Creative ways brands can use Instagram stories


1. Offer a peek behind “closed doors”

Stories give your audience a glimpse into your world without interrupting the platform’s feed. The lessened disruption makes stories the perfect Instagram for business tool.

Instagram stories are perfect for capturing a moment in time. Use them to offer a peek behind closed doors – whether that’s a preview of a new product, your attendance at an event, the marketing team’s idea sparring session or a cultural office activity. “Stories represent the perfect opportunity to showcase your company culture, especially if you’re recruiting as candidates can see what kind of company culture you have. What’s going on in the office? What national days or events can you link into? How can you get people away from their desks for an hour to do something fun as a team?” Jane adds.

2. Get candid with live Instagram stories

Video is at the core of Instagram’s strategy. In order to do well on this platform, video should also be incorporated into your Instagram for business plan.

Live video makes for the perfect Q&A channel. You can use live video to interview sponsors, industry influencers, clients and advocates of your cause.

Live video is also cool to use when demoing a product. The audience can get a real hands-on feel and sense of how it works, rather than a video where all the “bad bits” and blunders have been cropped out. Jane comments, “The worst thing you can do as a marketer or brand is be intimidated by social. Especially video formats. Remember Instagram Stories only last for 24 hours, you can also enable them to be viewed once too! So stop fretting and start playing with the feature and you’ll soon realise that Instagram stories aren’t about a polished look, it’s much more human and fun!

3. Reward with competitions and promotions

Sometimes, the power of referrals is overlooked by marketing professionals. Don’t fall into this trap. Your Instagram for business plan should include surprising and delighting advocates to encourage their continued engagement and positive word of mouth. What better way to reward your engaged audience members than to run a competition! If you make this a regular thing, for example, ‘Give Away Monday’s’ to beat those weekend blues, you’ll encourage a regular viewing audience. Better yet, play on your audience’s FOMO and offer sporadic giveaways and promotions so they regularly check your story.

4. Signpost hot new content

The content distribution hurdle is real. We often try to elongate the life of our content by posting links to our top performing campaigns and content on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn etc – but Instagram is rarely included in this process. Whilst it’s true that you can’t currently add links to Instagram posts, the bio isn’t the only place you can use URLs.  Instagram stories also offer the option of posting links through their swipe up feature if you have more than 10,000 followers. This is perfect for comms professionals wanting to drive more traffic to their website. And it works! Instagram Story links get 15–25% swipe-through rates for brands and publishers.