We hear it all the time in new business meetings: “We like Instagram but we have no idea what to put on there.” And we hear you! When you’re really close to your business, it can be hard to know what people will find boring–and more importantly, what they’ll find amazingly engaging.
We’ve all got a lot of time on our hands right now, so there’s never been a better time to start upping your Instagram game. And there’s nowhere better to do it than Stories. If you’re looking for the six ideas to steal, just scroll down. We’re going to answer a few of the basics first for anyone who’s a newb to Stories.
When you sign in to Instagram, you’re greeted with some welcoming bubbles at the top of your feed. They might be multicolored (mostly pink) or they might be green. These indicate that you’re seeing it because you’re a follower (purple) or you’re a close friend (green). When you click on the bubble, you’ll see one, two, or fifty snippets of content. It functions a lot like Snapchat because this content is only live for 24 hours. That is, unless that person places it in a Stories Highlight.
Instagram Highlights function like an archive for your Stories content. You can categorize it however you like. For example, your business might want to Highlight stories about your team, your specials, new arrivals, etc. You can add, remove and edit your highlights easily, so they can change as much as you like.
Influencers and brands often use highlights not only to categorize their content but also so that new followers can “catch up” on previous stories they’ve missed. Some might choose to highlight a multi-step “how to” series or recipe or even downloadable resources so that their followers can reference at a later date.
One cool thing about Highlights we really like, too, is that you have the added ease of recycling content. You can always create a new Story that teases a topic and then encourage people to visit your Highlight to learn more.
No one loves an employee takeover more than us, but here are a few tips for making them succinct, interesting and engaging.
Choose the employees who love social media first. They’ll be like your little beacons of fun and get others involved. Plus, they’ll probably be well-versed on how the platform functions and you won’t have to spend too much time teaching.
Second, you’ll want to make sure the employee records all the videos and sends to you directly to edit and post. The Stories will appear to be live, but it’s probably best to not take any chances with a team member posting directly without anyone’s input. It’s an internet troll’s world out there.
Third, when you post, you’ll want to use as many of Instagram Stories’ features as you can. Ask questions with a poll, add stickers, encourage people to reply with their questions or advice. This will get your followers engaged and ALSO give you better metrics to benchmark. And don’t forget those location tags and mentions!
No matter what your business, you’ve likely got a bunch of FAQs that you know the answers to like the back of your hand. Turn these questions into How-To videos! It could be anything: how to get stains out of upholstery, how to test your tires’ tread wear, how to make a pineapple upside down cake, how to write a better sales email. (You get the picture.)
Not only will people love the free advice you’re giving, but they’re likely to share your Story showing off what they learned.
Definitely highlight these how-tos when you’re finished so that your hard work doesn’t vanish in a day.
As an entrepreneur, I looooove hearing about the struggles of other entrepreneurs and how they dealt with or are currently dealing with them. It doesn’t necessarily have to relate specifically to your industry, either. It could be about overarching issues: hiring and firing, finding the right partners, struggles with brand identity, etc.
Being open and honest can feel a little scary on the platform best known for its ability to highlight only the best parts of our lives, but I assure you that people will appreciate it, share it and leave you some love.
The best part? Perhaps you will inspire others to seek a solution similar to yours or find their own.
This might seem a little basic, but you’d be surprised how little we see of this on Instagram Stories. We’re often so deep in our businesses that we forget that many people don’t know our product, offerings or solutions that well (BTW, marketers can really help with that).
So try a series where you take a deep-dive into your product(s): why it was created, how it’s created, who’s behind the creation or manufacturing, what products are best for what situations, etc. If you’re in the apparel industry, people also love try-on videos where you can show them the various ways to style it.
Whether you have a small or large team, everyone’s got great opinions and insights to share about what to watch, wear, eat, read and support. Not only is this a great way showcase your team’s personalities, but it’s also a great way to support other businesses, artists, designers–you name it!
So create some categories and start asking the team for their opinions to create a series!
The easiest way to come up with great stories is to create more context around the photos already planned in your feed. For example, let’s say you post a beautiful photo of Athens with an easily-digestible caption like “Who wishes they were in Greece right now? 🙋”
Post this same image to your Story (or a few variations) but create different captions in each frame with fun Grecian facts, history or phrases.
Pro tip: Don’t forget to tag the location, mention the person who captured the image and use some hashtags to expand reach!
No matter what your business, Instagram Stories can be a powerful tool for reaching your current (and new!) audience, garnering engagement and YES, SALES! With 500 million daily active users, it’s important that you don’t overlook this feature in your Instagram strategy. And the good news is that you can start sharing right now. Don’t put pressure on yourself to have 7-10 frames for each Story. Sharing 2-3 frames a few times a week is much better than rarely sharing longer stories because Stories are indexed in individuals’ apps based on how often they watch and engage with that account. So consistency is key!
Spending some time creating content based on these Instagram Story ideas? Holler at us in the mentions so we can take a look!