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How to Use Instagram Stories to Promote Your Business

Instagram has emerged as a powerful digital marketing tool over the past decade. There’s a lot to love about Instagram. It's a visually driven platform it’s developed a variety of ad placement options expanding into e-commerce and video. Instagram also boasts an expansive user base—with 500 million daily users, it is one of the most populous social media platforms around.

But Instagram’s popularity is a double-edged sword: since everyone knows how popular it is, it takes a lot to stand out on the platform. When there’s a seemingly endless stream of rich content available capturing attention is harder than ever. Success on Instagram depends on absolute optimization, which includes utilizing all of the available marketing options. Instagram stories are one standout option.

What’s so great about Instagram stories?

For one thing, more people look at them compared to standard feed posts. Instagram stories also offer a wealth of visual styling options to create your posts, including music, text, animated GIFs, augmented reality, links to landing pages, and interactive options like polls and question boxes. These options allow advertisers to express themselves freely, and casually, which is crucial to cultivating one of the most coveted qualities for any brand: authenticity. After all, one of the results of social media for brand relations has been a potential round-the-clock relationship with your customer base. Instagram particularly allows for very fluid and organic interaction between companies and audiences. Stories are a particularly excellent way to drive engagement. Lastly, Instagram stories are temporary, they disappear after 24 hours. This creates a sense of scarcity around your posts, and—provided your content is engaging, informative, novel, and high-quality—users will get in the habit of tuning in so that they never miss a beat.

How do I create a successful Instagram story campaign?

Make sure your ad is visually striking, succinct, humorous, informative, or otherwise valuable to your audience. Make sure it has a clear CTA. But, the devil is always in the details, and Instagram stories have a lot of details to consider.

Instagram stories allow you to augment your posts in many ways, and it can be tough to know whether you should be adding text, embedding a link, inviting audiences to respond to you, creating one video, or a series. The answer is probably yes—to all of the above! Because Instagram stories are temporary, you’ll be able to find an occasion for all of the available features. But the important thing is to make it meaningful—if you’re inviting audiences to answer a question, make sure that it’s a good question. If you’re implementing a swipe up link to purchase a product, make sure the product looks attractive or excites curiosity in the visual that you use.

In theory, fifteen seconds sounds like a short time to work with, but you don’t have the luxury to let your ad take place over the full fifteen, or even ten seconds. In general, the average viewer does not watch Instagram stories in full—they click through them so that they can see more of what their friends are up to. Success depends on you hooking viewers in the first few seconds, either with an eye-catching visual, or a sound that piques their curiosity (while bearing in mind that a sizable number of viewers will not have their sound on).

Putting it all together

In many ways, Instagram stories are a marketer’s dream. Users compulsively click them, and they allow for so many different kinds of content and interaction. While the frenetic pace of Instagram stories can be intimidating, remember that the rules of marketing don’t go out the window when you’re working in this expressive, free-flowing format. Even though the platform is more forgiving to a scrappy approach, the rules of the game still apply. If you are consistent in your visuals, your tone, and how you speak directly and personally to your audience, success will surely follow.

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