How to use Instagram stories for your business

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How to use Instagram stories for your business

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With Instagram becoming one of the fastest growing social media platforms out there, your business needs to be using it, in particular Instagram stories.

They are the latest craze to hit the social media world, with businesses and consumers alike using them on a daily basis to showcase what they are up to. The way they work is… instead of posting an image to your business profile page on Instagram (which is usually reserved for something special), you can stay in regular contact with your audience by posting images to your story which then disappear 24 hours later.

It gives your business the opportunity to share what’s happening in real time as either a still image or a video i.e. a live video of your conference event or images of your staff working on a big project.

Now that you’ve got a basic understanding of what they are, here are the main benefits…

Benefits of using Instagram Stories

The main benefit of all is that you are able to stay in contact with your followers on a daily basis. When you are only posting once a day or once every other day on your business profile, you don’t make your audience feel as involved. Use Instagram stories however and your followers can see what’s going on at your business throughout the day.

Instagram stories also allow your business to diversify with its social media strategy. Rather than just playing safe and doing a Facebook post and a Twitter post with some text and an image, you can instead move with the times and show off what is actually happening at your business in real time. Your audience is using Instagram stories and Snapchat, so you should be too!

Another great benefit of Instagram stories is when your business is hosting an event. By going live during that event, not only do your followers feel part of the event if they can’t make it, but also it will encourage more people to attend if your live video showcases your event to look interesting and exciting.

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A further advantage, which often gets ignored, is that it allows you to retain a high quality business profile on Instagram. Say for example you see a member of staff doing something really eye catching and get a quick snap of it on your phone. That image might not be of the best quality and it’s probably something you wouldn’t post to your own page but instead you could just add it to your story. We play by this rule… save your normal posts for high quality imagery and your real-time content for your stories.

One final benefit for your business is that if you post to Instagram stories it is guaranteed to be seen by your followers. The Instagram algorithm only shows images you post on your profile to those who are most likely to have an interest in them. So if you just post a normal image about an upcoming event, if some of your followers don’t like and interact with your posts on a regular basis, they might not even see your important post. With Instagram stories, it doesn’t matter how often your audience interacts with your posts and similar posts, your story will always appear at the top of their feed if they follow you.

Right… have we convinced you that they are the best thing since sliced bread? I hope so because they pretty much are. If you’re all ready to have a go and experiment, here’s everything you need to know on how to post your first ever Instagram story…

How to post to your Instagram story

1 – Tap the camera icon in the top left corner or swipe to the right to take your picture or video.

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2 – Once your camera is open, you have the option to choose from five different modes: Live, Normal, Boomerang, Rewind & Hands-Free. Live, Normal and Rewind pretty much explain themselves, while Boomerang is a series of pictures put together into a short video which plays through normally and then plays back again in reverse (great when flipping burgers!). The final option is Hands-Free and that simply means filming a short video but without having to hold down the button, just press it once and start filming.

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3 – Once you’ve decided which to go for and you’ve got your content, you then need to add it to your story and that couldn’t be easier. Simply select the ‘Your Story’ option at the bottom of your screen. You’re also able to save it so you have the file stored if you want to use it across any other social media platforms. Instagram also gives you the opportunity to add emojis, drawings and text to your stories which includes being able to tag people in them. To tag someone or another business, simply choose the ‘Aa’ option at the top of your image and then type ‘@’ as well as the name of the person or business. Do note however, that you need to be following that person/business for the tag to work.

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4 – Once posted to your story your icon will then appear at the top of your followers news feed. Your audience can then click on your icon to view your story. A bar at the top of the screen then counts down how long you have left to view that particular image or video.

Users can swipe left to go to the next story or swipe right to go back to the previous accounts story. Alternatively by tapping on the left of the screen users are able to view your previous image/video again (if you’ve posted more than one), while if they tap on the right of the screen it will skip to the next image/video in your story.

You are also able to view who has seen your post, with the usernames of those viewers appearing to you at the bottom of your story when you view it.

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How did it go? Hopefully it worked well and you now have a video or image on your story for everyone to see. On a daily basis there’s always something going on in the workplace, so next time it does, take a quick picture on your phone and upload it to your Instagram story.

Give it a go, you’ve got nothing to lose!

Adam Woodhouse
Adam Woodhouse
Journalist working as an account manager and content curator for @87tangerines and @87food_SM.

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