Are you using Instagram Stories on your brand’s social media accounts? If not, you’re probably missing a great opportunity to engage with your customers. Instagram stories are one of the easiest and most popular ways to increase engagement, build a community, and hopefully sell some more products. Here are 11 ideas to help you make the most of the platform.
1. Give a behind-the-scenes peek
Rather than posting the same old photos and videos, take a step back and show your audience the people behind the brand.
Here are some ways to use Instagram Stories to give an inside look at what’s happening in your company and create a connection with your followers:
- Take them on a tour of your office.
- Show what goes into making your product.
- Let them see how much fun you have as a team.
2. Use Instagram Stories for customer service
One way to increase engagement with your audience is by providing customer service via Instagram. If your customers have questions or need help navigating the purchasing process, you can answer them through Instagram’s direct messaging feature.
If your business has a large following and regularly receives a lot of questions, consider hosting an Instagram Live Q&A session once a week or once a month. You could also create polls to find out what features customers are interested in and which products they’d like to see available next.
3. Mention your team members in Stories
You might be afraid that no one will pay attention to your Instagram Stories, but this is not the case. The more you show yourself as a person, and not just a brand, the more likely your audience will like and follow you.
Showing your team members is also an excellent way to increase engagement with your followers. By doing this, you give them a glimpse behind the scenes of what happens when they interact with your social media accounts or visit your website.
This is especially important if you have multiple team members because it shows that there are real people behind the brand and gives them more incentive to follow along.
4. Share user-generated content in your Stories
Engage with your followers by sharing user-generated content. User-generated content (UGC) is any form of content created by users for an online brand or community. It’s highly effective because it helps build brand loyalty, trust, and engagement. It’s also authentic and credible, plus it’s easy to create and post; making the process cost effective for you!
5. Host a Q&A with your followers
Hosting a Q&A session is a fantastic way to engage with your audience. It’s easy to do — just create an Instagram Story asking your followers to submit questions, and then record yourself answering them! Here are some suggestions on how to use the format:
- Get feedback. Ask for suggestions about future content — what would your followers like to see more of? What topics do they feel need more coverage?
- Get ideas. Ask for advice about something that has been bothering you or that you need help with! Your followers will be happy to help.
- Promote new products/services: Use this opportunity to introduce a new product or service and answer any questions potential customers might have about it.
- Promote new content: If you’re going live with a longer piece of content (such as an eBook), ask your followers if they’ve had time to read it yet and what they think!
6. Share a sneak peek of upcoming product or event details
Showing a behind-the-scenes look at your products or services is an excellent way to get your audience excited about what’s to come. For example, if you have a new product launching soon, you can give them a sneak peek of the design, packaging, or even the name. If you have an event coming up, share the speakers and some of their talking points.
If you want to keep your followers intrigued and engaged with your brand in between launches or events, don’t give them all the information at once. Instead, offer up small bits of information on social media as they lead up to your big reveal. This will keep people interested and excited without giving away any secrets too early.
Here are some great ways to do this:
Share photos of upcoming products still in development or almost ready to launch. Hype up future events by sharing speaker bios and headshots with their topic descriptions on Instagram Stories. Let people know when tickets go on sale but save even more details for later updates!
7. Post an unboxing video or live demo product
Your product is probably easy to use and looks great on the screen of your computer. But how does it look in real life? And how do people use it? You can answer these questions by making an unboxing video or live demo.
Instagram stories are limited to 15 seconds, so you’ll need to be quick. The best way to do this is by creating a storyboard for your video, which will help keep you focused on showing off the best parts of your product. Showing real-life uses of your product helps build trust with potential customers in a way that photographs alone can’t match.
8. Share stories from customers and feature them on your feed
Instagram stories are the perfect way to share the awesome things that customers say and do with your products. You can boost credibility by showing off use cases. Also, encourage people to share their own stories by featuring them in your profile. This idea is a win-win for both you and your followers!
A “Customer of the Week” feature is a great way to highlight how real people use your products or services. It’s also a prime opportunity for fans to be featured on your page, which can help encourage other followers to share their own experiences.
9. Ask your followers their opinion on something new you’re considering or something you’re changing up.
Ask the right questions. Whether you’re considering a new product or service, making changes to your content, brand, or advertising strategy, or looking for feedback on how to improve your website; don’t be afraid to ask your followers what they think.
Consider asking these questions: “What are you struggling with?”, “What type of information do you want to see more of?” and “What would you like me to share more of?” You may be surprised by the responses you get!
10. Have a weekly poll to engage your audience and learn more about them.
Have a weekly poll to engage your audience and learn more about them. Start a poll that asks something like “What is your favorite thing about the site?” or “How do you feel about the new look?” The answers you get will provide insight into how many people visit your profile each day, which can give you an idea of what content types to push to increase traffic.
11. Catch their eye by using filters
Filters give Instagram an extra dimension of visual appeal when trying to catch people’s eye and make them stop scrolling through their feed and read your story. Experiment with filters like vintage without borders (usually shown as #vntb), dreamy borderless (#dreamyborderless), film grain (#filmgrain), sepia (#sepia), or holiday lights (#holidaylights), as they tend not only to be visually appealing but also create an aesthetic atmosphere around the photo. Anything you can do to make your visuals stand out is helpful.
Using Instagram Stories to its full potential can be a great way to keep up with your follower engagement and get some new followers on board in the process. Just remember that none of what works today will work forever, so you must keep your content fresh and engaging.