Updated: Aug 16
Photo by Peopleimages via Canva
Approximately 500 million Instagram users utilize the Story feature daily. That means it provides an incredible opportunity to promote your brand to a large audience.
Are you new to this method of social media marketing? Are you unsure of how to use Instagram stories effectively?
If so, this guide can help. Everything entrepreneurs, freelancers, and small businesses need to know about Instagram Stories is explained shortly below, with six concrete examples to use as guides.
What Is an Instagram Story?
Photo by Hookle
On Instagram, Stories are temporary posts that disappear after 24 hours and can be composed of photos, videos, text, GIFs, and other creative elements. The authentic charm of Instagram Stories lies in their fleeting nature and their potential to authentically represent your brand in a more relaxed and humanized manner.
When someone posts to their Story, their avatar appears at the top of the screen with a multicolored circle around it.
How to Make Instagram Stories
Photo by Hookle
Creating Instagram Stories varies a bit depending on the device you are using. In general, it involves four simple steps:
Open Instagram and tap the + icon in your screen's top left corner next to your profile picture.
Take a new photo or video, or choose one from your gallery.
Add text, stickers, GIFs, or filters to make your Story unique and aligned with your brand.
Finally, hit "Send To," then select "Share" next to "Your Story."
The story screen also offers features such as adding text, creating Boomerangs (short videos that play both forward and backward), and more. Furthermore, you have the option to save the story file for later publication using a scheduler app. We'll delve into this in more detail later in this blog post.
Benefits of Using Instagram Stories for Marketing
Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko
Incorporating Instagram Stories into your social media marketing strategy offers numerous benefits for your business, including the following:
Build stronger relationships with your target audience
Increase brand awareness
Gain new followers
Experiment with new content ideas
Posting on Stories also increase the likelihood that people will see and engage with your content.
Social media algorithms may limit the number of users who see posts shared on your feed. However, they’re more likely to see your stories since your avatar will appear at the top of their screen.
Six Engaging Instagram Story Marketing Examples
Not sure what kind of content to share on your Instagram Stories? If so, here are six examples of brands that regularly post impressive marketing content:
1. Behind-The-Scenes Insights
Story by TraderJoes on Instagram
Peel back the curtains and show your audience what happens behind the scenes. Sharing these candid moments can demonstrate the hard work and dedication that goes into your business.
This isn't about polished, ad-ready content - instead, it's an opportunity to showcase your day-to-day operations' raw, real aspects. Remember, authenticity fosters trust and loyalty among your audience.
It isn't about polished content - stories are an opportunity to showcase your day-to-day operations' raw, real aspects.
This beloved grocery store TradersJoes is known nationwide for its fun and seasonal food and drinks, incredible deals on everyday items, and cute hand-made signs. This saved Instagram Story shows employees behind-the-scenes writing signs to display throughout the store.
2. Live Product Demonstrations
Story by Burt’s Bees on Instagram
Use Instagram Stories to showcase your products in action. Show your audience how your product works, how to assemble it, or offer pro tips for best usage. This can help potential customers visualize how your product might fit into their lives.
Use Instagram Stories to showcase your products in action
In this story, the skincare and beauty brand Burt’s Bees encourages followers to engage with their content by showing a lip balm live on their video. They also encourage people to tag them on their own posts, which creates opportunities for user-generated content.
Also, consider sharing user-generated content of satisfied customers using your products. This not only gives you free content but also acts as an authentic endorsement from a real user. Seeing others enjoying your product can encourage potential buyers to make a purchase.
3. Announcing Sales and Special Promotions
Story by Nordstrom on Instagram
Instagram Stories can be your billboard for announcing sales, discounts, or special promotions. You can even create a sense of urgency by reminding viewers that your story - and thus the sale - expires in 24 hours.
Nordstrom’s anniversary sale is one of the biggest and most popular annual retail events. That doesn’t mean they’re above advertising it on social media, though. The department store has done a great job getting people excited about it by using the “link” sticker in each tip to direct followers to a specific page - for example, to subscribe to the newsletter or to build your wishlist.
And remember to make it easy for viewers to shop. Add a 'Swipe Up' link to your website or specific product page so interested customers can go directly from your Story to checkout. With such easy and immediate access, your audience is likelier to act.
4. Feature events and schedules
Story by NBA on Instagram
Even brands as big as the NBA can benefit from using Instagram Stories for social media marketing.
In this example, they’ve shared the game schedule for a specific day, increasing the likelihood that people will tune in. They’ve also added a link using the “link” sticker so people know where to go for more information.
5. Showcase User-Generated Content (UGC)
Story by Nivea on Instagram
User-generated content (UGC) is a powerful tool in your Instagram Stories arsenal. When customers share their photos or videos of your products, it's a genuine endorsement that can influence other potential buyers.
UGC works whether you're a big brand or a small business. Nivea has the user-generated content (or UGC) game down. When you share posts to your Stories from others who have tagged your brand on Instagram, you can show your followers that you have real people regularly using and loving your products -- which may encourage them to invest themselves.
Encourage your customers to share their experiences with your products
Encourage your customers to share their experiences with your products, then re-share these posts to your own Story. Be sure to give credit to the original poster. This provides you with content and fosters a community around your brand.
6. Teasers of New Products or Updates
Story by Dutch Bros Coffee on Instagram
Building anticipation for a new product or an exciting update can drive engagement and excitement among your followers. Use your Instagram Stories to offer sneak peeks, behind-the-scenes footage of the production process, or countdowns to the release date.
Use Stories to offer sneak peeks or countdowns to the release date
This example from Dutch Bros Coffee shows how brands can use Instagram Stories to get people excited about a new product. Earlier they’ve shared the specific date and time when a new collection will launch and added a countdown (which gives users the option to set a reminder) to create even more anticipation.
Remember, you want to pique interest without giving too much away. The goal is to get your followers excited and keep them checking back for more updates. Once your product or update launches, announce it on your Instagram Story to cap the suspense.
Schedule Your Stories in Advance
Photo by Hookle
In conclusion, incorporating Instagram Stories into your social media marketing strategy can greatly enhance your efforts by delivering vibrant and engaging content. It's crucial to prioritize authenticity and meaningful engagement while exploring this feature.
To streamline your workload, consider scheduling your stories in advance on Instagram. Imagine having a single scheduling tool that allows you to schedule not only your stories but all your social media posts in one place. That's where Hookle comes in.
Hookle simplifies the process by enabling you to publish and schedule posts, including Instagram Stories
Hookle is a top-rated social media scheduling app powered by AI. Designed specifically for small businesses, freelancers, and entrepreneurs like yourself, Hookle simplifies the process by enabling you to publish and schedule posts, including Instagram Stories.
Don't just take our words, but try it yourself. Download Hookle today and enjoy happy storytelling!