Instagram Stories launched in 2016, and within one year, already has more than 250 million active users. And it’s not just people following their friends; one third of the most viewed stories are posted by businesses. In fact, more than 80% of accounts on Instagram follow a business, and 120 million consumers reached out to a business last month from Instagram Stories. It’s clear that businesses need to start considering Instagram Stories as a viable social media marketing channel if they aren’t already.
Instagram Product Manager Ashley Yuki took the mainstage at Postback ’17 to break down all the options businesses have with Instagram Stories. Read below for a few new tricks — whether you’re a proficient user, or just getting started.
P.S. To see the full 15-minute lightning keynote, watch it here.
How Instagram Stories work
If you think about the first photo you ever posted on Instagram, chances are it’s quite different than the ones you post today. The bar is notoriously high for Instagram photos, where people often share the so-called highlight reel of their lives. Instagram Stories was designed to bring it back to the everyday moments between the highlight reel.
On the upper left of every Instagram profile, users can click through a user’s Instagram Stories, which are shown in a one-after-the-other video/photo mashup. The stories last only 24 hours and come with a variety of effects:
- Boomerang: A video effect that loops a video back and forth for a few seconds
- Stickers: Images people can add to their stories, showing everything from the time, weather, and location, to more seasonal and special occasion graphics
- Face filters: Special effects users can add to the faces in their stories
- Hashtag: A sticker people can post to their stories with a specific hashtag, which allows viewers to link out to the feed of all photos using that hashtag as well
Creative ways to use Instagram Stories
So how exactly can businesses use Instagram? Here are six ways to get started:
- Give a time-based offer: Because Instagram stories only last 24 hours, they’re the perfect format to post flash sales.
- Explain details in a linear fashion: Instagram Stories always occur in the same chronological sequence, so they make the perfect format for explaining steps or instructing users how to take advantage of a promotion.
- Show a DIY: Walk users through how to do something, step-by-step.
- Offer a teaser: Within Instagram Stories you can tell users to swipe up be redirected to an offer URL or a specific link. Try creating a story to tell users to swipe up to buy.
- Show a behind the scenes: Yuki explained how authenticity is rewarded within Instagram Stories. Jessica Alba, for example, gave viewers a quick behind the scenes in her movie trailer showing herself putting makeup on with Honest Beauty products, which lets users get a glimpse into her life without feeling like they’re being sold to.
- Remix another one of your ads. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel for every one of your Instagram stories. Michael Kors, for example, remixed parts of their Facebook ads into the Instagram Stories format — using what they already had and showing everything in a fun, creative new way.
- Combine Instagram Stories with Facebook targeting. Instagram is powered by Facebook, so brands have the same advanced targeting capabilities when advertising on Instagram Stories as they do through Facebook.
What’s your story?
We’d love to hear — which methods have you used with Instagram Stories, or plan to try first? Tell us in the comments below. To see what our Instagram Stories are like, follow TUNE on Instagram.
And to see the full 15-minute video, watch it on YouTube, or click play below.
Ready to start marketing your own Instagram Stories? Sign up for a 30-day free trial of the TUNE Partner Marketing Platform.
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Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she led a variety of marketing and communications projects at San Francisco startups. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After living nearly a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned to her home of Charleston, SC, where you can find her enjoying the sun and salt water with her family.