Not sure how to use Instagram Stories for your Business or brand. Here’s a comprehensive guide on what to post to Stories and how to use them to increase engagement and boost your reach.
In this blog, I give you lots of ideas about how to use Instagram Stories for your Business, including:
- What exactly are Stories on Instagram & Meta?
- Why bother with Stories?
- What type of content can you post to Stories?
- Using engagement stickers on Stories
- What are some Instagram Stories ideas for your business
- How many Stories should you post in a day?
- What are some best practices for creating Stories?
- How do you create Highlight Folders?
- How do you edit your Highlight Folders?
- How do you edit your Highlight Folder Cover?
But first – what are Stories and why bother with them?
What exactly are Stories on Instagram & Meta?
Stories are 9:12 / portrait graphics or videos that last for 24 hours on Instagram and Meta.
Just consider Stories the place where you post your daily thoughts and give a more personal insight into your work or business life.
When you post a Story, a ring appears around your profile image.
If you want to keep those Stories for longer than 24 hours then you just need to add them to a Highlight Folder. (More about how to do that below).
Instagram Stories are also visible on Facebook. When you create a Story on Instagram you will have the option to share it directly to your Facebook account. You only need to change this setting once.
Why bother with Stories?
Stories are just another channel where you can showcase your product and services and create engagement with your brand.
You could be at a team lunch, on the way to meet a client, starting a new project or wanting to know what people think about the latest news. This is all great content for Stories.
Stories are the place where you can ENGAGE with people and connect with your community.
It’s where your customers can get to know you, and get a glimpse into what it’s like to work with you, your values and your mission. It’s how people get to trust you.
“Activate your fans. Do not just collect them like baseball cards.”~ Jay Baer
Stories are also the place where you can be a bit more rough and ready with your content.
Another added bonus of Stories is that the format is the perfect size for repurposing as a Pinterest Idea Pin.
What type of content can you post to Stories?
You can use lots of different media on Stories, including GIFs and videos.
You can also share your grid posts, Reels and posts and Reels from other accounts to Stories as well.
Using engagement stickers on Stories
You can also add GIF stickers and engagement stickers to your Stories to give your audience a chance to interact with you. Just tap on the smiley face at the top of your Stories dashboard to open up the sticker menu.
You will then see a list of engagement stickers and Instagram’s top trending stickers.
Plus you can also search for Gif stickers that are relevant to your content.
Here’s a list of engagement stickers you can choose from:
- Add Your
- Links!!!! Send people to your website.
- Reaction Slider
- Support Small Business
If you are resharing a post, why not add an engagement sticker to get your community to interact with what you have posted.
When placing stickers make sure you put them below where the Story duration bar is, and the bottom “Send message” bar.
Avoid the bottom right where people have their thumb.
Keep stickers in the middle third if possible.
What are some Instagram Stories ideas for your business
Now you know the basics of Stories, here are some ideas of what type of content you can post.
- Introduce your business
- Showcase your services
- Answer FAQs
- Show your office
- Show your desk
- Run an “Ask Me Anything” day
- Repurpose your newsletters
- Repurpose sections from your blog
- Show your mood
- Have a rant
- Share mistakes and things to avoid
- Share your location
- Ask what content the audience would like to see from you
- Take people on a journey with you
- Articles you love
- Music you are listening to
- What you are drinking / eating
- Fill in the blanks. My favourite food is…?
- Do a tutorial
- Do a product demo
- Run a quiz
- Share weekly tips
Behind the scenes
- What you are working on right now
- What your upcoming designs / plans / products and events are
- Charity work
- Team outings
- Team workshops
- Funny employee moments
- Document a client meeting
- Showcase your team
- Showcase your team’s passion projects
Ask the audience
- What do they watch / read / listen to
- What do they think about….?
- What would they like you to blog about next?
- What would they like you to demonstrate next?
- What frustrates them?
- What do they prefer? What colours / styles?
- Do you love this?
- What are you doing today?
- What are your goals for today?
- Run a poll
- What should I share next?
- What would your rather see (Poll Sticker)
- Rate on a scale of 1-5
Share the love
- Share posts from accounts you love
- Share your new post
- Share motivational quotes
- Share tweets
- Share memes
- Share customer reviews
- Share user generated content (i.e. them using your stuff)
- Have an employee takeover
- Run a contest
- Ask a question and share the answers
- Share a sneak peak
Create a bingeable series
- Share top tips
- Promote your links to product pages, offers, blog posts or services
- Promote your product collections
- Have a “Round up” or “List”
- Just have a chat about your day
- Let your customers tell their story
- Ask a customer to review you with a video
- Go Live “Every time you go live on Instagram your followers will receive an in-app notification, and your Live will be bumped to the front of their Instagram Stories feed.”
- Countdown to a big event
- Countdown to an opening
- Countdown to an offer
- Countdown to a product reveal
- Countdown to a new guide
- Countdown to a new blog post
- Countdown to an Instagram Live
- Countdown to a product launch
- Countdown to a SALE!
Once you’ve got your Stories ready you can even schedule them in advance using Meta Business Suite or Buffer!
How many Stories should you post in a day?
Whatever your frequency, just be consistent.
According to the Instagram head honcho, Adam Mosseri – 2 stories a day is a good number for building a following. Social Insider says up to 5 to keep retention rate high!
Posting too many could actually annoy your audiences.
Research from Social Insider also showed that video Stories also held people’s attention for much longer than images, but image stories had better reach.
What are some best practices for creating Stories?
- When you re-share posts, add engagement stickers
- Don’t overdo your Link Stickers
- Don’t add too many GIFS and overcrowd your image
- Don’t add too much text on one Story graphic
- If you are using video – add captions
How do you create Highlight Folders?
To do this, tap on your Stories image and press the heart icon labelled “Highlight”. Now select the highlights folder you want to add it to. This Story will now live forever in this folder on your profile page.
How do you edit your Highlight Folders?
Just long-press your Highlight Folder.
You can now remove or add past Stories into this folder.
How do you edit your Highlight Folder Cover?
Long press your Highlight Folder and then select Edit Highlight >Edit Cover.
You can either choose to use a section of an image from an existing Stories image or create and upload a custom graphic.
Just tap to centre the image or crop how you would like it.
Scheduling Instagram Stories for Your Business
Thankfully, Meta Business Suite allows you to schedule Stories in advance. The only problem is that you don’t get the range of Stickers to use on your story.
Third-party schedulers like Later and Buffer also have functionality for your to schedule your Stories. I like Buffer as you can add notes to your Stories – like links, that you can copy and paste once you are in the Instagram app.
You can also re-post Stories from within Buffer too. Bonus!
How do you use Instagram Stories for your business just now? Do you plan them in advance? I’d love to add more ideas to this list, so just let me know how you use them. 🥰