Never heard of Instagram Stories? Think of it as an in-built Snapchat in the Instagram app. No idea what Snapchat is? Video marketing is powerful, and multimedia messaging is quickly taking over as the quickest way to get in your target audience’s pocket.
In just a few years, Instagram Stories have become a go-to business-building tool for location-based businesses. With the right strategy in place, your Stories could be your easiest (and most successful) marketing activity yet.
Businesses that operate in one (or several) location/s can really take advantage of the additional functionality for discoverability through Stories. Just like the feed, you have the ability to use geotagging to get your brand noticed by the right people.
Instagram Stories help you tell a more in-depth story of your business online. Social Media Examiner reports that of the 500 million active users on Instagram today, 300 million people are regularly consuming the Stories of their friends, family, brands, and businesses.
You now know you need to get your business on board (and quick!). You can use them freely, whenever it feels right, but Stories should be a core part of your Social Media Strategy to increase your location exposure.
Start with mapping out your goals for your Instagram Stories. Here’s why.
Why Instagram Stories Should Be Part of Your Social Media Strategy
You already know the numbers. The people are on Instagram. Ask yourself, “Is my business regularly showing up on Instagram Stories?” The answer may well be “No” and that’s okay, there’s more value than users on the platform. Be strategic.
The power of Instagram Stories is that your content can be found by people who don’t already follow you, meaning the potential to grow your following by simply posting. See the Instagram Tips & Tricks below for how to become discoverable through Stories.
Stories build community. Community creates customers. Tagging the handles of people who have visited your venue and added a photo to their feed or Stories, will then allow that person to re-share your Story to their following. A little confused? It’s a network between your customer, you, and their greater audience.
- A customer posts a photo and tags your location.
- You repost their Story on your Story and tag them.
- Customer feels valued. Shares their ‘feature’ from your account.
Stories allow you and your audience to gain extra exposure across your accounts. You can ask your followers to share their thoughts on your menu or their meals / drinks on their Stories, tagging your venue, for a free drink or a discount.
With the regularly changing Instagram Algorithm, there’s a strong chance half of your followers don’t see your posts in their feed. At all. Crazy, right?!
All that work that goes into curating the perfect feed and then your ideal audience never even sees it?
That’s where Instagram Stories can give you that extra edge, and increase your brand awareness through the roof, because people actually SEE your value.
Stories are available for 24 hours, which is great if you’re worried about ‘the perfect time to post’, because followers (or lurkers) can access when watching other Stories. When you add to Stories twice a day, 10-12 hours apart, you will always have your Instagram icon on the feed. You’ll be front-of-mind whenever your audience accesses the app.
For those with a Business Profile (you need a Facebook page to activate this), you can get really valuable Analytics for your Stories. From as simple as who has seen your Story, to when they click away or when they visit your profile, the Analytics are a useful tool for any business owner.
Access your Stories Analytics from your profile, in the same way you would your Feed analytics, or go directly from your Story posted.
Tips & Tricks to Increase Exposure on Instagram Stories
Tap the icon on the top of your Profile page to start creating a Story or swipe left. Once the camera is open, your options for Stories are endless, you can:
- Post an image
- Post a video or take a video ‘hands-free’
- Type over a background image or colour
- Go Live to your audience
- Create a Boomerang
- Superzoom (a fun feature that can be used to express emotion)
- Focus (professional background for talking to the camera)
- Rewind your videos
You’re able to add content for your Camera Roll, so it makes it easier to design Stories in advance and record your venue before posting to Instagram Stories.
Hashtags are the perfect way to get found on Instagram by your audience, even in your Stories too. When navigating to a hashtag, you’ll find that Stories are also featured - for example, #sydneybusiness, #sydneycafe could be used in your Story, which would mean you have greater reach over the 24 hours the Story is live.
Adding Facebook links to Stories is a relatively new feature, and is only available to accounts with over 10,000 followers. Nowhere near the 10k? All good, as with anything Instagram does, this is bound to change. When first releasing this feature, it was only available to those with ONE MILLION followers or more. Crazy.
If you do have this feature, it’s a great opportunity to drive traffic to your website or highlight any features your business has had in the media. You could also use it to link to your Facebook page and encourage followers to Like your page and leave a review.
Most importantly, as a venue, restaurant or cafe, it is a priority to be tagging your location. Many Instagram users and influencers find new places to visit via Location Tags. Location tags are easily searchable and often show up on general location areas, such as the Opera Bar or The Grounds of Alexandria could be shown on the general ‘Sydney, Australia’ location.
To be found in your location, use Instagram Stories in a strategic way. Don’t just post a picture without a location tag or a hashtag (or several). Take advantage of the 24 hour Stories and stay active throughout the day. If you’re not using Stories, it’s the missing piece of the puzzle to get in front of your ideal audience.