Instagram continues to be one of the most important social media networks that are being used as a marketing channel. With as much as 500 million active daily users among its over 800 million total users, Instagram indeed is a giant in the realms of social media, and can truly be a useful platform when tapped correctly.
The use of Instagram as a marketing tool is vast. Studies have shown that as much as 70% of businesses in the US are using Instagram as a major marketing channel.
With its ability a large user base, its wide use, and its ability to engage users effectively, Instagram should form part of your marketing strategies.
There are also many different ways to make use of Instagram but among one of the most recent, is the use of Instagram stories. The following are some of the most effective methods for which you can make use of Instagram Stories for promoting your brand:
Interact with Your Followers Real-Time Through Live Streaming
Live videos on Stories, called Instagram Live, allow you to engage your users in real-time. What’s great about it is that Instagram Live will show first among stories, allowing you to be seen first. Craft a great live video to have an impact on those who will view it.
Highlight Valuable Stories for Your Followers
Instagram allows you to feature stories on your profile to what is referred to as Story Highlights. Highlights stay on your Instagram profile, allowing your featured stories to be permanent. The idea is to be able to craft great stories that can be turned into highlights. A lot of the strategies here, when pulled off well, can be turned into highlights later on.
As seen on the image above, if you visit Adidas’ Instagram page, you will see that they have come up with several highlights most of which are containing their previous campaigns.
Make Your Followers to “Swipe Up” To Generate Traffic on Your Site
Swiping up in Instagram Stories lead your viewers into a designated link. It’s an excellent way for you to drive them to your site, thereby increasing your traffic there, and you can make use of strategies that are native to your site. Just make sure that your audience is aware of the swipe-up function. Otherwise, inform them of what to do.
Your link should not always be your home page. You can put different links there such as your newsletter signup page, your brand’s blog, a dedicated landing page, a product page, or your other social media pages.
Benefit Cosmetics, a manufacturer of cosmetic products headquartered in San Francisco, California, uses this technique not only to help their customers to look for the nearest Benefit boutique but also for them to gather great volume of traffic on their website. In the image given, they have let their followers ask them questions, and for this particular one, they had the chance to insert their website’s beauty services section.
Get Their Opinions Using Polls to Get Them Involved
Another way that you can engage your Instagram followers is setting up polls in your stories. Not only does this help you maximize the use of stories, but also help make our customers feel more important for your business, thus, are more likely to be loyal to your brand.
You can make use of two poll stickers on your stories: the classic poll with two answers that you can customize, or the emoji slider. Both of which can work to help you engage with your users by getting their feedback creatively.
Airbnb has a Travel Tuesday story highlight on their Instagram page. They sometimes use polls to get their followers’ opinion. In the example above, they ask their followers to guess where they are — either in Bermuda or Sta. Lucia and most of those who answered said Bermuda.
Leverage User-Generated Content So They Know You Care
A great strategy is to put in your stories content that’s from your customers. Doing this gives your brand an image that cares about your customers. You can hold a photo contest and then feature the winner on your stories. You may also feature positive customer feedback. For both cases to work, make sure that you include the name of the customer.
For example, if you are a clothing brand, you can post some photos of your customers sporting your clothes. Like Topshop, they have created an exclusive story highlight category where they can showcase photos of their customers wearing an item from them.
Promote Time-Sensitive Offers
Since stories are only there for 24 hours, it’s a great place to put limited offers such as promotions that are only available for a day. Stories can grab the attention of your users, and its time-boundedness make help incite a sense of urgency in your audience. But before the actual date, you should also come up with an announcement that there will be an upcoming sales promotion so that your customers would be aware before the date itself.
Bath & Body Works utilizes Instagram stories to display their deals for a short time. Since Instagram stories last for only 24 hours, they also come up with promos that remain the same time.
Engage with Your Audience Through Q&As
A creative campaign that you can come up with is to answer questions in stories. You can start a post on Instagram where your customers will leave their questions, and you can select a couple, but your answers will be coursed through stories. As this is also a form of user-generated content, make sure that you mention the name of the customer as the owner of the question.
Benefit Cosmetics recently hosted a question and answer on their Instagram stories. They asked their followers to send in their queries about the services they are offering. This way, their customers and those who are interested in trying their services can learn more about them.
Run Story-Based Ads
Paid Instagram Ads can now find their way in stories. Stories Ads can either be a photo or a 15-second video. This is a good investment because a lot of users are into stories, and your ad would earn decent viewership. What’s great is that Instagram allows your ad to follow the format of stories so that your audience will feel no interruption in what they’re doing.
Have an Influencer Take-Over Your Account For a Day
Finally, you can work together with an influencer in your stories. Commonly referred to as account take-over, this strategy means that you feature an influencer in your stories for a day.
There are many creative ways for which you may work with an influencer such as coming up with an interview or having him or her do some product features.
Forever 21’s Instagram account has been taken over many times by many influencers this past year. They share moments from their on-going photoshoot for their collaborations. They saved the images and videos on their Takeovers story highlight for those people who did not catch it happening.
Instagram is undeniably one of the most effective social media channels for marketing purposes. It offers many ways for businesses to do their marketing campaigns, whether free or paid. One of which is the use of Instagram Stories. The strategies above are some of the most effective ways for which a business can make use of stories to promote its brand to its customers. So try them out now and see how they can work for you.
About The Author:
Kevin Urrutia is the founder of Voy Media, an Instagram Marketing Agency. Voy Media believes in the power of social media advertising in helping businesses to boost their sales and improve their conversions.
Disclaimer: All images are provided by Author.