Learn how Instagram Stories can help you reach and engage more customers than ever
Do you use Instagram Stories for your business?
It’s no secret that Instagram has quickly become a titan in the world of social media: in June 2018, the app announced it had reached 1 billion monthly active users.
And while many businesses are familiar with posting photos and videos on their Instagram feed, fewer are taking advantage of Instagram Stories.
If you don’t use this powerful feature, you’re missing out on an incredible opportunity to share current, authentic content with your followers and potential customers.
What are Instagram Stories?
Launched in 2016, Instagram Stories are full-screen images or videos that are viewable on your profile for only 24 hours.
They’re a great way to show the personality of your business—especially your fun, spontaneous side!
Instagram Stories by the numbers
- 500 million+ accounts use Instagram Stories every day. 
- One-third of the most viewed stories come from businesses. 
- 1 in 4 Millennials and Gen Z-ers look for Stories of the products or services they want to buy. 
How do I use Instagram Stories for business?
Instagram Stories are a great way to build on the posts you’re already sharing via your Instagram feed, and to engage with customers more deeply through real-time, authentic content.
Because stories disappear after 24 hours, they present an opportunity to get more personal and spontaneous with your brand. Try sharing limited-time offers, promotional content and behind the scenes action—or just something fun!
You can share both images and videos on Instagram Stories. Images will generally show for around 5 seconds; videos will show for a maximum of 15 seconds. If you share a video that’s longer than 15 seconds, Instagram will automatically split it up and post it in consecutive 15-second segments. You can also share live videos, which remain viewable for 24 hours.
Instagram Stories are your chance to get creative with a variety of options and stickers to choose from, including:
- Reaction slider
- and more!
You can also share other people’s Instagram posts, and you can share other people’s stories if you’re tagged in them.
If you have 10,000 followers or a verified account you can also add links to your story. Viewers will see a “see more” option at the bottom of your story, and they can swipe up to follow the link.
There’s also the option to add shopping links to your stories. Note that access to this feature requires approval from Instagram.
How do people find my Instagram Stories?
When you have an active story, visitors will see a colored circle around your profile photo.
If they’re already following you on Instagram, your profile photo with the circle around it will appear at the top of their feed.
Want to reach even more people? Add hashtag and location stickers to make your stories discoverable for people who aren’t already following you.
What makes an engaging Instagram Story?
Studies show that when it comes to engaging with your audience, videos are the way to go. 51% of brands are using video in stories, and they’re seeing lower drop off rates than with photos. 
Of course, the choice is yours. Our advice is to try out a mix of different content types and see what resonates most with your followers.
How often should I post Instagram Stories for business?
There’s no right or wrong answer, but here are some statistics that may help guide you.
50% of businesses on Instagram create at least one story during a typical month.  In a study of 100 leading Instagram accounts, consulting agency Block Party found that the average posting frequency for stories is 2.3 posts per week. 
Instagram Stories are all about spontaneity and showing your followers what you’re up to right now. Our recommendation: create and schedule some stories ahead of time, and also add them spontaneously whenever something fun or noteworthy happens.
Advanced Instagram Stories tips
If that’s not enough, there’s still even more that businesses can do to make their Instagram Stories work for them!
- Instagram Story Highlights
Introduced in December 2017, this feature allows you to save stories into a highlight reel that appears just above your feed. Stories in your highlights will live there permanently unless you choose to delete them.
Organize your most popular stories into themes or categories—such as products, customer photos, events, and so on—and people who visit your profile will be able to quickly get a glimpse into what you’re all about.
To get started, visit your Stories Archive settings and make sure “Save to Archive” is enabled. From now on, you’ll be able to view all of your expired Stories. Then you can click on any of them and add them to a highlight.
You can also add cover images to your highlights to give them a professional, cohesive look.
- Advertising on Instagram Stories
Many businesses are finding success through advertising their products and services on Instagram Stories.
It’s a great way to target potential customers, as your ads are shown right between the other content people are already watching. You can choose from a variety of different advertising goals, including Reach, Brand Awareness, Traffic, Conversions, and more.
Need help with Instagram Stories for business?
At Different Perspective, we help businesses in all industries establish brand authority and enrich customer relationships with a comprehensive social media strategy and consistent, relevant and engaging content.
Ready to get started?