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Creating Instagram stories for business is a challenging and ongoing learning process. Just like all the other social platforms, Instagram constantly changes its algorithm. It can be difficult to keep up with the most current best practices. Below are some tips you can use to make sure you are creating great Instagram stories for your business that move your audience through the purchase funnel with clear engagement goals.

1 | ADD TEXT TO YOUR VIDEOS

While Instagram is a platform for photos and videos, text is a vital part of your stories for building engagement. Without text, your audience will be lost as to the purpose of why you’ve added something to your story.

It’s important that your story is a curation of helpful content intended specifically for your audience. If the story is only self-serving for your brand, viewers are sure to swipe away. Adding test to your images and videos will surely add clarity, helping your audience members know exactly why you’ve shared specific visual content with them.

Madewell does this exceptionally well. Every image they share has some sort of text on it, whether it’s something that is typed in the actual story or part of the image itself. Either way, they’ve curated and explained helpful content to make sure that their viewers swipe up.

2 | ASK QUESTIONS AND THEN FOLLOW UP

With Insta’s new poll feature, it’s easy to ask questions and see what your users think. However, it’s very important that you avoid controversial questions and make sure that there’s a follow up to these questions.

Canna-Pet has done this in an engaging way via a contest. They’ve encouraged users to tag their pet pictures with @cannapet and then utilized those pictures in a poll of which dog was cutest. Users then vote for the dog of their choice, and the owner of the most popular dog gets a $25 gift card. This encouraged engagement through tags, shares, and votes, all of which helped grow their follower base and got their stories incredible engagement.

There are many ways in which to use the poll feature. However, the two answer option can feel very limiting. Sometimes it can be beneficial to ask an open-ended question. This gives your brand the opportunity to open up the conversation with your clientele. Make sure, however, that you reply to a majority of the responses! If you don’t, your audience will surely feel as though their response went into the abyss and will let others know. Never underestimate the power of digital word-of-mouth.

3 | BREAK UP THE CONTENT

E! News does this best to garner clicks, which is what we all want as brands, right? They’ve taken pieces of intriguing headlines and put them together with a photo of the celebrity that the article is about in order to peak interest. This set up breaks up their stories and allows for users to click through to find the celeb they’re interested in or a headline piece that they want to know more about.

How does this work for products instead of content?

Well, your brand can use it in one of two ways. First, you can show new products and then break up the story around how that product came to be. As a socially responsible organization, this is something that would really intrigue your followers. They want a clear view into either how it’s made or how you came up with it. The Behind-the-Scenes look is very popular with all influencers and brands right now.

Also, you can link to your own content. Content is king in the digital world and as a growing brand, you already have or will need to build a blog around the industry you are breaking into. By building up this flow of content, you will be able to build up more traffic and shares by breaking up the information throughout your stories.

4 | HAVE A CALL TO ACTION

The most common Call To Action (CTA) is to encourage your viewer to go to your profile and click on a link you’ve strategically placed in your bio (i.e. “link in bio”). This will get more eyes on your profile and you will garner more traction to the most necessary pages on your site this way.

Make sure that your CTA and the action taken are clearly linked to the photo in the story. RedBull has done this really well. They show short clips of extreme sports videos while encouraging viewers to go to their site to see the full video.

This is your best way to get your viewers to your website or other action that you may want them to take. Just as you have CTAs in your other marketing efforts (i.e. emails, display ads, etc), you’ll want to make sure that the action you request of your audience is clear and beneficial for them.

 

5 | TEASE ’EM A BIT…

Get your audience pumped up about your story by saying something that makes them want to keep clicking through instead of swiping away. Travel + Leisure is one brand that has done that really well. They encouraged viewers to guess where they were based on hints in their pictures AND words with a big reveal at the end. This got their viewers excited about where they may be adventuring as well as getting them engaged in the game and finally, a new place to venture to!

This is something really great for your brand when launching a new product, project, or freebie that you want to build excitement around within your audience. When posting teasers, it’s best to use your words (as mentioned in rule 1) to explain to your viewers what they’re seeing and why it’s exciting for them. Break up the content and take them through the story as you build this excitement. You can also break up the content over days and not just one story so that your viewers are eager to check back to your story for updates.

Which of these strategies are you most excited to try out in your next story?