As you may know by now, Instagram has some significant changes in store, one being the removal of like counts from posts. If you’re looking to learn more about this update, click here.
Because of the likely changes coming to the platform and the effect it may have on visibility is unknown, it is important to use Instagram Stories to your advantage. We understand, however, that Instagram Stories may be uncharted territory, and they cannot be treated with the same strategy as typical Instagram posts.
To get informed on the best ways for your small business to approach using Instagram Stories, keep reading!
Get Found With Hashtags and Location Tags
Similar to regular Instagram posts, Instagram Stories that include hashtags or location tags can be found through exploring or searching on the platform.
This means that a user does not need to follow you to possibly see your Instagram Story (as long as your profile is public).
When you include relevant hashtags and location tags within your Instagram Story, they will be viewable under that hashtag or location when a user is in the explore or search pages.
It is crucial to keep in mind, though, while there is a strategy in merely using these two features, there is also strategy in how you use them!
When it comes to hashtags, Instagram limits Stories to having only one hashtag, and it must be visible and legible to the user viewing it.
Also, the hashtag itself should remain broadly within your field. The Story post itself may be focused around a new product you are offering, but your hashtag should be something that broadly relates to your industry or business as a whole.
With a broad hashtag comes a more extensive reach to current and potential customers.
On the search for more information on proper hashtag use? Check out this blog.
When it comes to location tags, don’t get stuck on the hashtag rules. The location tag strategy requires the opposite approach.
To make Instagram’s location function the most advantageous for your small business, use a narrow location tag within your Instagram Stories.
When you make the location tag as specific to your location as possible, Instagram can pick up on not only that location, but also the larger locations that encompass that particular spot. Ultimately, this makes your reach much larger. A specific tag starts small and reaches to larger segments, reaching more people than a broad location tag.
Because of the nature of Instagram Stories, in that they only last for 24 hours, it is possible for your followers or other Instagram users who interact with your page to not see the Story posts you put up within that short period of time.
To combat the limited time to view these posts, Instagram has the option to keep them alive and accessible from your page through what they call Story highlights.
Instagram makes setting up these highlights quick and straightforward, and they offer the option to pair specific Stories up into categories.
So, if a user wants to see your past Stories relating to a topic like tips and tricks, they could click on the highlight you title “Tips” to see everything you have posted about in the past up to the most recent, depending on which past Stories you choose to include in the highlights.
You can fill up your highlights with the most informative, high-quality and engaging Stories you have posted on Instagram before and they can remain in your profile as resources for users who are interested in your business to better understand your brand, what you have to offer and more!
One of the most significant benefits that come to your business with having a social media presence is the ability to interact with followers and customers of your company.
To best take advantage of the interactivity that social media offers your small business, provide options to followers and users to engage with you!
Through Instagram Stories, you can gain a connection to your followers by allowing them to respond to questions and vote in polls.
Instagram Stories have built-in features that give you as the user, the ability to construct and put out Q&As for followers or polls for users to vote in. For example, you could put out a poll that gives followers the options to vote on products they want from your business or new services they would like for you to offer.
This interaction and engagement builds a relationship and displays to followers and possible customers your interest in getting their opinions and the value you put toward their input.
Even more so, from a strategy standpoint, offering options for interactivity through Instagram Stories can help boost your page’s user engagement, which is an excellent reflection on follower’s interest in your social media presence!
Strategize When You Post
We’ve mentioned in the past that when your business chooses posts on social media is a good indicator of your social media engagement success.
The best piece of advice to take when considering the best times of day to post is to keep track of your social media analytics and demographic engagement. Watch for when the majority of users tend to interact and view your Instagram Stories and who they are.
This will help in your approach to posting in the future because it builds a better understanding of when to post to enable the highest amount of interaction.
There are more general times in the day to consider as well when it comes to posting Instagram Stories.
Think about it; you tend to pick up your phone to check social media when you wake up, during lunch, around dinnertime and before you go to bed. If you consider this, your followers likely follow a similar social media viewing pattern. So, try posting around 11 am to 1 pm or 5 pm to 8 pm.
Read and download this social media quick-start guide for more direction on how to best run your small business's social media presence!
Strategy varies from one platform to the next, but it also varies depending on the features you are using within a platform!
Instagram Stories are becoming even more important in the viewing and engagement of users on Instagram, especially with the constant and unpredictable changes that have come and are projected to come to the platform.