Instagram is one of the current prevailing social media platforms in our society. It is essentially a way to tell a story through visuals, and we all know that a majority of consumers today would rather learn from and engage with visual content than text-based content. By knowing all about Instagram and the features it has, you can make sure you’re staying prevalent in your follower’s minds, not only socially, but professionally as well. We are sharing some ways that you can use Instagram stories for business in 2019 so you can boost brand awareness, customer engagement, and so much more.
A Snapshot of Instagram
Instagram has become so popular over its lifespan that it hosts over 1 billion accounts that are active on a monthly basis. Many of these accounts take advantage of all the features that Instagram has to offer, such as direct messaging and stories.
Instagram stories are essentially a snapchat-esque feature that allows users to post pictures and videos, with the option of numerous different elements you can add to them, that last for 24 hours. These stories have become so popular since their inception that 500+ million accounts use them every single day.
What’s more, is that not all of these accounts are run by people. A great number of them are actually for organizations and companies. In fact, 80 percent of Instagram users follow a business. Those who don’t are really just the black sheep in the Instagram crowd!
So if the use of Instagram stories and business accounts are so prevailing on this social network, how can business accounts use Instagram stories to enhance their company?
Instagram Stories Elements That Give a Bang for Their Buck
When Instagram released their stories feature, they decided to go the extra mile and offer certain elements users can add to their stories. While there are numerous ones present, there are particular elements that can enhance a business’s efficacy.
One of these are hashtags, which you may be familiar with from Twitter. You can use these in your stories as well as your posts and even search for other posts with the same hashtag. Another are locations for your viewers to see where your business is located, where an event is being held, etc. A few stickers you can put on your stories that may also be helpful are poll stickers, question stickers, the countdown sticker, and the emoji slider. You are free to use any of these on your stories and can design the font, color, size, etc. however you wish. Finally, the Instagram highlight reel allows you to extend the lifetime of the stories you are particularly proud of from 24 hours to pure permanence. You can add to your reel, which appears on your business’s Instagram page, from an active story or from your archived stories you have already posted.
Exclusive Elements for Businesses
While the elements listed above are effective for every business to further its professional standing and increase its eminence, there are certain features that are limited solely to Instagram business accounts. Although anyone can create a business account, only businesses can acquire certain information and implement certain elements on their stories.
One of the features only business accounts have access to on Instagram are real-time metrics on how their stories have performed throughout the day. Some of these metrics include reach, impressions, video metrics, etc. With this, just like with all other marketing analytics tools, you can see what type of content is performing the best… and worst.
Discovery is another analytics tool that can provide useful data about viewers of your Instagram stories. Discovery incorporates impressions your story has made, or the total number of times your story was viewed, and the number of accounts that started following you after viewing your Instagram story. Discovery can help you analyze the scope of your audience and show you which stories are contributing to brand awareness for your company.
A third useful analytics tool is Navigation. Under Navigation, you can see the actions viewers have taken after viewing your story. These include back, the number of taps to see the story that came before yours, forward, the number of taps to see the next story before your current story was completed, next story, the number of swipes to the next account’s story, and exited, the number of times a viewer closed your story. While Navigation usually doesn’t provide positive statistics, the data can show you which content isn’t connecting with your audience and which is.
If you are unsure how to use all of these tools, Hootsuite provides a guide for beginners or those who may need a bit of assistance.
If you run a business that sells products to consumers, shoppable stickers for your Instagram stories may be a beacon of light you’ve been searching for. Once your business account is approved for shopping on Instagram and you are finished the setup, shoppable stickers are at your disposal to add into any of your stories. These stickers allow a viewer to click on them and be directed straight to the purchasing page for said item. These are extremely handy to drive sales for any products or new launches you want to feature in a story.
To insert the product sticker into your story, you will simply select the photo/video you want to feature and then click the product sticker from the sticker tray. You’ll then select the product from your catalog that you want the sticker to pertain to. Then just change the color to your liking and move it wherever you see fit. No need to shop ‘till you drop with this handy tool!
A perfect way for businesses to promote their products/services beyond their followers is by investing in Instagram ads. And what’s beautiful about these ads (other than the photo/video you’ll feature them with) is that they can run for as long as you want! They can also be optimized to reach the business objectives you are hoping to reach. These ads essentially act as a divider between stories users are clicking through. So while they’re catching up on their friend’s lives with their stories, your business can reach a multitude of Instagram users whether they follow you or not. These can certainly increase brand awareness and extend the reach your business account has.
In order to create an ad, you’ll need to visit Ads Manager where you can develop your ad through either a “Guided Creation” or “Quick Creation”. Once you click “Create”, you’ll be able to select the “Brand Awareness,” “Reach,” “Video views,” “Conversions,” “App installs,” “Lead Generation” or “Traffic objective.” For your third step in the “Placements” section, you’ll have the option to choose “Automatic Placements” or “Edit Placements.” Then just follow the rest of the steps the Ads Manager gives you and you’re ready to publish your ad!
But ads, of course, come with some downsides too, including cost and users’ interaction. When you publish an ad, you can expect to pay somewhere between 20 cents or $2 per click for cost per click or CPC. For CPM, cost per mile, impressions are the main focus. For this, you will be likely to pay around $5 per 1,000 visitors who view your sponsored story.
When it comes to user interaction, it’s all about freedom of choice. While users can’t choose how often they see promoted stories, they can easily just click through them and move on to their friends’ stories if they aren’t interested in watching them. This is why you have to make sure to keep your stories engaging so that people want to watch them and follow your business account.
Even though there are pros and cons to using Instagram ads, the end goal that all businesses and marketers want to get to with them is a positive ROI. And this goal is definitely feasible with ads on your stories. This, in fact, may be the reason why ⅓ of the most viewed stories on Instagram come from business profiles, according to AdEspresso.
Over 60 percent of users say they have discovered a new product on Instagram and that stories played a significant role in this, according to Hootsuite. Thus if your company is trying to market a new product, ads on Instagram stories can certainly help. Additionally, if your story has the “swipe up” option in which a viewer can visit a specified link to buy a featured product, reserve tickets, etc., it will be used between 15 and 25 percent of Instagram viewers. Unfortunately, analytics won’t track link clicks, however.
But you don’t have to just take intangible statistics to make your decision about Instagram Ads. Two concrete case studies exhibit the success of story ads as well. One of these studies surrounds the “better than delivery” Digiorno pizza. After Digiorno pizza successfully created a teaser video for their “Plan A” pizza social experiment, they found the story yielded extremely positive results. Their story reached a total of 21 million people and resulted in a 6-point lift in purchase intent and an 8-point increase in ad recall, according to Digital Training Academy.
The second case study featured the less appetizing, but ever-popular company, Gap. When Gap wanted to shine a spotlight on its Logo Remix program, they created 3-card carousel ads on Instagram Stories. The results they found were significant: a 17-point lift in ad recall, a 4-point lift in message association, and a 73 percent higher CTR than their previous campaigns, according to Instagram Business.
When It’s All Shared and Done…
Now you know all of the features Instagram offers to allow your business to reach more people and even engage in your call to action. Instagram stories are an innovative way that you can use your creative skills to build excitement and loyalty for your business. Start to build your business’s story with Instagram stories and see how much this feature can offer you! If you’re still skeptical about how social media can boost your sales, check out our Using Social Media for Business eBook or reach out to us with any questions you might have about using Instagram stories for business in 2019.