Jessica Merkel

Social media plays an essential role today in a small business’ marketing and branding plan, and one of the key networks to be using is Instagram, especially if your company’s products or services are visually intriguing. Even if they are not, there are ways to use this medium effectively.

Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has become a center for business and marketing opportunities, making its 2020 ad revenue projection $13.86 billion. Although its growth slowed for the first time last year, it’s become a social media powerhouse. Over time, Instagram has incorporated several tools and features – specifically Instagram Stories – that are especially handy for businesses.

While the “stories” feature has gained popularity on many social media platforms, Instagram has pioneered many unique story elements that can amp up a business’ outreach, interactions, and exposure.

These are the best ways to use Instagram Stories to get your small business on the map.

Polls, Q&A, Multiple Choice Question, Slider Reaction, and More.
These components of Instagram stories are the best way to have instant customer interaction and feedback. How you use these features is totally up to you, but here are a couple of ideas. Take polls about something timely and relevant, especially if it’s funny or entertaining. Ask your audience a question, have them ask you questions, give a quiz about a topic or get your audience’s reaction to a new product or service.

Announcements and Teasers
If you have something important coming up – perhaps an event, holiday or another special occasion – create a story with an announcement and or give a sneak peek of whatever you have coming up. Additionally, you can use the countdown feature to set up a countdown to the event and remind followers with a notification.

Stick To Your Business’ Colors
Keep a sense of cohesiveness with your established brand, and use colors as close to yours as possible. Or, at least, stick to a particular theme. Luckily, Instagram has plenty of colors to choose from for any text or drawings you may include in your story.

Story Highlights
This is probably one of the most useful features that Instagram Stories has. It makes it easy for people to get the gist of your brand or company just by tapping through a few of your self-proclaimed best and most important photos and videos.

Once you add something to your story, you can then put it into a ‘highlight’ on your profile page. Or, if there are old stories you want to include in a highlight, you can choose from your Archive as well.

You choose the name of the highlight, for example, “Just In” for showing new products. You can also add a cover photo by choosing from the photos within the highlight.

Show Off People Using Your Product/Service
With Instagram Stories, you can share stories and instances of people using your products/services. This can include customer reviews, showing people in-store or even re-sharing someone who has tagged you in their own story or post! Additionally, this is a perfect way to show customer appreciation and to engage with them directly.