There are numerous ways to increase your follower count on Instagram but when you have those followers, what do you do with them, how can you utilize them and why should you bother?
Is it worth all the effort and time of focusing on Instagram? The simple answer is, yes!
Whether it be personal or business, you can use the platform for various purposes, including making money, and one way to expand and take advantage of that is by using the Instagram Stories service.
What is it, why should you bother, how do you do it and is their proof it works? Read on and see what you think.
What are Instagram Stories?
Instagram Stories help users enjoy the platform which displays smart, polished visuals with a range of filters to increase the visual attractiveness. In addition you can add captions or doodle on your images or videos in a fun assortment of colors and all this allows for your creativity to run wild to give the best content you are going to be displaying to entertain and entice your users.
These stories are available for 24 hours before disappearing forever from the system, giving your followers a small window to enjoy your post. Since it is a story service similar to others your users might be aware of, they should already be accustomed to the way it works as Instagram uses a similar system.
Stories integrate beautifully with the regular Instagram feed but it adds an added element of rush and excitement as they are only available for a short amount of time – this means that viewers are likely to check their feed more often, so as not to miss any stories.
Viewers who are enjoying your story have the choice to view it all in real time, skip through segments if it doesn’t relate to them or replay any parts during the 24 hour period the story is available for.
Why should I use them?
Now you know what an Instagram story is, why exactly would you want to use it? Well lets go through why you should!
- Show off your humanity
Most things you see on Instagram are carefully planned and take time for a perfect look. When you look at someone’s feed you probably assume that these photos on peoples feed are just a quick throw away snap where someone got lucky!
It takes time and effort for these photos you see that look so easy. It takes design, multiple takes, perfect lighting , editing, and that all important photographer’s eye.
A story on the other hand gives you a sense of freedom as it takes away all the timing, planning and editing and lets your followers see you in every day situations in real time. This gives the people who like your page a peek behind the life and style of your successful light.
It’s all about perception and relatability and personality helps to no end.
Using the Instagram stories in this manner gives you a risk free way of putting up things you may not generally post as there is no like or comment system for your stories, meaning that there won’t be any major backlash.
- Offer exclusive content
You can use Instagram stories to stage a promotion or release a teaser for the release of something you want your followers to be excited about. Taking advantage of the limited time the story is displayed for can increase urgency and drive traffic to your page to see the story.
You can use this to remind followers of upcoming events, offer sneak peeks for a product or run limited time exclusive offers.
For example you can use stories to release a behind the scenes video of how your product came to life. Taking the viewers through a journey of the creation process that they can find out about and view for one day only.
Alternatively you could hold a 24 hour sale. Your followers will have to view your Instagram story in the 24 hours it is available to be able to qualify for the discount code that is hidden (Ideally towards the end of the story so they have to watch it all) in your story.
You can generate great excitement in the moment without a big investment into a traditional Instagram marketing campaign.
- Reach a new audience
Stories can let you collaborate with other popular Instagram users and stage what are known as “Takeovers”
Find and talk to someone you think would be suitable, someone in the same vein of business as yourself but who isn’t a direct competitor, and then persuade them to create some content for your page and then return the favor.
You can each make a short video or an image for the other one to post and just like that both of you have had an increase in market through a simple “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch your back deal”.
With another page showing off your content you have the potential to greatly increase your fan base and they will get the same opportunity and both pages followers get new and different content in a franchise they already love. It’s a win-win-win situation, that’s a lot of win!
When attempting this path, ensure that you chose the right person to partner up with. If you are in the market of promoting vegan recipes, you won’t want to partner up with a hunting clubs page for example, this is an extreme case but it would just cause aggravation and potentially lose both sides customers.
Who uses Instagram Stories?
Instagram stories are used by countless businesses, celebrities and personalities.
The North American Space Association, or NASA as it is more commonly known, regularly uses the story system in fantastic and informative ways. They ensure to tell deep stories behind each and every one of their posts.
Recently NASA posted about the annual Perseid meteor shower on their Instagram and they used Stories to share more about the meteor shower and the research on it. They spoke to scientists who were involved in the research and showed some of the equipment that was used.
When the 2016 Rio Olympics were on, their Instagram page also got in on using Stories to great benefit. The social media team behind the event took the opportunity to share more about the Olympians and celebrate their wins.
Doing this gave the contests, who occasionally look super hero to the regular viewer, a more personal feel and gathered more support for them. You are instantly going to support someone who you can relate to.
Instagram stories may seem like a waste of time and just like a little bit of fun to mess around with when you have time but when used correctly you can greatly increase your followers and subsequently your business as well.
If you aren’t already using Instagram Stories, start doing so immediately!