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Instagram Stories: It's Not a Sales Tool, Use It for This Instead

Instagram itself has been taken up at a slower rate by most businesses, because its ‘boom’ was much more recent than other platforms.

Marketing managers and their bosses had already accepted LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook into their lives, Instagram seemed like a step too far for some.

Why? It was so different from the other platforms and required companies to get used to taking and sharing photographs - a different ball game to the text-based social sharing they were accustomed to.

In a similar way, although many companies have moved on to be fairly comfortable with Instagram, we are now having to make another shift - sharing images and videos on Instagram’s Stories platform.

Instagram Stories also had another hurdle for businesses, it followed the success of Snapchat’s 10-second video snippets commonly used for sharing selfies and images of your dinner or your dog. It’s benefits for businesses remained somewhat unclear.

Generally speaking, Stories is best suited to the B2C and non-profit sectors, more so than B2B audiences, but its benefits are varied and incredibly rewarding.

But you need to ensure that the goal of using Instagram Stories isn’t sales - it isn’t a direct sales tool. However, Stories can do the following…

Create awareness

Share product announcements, company news and partner with other Instagrammers to increase your audience’s awareness of your business, what you do and why they should choose you.

Build your reach

If you have an audience, start to create a wider content mix using Stories and your normal Instagram posts to ensure that you can reach further afield. Team up with another Instagrammer for a giveaway or Q&A session, update your Stories when you’re at networking events, or share content that people want to share with their networks (how-to’s, top tips, hacks…).

Increase understanding

Use educational content through Stories, such as the latest products uploaded to your site, your recent blog post or a ‘how to’ of one of your products/services to increase understanding of your company, its ethos and what makes you unique. It’s your chance to speak face-to-face with your audience and encourage open dialogue that previously hasn’t been possible for companies to achieve.

Develop new engagements

Create new relationships with prospective customers through the content you post on Stories - share content that will encourage them to ask questions and share feedback. Use Stories to ask your customers to engage with you, whether it’s about your recent post, new blog or latest product!

Encourage a community

Make the most of your newfound connections and continue to build your audience, to build an audience of avid, engaged fans. Encourage them to share posts featuring your products or share their feedback and respond in kind by resharing it on your Story. This is free content that will help you spread the word about your company and its great products/services/ethos, as well as giving a shout-out to a valued customer.

If you’re struggling to build your Instagram presence, or want to improve your wider social media strategy, why not ask Thrive about our 1-to-1 and group social media workshops?

Download our Small Business Guide for creative Instagram advice and tips.

The Small Business Guide to Instagram

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