How Small Businesses Can Use Instagram Stories Professionally

Instagram Stories were launched in 2016 and since then have become one of the most popular features of the social media platform.

Stories are pictures or videos that are viewed one after another in a stream at the top of the Instagram screen and they disappear after 24 hours. At first, you might think this is an unnecessary feature, best suited to a younger audience, but businesses can successfully use Instagram Stories to improve their engagement. Here are five benefits to using Stories.

1 | Diversity Your Social Media Approach

The introduction of stories changed the way some people use Instagram. Instead of scrolling through a feed, they may watch Stories one after another. So if your posts aren’t getting noticed in the feed, you have a second way of reaching your audience through Stories. You can even share your posts in your Stories to create another opportunity to capture your followers’ attention.

2 | Real Time Communication

Because Stories disappear within 24 hours, they are an excellent medium for real time marketing. You can post live during an event to encourage attendance or show a behind the scenes to improve relatabilty with your audience.

3 | Show Your Fun Side

Because of the casual, real-time nature of Instagram Stories, you can let loose a little more and have fun with your Instagram marketing.  This is a great place to show behind-the-scenes content, company culture, or to recognize employee achievements.

A note of warning: Be judicious in your use of gifs and emojis. Too many flashing gifs or cartoons can make your company appear unprofessional.

4 | Encourage Audience Participation

Stories offer features such as polls, question boxes, and multiple choice quizes which provide opportunities to interact with your followers. Who can resist clicking on a poll question? Beyond making this fun for your audience and getting them engaged, these features can be helpful feedback for client research.

Since your poll will last for 24 hours with your Story, don’t forget to share the results with your followers after it ends.

5 | Create Evergreen Content

Your expired Stories can be saved to a Highlight at the top of your Instagram profile, creating evergreen content. Since this area is directly under your bio, it is prime real estate! Plan out an “About Us/Me” Story or a Services Story and then share them to your Highlights to to grab the attention of your profile visitors.  Give careful thought to your Highlight cover images to keep them cohesive.

If done well, small businesses can successfully use Instagram’s Story feature to engage your audiences and create evergreen content!

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