Everything You Need to Know About Instagram Stories for Your Business

Instagram stories - a complete guide

Instagram has become one of the most sought-after marketing tools in the recent past. Specifically, its ‘Instagram Stories’ feature has been the talk of the town, with over 500 million daily active Stories users! Massive, right? If you’ve not yet tried out this cool feature from Instagram, we are here to tell you how you can do it right away.   

What are “Instagram Stories”?

Introduced in August 2016, Instagram Stories is an uber-cool feature from Instagram that lets you post stuff as a “Story” that vanishes after 24 hours. What this enabled was an opportunity for users to share pictures and videos that they didn’t want to publish as a post, but still wanted to share with their followers. 

Did you know? Within just 8 months of its launch, Instagram Stories had over 200 million daily users! This is a true testament to its popularity.

Enough has been written about the benefits of Instagram Stories. Right from acting as a tool to increase followers to gauging your followers’ interests, Instagram Stories can help you understand the pulse of your audience while helping you increase sales tremendously. It also lets you tell your story to your followers. Today, marketing is all about showing your human side of the brand and connecting with your audience, and Instagram Stories lets you do exactly that.

In this blog post, we walk you through the process of creating Instagram Stories that increase engagement and help you reach a wider audience.

First things first, if you are not sure how to create a ‘Story’ on Instagram, follow these simple steps:

  1. Tap on the plus icon on the top right of your screen to choose stories or simply swipe right on the main screen.
  2. You can now either tap the circle button at the bottom of the screen to take a live photo or video, or choose a media from the bottom left.
  3. After choosing your photo/video, you can customize it with text, personal drawings, stickers, Gifs, music, polls, questions, emojis, and multiple different filters.
  4. Hit the “right arrow” on the bottom right to share your photo to your story which all your followers can view or select a few friends to directly message the photo to.

Fact: Instagram stories usage statistics show that nearly 86.6% of Instagram users post Stories.

Now that you know how you can create a “Story” on Instagram, see how you can leverage its various features to your benefit.

What are the various ‘creation’ options available in Instagram Stories?

When you open the ‘Story’ option, on the left you can see multiple options that include:

Create: This option lets you create multiple variants of content like a simple text-based story, gif-based story, shoutouts, etc. You can see the below images that show the various options available when you click on ‘Create’.

How to create Instagram stories
Credit: Instagram

Boomerang: Not exaggerating, but this feature was all the rage when it was first introduced. It is a fun and quirky option that can be used to show some fun elements of your business.

Layout: Want to post a collage with multiple pictures? This feature lets you do exactly that! No more using multiple apps to create collages. Using this feature, you can create collages with Instagram.

Multi-capture: Not a fan of collages? Want to post multiple pictures one after the other? Choose this option to do that. You can continuously click and post pictures one after the other without much hassle.

Now that you know what are some of the options available under ‘Instagram Stories’, let us now see how you can jazz up your stories to grab the attention of your customers

How to Create Instagram Stories That Increase Engagement

Statistics on Instagram stories claim that one-third of the most viewed stories are ones posted by brands. One in three daily Instagrammers said they had become more interested in a product they had seen on Stories. Ready to get your audience talking about you? Check out the below guide to do exactly that.

Add text on top of the media

It’s true that a picture speaks a thousand words. Go that extra mile and add text to your stories to convey exactly what you want to tell your customers. You can use the various fonts, colors, and text effects available to add the oomph to your stories. You can add the text by clicking on the “Aa” button on the top right after you choose a media to post.

adding text on top of instagram stories
Credit: Farida Gupta Instagram

Here is how Farida Gupta, an Indian fashion brand, has used text to announce the launch of their festive collection. 

Here is another example, where Juicy Chemistry have shared their eco-friendly side. They talk about how their processes and products are sustainable and eco-friendly.

Put text in your Instagram stories
Credit: Juicy Chemistry Instagram

Bonus: You can choose the size of your text to maintain the aesthetics. You can either type and then choose the option to increase the font on the left. Or, once you’re done typing, grab what you typed and use two fingers to adjust the size.

Add Gifs

Gifs are fun. They show your followers you aren’t just posting stories for the sake of posting. They provide the fun element for your stories which your followers may find relatable, urging them to take action.

Here’s how you can add a Gif:

  1. Choose the media you want to post on your stories.
  2. On the top right click the smiley face “sticker” button.
  3. Click On “GIF”
  4. Check out trending GIFs or look for one that aligns with your story
  5. Click to add it to your story
How to add GIF in your instagram stories
Credit: Instagram

Add stickers

We don’t just mean the emoji stickers! Instagram Stories has a host of stickers like questions, quiz, location, reaction slider, music, and so much more! You can find all these when you choose the square emoji icon on top once you select a media you’d like to post. 

How to add sticker in your Insta stories
Credit Instagram

There are a plethora of options for you to choose from such as a quiz, poll on your products or sliders to gauge customer interest before the launch.

Using stickers in Instagram stories
Credit: Instagram

Notice how Instagram auto-generates various hashtags as you start typing? Make use of that to see which is the most popular hashtag that will help you get more views and sales.

We have said this before, and we will say it again: Instagram Stories are a great sales enablement tool. Add links to your website, specific product pages, and more, and see the traffic to your page convert within 24 hours! 

Here’s how you can add the link sticker to your stories:

  1. Add the media to your story
  2. Select the sticker tool from the top navigation bar and click on “Link”
  3. Add your customized link and click “Done”
  4. Place it anywhere on your story and share it with your audience

In the below image, see how the brand has used multiple features of Instagram Stories, like text on media, tagging another brand, and using a customized link to urge the user to click on the same.

How to add links in Instagram stories
Credit: LLB Bangalore Instagram

Bonus: You can also make use of the “See More” feature if you have 10000 followers or more. You can then promote your best-selling product on your stories and lead your audience to your desired webpage. The below image shows how the brand has used the feature to lead the user to its shopping page.

Links in Instagram stories helps in driving sales for D2C businesses
Credit: LLB Bangalore Instagram

How to use filters on Stories

Liked a picture you took of your product but wish it looked sharper? Instagram offers tonnes of cool filters that let you create a number of fun effects on your media. 

You can easily access the filters available on Instagram by clicking on the “3-star” button once you upload a media, or click on the “Home” icon near the white circle below the story page, which is filled with thousands of cool filters for you to try out!

How to add filters in Instagram stories
Credit: Instagram

ProTip: You can also create your own custom filters using external 3rd party tools. Leverage this to promote your next product launch. For example, if you are launching a new line of lipsticks, create an AR filter that lets your audience ‘try’ the shades virtually!

Using filters to promote product on Instagram
Credit: Instagram (Oriflame)

How to add Story Highlights

Have a story you’d like your followers to see for more than 24 hours (Like, forever)? Create story highlights that let you save your stories for as long as you’d like. On your profile, below your bio, click the “+ New” to add a new highlight or choose from archived and live stories to add to your highlighted stories. 

How to add Instagram story highlight
Credit: Mamaearth Instagram

ProTip: Customize the covers of each highlight to stick to your brand identity and maintain aesthetics.

How to share a story your brand is mentioned in

Collaborating with an influencer to promote your products? Or did you get a notification saying someone mentioned you in their story? Is that a cool video review of your product? Let your followers know by sharing the same on your Instagram Stories. Wondering how? Follow these steps:

  1. Check out the mentions by clicking on the ‘Heart’ button at the bottom. Alternatively, you will also get a message from the specified user that you can open. 
  2. Click on the story.
  3. At the bottom of the story, you will have the option to “Add to your story”.
  4. Click that and customize your story with gifs and stickers if needed.

Tips to get more views on your Instagram Stories

While these might seem trivial, these tips and tricks are a sure-shot way to get those views and the engagement you need to get your sales rolling.

  • Ask questions. Get your audience’s feedback and make them a part of your journey. When they feel heard, they will be able to resonate better with your brand, and you have yourself people who are nothing less than brand ambassadors.
  • Be consistent with your design, but also don’t hesitate to spice things up. Use design tools like Canva that have pre-designed templates that can make your stories stand out. Remember, you can create fun new designs while still sticking to your brand’s visual identity.
  • Use hashtags. Hashtags are to Instagram what keywords are to a Google search. Use hashtags that are known and easy to use. You can use up to 10 hashtags on Instagram Stories. Using it will help others discover your account easily.
  • Tag influencers, your ambassadors, or even people whose values align with those of your brand. Mentioning others in your stories will allow them to share your story on their account, in turn helping you reach out to their followers.
  • Leverage story insights. Being aware of basic insights like when your stories have the most views, what kind of communication is resonating with your customers, and more can help you better plan out your Instagram stories strategies and have better, more effective, and efficient results.
  • Use Call-to-actions to get them to your desired page and get shopping. You only have your audience’s attention for a couple of seconds. So, be direct when you want them to take a specific action. 
  • Use Instagram stories ads to get extra attention, from increasing brand awareness to driving your website sales – there are many ways Instagram ads can help you. 

Excited to create your first Instagram story? Check out these 16 unique Instagram Stories ideas you can leverage today!

About Velocity

If you need funds to start your marketing campaigns, your search ends here. We, at Velocity,  are India’s largest revenue-based financier and offer growth capital of up to Rs 2 crore to D2C and e-commerce brands. Businesses with healthy revenue streams can get instant funds and can make the repayments as their revenue grows. To get instant funds for your business, you can apply here!

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