Over the past two years, Instagram Stories has become a much-loved part of the Instagram App – and businesses are using them to drive sales. Would you like to know how you can, too?
Though Instagram was originally designed to be an ‘instant’ photo-sharing platform, recent trends show people focusing more on curating a feed rather than uploading something in the moment. Because of that, Instagram Stories has become the perfect place to share content that is a little less curated and a little more raw.
As someone who has worked in Social Media Marketing for 6 years, I have had to adapt my strategies at the same rate Instagram updates algorithms – no small feat!
Of all the new and ever-changing features, one of my favourites has been the use of Instagram Stories for businesses and brands. The way stories can increase your sales in both direct and indirect ways is hugely exciting!
Instagram Stories may seem as though they’re not relevant to your business, but they’re perfect for those looking to boost both their brand and their sales – and isn’t that all of us?
Research shows that 80% of Instagram users follow at least one brand on their account, meaning no matter what your industry is you have a great chance of reaching people via both your feed and your Stories.
On top of that, there are also ways to get your Stories seen by people who do not follow you – thereby increasing your reach and growing your followers and potential customers. We’ll talk more about that later.
With 1 billion active users and 400 million using Stories daily, it’s an opportunity you can’t afford to miss.
Using Instagram Stories is incredibly important to the growth of your brand as it gives your followers and potential customers another way to hear from you. Whilst you may have people interacting with your feed, a lot of your followers are missing your content because of the way the algorithm works.
Instead of scrolling their feeds, people are now more likely to spend longer clicking through Instagram Stories, especially as people are spending on average 53 minutes a day on the app.
How to Use Instagram Stories to Boost Your Sales – 10 Ways
Now that you know the importance of using Stories in your marketing strategy, let’s look at some of the tactics that will help grow your brand:
Although Instagram Stories are designed to be more in the moment, you can still put a certain element of design into them. Whether you use the Instagram Stories features or an external app to design them, people are more likely to watch your Stories if they are well put together.
A great app for this is Picmonkey, as you can create them on your desktop OR your phone using a specially-designed template. At left is an eye-catching design they used in an Instagram Story.
2. Show Behind the Scenes of Your Business
People really love to get a good look at what you get up to behind the scenes of your business. Whether it’s a look at your manufacturing process, your day to operations, or how you send products out to customers – people love having this kind of insight as it makes your business seem more human AND more deserving of their business.
Despite the fact that fans are hungry for a look behind the curtain, only 22% of brands and business regularly share updates that feature the behind the scenes of their business, making this a great way for you to stand out.
Here’s a fun shot from Brass Clothing‘s Instagram Story. Kind of makes you wonder how those models look so natural when the setup is anything but! It also makes you feel like you’re more connected to the talent behind the brand.
There are lots of different ways you can encourage people to interact with you through Instagram Stories, including asking questions that you can reply to publicly, asking people to vote on a specific subject, or asking people to show their appreciation for a video, product or an image using a slider bar.
It’s easy to see how you could use these features to not only increase engagement and reach, but to conduct research on product development or create buzz around a new product release.
With each update, Instagram are adding more features that encourage interactivity, so I can only see this getting better from here.
4. Repurpose User-Generated Content with Stories
If you’re lucky, people will share content that features your products and services on their own Instagram Stories. If they do this and tag you, the you are notified by direct message and there will be an option to share it to your own account. This is a great way to put out content, without having to create the content yourself. And it’s a great way to leverage social proof for increased trust and sales
Organic hair products line Innersense shares images of their users’ breathtaking results.
Did you know you can schedule Instagram Stories with Tailwind?
5. Promote New Product Launches and Offers
If you don’t want to use your main feed to promote launches and offers regularly, sharing these in Stories is a great alternative. Often, promoting offers and product launches on your Instagram Stories feels a lot less spammy and gives you a chance to directly link to the product or sale using the swipe up feature (for those with 10K followers or more).
Stories also give you more of a chance to be creative as you can use the feature to create a series of images and videos that once played in the correct order, act like a mini advertisement for your brand.
Washable rug creator Ruggable uses Stories to share product images that look too much like ads for the feed, but work well here!
6. Partner with Influencers for Instagram Takeovers
Partnering with an influencer is a great way to get more reach for your brand, especially as they’ll be sharing the content they create on their own personal platforms too.
To hold a successful takeover, simply find an Instagrammer who is influential in your industry, and see they want to take over your Stories for the day. Whether they visit your offices, test out your product or visit a destination on your behalf – they can document their findings on your Instagram Stories.
You may find that influencers will charge for this service. However, it can be worth the investment if they’re driving qualified traffic (that is, customers!) to your page. Ashely Home Store regularly hosts these designer takeovers in their Stories.
7. Share Testimonials to Increase Your Credibility
Instagram Stories is the perfect place to share any testimonials your business receives. Whether they’re user-generated and shared directly from someone else’s account onto yours, or they’re something you’ve curated and created from testimonials you’ve received – sharing these can really help increase your credibility within the industry, and more importantly, with your customers.
And because it’s just so great, we’re back to Ruggable – sharing an almost TMI (but very compelling!) customer testimonial at left. 😉
8. Use Location Tags and Hashtags
If you want your Stories to be seen by people who do not yet follow you, consider using location tags and hashtags. If people click on a location or search for a hashtag, they’ll be able to see a selection of Stories that has been tagged using them. Although it’s not guaranteed you’ll show up, it’s a great way to increase your visibility.
If you’re worried about how location tags and hashtags will make your design look, you can try making them really small or hiding them behind other elements. Notice how Bespoke Coffee & Drygoods makes their location tag subtle; it doesn’t detract from the visual appeal at all.
9. If You Have Over 10k Followers, Add Links
Although this feature is only for those that have more than 10k followers, the swipe up feature is the ideal strategy for driving traffic to your site. It’s important to remember not to use this on every Story as it removes the message feature, but if you’re talking about a particular product, service or blog post, then there’s no harm in directly linking to it.
Cosmetics company Colourpop shows you the goods and makes it easy to swipe up to buy now!
Not quite there yet? Get growing your Instagram followers today!
10. Use Product Stickers on Instagram Stories
Similar to the way you can add product posts to your fee, you can also add a shopping sticker to your Instagram Stories, allowing people to purchase without having to navigate to your link in bio and find the item to purchase. Set up product posting and you’ll have the option to include a linked sticker for easy in-app shopping!
Whilst Instagram Stories continues to grow in popularity, considering how it fits into your marketing strategy is essential. Not only is it another way to reach your audience, but it’s also a great platform for sharing some of the human elements behind your business. So, how do you use Instagram Stories to increase YOUR sales?
One of the best ways to increase sales from Instagram Stories and posts it to be consistent. And what better way to ensure consistency than to schedule your Instagram Stories and posts ahead of time!? Tailwind can help! Give it a try today with a free trial of Tailwind for Instagram.
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One of the UK’s leading experts on social media marketing, Teresa finds great joy in working with people to address their social media challenges and give them ideas to help them improve their online presence. “Because social media marketing is brilliant,” she says, and “It can help take your business to new heights. And it doesn’t have to be overwhelming or time-consuming.” You can find more about Teresa at Teresa Heath-Wareing.