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Instagram Stories: The small business guide to using them

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As a small business it’s vital to be able to leverage every communication asset that’s available to you and Instagram Stories can be one of the most important of these. Instagram Stories allows any brand or organization to engage directly with their community and give them a unique view into the processes that make them the company that they are.

Engagement with Instagram Stories has been huge, and as one of the major social media competitors to Facebook and Twitter, the fact that it has 250 million unique visitors daily and can report that it has increased engagement by 28 minutes per user should be a huge boon for entrepreneurs and small businesses looking to make the most of their social media budget and presence.

It has been shown that up to 33% of the most popular posts on Instagram Stories are from businesses which shows a high willingness of consumers to engage with brands through the medium. With this in mind an expert knowledge, or at least a passing understanding of what makes Instagram Stories tick for so many people is essential.

Instagram Stories are 15 second posts that can be photos, videos or a mix of both that disappear after 24 hours. The briefness and informality of these clips allow organizations to take an “un-scripted” look at the background processes that are involved in their work. Of course, as part of a small business’ social media efforts, nothing needs to be completely random and it is actually a good idea to plan one’s contributions and stories throughout the day.

For example, if you are planning on posting an Instagram Story at 2 o’clock from a trade show, it would be good to have material from your pre-show prep, your morning set up and then the afternoon buzz so that your followers get a full idea of what goes into your work.

There are many useful features on Instagram Stories which allow you to better access the audience that can drive your brand forward and are specially created for businesses who believe Stories can work for them. One of these is Instagram Stories Polls, which give you the opportunity to canvas the opinions of your followers on an any serious, or not so serious, matter of opinion. This could range from the new font to be used on a web page design, to the type of meal you should have for your staff Christmas party.

Instagram Stories that have been posted by businesses have received up to a 20% interaction rate via direct message. This proves the power of direct social contact and engaging your audience with something they are interested in. Instagram Stories can be such a direct and personal interaction with one’s audience that all enterprises, especially small businesses, should be utilizing them for maximizing their product visibility and building their brand community.

How to create Instagram Stories

Using this tool is usually very simple. All you need to do is to do the following:

  • Go to the app and find the camera-shaped icon in the top left corner.
  • You have access to the area of Instagram Stories.
  • Hold down the white circle on top of the screen to record a video or a photo.
  • A square gallery is displayed on the left.
  • You must select the icon to use the visual content already saved.
  • In this part of Instagram Stories, at the bottom of the screen, you will see the option to choose one of the following formats to experiment with and enhance the video or photo you have captured: Type, Music , Live, Boomerang, Superzoom, Focus, and Handsfree.

Share Instagram Stories

First of all, you should know that the option to share other people’s stories depends on whether the account is public or not, or whether it can only be shared and viewed by followers of the same account. Instagram will notify the terms of posting as per the account author’s settings.

For the above, if you want to share a picture that someone has uploaded to their Instagram profile, i.e. from their feed or wall, not from their stories, we first have the option that we can proceed. We already know the account is public with the following simple steps:

  • Visit the Instagram app
  • Look for the user you prefer
  • Select the post that you want to share.
  • Find the little paper airplane.
  • Select this option to add a post to your story.
  • This tool allows you to send it to your contacts via private message.
  • Edit what you want in the story.
  • Publish it.

You should know that this option to share a story from someone else’s Instagram doesn’t let the person who originally uploaded the photo know that you shared it. If this is by design then you will need to name it in the stories using the mention sticker.

For business accounts, it is easy and convenient to know how many people shared the stories without knowing who of the followers. This option is included in Instagram statistics. In order to share Instagram Stories from other people on your Stories, you need to know that you can only do so if that person mentioned You, and you will even get a notification in both the Mentions section of the Activity tab as well even in your private messages.

In the Activity tab and in the private messages, you can share the story as long as the account you are mentioned from is not private. In this case, you can see the mention but not share the story. If you want to mention other people in your stories so they have access to share them, you can mention them by adding them to the text of the story with the @ and / or mention sticker.

Conclusion

Small business owners need to know how to get the most out of Instagram Stories. Gathering some of the best tips from intensive research around the world, this can show you exactly how and why Instagram Stories need to become part of your social media strategy.

 

About Luke Doyle

luked@thebusinesswomanmedia.com'

Luke Doyle writes on behalf of NeoMam Studios and is based in Manchester, UK. When not sharing content, Luke's passions include travelling and photography.

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