How To Use Instagram Stories To Grow Your Business

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” ~ Joseph Campbell.

I’m not sugar-coating this: Instagram Stories can be scary.  You need a lot of courage -at any age- not only to put yourself out there, but to do it consistently.  The great news is that once you get over this fear, your audience engagement increases exponentially.

IG Stories is a feature that lets you post photos and videos that vanish after 24 hours.  Content shared to stories also won’t appear on your profile grid or in the main Instagram feed.  Brands see engagement rates 10x higher on Instagram than they do on Facebook.  While Facebook will always be important, Instagram is essential in any marketing strategy.  In this article you’ll learn how NOT to use IG stories, how to use the 3-story framework, and how to use Instagram stories to generate leads.  Credit to 2 impeccable Instagram gurus I had the fortune of watching at the 2019 Social Media Marketing World Conference:  @brandenharvey and @tylerjmccall

Using Instagram Stories the Wrong Way

There are 3 fundamental mistakes people make that you can avoid:

  1. Sharing information without intent is like talking into the wind. Before you go live or post a video ask yourself what do I want my followers to do with this content?  Will they share it with a few people on their network?  Will they engage with the content and send me a message (DM)? Keep in mind that unlike FB, IG Stories can only be shared with specific people among your followers.
  2. Perfection is not required when you post. Just use any advertisement as an example.  You know it’s an ad when it comes at you perfect – perfect video, perfect audio, perfect words.  Users respond to content that’s genuine, authentic, and not perfect.
  3. IG Stories are a story telling platform. Stories have a beginning a middle and an end.  Make a mental note about this before you start recording.  If you are scattered the audience won’t take to your post.  Whether you talk about a product or an idea that you just learned about, begin with the “why”.  Why are you telling this story? And then elaborate on the “how” it will benefit the viewer.

The 3 Story Framework

Instagram stories humanize your brand.  I had the most amazing opportunity to watch Instagram influencer @tylerjmccall deliver a potent presentation with actionable takeaways at this year’s Social Media Marketing World conference.  His method is founded on 3 types of stories you should use in Instagram:

Personal stories

Using personal stories give your brand transparency.  You’re pulling the veil and giving them insight into who you are and why should they trust you by creating common ground.  You give your followers a glimpse into your persona, and consequently into your culture and values.

Product stories

Tell your audience what you do and why you do it.  If it matters to you, it will matter to them.  Make your followers feel like insiders and show the value of your brand.  Make it clear for them: “1marketingidea is a social media experience, marketing agency.  We help brands deliver memorable experiences using social media. Why is this important? By delivering memorable experiences, you can build deeper and stronger relationships with your networks, resulting in repeat business, increased sales, and social sharing opportunities.”

Promotional Stories

Pitch!!  Make the offer, without fear or prejudice, and take the conversation to direct message (DM) on Instagram.  Stay on the platform, this goes for any and all, if someone communicates with you on LinkedIN or Instagram, continue the dialogue there.

About the Author

David Wagner is the Lead Consultant at 1marketingidea, a San Diego digital marketing consulting firm that specializes in social media marketing, websites, email marketing, video marketing, and event marketing.