By now you’ve probably heard of stories and seen them at the top of your news feed, but you may not be sure how to use them effectively for your business.
Unlike normal page posts, stories disappear after 24 hours (unless you add them to your highlights on Instagram, but more about that later…) So, why should you bother?
They’re a great way to get seen whenever your followers log-on at any point in the day. Perhaps they missed your 8am post because their news feed was flooded with tons more content by the time they visited later that day. With stories, although their shelf-life is short, they’re a dominant feature at the top of the newsfeed.
Plus, they’re great for short-on-time consumers who want a quick run-through of that day’s highlights. And because their timespan is limited, they’re perfect for on-topic content that feeds into the ‘moment’.
Instagram stories are by far the most popular and dynamic, but Facebook stories are growing too, so it’s time to embrace this social tool. When it comes to customising your stories, Facebook Stories are a bit more limited and don’t offer all the different stickers and features as Instagram, but the premise is the same – short and snappy pieces of content for one day only – great for the demands of today’s social users.
Here are my top six suggestions on how to use stories to promote your business…
Great for engagement and market research, poll stickers are a brilliant tool. Simply select ‘poll’ from the stickers options and then customise the text to ask your audience for their opinion on anything you like!
Maybe you’re thinking of changing your opening times and want to know what best suits the market?
If you offer a service such as insurance or pensions, you could get a quick idea of how many people feel inadequately covered (and then follow up those that could benefit from your help!).
Or maybe you’re re-thinking your product menu and want to get a popularity vote to steer you in the right direction? Take a look at Krispy Kreme for inspiration.
2. BEHIND THE SCENES
Customers want to connect with people, not faceless businesses. Show them the work that goes on behind the scenes with some ‘real life’ photos or, even better, videos.
It may not be as polished as your branded sales posts, but it will give your brand a personal feel, it can also reinforce your work standards and values.
Give them a tour of your workshop, an introduction to your office staff, or tease them with a sneak peek of a new video you’re shooting, like Laura Ashley.
If you’re launching a new product, planning a special offer, making a big announcement, or anticipating post-lockdown re-opening, Instagram’s countdown feature is great for building excitement.
Plus, people who see your sticker can tap on the countdown to follow it and get a reminder!
This was great for Andrew Lloyd Webber when he created a huge buzz during lockdown by releasing limited-time access to his West End shows.
4. SHARE USER-GENERATED CONTENT
User-generated content (UGC) is anything your customers or followers post to their own account.
People love to shout about exciting new purchases or memorable services and you can share their posts to your own story. It’s a great way to recognise, celebrate and reward your loyal fan base, and inspire others.
UGC means you have ready-made content and when it comes from someone else it adds credibility to your brand. It’s a perfect way to share reviews – and who wouldn’t take notice of this cute UGC story from Pets at Home?!
5. START CONVERSATIONS
Add the ‘questions’ sticker to your story and encourage your followers to chat with you, straight from your story.
It’s a brilliant way to increase engagement with your business and lets followers get to know you better. It also shows you’re open, honest, and approachable.
Use it to ask for opinions for market research, host a Q&A, or build trust with a recruitment drive like Amazon did.
Your audience will feel involved and you can also choose to share some of the questions you receive as new stories and insert text to answer them, keeping the conversation going and giving you more user-generated content.
6. COLLECT HIGHLIGHTS
So, now you’ve posted some great stories, but how can you keep them alive for longer?
On Instagram, you can save your expired stories to ‘story highlights.’ Click on the ‘+ new’ circle under your bio on your profile and it will show your history of previous stories. Simply select the ones you want to save and give your highlights album a name. It’s best to group your stories into categories and create several different highlights, such as reviews, awards, Q&As, different product or service categories etc.
You’ll then have permanent collections of your stories at the top of your page so they’ll be visible on your profile, even after they’ve expired. Silver Cross has a great collection to give you some ideas.
Do you want an experienced marketing professional to create engaging, brand-building stories for your business? We are expert in crafting compelling content for social media – ask us for a quote and let us take care of it for you.