How to Use Instagram Stories For Your Business

In case you haven't already heard, Instagram just rolled out a new feature last week and people are LOVING it. For all you Instagramers, you don't have to worry about over sharing anymore. From now on, you can share as much as you want with Instagram Stories. Bringing you and your brand to life! Giving your fans a part of you they haven't got to see before. Whoop whoop! (if you can't tell, I'm pretty excited about this)

If you're familiar with Snapchat... it's basically the same thing, I haven't seen too many differences yet. So if you're a Snapchat queen, you probably don't need me to walk you through it. You can skip right down to the part about how you can use IG stories for your business. 

But for those of you that aren't using Snapchat, today I'm showing you how to create your first Instagram Story, giving you 7 ways to use Instagram Stories for your business. But... you'll want to grab my Ultimate Instagram Stories Guide for Businesses (+32 Story ideas) HERE.

If you'd rather listen to this post, just hit play below.

how to use instagram stories for business
 

To help give you a better understanding of the new feature, take a look at the video below. I snatched this video straight from Instagram's blog just for you :) 

Introducing Instagram Stories, a new feature that lets you share all the moments of your day Learn more at http://blog.instagram.com/post/148348940287/

Alright, so how do you create your first IG story? Just take a look below and you'll be a pro!

1. All Instagram Stories from the people you follow show up across the top of your home feed. (shown below)

How to create an Instagram story. Tutorial

2. You can also access someones story by going to their account. If they've been having fun with Stories, a  red ring will show up around their profile pic. When you click on their pic, it'll take you directly to their Story. (as shown below)

how to create an instagram story tutorial

3. Now, to create your own story, you'll go to your home feed and click on the + sign at the top left of your screen. (shown below).

instagram stories for businesses

4. Then to start a 10 second video, just press and hold down the circle on the bottom middle of your screen. If you just want to take a pic, just click the button quickly at it'll snap it for you. (shown below)

instagram stories for businesses

5. then to add some fun writing to your image or video, just click on the pen tool in the top right of your screen. (shown below)

instagram stories for businesses

6. Choose your color and get to work :)

instagram stories guide

7. Decorate your image however you like. The more creative, the better. Make this part fun!

instagram stories for businesses

8. You can even edit your Instagram Stories in order to control who can see it. Just click on the three little dots in the bottom right corner and a screen will pop up (shown below). Click on Story Settings.

instagram stories for businesses

9. Here you can decide you can and can't see your Story. You can go through and individually pick people you don't want to be able to see your Story and who you want to receive message replies from. (shown below)

Instagram stories tutorial

And that's it! Easy peasy right?

Alright, now that you know HOW to start using Instagram Stories, let's have some fun. Below are a few ideas for you to get started. I put together 7 killer ideas to start using Instagram Stories for business. 

Stay ahead of the game and get using Stories ASAP. You won't regret it :)

How to use Instagram stories for your business:

1. Take them with you

Going to a kick ass conference? Meeting up with a bunch of other small biz owners or bloggers? Having coffee with an influencer in you niche? Going to an exclusive party?

Dude, your fans want to come too. They already think you're interesting and sort of look up to you... otherwise, they wouldn't be following you right now. Trust me, they WISH they were tagging along with you. Or tucked away in your suitcase on their way to that awesome conference they haven't been able to attend yet.

Make them feel like they're right there with you, simply by adding a video to your story. They'll love watching your videos from that exclusive party, feeling like they were right there with you. 

Getting to hear what you and that other super cool bloggers talk about at lunch will make 'em feel like they're part of your clique.

They live clear across the country so they couldn't make that awesome party, they'll feel like they didn't miss a thing being able to watch your stories throughout the event. 

Action Item: Next time you're at a special event. Document it in your IG stories. Arriving to the event (they get to see your initial reaction), during the event (meeting new people, listening to speakers, dancing, hanging out), leaving the even (your favorite takeaways and what you learned).

2. Go Behind the scenes

Make your fans feel apart of your brand by taking them behind the scenes with you. Instead of just posting flat lays of your new products, create a BTS video of how you put together the shoot, of you snapping pics, laughing and having a good time getting that perfect shot.

Up until this point, your fans only got to see the the finished product... the final image. Make it come to life by showing them from start to finish how it all came about. 

When you get a rush of new orders, show all the orders coming out the printer, they'll get excited if they see theirs!

If you're publishing a new blog post, show some video of how the blog post all came together. How it really took you 37 pics to get that perfectly lit selfie. 

Action Item: Next time you're working on something like a photo shoot, new collection, blog posts, small or large projects... give your fans a sneak into the behind the scenes. Even if it's as small as poster board on your front lawn snapping pics, trust me, they'll love it. 

3. Literally create your brands story

Every brand has a story, now you can LITERALLY tell it. Show how a design came to life from beginning to end. How you go from idea to concept, to draft to final product. 

Even if you're a small Etsy shop, this will definitely catch their attention, while telling your brands story... visually. 

Trust me, this is the stuff your fans WANT to see. This is the stuff they haven't got to see, up until this point. Serve it to them on a silver platter and they'll become raving fans. 

Have you recently gone through a rebranding? Show a bit of that process. How you went from your old logo, to the new one... and why... not just by telling them, but by showing them. This will make them feel apart of that process and develop an emotional connection to your brand. 

be creative. Think about creating a "mini film" showing the process. 

Action Item: Next time your putting together a blog post, show your followers how it came about... beginning to end. Show your vision board you put together for your next project, better yet... create a story DURING the process of putting together your vision board while explaining why you chose each pic and piece to include it in.

 

 

4. Make them feel like the CEO of your brand

Okay, this one gets me super excited. Whether you're a blogger or biz owner... we all hold meetings, pow wows or just brain storming sessions here and there. Whether it's with you and one other person... or your entire staff. Bring them into the meeting with you.

I don't know about you, but every time Susan Peterson with Freshly Picked shows a pic or video of her team in a meeting talking about next seasons collection, I get super excited. Why? because it's top secret stuff... stuff the customers & fans aren't supposed to see.

Showing the stuff that's only meant for the staff to see or hear, is like a gold mine... they'll be hooked and waiting for your next Story!

Action Item: Video your next meeting. Even if it's just a small peak into it. You don't have to giveaway everything, just give them enough to feel included in the conversation. An extra tip... leave something they're NOT supposed to see somewhere in the shot. But, put it far away or halfway in the shot so they can't quite make it out completely. This will drive them crazy, but get them super excited!

5. Show exclusive sneak peeks

Remember, these stories only last for 24 hours MAX. So you should definitely be showing some exclusive sneak peeks.

Have a product launching next week? Create a fun video where you flash it super quick in your story, just so they get a quick glimpse at it. If you're cool with sharing it all, then go right ahead yo! it'll only be up for 24 hours then it'll be gone FOR-EV-ER (in my best Sandlot voice).

Don't want to share too much? No problem, try only showing ONE of the SIX new colors you've got. Or ONE of the TWELVE photos you'll be using. 

Action Item: Next time you have the opportunity to show an exclusive peek, do it! Don't hesitate, just throw up a story ASAP.

6. Give Unexpected promo codes

Maybe in the middle of your story you quickly shout out a discount code to your fans that's only valid for the next 24 hours. 

This tactic is awesome because it does a few things for you. 1) you can track how many people are actually watching your Stories by keeping count of how many people use your code. 2) make a habit of doing this every now and again and your fans won't want to miss ANY of your Stories. They'll be waiting for you to post your next Story hoping you give them a code.

3) it'll get you new customers. Sometimes people are just waiting to buy, who knows why. But give them a quick promo code that's only valid for a certain amount of time, and they'll be more inclined to finally give your brand a try.   

Action Item: Try shouting out an exclusive discount code in your next story. Make sure this code isn't promoted anywhere else. It's strictly for your Story watchers. Then keep track of the uses. 

7. Do Mini Video tutorials

Are you a beauty blogger? Create an Instagram Story showing your daily makeup routine. Did you recently try out a new product? Show your followers step-by-step how to use it and show the results.

Are you a biz owner? Show the world how easy it is to use your products. Quick tips and tricks on how to style your products. How comfortable your items are, showing the super soft fabric and vibrant colors up close.

Maybe you can wear your products multiple ways,  create a Story showing all the different ways they can wear it.

Action Item: Make it a point to create  Story this week that gives your fans some sort of tutorial or step-by-step guide. Try to do this at least once a week.

Alright, be sure to grab my IG Stories Guide for Businesses below where I give the ins & outs of IG Stories... plus I;m giving your 32 Story ideas you can steal. Just click below to download it now!

-Linds