How to use Instagram Stories for Business

How to use Instagram Story for Business + Ideas for What to Share | Thyme is Honey

There’s something new lurking at the top of your Instagram feed! Yesterday Instagram launched Stories, and although they admit that it is totally a replica of Snapchat (kudos to them for just admitting it) the experience is  a bit different, especially for business (read their post and get a quick intro here).

As someone who has royally struggled to get into Snapchat for years I was hesitant to think I’d feel any differently about Instagram Stories, but I totally do. My main issue with both Stories and Snapchat is that they often result in pointless over-sharing and tend to encourage pretty blatant rudeness in public. I’ve had too many friends randomly pick up their phone and scan the room for a Snapchat mid-conversation to know that I never want to be that person. I also have a hard time giving up time to create something that disappears 24-hours later. I know that’s what most people love about it, but the historian in me loves the digital footprint that can be created through social media. I think of social media as something that documents the story of my life, and get way too much satisfaction from looking back through years of memories. At the same time, Social Media is my game and I understand the appeal of these fast-paced, real-time apps, and the candidness that people enjoy with Snapchat. When Snapchat introduced Memories (which kind of addressed my concern about preserving memories) last month I finally put a little more effort into using the platform….but I was still struggling to actually enjoy it.

Enter Instagram Stories, stage left. This is like Snapchat, but built directly into Instagram. The idea is to encourage quick, real-time sharing that isn’t as styled or curated as the average gram. Think of it as a quick way to communicate with your followers about anything. It builds every time you add to it, eventually creating a collage of clips/images that recap what you’ve done the past 24 hours.

If you or your business already have an engaged following on Instagram and you’ve struggled with how to use Snapchat for your business, Instagram Stories is going to be a fun way for you to incorporate real-time, candid posting on a platform that you already know, love, and have a following on. A snap I posted last night has already been viewed by almost 1,200 people. That’s a far cry from the average 200 views I get on Snapchat.

Why you’ll enjoy using Stories – 

  1. You can share content quickly without needing a a styled photoshoot.
  2. You can see who has viewed your post (swipe up when viewing your own Story), which might help you find new followers/customers or know who you should be engaging with.
  3. New Stories show up at the top of the Instagram Feed (at least for now) helping you get in front of your followers every time you update your Story.
  4. Your Story is automatically public if your profile is public. But, like Snapchat, you can hide your entire story from anyone you don’t want to see it, even if they’re your follower.
  5. Your posts disappear after 24 hours. This is both a blessing and a curse. Your effort can seem futile, but it also frees you up to post fun, casual content.
  6. Instagram’s discoverability makes it lovable. Unlike Snapchat, which can be kind of hard to navigate when trying to find influencers to work with, Instagram helps you with hashtags and their discover tab, which will continue to help you find valuable bloggers and content creators to work with through Stories.

So, you’re sitting there staring at the screen and you aren’t sure what to do next, right? The answer is: post something. Here are some suggestions for what to post on Instagram Stories – 

  1. Show your followers what you’re doing now: editing images, packaging orders, cleaning your desk. Take a photo or a short video. Be candid, be natural, don’t overthink it.
  2. Ask a question! Get their opinion on packaging choices, color options or an upcoming contest or giveaway.
  3. Show them something they don’t typically get to see: behind the scenes, product testing, product development, inside a team meeting, a sneak peek at a new product.
  4. Sometimes the first post is the hardest, so just think of something meaningful you can share. Try telling a short story about your brand, founder, how you got started, meaning behind your logo, or how one of your favorite products came to be! The video clips are limited to 15 seconds, but if you post them consecutively they will loop together. I can’t wait to see your brand be honest, authentic and candid through Snapchat Stories! Find me @Thyme_is_Honey!

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