If you have an online store and aren’t using Instagram Stories to promote it, you’re missing out on countless opportunities to outshine the competition. Since launching in 2016, the Stories feature has become one of the most indispensable Instagram tools in any brand’s arsenal, providing many effective ways to boost engagement, drive sales and otherwise bolster your marketing strategy.
Instagram allows you to collaborate with influencers, provide visually dynamic content, and get the exposure you need to reach relevant audiences across the globe. And thanks to Instagram Stories, doing so creatively is easier than ever. Let’s explore how to make effective use of Instagram Stories in your online marketing.
What are Instagram Stories?
If you’re an Instagram-user, you’re probably aware of the Stories feature. However, you may not realize what a powerful tool it can be for online stores and businesses. With more than 500 million daily users and fun, visual functionality, Instagram is a great marketing platform.
With Stories, you can create posts of up to 15 seconds in length using photos, videos, and more to make an impression, and the Story only remains visible on your account for 24 hours. That’s a good thing, because when users see a new Story, they know it’s fresh, relevant content, and they are more likely to engage with it.
Benefits of IG Stories to promote an online store
Instagram is more than just a fun social media platform. Some of the top advantages of using IG Stories to promote your business include:
- Boost engagement. Since you can load Stories with interactive features, they provide a powerful way to get people to engage with your brand. From polls and quizzes to real-time chat sessions, Stories make it a breeze to get people excited about your business.
- Drive sales and generate leads. Via special Instagram shopping features like shoppable product stickers, you can quickly and creatively direct users to products and services, allowing them to explore your online store and make purchases quickly and effortlessly.
- Humanize your brand. Stories provide the perfect way to deliver off-the-cuff, straight-to-camera content to your target audience. This gives you untold opportunities for humanizing your brand, such as, highlighting employees or specific products and services.
- Improve brand visibility. Instagram can get you in front of highly targeted audiences in a flash, allowing you to bolster brand visibility and make your business stand out. By adding touches like hashtags, location tags, and special stickers, you can cast a wider net to draw in people who otherwise never would have learned about your brand.
- Get instant feedback. Quickly get a feel for the effectiveness of various marketing strategies by testing the waters on IG Stories. Since users can interact with the content in real-time, this feature provides an invaluable source of feedback, allowing you to hone your marketing strategy.
- Increase trust. Sharing IG Stories about the inner workings of your business is a surefire way to bolster the trustworthiness of your brand. Users will become more familiar and comfortable with your company and what it stands for, increasing the chance of customer conversions and brand loyalists.
Using Instagram Stories for brand promotion
In 2021, Instagram Stories are among the best ways to gain a strong foothold for your brand across social media and other channels, which can lead to improved sales and engagement. Of course, it helps to know how to use these Stories to get the most bang for your buck, so let’s delve into some tips for maximizing your marketing on IG.
1. Drive sales with shoppable product stickers
Like many business owners, you may wonder how sharing photos and videos on IG can translate into improved sales. The Stories feature provides one of the most powerful tools for making money on social media via shoppable product stickers.
When you create a Story on IG, you can tag specific products that appear in it. Typically, these stickers feature language like “tap to view product” or “click here to buy now.” Users are directed to your online store by tapping on the sticker – and to the specific product that caught their eye in your Story.
And make sure if you are directing prospects to your products pages that you have a quick and user-friendly check out method to make for a quick turnaround on sales. Make sure your accounting software comes with crucial features like accepting all major credit cards and providing customizable invoices to get your business logo in every aspect of the customer journey.
2. Boost engagement with specialized stickers
You can add a variety of other sticker types to IG Stories to enhance user engagement. The best examples include:
- Poll stickers to poll audiences and learn more about them. This feature also helps generate a stronger sense of community among those who engage with your brand and helps you leverage social media to understand customer opinions and insights.
- Question stickers to invite your audience to pose questions to your brand directly. Something as simple as “Ask us anything” can generate many interesting responses. You can either respond directly to questions, or you can answer them via new IG Stories, creating an eye-catching Q & A session that’s sure to boost engagement.
- Emoji slider stickers to quickly check user opinions. For instance, you can share new product ideas and ask users to respond with emojis reflecting how they feel.
- Quiz Stickers to bolster interest in your offerings and assess audience opinions. You can check the data later for valuable analytical insights into a variety of topics.
3. Build hype with countdown stickers
Create buzz about upcoming products, services, or special offers and events by creating Instagram Stories with countdown stickers. You can customize these stickers, making it easy to streamline them with the overall aesthetics of your brand.
When people click on a Story with a countdown on it, they are alerted about how long it will be until the event arrives. These eye-catching stickers are a powerful way to build hype, giving users something to look forward to. You can even prompt them to tap the sticker and add a reminder about the event, increasing the odds of them interacting with your new offerings when they go live.
4. Use Story Highlights to expand your bio
Instagram lets users pin specific Stories to the top of their IG pages. Without question, this is one of the best ways to prominently provide more information about your brand that extends far beyond the limited scope of the basic IG bio.
Savvy brands create IG Stories to highlight aspects of their businesses directly at the top of their profiles. For example, you can pin a Story and label it “Special Offer for New Customers,” which directs users to a Story that includes shoppable product stickers and other conversion-driving features. This is a good supplement for user generated content, which is another killer Instagram shopping strategy for online businesses.
5. Include direct links
One caveat about this strategy: Your IG account must have at least 10K followers to be eligible to add direct links in Stories. If that’s the case for your brand, you’ll be tickled to know that you can add direct links to your online store or website any time you create a new Story.
By using attention-grabbing GIFs and language like “swipe up to see for yourself,” you can quickly direct relevant users to your online store while their interest is piqued. This is also something important to keep in mind when choosing a platform for your online store. SEO and social media integration is critical for quality eCommerce platforms.
Integrations are super important, particularly with WordPress or other popular sites and plug-ins. You might need this easy integration if you want to use analytics or other tools to make the most of your online business. The best Ecommerce platforms for SEO can also supercharge your business by improving your marketing campaigns and drawing new customers right to your digital door.
If you don’t have 10K followers yet, prompting users to check out the link in your bio is an effective workaround and one that can easily be implemented via IG Stories either verbally or via text captions.
6. Add hashtags and location tags
As with other IG posts, you can reach relevant audiences with hashtags and location tags to your Stories. In fact, you should always do this any time you create a new Story for your brand because Stories get dedicated space at the top of hashtag and location search pages. In other words, if someone searches for a location or hashtag that’s featured in your Story, it will appear at the top of the results page.
Instagram generously allows you to add up to 10 hashtags per Story, providing ample opportunities to attract various prospects to your online store. You are also permitted to include one clickable hashtag sticker per post, and you should do so to lead users directly to your product pages, blog, etc.
Tagging a location on your Story can also help bolster local search results in a big way. When users see your Story and are interested in your products or services, they can quickly and easily find out where to go. As for hashtags, the possibilities are endless. You can get as creative and specific as you’d like. Just make sure to inform these hashtags with keyword research and other SEO best practices.
7. Use Instagram Stories ads
In addition to the many organic ways to boost engagement via IG Stories, you can also create paid ads to drive traffic to your online store. According to Instagram, 75% of users take action when presented with relevant ads on IG Stories, so you can quickly get a great return on your investment.
You can create ads for Instagram Stories via the Facebook Ads Manager feature. This powerful tool makes it easy to select specific audiences and objectives for your ads, allowing you to improve engagement and increase conversions. When prompted about where to place the ad, select ‘Instagram Stories’, and then follow the prompts to complete your ad campaign.
8. Go viral with branded offerings
IG’s Stories feature also provides an excellent platform for sharing branded templates and GIFs that increase brand awareness. When designed properly, these branded assets can go viral and be passed along from one user to the next. This snowball effect is a good way to create brand evangelists and generate leads.
Via IG Stories, you can create custom, branded templates that users can screenshot and personalize. Popular options include data visualizations, how-to visuals, and quick Q&As. By including your brand logo or other feature on the template, you can keep your business at the top of users’ feeds and spread the word in a variety of effective ways.
Custom, branded GIFs present another compelling way to attract users to your IG account and, in turn, your online store. You can do this by setting up a Giphy channel to create GIFs and tag them with specific keywords. Then, when users search for GIFs to share, yours will pop up in the results – talk about a win-win situation!
With so many ways to customize IG Stories for brand promotion, online stores across all industries can benefit from Instagram marketing strategies. By consistently posting IG Stories from your business, your brand will appear again and again at the top of users’ feeds, increasing the odds of engagement and conversion.
Getting started with Instagram Stories is easy, and you can optimize yours to suit your marketing objectives as needed. And other than paid ads, using Instagram’s Stories feature doesn’t cost a dime, making it one of the best ways to attract relevant users to your online store organically.
This is a post contributed from one of my marketing partners.
Hero photo by Szabo Viktor on Unsplash