People go to Instagram to connect and communicate with businesses they love. In fact, more than 200 million daily active Instagrammers visit a business profile each. With Instagram influencing 75 per cent of purchase decisions, it’s more important than ever to have a robust strategy for your brand on this booming social platform.
Instagram is continually reinventing itself, adding more and more features. As a small business owner, it can be hard to know where to best direct your marketing efforts and what content you should be producing.
2016 saw the introduction of Instagram Stories – 15-second video or photo clips that disappear after 24-hours, a rival to Snapchat. They’ve been an enormous hit with the Instagram community and make for some seriously addictive viewing. Recent stats show more of us are neglecting to scroll our feeds, preferring to spend time watching the Stories of our friends, family and favourite brands.
All aboard the Stories train
More than 150 million users have a direct conversation with a business on Instagram, every day with a third of those messages beginning with an Instagram story. So why do Instagram Stories encourage conversation more than a post to your gallery?
“You can turn window shoppers into VIP shoppers”
Sam Burgess, founder of content marketing consultancy Social Mouth says, ‘People buy from people. Your passion, enthusiasm and knowledge come across on film, and that in itself is compelling. Stories help to build know, like, trust; the three things needed for someone to want to buy from a business.
‘By being on camera you make yourself, as a small business owner, much more approachable. Prospective customers feel that they can reach out to you directly and ask you questions such as shipping or sizing and you can delight them by going above and beyond with your customer service. Instagram Direct (private message) is an opportunity for you to chat with your customer one-on-one and close the sale.’
Give your audience a reason to follow your Stories
Stories allow businesses to share valuable insights and behind-the-scenes content, as well as snippets of your life as a business owner. Live broadcast or document in-store events, take your customer on a ‘day-in-the-life’ journey, introduce the team, show them how something is made or even give styling tips. Involve your community in your business by inviting them in, and by doing this you can turn window shoppers into VIP shoppers.
Embrace the fear, and go for it
The number one barrier preventing business owners from showing up on Stories is fear. Having worked with hundreds of small business owners to build their business and personal brand online, there are a few steps you can take to fight the fear and bring out your inner presenter:
- Set yourself a 30-day challenge. Plan out topics for 30 days, so you know roughly what you intend to share each day. Remember your intention is to add value to your customer, increase trust and bring them closer to your brand.
- When filming, imagine that you are speaking to your favourite customer, by being clear on who you are talking to, will shape the exact content to share. Always have just one person in mind, that way it feels a lot less daunting.
- Play your clips back for a sound quality check, no matter how hard it is to hear your voice on camera, by watching your Stories you will be able to improve quicker.
- Don’t be at mercy to the 15-second countdown. Apps such as Continual/CutStory (iOS), Story Split/Story Cutter (Android) can cut up a longer video for you
- Avoid ‘over-share’. Our short attention spans mean 6-8 clips per 24-hour period is ample; always leave your audience wanting more. Be sure to include a beginning, middle and end to each of your Stories so that users know that there are no more clips to come.
“Create content your community wants to consume rather than content you want to create”
Instagram Stories is here to stay, and its popularity is gaining quickly; Stories sharing is soon to surpass the 96 million posts already shared per day on the platform. What businesses are loving about Stories is that it is an efficient, easy way to connect with your audience, build trust and break down the barriers between brand and customer.
As with all content marketing, create content your community wants to consume rather than content you want to create; if you can’t think as to how they would respond, then it’s possibly not the right thing to be sharing.
With Stories only lasting 24-hours, there’s less pressure on ‘picture perfect’ to be , so swipe right, and hit record.
Further reading on social media