13 Brilliant ways to use Instagram Stories for Business
58% of people say they have become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in Stories.
If you're not already using Instagram stories for business, it's time to consider incorporating these engagement-boosting posts into your Instagram strategy.
Instagram stories have become super popular to use for business - for good reason. They’re fun to make and there are so many brilliant ways to use them to:
- create connection with your audience
- boost engagement
- promote your offerings
- grow your email list
- gather customer feedback
- create stronger brand connection
What I personally love most about Instagram stories is how fun and interactive they can be.
Plus, you can use them in clever ways to gather important information and feedback from your followers which can be essential when planning a new product or just tuning in to learn more about what interests your audience and how to improve your offerings.
The features offered by Instagram stories, such as quiz stickers, polls and swipe up options, are just a few of the fun ways you can reach your audience and get them to interact with your brand.
Lately, I’ve been having a lot of fun getting creative with these features, which has helped me massively boost my engagement. So I thought I’d share some Instagram stories ideas you can use to interact with your followers.
Plus, in case you're a newbie to this, I've included a bonus section on how to publish your Instagram stories. If you already know how, just skip that section and scroll to the Instagram stories ideas below.
BONUS: HOW TO PUBLISH TO YOUR INSTAGRAM STORY
Already know how to publish a story? CLICK HERE TO SKIP THIS SECTION.
In case you're totally new to Instagram stories, I don't want you to feel left behind. So here's a quick visual breakdown of how to:
- Post to stories
- Add stickers
NOTE: Keep in mind, Instagram is always testing out their features and layouts. So your display might be slightly different, but this will give you a good idea of what to look for when you're ready to publish your first story.
To access your story, first tap on the home icon in the bottom right of your screen until you see the "YOUR STORY" icon with the plus sign appear in the upper left corner of your screen.
You'll see a pop-up option at the bottom of your screen. Choose "Add to your story".
You have 2 choices for your background image. Either take a new image, or choose an image from your photo library by tapping the little square in the bottom left of your screen.
Add a sticker by tapping the little square "sticker" icon at the top of your screen.
Here are a few of my favorite sticker options that we'll be covering in the tips below!
Customize your sticker. Then place it wherever you want it on your image.
Click the "Post to story" option at the bottom left of your screen to publish your photo immediately. OR, click the "next" arrow to schedule for later or customize your publish options.
Okay, let's get to it! Here are just a few examples of the brilliant ways you can use Instagram Stories to engage your audience and grow your business. BTW, while you're reading this, imagine how these examples could be modified to fit your niche and business...
The Instagram polls sticker offers the perfect opportunity to create a fun engaging “game”. This works especially well to engage your audience because people love sharing their thoughts and opinions. The key here is to ask quick, simple questions.
For instance, ask a yes or no question. Or create a this-or-that poll. To do this, come up with a topic theme - like breakfast, morning rituals, or favorite bedtime scents - and spread these polls out onto several story graphics with two options to choose from per graphic.
So, it would go like this…
Graphic #1: Let’s play This-or-That (breakfast edition)
Graphic #2: Coffee/Tea
Graphic #3: Smoothie/Juice
Graphic #4: Eggs/Oatmeal
Graphic #5: Sweet/Savory
Be sure to include beautiful photos to make the game visually stimulating and keep your audience engaged.
2. GATHER CUSTOMER FEEDBACK/DATA
Here’s another great way to use the poll sticker with a similar concept, but with more purpose. Instead of simply entertaining your followers, you’ll be gathering important data to help you improve your products/services, gather ideas for future products, or create new content for the future. Again, you can use the interactive features to make this fun for your audience.
Here are some ideas for topics to gather helpful data from your audience:
- Which scent they’d love to see in your upcoming seasonal candle line
- Which essential oil they want to learn about next week
- Which color/look they prefer
- What they want to focus on for your upcoming workout sessions
- What topics they want to learn about in a future course
- Which program bonuses they’d be most excited about
- Which of your existing products is their favorite
- Which new product they’d love to see in your upcoming skincare line
- What they’re struggling with the most
People love to get to know you, and hosting a Q+A helps them do that. Plus, it helps to build your authority. Here’s a fun way to host a Q+A on Instagram stories...
Use the Question Sticker to invite followers to ask questions about something in particular.
Next, choose one of these two ways to share your answers:
- Hop on a live! This is an extra great way to create connection. You can answer all the questions you gathered through the questions sticker and invite followers to ask more questions during your live. If you choose this option, be sure to let people know in advance which time you plan to go live to answer their questions and encourage them to join you.
- Don’t want to show up live? No problem. Let them know you’ll be answering questions for the next 24 hours. Then screenshot each question you receive to feature in a following story graphic, along with your answer.
4. QUIZ STICKER
This is a fun way to engage your followers while educating them about a product or topic. You can create an educational experience by coming up with themes that relate to what you do. But don’t get stuck thinking all your game topics have to be specific to your niche. They can also be topics that simply let people get to know you better, or enhance your brand connection. The quiz sticker is pretty simple. You just ask a quiz question, then give three choices.
Example: If you educate about essential oils, your quiz might look like this:
Which essential oil stimulates relaxation?
You can also use the quiz to play a guessing game, like “Can you guess the secret ingredient?” or “Can you guess where these photos were taken?”
5. PRODUCT TEASERS
Build excitement for your new product offerings by trickling out teasers in your stories! This gives people a heads-up that something special is coming and warms them up to prepare them for the purchase as soon as your product or offering goes live.
You can make this fun and interactive by using some of the tactics above. For instance, you might use the poll or quiz sticker to encourage followers to guess at details of your new product - or ask them a “which one should I choose/use” question to help them feel involved in the creation. If you have a new skin care product launching soon, have them guess the scent or main ingredient.
This is also a great time to share behind-the-scenes glimpses at the creation process. You can use the poll stickers to have followers vote on their favorite look/scent/option.
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6. PROMOTE YOUR PRODUCTS + LEAD MAGNETS
Don’t forget, the best way to sell your offer is to promote it! Although Instagrammers don’t respond well to constant selling, it’s important to make consistent offers. It’s recommended to use the 80-20 rule. Provide valuable, engaging content 80% of the time, and deliver promotions 20% of the time.
Use Instagram stories to reveal new products, educate about existing products and make direct calls-to-action. If you have over 10,000 followers, you can take advantage of the swipe-up option to send people directly to your sales page. If not, no worries. You can get creative, sharing important info about your products/services and encourage people to visit your website to make their purchase.
- Always invite your people to connect with you and add a clear CTA (call to action).
- Invite them to DM you if they have questions.
- Tell them exactly how they can grab your lead magnet or offering.
- Include multiple story slides with valuable information, like:
- What's included
- Product benefits
- Date your offer expires
The slider sticker is another fun, easy way to encourage engagement. Just ask your people a question that allows them to give a “rating” answer. For instance “how much do you love weekends?” You can also use the slider as an alternative to the polls sticker in “this or that” games.
8. NEW POST (INSTAGRAM | BLOG | PODCAST)
Let people know you’ve got new valuable content! Highlight your recent blog, Instagram post or podcast episode and tell followers why they should go check it out.
9. INSPIRE/MOTIVATE (QUOTES)
Everyone loves to feel inspired. Your stories is the perfect place to encourage your community and create a feel-good environment. You can create your own quotes or switch it up and share quotes and inspirational content from other accounts. Just be sure to give the original account a lovely shout out and use this opportunity to support them.
10. TESTIMONIALS / PRODUCT REVIEWS
Nothing sells your product or service better than the words from others who have had an amazing experience. Be sure to feature love notes from your customers/clients in your stories every now and then!
I like to screenshot any positive comments or feedback my members leave about my offerings. I highlight them in my stories, give shoutouts, and use them as social proof when showcasing different offerings. I keep these screenshots in a special folder so that I can access them in the future too.
11. BEHIND THE SCENES
People love to see what’s happening behind the scenes of the businesses they follow. And what’s more, this helps them to feel a closer, more personable connection to you! Try sharing some behind the scenes glimpses of your office space, you crafting your products, packaging up deliveries, or working with clients.
12. CREATE WALLPAPERS
Create a beautiful graphic to inspire your followers. This could be a pretty picture as the background with an inspirational quote, “daily reminder”, or affirmation. Or it could be something helpful and educational, like important dates, a workout calendar, or moon phases. Create a leading story graphic that encourages your followers to screenshot the next image and save it as their phone wallpaper. PRO TIP: Be sure to add your logo or website URL to remind them of your brand each day.
13. BEFORE / AFTERS
This works especially well for fitness or skin care. You can feature your own personal results, or feature a customer or client as a case study! BONUS - include a testimonial!
BONUS: USE THE SWIPE-UP FEATURES
Since most Instagram stories are 15 seconds each, this marketing tool is perfect for internet users. It’s been proven time and time again that the best marketing efforts on social media will grab the audience’s attention quickly and direct them to answer a question or click to buy something quickly.
But you should know, with 500 million daily published Instagram stories as of 2019 (according to Statista), you need a savvy plan to make sure your stories stand out. You can tap into a Wellness Stock Shop membership to access thousands of stand-out photos, done-for-you story graphics and customizable Instagram story templates to save time and make sure your visuals capture the attention of your ideal audience.
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