possess the most potential for your small business.

External links: Embedding external links is an invaluable way of cross-sharing between your various social media platforms; followers simply have to swipe upwards to be redirected. New blog posts on your website, new stock and new Youtube videos are common examples of embedding links in your Instagram Story. For example, Teen Vogue posts daily Instagram Stories about the newest content on their website, allowing followers to simply swipe up to have a read.

Polls: Similarly, polls are an excellent way to garner instant feedback from your followers. Boasting 210 thousand Instagram followers, Perth influencer Lion In the Wild reaps the benefits of Instagram Stories by regularly using polls to ask followers for their opinions, whether it’s something as trivial as ‘Which Lush bath bomb should I use in my bath tonight?’ or something relating to her social media platforms like ‘What would you next like to see on my YouTube channel?’

Need help?

Staying up to date with the latest social media trends and features is both challenging and integral to your small business. Our team of expert digital marketers at Undergrnd Marketing will help ensure sure that your small business is making the most of its social media platforms in order to engage and connect with your audience. For help with your social media or digital strategy, get in touch with us today.

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