Want to know the best way to sell your products & services on Instagram? Through Instagram Stories! Whilst many put most if not all their efforts into selling in their feed posts, Instagram stories are in fact the best place to connect with your current followers (i.e. those who are already part of your audience and are engaging with your content). But we get it, selling on stories can be intimidating, scary and feel quite “salesy”. Don’t worry! We have pulled together a quick guide to help you understand how to create stories that will build an engaged community, boost confidence in your brand and of course, SELL!
What is the purpose of an Instagram Story?
Instagram stories are viewed in the colourful circles at the top of your feed and consist of a slideshow of videos or photos added by an account (each 15s in length). They are only visible for 24hrs (great for flash sales & creating FOMO aka fear of missing out!) and you can also add interactive stickers, text, gifs, filters and more. Stories are largely only visible to your followers as they aren’t shown to people who don’t follow you. For businesses, this means they serve two main purposes: community building and selling. Both go hand-in-hand on the platform – an engaged community will lead to more sales, which is what we are all aiming for right? Read on to find out more!
How to build a community & boost engagement with stories
Aptly named, stories are the best place to share more about the story of you & your business and connect with them on a deeper level than you would with that of a feed post. They serve as a great way to build a community and relationships with your followers and ultimately, increase your sales. There are many ways to achieve this through stories, here are some ideas:
- Show your face - stories are a great opportunity to show up and let people see & hear from the face(s) behind the brand. This helps people connect with you, builds trust & confidence in your brand and places you as an expert in your field. People love seeing the faces behind a business and hearing their story.
- Use stickers - interactive stickers (poll, quiz, slider, comment box) are a great way to have fun with your audience, teach them more about your business/industry and get to know them better. But the best thing about using stickers? They give your engagement a boost and get your stories to the front of the queue when people are looking at their followers' stories – yippee!
- Link sticker – Instagram recently introduced the “Link Sticker” to all accounts which allows you to add an external link to your stories (something which previously was only given to those with 10k+ followers) meaning you can add links to your website, products, online store, booking site, blog… a game-changer for businesses selling on Instagram!
- Behind-the-scenes – stories are an ideal place to show off the behind-the-scenes of your business. People are nosey by nature and want to see what makes you & your business tick! Behind-the-scenes content also builds trust, makes you more relatable and encourages people to buy from you. Story content like showing your workspace, your process, something you are working on, an insight into your working day and even a peek into your personal life are all examples of the types of behind-the-scenes content your audience will love to see.
Keeping your stories on-brand
Instagram stories have a more informal feel to them in comparison to a perfected feed post but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be recognisable to your audience. Always keep your target market in mind and use an appropriate tone and language that they will connect & resonate with. Stories are designed to be informal, casual & fun but remember to also reflect your brand voice & messaging. To keep them on-brand, stick to familiar surroundings (your office, workshop etc) so people instantly know it is you, use similar filters reflecting your brand and use your brand colours and fonts where possible. We love Canva for keeping all your story graphics on-brand. There you can create your own branded templates or choose from the 1,000’s they have available and switch them up to reflect your brand identity.
Hashtags in stories – what’s the deal?
Still using hashtags in your stories? Stop! While stories were once visible in hashtag searches & the explore page, this is no longer the case so a hashtag in a story is just plain pointless. Use an interactive sticker or even a location tag instead to increase engagement & reach.
Stories can be scheduled like feed posts via third-party apps like Later & Hootsuite and while this can help you stay organised and save time, it can decrease engagement and may lack authenticity. Functions with scheduling stories are limited and at present, you cannot add interactive stickers (the best way to boost your story engagement!). We advise if you use an external scheduler for posting stories, be sure to still create some spontaneous stories in the Instagram app too, this is part of the fun and is what will make people connect with you & your business more.
So there you have it - our quick guide to building deeper connections with your audience & selling using Instagram stories. Are you going to switch up your strategy and put more effort into selling on stories? Follow our Instagram account for more tips on creating engaging Instagram stories as well as advice on growth, strategy and content ideas – see you there?
And if you’re still struggling with story ideas, take a look at rapidely – we give you weekly story & reel ideas for your industry as well as daily post ideas & captions for you to customise. We even have a free trial for you to try it out & see if it’s for you!