With the many changes that Instagram has rolled out in 2016 there has been lots to learn and adapt to.
Algorithm changes means Instagram now shows your followers your post not chronologically as posted but through a smart feed - meaning Instagram decides if your posts get shown and when it shows up for your followers.
This is why I urge you to utilize Instagram Stories. This way even the followers that are not seeing your posts can still view your content via Instagram Stories. Therefore you are able to reach more followers through Instagram stories.
Instagram Stories Vs your Instagram Grid
While for you Instagram grid you really have to think with intent for each post (making sure that each post fits with your grid visually and theme wise, all the editing you have to do, etc.). Whereas with Instagram Stories - the stories only last 24 hours! You really don’t need to worry about maintaining the perfect lighting or the colour theme on brand.
Hint: Check out the analytics to see what sort of content your audience enjoyed the most!
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Here are many ways you can use Instagram Stories for your Small Business or Blog:
Make yourself more relatable!
Instagram Stories is a great way to humanize your brand and showcase your personality. It’s a great way to connect with your audience and thus make you more relatable. And we all know that making yourself relatable, connecting with your audience, humanizing your brand is key to marketing your business or blog. This goes a long way when you are trying to increase your traffic, followers and sales! The more people like you and resonate with your personality the more likely they will buy from you. ** Note: We cover this in module #5 in our Instabuzzing Course **
Behind the Scenes
Continuing with our last point, this is a great place to show your followers some behind the scenes of your business or blog. This is something that is often times hard to do on other aspects of social media - like on your blog posts, twitter, on facebook etc. Where things are more official and professional.
For example, if you are a creative, a blogger, a writer, or an etsy shop owner this is a great place to showcase your step by step process and let in your audience.
Quick Tips & Tutorials
This is also a great way to share value, that is share your knowledge thus build trust with your audience. You can do a daily tip, or a series on a topic.
It’s a great place to talk directly to your audience. You can do a Q & A, or impart advice. You can utilize Instagram Stories to share quick tutorials. “How to” videos, or step by step processes but remember to make it quick!
Discounts, Perks, Coupons & more!
Instagram Stories is a great tool to give your followers exclusive discounts and coupons. This is also gives your followers on Instagram a feeling of exclusivity. You can also mention at the starting of your story that there will be an exclusive code for them at the end - so to stay tuned. This encourages your viewers to watch the entire story to get to the code.
I have also seen many bloggers and small business owners use this space to promote their affiliate links or codes
Build your email list
Instagram Stories are also a great tool to incorporate into your email list building strategy. Promote your freebie on here and promote the corresponding link where you would grab their email address. You can also promote your facebook group by inviting your followers to join and sharing your link to the group. For all these links use a link shortner such as bit.ly and type it on the screen so your followers can screenshot it.
Further reading: 10 Reasons Why We Love ConvertKit
Make announcements for promoting events. Promote your webinars, your facebook lives and share your latest blog post. Share your accomplishments and major milestones, also share your journey and story - even the hiccups along the way.
If you are giving away exclusives, imparting valuable knowledge, showcasing your personality, inviting your followers into your private facebook group - this makes your followers to want to watch your Instagram Story again and again. This is especially great since it is not guaranteed that all your followers are seeing your Instagram posts. So go ahead and give Instagram Stories a try. Pay attention to keeping your stories in line with your brand, sharing what you are comfortable with and observing what your audience reacts best to! But remember to be yourself. People love watching real and interesting people and what they do, so don’t forget Instagram Stories is about you so as long as it is still in the confines of your brand!