It’s no secret that there are many advantages of using Instagram for business. Today, brands of all sizes and niches use Instagram marketing to build brand awareness, reach their target audiences, promote their products or services, and start selling in-app. With 25 million businesses and 2 million advertisers on Instagram, it can be daunting for brands to cut through the noise and reach their potential customers on the platform.
Back in 2016, when Instagram announced its version of short-lived content also known as Instagram Stories, it gave more opportunities for companies to interact with their potential customers. Just within a few years, the number of Instagram Stories users has grown to 500 million daily people, and the popularity of in-the-moment Instagram content inspires brands to use Instagram Stories for business growth.
Why Bother About Instagram Stories?
- Increase user engagement: Short-lived content keeps users engaged, and when you watch stories from the top of your feed, they automatically scroll from one account to the next one. What is more, Instagram Stories have increased the time spent on the platform so that an average Instagrammer spends 53 minutes in-app.
- Spark interest in your products: When it comes to shopping online, people want to find real photos of products to see whether they can fit them. Gone long the days when product photography could interest potential customers. Since Instagram Stories are available for 24 hours only and they don’t appear on the main feed, this content seems to be more authentic. Plus, there are many features that help to showcase your products and interest followers.
- Create a sense of urgency: A limited lifespan of Instagram Stories creates a fear of missing out that encourages users to take action faster. Not only do they spend much time watching short-lived content on the platform, but they are also prone to making impulse purchases.
Further Reading: The 10 Definitive Instagram Statistics You Should Know – and Why
If you want to drive ecommerce sales with short-lived content, here’s the list of top five Instagram Stories features and examples from top companies that can inspire your next ephemeral content campaign.
How to Drive Ecommerce Sales with 5 Instagram Stories Features
1. Product Stickers
The in-app shopping on Instagram is flourishing, so the platform rolls out more and more features to help interested followers find out more about the featured products and buy them without leaving the app. With the popularity of product tags, Instagram has announced a similar feature for Instagram Stories–product stickers.
Now, brands can add one product sticker to each Instagram Story to provide followers with more information about the featured item. What is more, brands can use this sticker with the swipe-up feature, highlights, or videos that give more opportunities to show off products from all sides.
Here’s how MadeWell Mens uses product stickers to promote its products via Instagram Stories:
Not only does MadeWell Mens publish a UGC photo of the product to show it off in action, but the company also includes a quote from the featured influencer and tags David Flipping to add the social proof. And if a follower is interested in the product, it’s easy for him to tap on the product tag to learn more about the price and description or even buy it without leaving the app.
Pro Tip: To improve customer experience and encourage both followers and visitors to make a purchase, you can create a separate Instagram Highlights album to add all relevant Stories that showcase your new collection, items on sale, or the most popular products.
2. The Swipe-up Link
Wouldn’t it be great if you could take your Instagram followers to your high-converting product page on the website? Although every Instagram user can add one clickable link to the bio section, some business profiles can go the extra mile and add the swipe-up link to Instagram Stories which gives many possibilities for brands to drive website traffic and turn followers into customers.
But here comes the ugly truth: You need to have access to the ‘Swipe-Up’ feature in Instagram Stories–your community must be over 10k followers or you must be verified on Instagram.
However, this feature is a goldmine for businesses that want to drive ecommerce sales on Instagram. Let’s take Calvin Klein, for example:
Once the company had produced a new collection of handbags, it used Instagram Stories to promote the collection. Calvin Klein showcased items from different angles and included a clickable link with a call to action so that interested followers could browse the product page on the website. Why? It helped to provide followers with a variety of options and therefore every customer could meet her needs and wants.
Pro Tip: If you’re a small business that has under 10k followers on Instagram, you can collaborate with influencers who can add clickable links to their Stories or turn to Talkable to set up a referral program that will help you turn your loyal customers into brand advocates (as some of them can also have access to this feature).
3. The Countdown Sticker
If you’re using Instagram Stories for business, chances are that you know the power of the FOMO effect. Since most people are afraid of missing out on something important, the FOMO effect encourages them to take the desired action faster, and the countdown sticker is here to help. With the countdown sticker, you can set a reminder for any day and time to notify your audience about the time-sensitive event or offer.
Check out how the leading Pinterest and Instagram management tool Tailwind did it. To announce its Facebook live session, Tailwind created a series of Instagram Stories where the company described the event and included the countdown sticker. Once interested followers subscribed to your countdown event, they got a reminder so that they wouldn’t miss the event.
This feature gives many opportunities for ecommerce companies to increase sales. Whether you want to cause a buzz around your product launch or promote your time-limited offer, the countdown sticker can help keep your audience excited.
Pro Tip: If you don’t have many product photos, you can check out photo stock agencies like Depositphotos to find high-quality visuals, repurpose them, and keep a focus on your product or service. It will allow you to use your product images for the main feed.
4. The Question Sticker
When it comes to ecommerce sales, Instagram marketing is not just about showcasing your product, it’s also about providing potential customers with the relevant information to encourage them to choose your brand over other competitors. And the question Instagram Stories sticker is a perfect way to start a conversation with your followers, understand them better, and convince them to buy from you.
For instance, Starbucks uses the question sticker to collect customer feedback. In honor of the summer menu launch, the company asked its followers about their preferences in cold beverages:
When it comes to ecommerce sales, you can use the question sticker to ask potential customers about their worries, understand their pain points, and answer those questions to ease their worried minds.
Pro Tip: To go the extra mile, it’s important to ask questions that bother your target audience, so it’s important to know their pain points. Thus, you use SEO tools like SEMrush or Mondovo to understand your website visitors, analyze this information, and be proactive with their potential questions.
5. Instagram Stories Carousel Ads
It goes without saying that paid advertising helps brands achieve their business goals faster. With carousel ads in Instagram Stories, companies get another opportunity to add up to three images or videos and therefore tell more about your product and how to use it or show off multiple products within one ad. Simply put, using Instagram Stories carousel ads inspire users to take action.
Case in point:
To reach new customers, budget travel solutions provider Airy decided to run carousel ads in Stories that showed inspirational images of beautiful travel destinations, shared a promo code, and included a strong call to action. The campaign achieved wonderful results: a 2.14X lift in conversions and a 74% increase in reach.
For ecommerce brands, running Instagram Stories carousel ads is a perfect way to tell more about the best products, explain their benefits, or show how to make the most out of them. All in all, this feature helps to optimize the ad budget and drive ecommerce sales faster.
Pro Tip: For a variety of reasons, modern users love seeing motion graphics in ads. Once you’ve decided to run Instagram Stories video ads, turn to a professional creative studio like Animaker to create animated videos for your next ad campaign unless you have an in-house team of graphic designers.
In a Word
The era of short-lived content is here. Nowadays, creating Instagram Stories isn’t an option for brands that use Instagram for business. Not only do Instagram Stories keep your target audience engaged, but they also give more opportunities to drive ecommerce sales. It’s not too late to use the above-mentioned Instagram Stories features and start selling more in-app–just give it a try.
Learn more insights about Instagram Stories in this infographic from Enterpriser Suite.