How to Use Instagram Stories for Your Business

Woman browsing social media on a couch. Text overlay states 5 Instagram story ideas for businesses.

Everyone may have rolled their eyes when Instagram added Stories to their platform, since it was very similar to Snapchat. But after almost two years since launching, Instagram Stories have become a go-to feature for users to display real time updates on their lives. Instagram stories are often more formal and professional than Snapchat stories, allowing users to trust the content and to interact even further with other users or brands.

Businesses should become involved in integrating this feature into their marketing mix, since it allows you to create a more personal narrative for your business’ story. People are extremely picky on which Stories they watch, so it is important to consistently make yours engaging and interesting.

Here are some ideas to get your business started on Instagram Stories:

  1. Post a time-sensitive offer- Instagram stories only last 24 hours, so this is a great way to get your users to engage with whatever product or service you are offering. Advertise a free consultation if they act while the story is still up, or a free sample of the product you are selling. This gives consumers a deadline to act on and a sense of urgency to act upon it. Even though Stories only last for 24-hours, make sure to put an expiration date on the offer just in-case someone screenshots the post.

  2. Show what happens behind the scenes- Stories are a great way for businesses to show how they work, rather than just what they produce. Your story could feature your employees working diligently for their clients, a picture of a new upcoming product, or just a picture of your office. Consumers like to know the story behind what they are receiving, and this helps them do that.

  3. Have someone “takeover” the account- Have an employee or client take over the account to show a different perspective on your business. Avoid talking too much about their backstory, and focus more on exactly what is happening in real time. Have an employee take the viewers on a tour of the office or show the users which programs or methods they use to compete tasks. Make these as entertaining as possible and make sure you choose someone who is fun and engaging for viewers. This tactic is also useful if any of your employees are going to a conference or other trip, so they can highlight that your company is involved in employee education as well.

  4. Use Polls- There is the option for users to vote on Instagram stories, and businesses should take full advantage of this. Put up a poll on which color t-shirt they like better for your next event, or on how much time they spend on social media every day. This is a way to gain insight into the audience you are reaching and also making them feel important to the process of your everyday operations.

  5. Drive Traffic to your Website- Instagram stories are a great place to highlight blog posts or news features by posting links to your website or blog. Blog posts are a great indication of what your company’s overall culture and values are. Posting interesting content and sharing it to your Instagram story will encourage consumers to follow the link to your website. (At time of publishing, only users with more than 10,000 followers can post links directly into a story, however it’s still a great place to call out the link in your bio to direct traffic back to your website.)