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How To Use Instagram Stories To Grow Your Brand

According to Forbes, 200 million people are using Instagram stories daily. Having recently watched Social Media Examiner’s webinar, “How to Use Instagram Stories to Attract More Leads and Customers”, I’ve pulled some of the best advice given on how to use your IG stories to creatively build your brand’s following.

The benefits of Instagram stories are vast. It’s set in real time, takes minimal production, encourages engagement, increases memorability, and provides an intimate connection to your viewers. Instagram stories is the only platform where anyone who's not following you can see your stories. When utilizing it to highlight your brand, there are two important points to remember: This is not your sales platform. This is where you get people to focus on your content and retain your interest.

In order to get people to interact with your brand you have to make it entertaining, educational, or engaging. Create stories with a complete thought and highlight a variety of moments that will keep people coming back. It’s vital to keep it short and sweet. Each video clip is 10 seconds long, and you want to keep your story under a minute (6 full video clips). Here are two lists of ways you should and shouldn’t utilize Instagram stories via Social Media Examiner:

11 Examples of Content You Should Share

  1. Resources

  2. Life lessons

  3. Things you're loving

  4. Company culture

  5. Funny moments

  6. Customer stories

  7. How you create something

  8. Survey or question

  9. Snippet of blog, video, or podcast

  10. Special occasions/events

  11. Tutorials

Content That Gets Boring and Lowers Retention

  1. Same scenery

  2. Talking head

  3. Scenes from a concert (use Snapchat instead)

  4. Story too long

  5. Same content

Here’s an example of a sequence of Instastories we created for a client’s giveaway!

You have the option to text or draw on each photo/video. Get creative! Utilize the reverse, boomerang, and hands-free features to get several different styles of video presentation. Stick to your brand’s colors for texts/drawings/etc. There are 27 colors you can use for text along with five different drawing and highlighting features. When you get bored with those, you can use emojis and pin them to animate with another object in your video! Use the zoom feature in a video to get creative in the moment, highlight a focal point, or simply for humor. If there’s an event going on, or just an eventful day...make a fun story out of it! Create one cohesive story with a theme, topic, or main point. Tip: Using the emoji finger or an arrow for call to action is a great branding hack.

Once you’ve created the content and post, the next step is to monitor and engage with your viewers. Keep track of the number of people who view your stories and who exactly has been viewing it by scrolling up on the picture or video. Be sure to respond to the people who have direct messaged you about your Instastory. Engage with people who consistently view your stories via dm. Let them know you appreciate their attention, and start a conversation to make your brand more personable.

Here are a couple of ways to utilize your brand’s Instagram stories for call-to-actions without sounding like a used car salesman or saleswoman.

  • Give Shoutouts

  • Show The Company Culture

  • How To's

Take screenshots of accounts you follow or like and give them a screenshot shoutout. Also, try to state why you follow them like "@_______ is a great photographer".

Showing your company’s culture is also a great call-to-action. People like the human aspect of it, and it makes the people tied to your brand relatable.

Lastly, “How To’s” make the viewer want to click through your story if it’s engaging enough. Pick a “how to” that your viewers (and the viewers you want to target) would like to find out more about.

When creating your Instagram story, get intentional. Identify your main goals. More website traffic? Grow email list? Increase brand awareness? Increase influence? Build credibility? Once you can identify what you want, you can begin planning.

Plan ahead. Focus on a goal and how to create a story of content that's interactive, engaging, and fun. Brainstorm different stories that support that goal. You also want to plan when to share the story. Take into consideration the frequency, days, time of day, and who is executing it.

Once that’s all in place, you’re well on your way to being an Instagram story connoisseur.

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