Instagram launched instagram stories in 2016. The feature allows users to post short snippets of their day in picture, GIF or video form. We wonder where they got that idea from… cough… Snapchat.

This feature allows instagram users to post more frequently without annoying their followers by filling up their feed. This can be very useful for businesses on instagram as they could use stories as a way of showing a behind the scenes insight into their business whilst their actual instagram posts remain a professional form of marketing.

For example, a clothing designer may post pictures of the clothing he has for sale on his actual instagram page (or grid.) On his instagram stories however could post images that show how these clothes are created on a daily basis. An insight into how the business runs. This may encourage a customer to purchase the clothing when they have seen the time and effort that has gone into creating it.

When it comes to instagram stories the secret is in the name. STORIES! Remember what we all learnt in school about writing stories:

Beginning

Middle

End

Topshop's Instagram Story 

The beginning of your story should capture your audience attention, making them want to tap further into the story, just like turning the page in a book.

Topshop's Instagram Story - Beginning

The middle of the story should provide your audience with all the information you want them to know. For example, if this story is promoting a new product you want to show them all the features and benefits of owning the product. In a range of angles, filters and boomerangs!

Topshop's Instagram Story - Middle

The end of the story should act as your call to action. You’ve got your audience's attention, told them what’s so great about your product, now you need to tell them where to go to purchase it. Slightly annoying here as you can’t post a ‘swipe up’ link on instagram stories unless you are verified (blue tick.) However you can get around this simply by putting your businesses website link in your instagram bio and directing your audience to there. (Link in bio)

Topshop's Instagram Story - End

Instagram Story Features

Instagram stories are full of funky features that change a boring phone image into a fun, engaging story. Here are some of our favourites:

Boomerangs: Is it a picture? Is it a video? Nope it’s a video looped into a GIF! A much more fun alternative than just posting a still image, this feature literally brings the picture into life! We recommend making boomerangs of people dancing to allow your story to reach its full potential.

Backpack kid flossing

Questions: The latest feature added to instagram stories. This allows your audience to ask you questions for you to answer within an instagram story. A great way for potential customers to ask your business questions and find out more about....You! One thing you might not know about questions is that they aren't anonymous - so you can see who is engaging with you.

Instagram stories questions and answers

Stickers: Is the picture on your instagram story missing something? If you feel your image needs a bit of explanation or just something to make it look more fun you can add a sticker! These include text, emoji and GIFs to help bulk out your story and express your message!

Stickers on stories

Location tags: Let your audience know where you are! Location tags are stickers that when clicked show your audience a map location of where you are. They also show other Instagram images and stories that other users have posted in this location. This is a really useful tool for restaurants and shops! Show your audience all the fun your customers have in your location and encourage them to visit themselves.  

Location tags on stories

Another great way to use Instagram stories is to use Instagram highlights: Having a number of Instagram highlights allow some Instagram stories to stay on your profile. Got a great story that you don’t want to lose? Maybe it clearly explains what your business can do for its customers! Add it to your highlights and it will stay on your profile page forever!

Instagram highlights

Remember when you are creating your Instagram stories what you are trying to achieve through your social strategy. You want to promote your brand, communicate with your audience and build a relationship with potential customers. Therefore it is key that you remember that the first step to social media success is creating great content!

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