Whether your goal is to grow your following or connect on a more personal level with your audience, Instagram Stories is where it's at.
As of June 2018, Stories has more than 400M daily active users. Put another way, 80% of Instagram's daily active users are also using Stories to share and interact with accounts they follow.
So how can your business use Stories as part of your overall marketing strategy to give value, build genuine relationships, and convert followers into customers?
It's not as hard (or scary!) as you might think...
Here are 5 ways to connect with your audience and grow your business using Instagram Stories:
Include links and calls to action
By including a call to action (CTA) and link in your Stories, you encourage your followers to take your desired action. The action they take is up to you!
Actions your followers can take based on your CTA include:
- Visiting your website
- Sending you a direct message
- Answering a poll question
- Engaging with your latest post
- Entering a giveaway
- Taking a screenshot
- Sharing your Story with their friends
If you don't have the ability to add links directly to your Story with the swipe up or 'See More' feature (you need to have a verified account or a business account with over 10k followers), don't worry!
You can tag yourself in your Story then ask your followers to tap your username to visit your profile and click the link in your bio or engage with your latest post.
Use location stickers and hashtags
This is by far my favorite update to Instagram Stories! Location stickers and hashtags make it possible for your Stories to get picked up by Instagram and shared out to potentially hundreds of people through their Location and Hashtag Stories on Explore.
More exposure for your business? Yes, please.
Next time you're about to send a Story out, add a location sticker for your business or city and use up to 10 relevant hashtags to reach new people.
Pro tip: hide your hashtags within your Story by covering them up with a sticker or using the color dropper tool to match the text to your background.
Use polls to increase engagement
Incorporating Polls into your Stories may be the easiest way to drive engagement from your followers!
The way it works is simple: the interactive polls sticker allows you to ask your followers a question and offer two options for them to choose from.
The best part? It's so easy to interact with (and super fun to do!) that followers usually can't help but engage.
Want some ideas for how to creatively use polls for your business? Check out my post: 15 Creative Ways to Use Instagram Polls For Your Business
Create Highlights to consistently drive traffic
Highlights allow you to save Stories on your profile in curated collections that can be viewed indefinitely, making it an amazing way to market yourself, drive traffic to your website, and show off your personality.
Think of Highlights as the welcome wagon for your profile.
Use Highlights creatively and efficiently by curating collections that introduce new followers to you and your business, talk about what your business does and how it could help them, and share what you offer. Don't forget to add links!
Being in front of the camera can be scary for some, but it's time to conquer your fear. Showing the face behind the business adds a human touch to your content, which helps your followers connect with you on a deeper level.
Remember: people want to connect with people, not businesses.
This doesn't mean people won't want to follow your business, but it does mean that you need to humanize your business to make it easier for your followers to connect with you.
So get in front of the camera and share a more personal side to your business. Here's how you can be more vulnerable on Stories:
- Introduce yourself and your business
- Share a sneak peek into your process
- Introduce your employees
- Ask your followers to send you questions and answer a batch of them every week
- Share more about your story
- Talk about why you do what you do and how it helps people
Feeling inspired? Today, I challenge you to hop onto Stories and introduce yourself to your followers. Use the tips above to increase your exposure and encourage your audience to engage. It'll feel weird at first, but I bet your followers will love seeing a more candid and personal side of you.
If you found this post helpful (yay!), I'd be so grateful if you considered sharing it with a friend who might find it helpful too!
*This post was updated on July 2, 2018.