Instagram Stories for e-commerce: 6 ideas for what to post and how to post

Tl;dr Instagram Stories is a snapchatty feature that combines photos and videos to tell a story. It is now available in the explore tab of Instagram mobile app. E-commerce sellers can now use it to grow their Insagram account. Want to know how? Read on.

Instagram Stories has just been added to the explore tab in your Instagram mobile app . Instagram has proved its commitment to this new feature by taking it a step further than the Snapchat Memories. In spite of all the controversies going around about the similarities between Instagram Stories and Snapchat memories, Instagram Stories has managed to gather a 100 million regular user base.

Instagram Stories in the explore page

Initially, the InstagramStory feature allowed you to see the stories created only by the people in your circle. Now by adding Stories to the explore page, Instagram gives us an opportunity to explore interesting Stories created by other Instagrammers. In spite of its popularity among young audience, Snapchat has not been able created this explore option so far. Thus Instagram is clearly using its technical expertise to take this feature one step ahead.

What’s so interesting about this update?

All social media platforms keep updating their app on a regular basis, but this particular update is very interesting. Instagram Stories was a great tool for business on Instagram. But there was one major problem that brands faced, that is ‘reach’. Instagram Stories can only be distributed among your followers. Thus, Instagram Stories was only considered as a way of engaging your current audience and did not provide a gateway to reach new audience.

With this new update, Instagram has created a workaround for this important limitation. Now brands can utilize Instagram Stories as a creative, informal way to reach out to a new audience. So it is definitely time, that all brands and especially e-commerce entrepreneurs utilize Stories in their quest of promoting their store on Instagram.

All you need to know about Instagram Stories

The most interesting fact about Instagram Stories is that you can create something natural for your audience, for your community. And that’s the first step you should take when you want to use Instagram Stories. Know your audience on Instagram. Then everything will come naturally!

-Robert Katali, Visual Marketer & Brand Evangelist Bannersnack

Instagram Stories is an all new feature launched by Instagram on the 2nd of August this year. It is a feature that allows you to combine videos, images and text to tell a story that disappears in 24 hours. It is an idea that has been borrowed from Snapchat, another image based social platform that is hugely successful amongst the millennials. There are several controversies going through the social media land about this new snap chatty feature launched by Instagram. No matter how many people object it, when Instagram backed by the mammoth Facebook launches a new feature, it is bound to create a dent in the Social media universe.

What’s so great about Instagram Stories?

From the day internet came to life, the golden rule has always been

What goes online, stays online Click To Tweet

The Instagram Stories challenge this notion by creating content that disappears in 24 hours. The temporary nature of Instagram Stories opens up infinite opportunities for experimentation without damaging the carefully crafted brand/personal image that you have created on Instagram. You don’t have to wait for the perfect photo/video to post on Instagram anymore. Instagram Stories provides the perfect platform to let loose and communicate informally to your followers. In short,

Instagram Stories is the perfect place for imperfect content Click To Tweet

Who can see my Instagram Stories?

The Instagram Stories that you create can be viewed by all your followers for a time period of 24 hours from the time you upload it. Unlike the regular Instagram posts, you followers cannot like or comment on the Stories. But the viewers will be able to send direct personal messages to you. As the creator of the Story, you will have authority to restrict some of your followers from viewing them. You can also create multiple stories, which your followers will be able to view in chronological order.

What can I post in my Instagram Stories?

If you want to build an online community, you need to give that community personal, entertaining insight into your operation as much as possible.Show people that you are a real person, too, and are happy to share you operation with them at every moment.
– Alexandra Fasulo, Instagram expert

As already mentioned, Instagram Stories lets you use photos,videos and text to create a story. The fundamental difference of Instagram Stories is its informal nature. Staying true to its Snapchat cousin, Instagram Stories provides several features that adds to its informal nature such as quirky text, handwritten notes, filters. A combination of these features and some creativity can lead to some really entertaining stories that you can use to engage your followers.

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The biggest hurdle for Instagram success has always been the perfection it demands. All of us have been there. We all have waited painfully long for the right picture before we post it on Instagram. Except for the gifted photo geniuses out there, all of us have a good pic ratio of about 1 in 10. Only one out of every ten picture that we click is of the “Instagram quality”. What happens to the rest of pictures? They generally fade away into the limbo of our phone memory never to see the light of day. Not anymore.

Instagram Stories provide a way to utilize your “imperfect” photos to tell a creative story to your followers. As Marilyn Monroe famously quoted

Imperfection is beauty Click To Tweet

 

Instagram Stories for e-commerce marketing

Instagram has always been a great way to promote your e-commerce marketing. Apart from the features of the Instagram, the culture of the visual platform from Shoutouts to tagging every follower who might be intersted in your content, Instagram is built for clever marketing. Right from its launch in August this year, Instagram stories has been a competitive,creative playground. A lot of professional and amateur Instagrammers have utilized this feature creatively to engage with their audience. Here is the list of six ways in which Instagram Stories have been used so far.

#1. Curtain raiser

socialmed_Instagram Story

@Socialme_media has done a wonderful job of promoting their first Meetup by utilizing the power of Instagram Stories.

Have you planned a new product launch? Are you creating an exclusive service? Instagram Stories is a great way to build a buzz around a new product that you are about to launch. Announcing your app launch on the Instagram Stories creates an exclusivity to your followers. It helps to create a buzz around your product.

You can provide a small sneak peak into your new product/service. This will intrigue your followers and help create an interest in your product. Here is an example of the story that we posted for our new app update in our Instagram account @around_io

#2. Backstory

product backstory

@ellie.paisley uses Instagram Stories to show off the back story of her product

In the age of information overload, everybody loves a little more exclusive information. Followers of your Instagram accounts and the customers who adore your products will always have to know the back story of your product. How did you conceive the product? What were the hurdles/obstacles did your face? Who helped you kick off the product/service? The answer to any of the above questions could make a really interesting story.

#3. Product in the making

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@xstitch created a Story to showcase the making of their product

At the end of a long movie, we would all love to stay back to watch the bloopers right? Well, you could create the same effect by creating a story around the making of your product.
Take photographs of your products at the various stages of making. These photographs could be made into stories with some interesting insights and tips from the maker. This kind of small changes creates a higher level of association with your products that leads to greater brand loyalty.

#4. Announcing offers/contestsscreenshot_20161026-152758

@militaryapparelcompany have utilized the Instagram Story to promote their giveaway offer

Instagram contests/giveaways are a great way to build engagement on Instagram. Contests/giveaways are a successfully used by several Instagrammers to boost their accounts in a short span of time. Several types of contests such as like to win, comment to win, tag to win, post your own photo to win, use hashtag to win etc. and a combination of all these have been run to incentivise the process of engagement on Instagram. Based on the interest in the incentive provided, the level of engagement generated varies.

If you are wondering how to utilize contests to grow your Instagram account, here is a complete analysis of 10 Amazing Small Business Instagram Contest Examples by Wishpond.

#5. About you

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@garyvee one of the most prominent social media influencers utilizes Instagram Stories to show off his daily life and connect with his followers

Worldwide trends today is moving from branding to real human relations. Even major brands are trying to put a face behind the brand name to increase customer associations. This trend boils to a simple psychology of customers to trust a person rather than an abstract brand. Once in a while, it is always good to come out from behind the camera and confront your followers.

A lot of your customers would love to see the human face behind the products that they use. Instagram Stories is a great platform to do this. Since the pictures/videos live only for 24 hours, you don’t have to worry too much about the quality of the video as well(though basic clarity is always advisable).

#6. Latest news about your niche

social media examiner Story

@smexaminer innovates the Instagram Story into a private news channel to give their followers breaking news from the social media land

Some of the leaders in social media marketing such as Social media Examiner have successfully converted Instagram Stories into a news broadcasting platform. Every time something exciting happens in their niche, they create a new Instagram Story with the breaking news. This is an innovative use of Instagram Stories. If you are an expert in your niche then you should definitely utilize Instagram Stories to broadcast the latest news.

 

How do I post on Instagram Stories?

Instagram Stories comes with a whole set of features, but it requires a little bit of playing around to find them all out. Here is a list of 6 features that we came across.

#1. Creating your first Instagram Story

Creating an Instagram Story is quite simple. Log in to your Instagram account and swipe left. You’ll land on your camera app that allows to take a picture or a small video clip. This picture/video will become your Instagram Story. You can edit your Instagram Story with various funky texts and hand writtern notes and share it with your friends. Here is a small intro from one of the early Instagram Story users.

 

#2. Story settings

Instagram Stories allows you to control who can see your Instagram Stories and who can reply to your Instagram Stories. As ecommerce sellers, you would always want your stories to be viewed by as many people as possible. Yet in case you want to restrict some people from seeing your Story, you can do it by clicking on the small cog icon on the top left corner of the story screen. Clicking on the cog icon would take you to the story settings page.

Story settings page- Instagtam Stories

The “HIDE STORY FROM” features allows you to restrict some of your followers from viewing your Instagram Stories. Click on the “0 people” to get a list of all your followers from which you can choose the people you want to restrict from viewing your Instagram Story. The “ALLOW MESSAGE REPLY” feature allows you to select the category of followers who can reply to your Stories.

#3. Add recent photos to your Stories

recent pictures in Instagram Stories

You can use the photos from your camera roll into your Instagram Story. Open your Instagram Stories page by swiping left from your Instagram account or by clicking on the + symbol on the top left the corner. Once you have reached Instagram Story screen, just pull down to open a small screen displaying the recent photos and videos from your camera roll. You can use these photos and videos to make interesting stories for your audience

#4. Adding hand-written notes to your Stories

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The most fun element of Snapchat Memories is the hand-written notes that you can add to your photos and videos. This feature is faithfully brought on Instagram as well. To add hand-written notes to your Stories, first shoot/select the photo or video to make the story. Then click on the pen symbol on the top right corner of you Stories screen and start writing your note. To make it even more interesting Instagram allows you to select the colour of the text, from a range of colours. The colours will be available for you at the bottom of your Stories screen.

There are three types of pen tip logo at the top of your Story screen. These allow you to select the type of pen with which your hand-written note should be. The thin tip and the thick tip allow you to determing the thickness of the letters in your note. The third and the most interesting one is the magic marker, It makes your note glow.

Tip:

If you want to select different shades of colours for your note, click and hold one of the colours to show the entire colour palette, giving you several other shades to select from.

#5. Applying +filters to your Instagram Stories

One of the fundamental reasons for the success of Instagram in the first place is its wide range of filters. You can apply the all the filters that you usually use on Instagram for your Stories as well. Once you have created your Instagram Story, just swipe across the screen to apply the -filters.

#6. Typing text on your Stories

Not just hand written notes, even text can be typed onto your Stories. To type text select the ‘aA’ on the top right corner of the Instagram Stories screen. This option allows you to type text instead of a hand written. Yet you are allowed to play around with the colour scheme. All the colours and its variations are available for the text as well.

In a gist!

Instagram Stories is a new feature by Instagram that provides an informal and creative way to engage your audience. Marketing on Instagram has just been taken to the next level with this new feature. If smartly used, Stories can be a great tool to promote your shop on Instagram. With the new update of Stories in explore tab, Instagram has made it a smart way to not only engage but increase your followers as well. Have you started using Instagram Stories? If so share your experiences in the comments below. If not go ahead and create your first Instagram Story right away. After all

Today, marketing is not about the stuff that you make but the stories that you tell Click To Tweet

 

 

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