The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Stories for Businesses

The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Stories for Businesses

Instagram Stories is another way to engage with people and inspire them to take certain actions.

Did you know? – “Out of the 500 million accounts using Instagram Stories, one-third of the most viewed stories are from businesses, and 1 in 5 stories gets a direct message from its viewers.” – Instagram for Business

So, if you’ve never thought of using Instagram Stories to promote your business, it’s time to do it!

Ready to get started?

Here is a complete guide to plan, create, and share your Instagram Stories. 

What you will learn in detail from this post:

  • What is Instagram Stories?
  • What Instagram Stories Look Like?
  • Why You Must Use Instagram Stories For Your Business?
  • How To Create An Instagram Story?
  • How To Configure Settings For Your Instagram Stories?
  • Types Of Stories To Share On Instagram For Your Business?
  • When To Post On Instagram Stories?
  • How Often You Can Post Instagram Stories?
  • Planning + scheduling Instagram Stories For Business
  • Tips To Drive Sales With Instagram Stories For Business
  • Track And Measure Your Instagram Stories For Performance

What Is Instagram Stories?

Instagram Stories is a feature offered by Instagram, allowing users to share their pictures and videos to their “Story”. This story is visible to their followers and some specific users whom they’re following for 24 hours. 

 “Instagram Stories are ephemeral – they disappear after 24 hours.”

Your Instagram Story is published separately from the photos and videos posted in the Instagram gallery.  

What Instagram Stories Look Like?

You can see the latest Instagram stories from the people/ brands you follow at the top of your feed page. 

When you tap on any of these circles, you can see that the user’s Instagram story for the day in 10-second increments of photos or videos.

Why You Must Use Instagram Stories For Your Business?

Do you know, 80% of users follow businesses on Instagram

Recently, the fashion industry has taken note of the Instagram and business opportunities it provides. Instagram has completely revolutionized fashion marketing. 

If used correctly, Instagram stories can help build your brand’s identity, attract new followers and encourage more sales. 

The 15-second image and video Stories help build genuine and quite personal relationships with your followers, giving behind-the-scenes access to your business. 

Here are some reasons to start utilizing this feature for your business now.

Help stay top of mind of your followers:

One of the best things about Instagram Stories is that they stay visible at the top of your audience’s feed for 24 hours. No matter at what time you post your story, your users can always see them. In addition to this, it allows you an opportunity to post more often with little updates, boosting your brand awareness.

Help with real-time marketing: 

‘Instagram Stories’ supports the use of real-time marketing, help to reach your target audience in the right moments. Posting live during an event or sale can encourage more people to attend your event. It will also connect you to your followers who aren’t there to attend your event.   

Protect your high-quality feed: Instagram stories are beneficial as the photos and videos in your story have real-time and contextual value. However, this doesn’t mean you always have to post the highest quality photos. With Stories, you can reap the benefits of real-time marketing without cluttering up your profile with less than perfect images. So keep your best and most evergreen content for your Instagram feed. 

Maintains Visibility in Your Followers’ Feeds: 

With your day to day posts, you have to compete for a spot. On the contrary, Instagram Stories appear at the very top of your follower’s feed, driving attention to your content. 

Helps Connect with Your Target Audience: 

Instagram stories improve the visibility and transparency of your business, allowing your target audience to connect with you on a deeper level.

Enhance Your Content: 

Unlike pictures you post to your regular Instagram profile, you can make edits to your Story with text, emojis, filters, and doodles, etc. These markup features help you make your content more engaging and eye-catching, resulting in the growth of your business. 

How to create an Instagram Story?   

As you’re aware that how Instagram stories can help you with your business, it’s time to start implementing them in your marketing strategy. 

Follow these steps to create an Instagram story:

  • Open your Instagram app and make sure you are on the main feed screen. 
  • Tap the ‘camera’ icon in the upper left corner of your phone screen. 

  • Take a photo by pressing the record button or take a video by pressing down on the record button for up to 10 seconds. 

Here, you’ve various options to capture your photos and videos in different styles: 

    1. Live – If you choose ‘Live’, you’ll start filming and broadcasting live on Instagram.
    2. Normal – One tap captures a photo, and pressing down will record a video. You can create the Instagram story as long as 15 seconds.
    3. Boomerang – Boomerang mode creates GIF images of three seconds in length.
    4. Superzoom – Superzoom is a video recording lens that zooms in closer and closer on your subject. 
    5. Rewind – You can use the rewind lens to create a video in reverse motion.
    6. Stop Motion – Use this feature to create cool stop-motion videos.  
    7. Hands-free mode – Use hands-free mode if you want to set up your camera to film a video for you. Make sure you place it somewhere stable before you call “Action.” 

 

  • You can also share your already captured photos or videos by swiping up your screen to browse the gallery.

  • Once you’ve selected your image or video to share on your Insta story, the next thing you can do is edit your photo/ video.  You can play with text color and size. You can also add “@” to tag another account, or use “#” to share a hashtag. 
  • Some of the editing features of the Instagram Stories are: 

 

 1. Pen styles to doodle – Select a pen-style to doodle on your photo. You can erase your drawings that you’ve added to your story with the eraser brush.

 2. Stickers – You can add stickers to your story to make your content more engaging. Some of the important Instagram story stickers are the location sticker, hashtag sticker, mention sticker, selfie sticker, poll sticker, emoji slider, and question sticker!

 3. You can apply different filters to your stories by swiping left or right.

 4. Once you’ve edited your photo or video, tap “Send to” to share it as your Story and it will be sent to your friends at the same time.

 5. Your story will appear at the top of your followers’ feeds. Your followers can also see your story on your profile page by tapping your profile picture.

Know more about recording, editing, and uploading your story here!

How To Configure Settings For Your Instagram Story?

When it comes to Instagram Stories, you can always hide stories from the users with whom you don’t want to share anything. You can also select the locations where your content will be visible.  

  • Go to your Instagram profile, swipe your screen to the left and click on the settings wheel icon at the bottom of your screen. 

  • Next, click on privacy and then Story. Now select specific people from whom you want to hide your stories. You can also choose the location where your content will be visible. 

  • You can choose from whom you want to receive messages from your stories. 

Types Of Stories To Share On Instagram For Your Business

In a world where no one likes a lot of advertising like ‘Skip Ad’ on YouTube – Instagram Stories are different. The addictive design of Instagram Stories engages users’ for longer than expected. Instagram users don’t know what’s coming up next, and it’s easy to keep clicking through rather than exiting. 

Here are 14 types of Instagram Stories to raise your brand’s profile, improve engagement and convert more customers!

#1 Announcements

Due to the instant nature of Instagram Stories, they’re one of the best ways to share company’s announcements such as new products, new services, and general updates!

You can also share behind-the-scenes footage of the company. It can be anything from packaging a new product to playing a prank on a colleague. Your followers will feel like they’re privy to the latest info, as well as getting to know more about you and your business.

“The announcements will help convey the human side of your company, and consequently boost your brand awareness!”

#2 Collaborations 

“Instagram Stories” is the best platform for brands and influencers to collaborate! You can team up with a relevant business you think your followers could benefit from getting to know, or perhaps a customer who happens to be an influencer. This will help you in the growth of your business. 

#3 Story Highlights

Instagram Story Highlights have been a game-changer. Pinning stories as highlights to the top of profile acts as an extension of businesses’ bio.

As a business, you can utilize Highlights to tell people who you are, what you do and why you do it, as well as to showcase your products or services! 

“Make sure to create Highlights with an eye-catching cover to transform your Instagram page into a brochure!”

#4 Polls

Gone are the days of boring customer questionnaires. Polls in your Instagram Stories are a great way to interact with your followers. You can use them for market research, to get your customers feedback, and to know your audience. 

#5 Questions 

The questions sticker helps brands to ask burning questions from their followers. It’s the best way to build a community and encourage them to take some action. 

#6 Emoji Slider 

Emoji slider is a good tactic for a brand to know how good their content is and how engaged users are with it, resulting in increased engagement rates. 


#7 Countdown

The countdown sticker helps brands to promote their sales, new product launch, and announcements. The countdown sticker allows users to set reminders for the countdown deadline. Brands get the information about the number of users engaging with the content.  

#8 Links

This feature is only available for accounts with 10k followers or more. If you’ve 10k followers, you can add external links in your Instagram Stories!

#9 Story Templates 

These nicely designed templates can be a screenshot on your phone. You can use them to know about your audience as well to let your audience know something about you. This sticker offers great opportunities for brands to get involved with their audience. 

 

#10 Location Stickers

You can increase the visibility of your Instagram Stories by tagging locations! This type of story will be added to that location’s Official Story, and people that don’t follow you will be able to watch them too. 

                                             

#11 Hashtag Stickers 

Hashtags in Instagram Stories works similarly as they work in Instagram posts. Do proper research to know which hashtags are most used by your target audience and your competitors and include them in your Stories!

      

#12 ‘New Post’ 

You can share your latest post with the ‘New Post’ sticker to announce your new products or services. 

                                         

#13 Contests 

Planning to start a give-away? Let your audience know about it by hosting a contest on your brand’s Instagram Story! Add hashtags such as #contest, #giveaway, and #competition to reach more audiences, even the people who don’t follow you.

 

#14 Live

Instagram Live can help businesses to drive engagement! Prepare for it in advance, and let your audience know when it will be happening and promote it everywhere.

As you get a good number of viewers and engagement on your Live videos, more chances you will have to get featured in ‘Top live’ on the Explore page. Many brands use Live to unveil about their new products, events, film interviews, start Q&A sessions with their followers, and offer limited-time discounts. 

To know, how to start a Live video on Instagram, click here!

       

When to Post on Instagram Stories 

When it comes to regular Instagram posts, it’s really important to post when most of your followers are active. However, with Instagram stories, you don’t have to worry about posting time. 

As Instagram stories are ephemeral, your followers can see them within 24 hours. So no matter what time you post, your followers can always see them.  

In other words, don’t worry about posting your Instagram Stories at optimal times. However, for immediate engagement on your Instagram Stories, post when your followers are most active. Make sure that you post relevant and engaging content. 

How Often You Can Post Instagram Stories? 

You can post Instagram stories as many times you like. Instagram doesn’t penalize or ban your account for posting too many Instagram Stories. Many brands post multiple times a day but this doesn’t mean you have to do the same. Moreover, you need to be sure that you don’t annoy your followers with stories that don’t make any sense. 

If you post too many stories at once and it takes your followers 15+ taps to get to the next account’s story, there’s a good chance that a user can mute your updates. 

Creating and scheduling over 10 Instagram stories takes a lot of time and planning. And there are chances that users’ will get tired of watching your content. So it’s probably best to stick to just a few Stories per week!

Planning + Scheduling Your Instagram Stories for Business

Posting regularly on Instagram Stories is the best way to build an audience and increase your views. Posting content on Instagram feed as well as Instagram Stories will help you keep things cohesive and clear.

Scheduling Instagram Stories for Business 

Instagram Stories are a great way to connect with your followers, drive traffic to your posts, and they can help you take back control of your reach.

Planning and scheduling your Instagram Stories won’t just save your time, it also ensures that you’re posting your very best content! You can use the “Instagram Stories” scheduler to schedule your content in advance. It will help you to be sure that you’re posting consistently and staying top of mind with your followers. 

Here’s how to schedule Instagram Stories with Later:  

  1. Start with dragging & dropping your stories on to the storyboard tool. Organize them in the order you want them to appear.

  1. Resize your images to the “9:16” ratio to fit the Instagram stories. 

  1. Add links or captions to the posts you want to schedule. You can write compelling captions and CTAs to drive more traffic and sales.

  1. Select the date and time to post your Instagram story. 

  1. At the time of posting, you’ll get a notification on your phone. As soon as you open the notification, your stories will be downloaded to your phone and caption or links copied to your clipboard, making it easy to post Instagram Stories in seconds.

Tips To Drive Sales With Instagram Stories For Business

Instagram offers a big opportunity for online retailers and eCommerce brands to engage with new audiences, showcase their products, and ultimately drive more traffic back to their website!

Here are a few ways you can use Instagram Stories to generate more sales:

Shoppable Stickers in Instagram Stories

These are similar to the regular Instagram shoppable posts. These stickers allow businesses to tag products from their inventory or eCommerce platform. To use these stickers, you don’t need to be verified or have 10,000 followers to use them!

Before the release of Shoppable stickers for the Instagram Stories, there was no other way for businesses with less than 10,000 followers to drive traffic from Instagram Stories. However, now businesses of all sizes can start using Instagram Stories to generate sales.

Clicking an item on Instagram allows users to check the item name, price, description and a link to the website. 

Shoppable stickers can be used for both images and videos. The four different types of Shoppable stickers available are – a sticker with the product name in rainbow or grey, a shopping bag icon,  and translucent text.

Instagram Stories Ads 

According to Instagram,

“75 percent of Instagram users take action, such as visiting a website or buying a product, after watching it at Instagram ads.”- SmartInsights

Instagram Stories ads are the coolest way to reach new audiences as well as the existing audiences. It helps businesses’ showcase their products and services. The engagement rates for Instagram Stories are already high. 

“1 in 5 Instagram stories gets a direct message from viewers.”

If you want to use Instagram Stories to make more sales, you must invest in Instagram Stories ads!

You can create Instagram ads by using Facebook’s Ads Manager. These ads will show up within Instagram Stories too. 

Once you determine the location and audience you want to target, make sure you select Instagram Stories as your ad placement and follow the prompts to set up your ad.

If you’re not ready to start using Instagram Stories ads, you can try Instagram’s new Promoted Stories for your business. This feature offers businesses an easy way to turn their existing Stories into ads, it’s like paying to boost your organic Facebook post.

You can just post a story and tap the promote button.

Now you can choose where you want to send people — this can be your profile, website, or Direct Messages.

Next, select your target audience. You have the option to create an automatic audience, based on people like your followers, or create a list from scratch.

Once you select your target audience, it’s time to select your budget and duration. Then tap the ‘Next’ and don’t forget to preview your ad before setting it live. 

Instagram Stories ads can make a real difference to business growth and sales. Make sure to implement them in your business strategy as soon as possible. 

Track and Measure your Instagram Stories Performance 

Did you know, you can track and measure your Instagram Stories analytics and performance?

You can track and measure your Instagram Stories performance from your Instagram profile.

Once you tap the ‘Insights’, tap the ‘Content’ tab.  

Here you can see the performance of every single post. Scroll down to look at your most recent stories.

Tap on ‘See All’ to see an overview of all of your stories and the impressions they’ve received. 

You can also filter the stories data as per your requirement. Hit the ‘Impressions link’ and select a different metric from the pop-up. 

Tap on ‘Apply’ to see Stories data as per the new metric.

 

Get Detailed Insights for Individual Stories

To get detailed insights, open the story and then swipe up to see the available Insights for that story.

On the insights screen, you can see the following details: 

  • Replies: The number of direct messages you received in your inbox through your story. 
  • Sticker Taps: The number of times someone tapped on the hashtag, mention, or location sticker from your story
  • Profile Visits: The number of users who have visited your profile through the story.  
  • Swipe-Ups: The number of people who swiped up on your story to follow the included call to action. This is available to business accounts who’ve over 10,000 followers. 

The next is the Discovery section – In this, you’ll get to know about how many people viewed your content and from where:

  • Impressions: How many times your story has been viewed? 
  • Next Story: The number of users who tapped to view the next person’s story. 
  • Follows: The number of non-followers who followed you from your story.
  • Reach: It is the count of unique accounts that have seen your story.
  • Taps Forward: It is the count of people who tapped to see your next story.
  • Taps Back: The number of people who tap back to your previous stories.
  • Exited: The number of times people left the Stories Feed on your story.

Calculate Your Instagram Story Completion Rate

To calculate your Instagram story completion rate:

Divide the total number of people who viewed the last segment in your story by the total number of people who viewed the first segment. Multiply it with 100 to calculate its percentage.

This will help you measure your ability to connect with your audience and keep them engaged. 

Conclusion

As Instagram Stories has become one of the best ways to drive engagement, build brand awareness, drive traffic, and even make eCommerce sales, you must start using them for your business. 

We hope that this comprehensive guide can provide you the motivation and direction you need to create your own Instagram Stories for business.  If you have any queries or need more information on how to use Instagram for business, comment below!

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