Instagram Stories: Learning & Utilizing The New Feature

Unless you’re living under a rock (or just plain out dislike Instagram), you’ve probably noticed Instagram revealed it’s newest update: Instagram Stories. And holy mess am I obsessed!! What is Instagram Stories? Well, for me, it’s a stress reliever and a tool I’m about to really take advantage of. Instagram Stories is a place on Instagram where you can share snapshots and videos in real time with your followers, without it being posted to your profile. Technically, you can post the story to your actual feed after posting it, but that's up to you! In terms of your business, it can be life changing. Now, rather than wondering if Snapchat should be part of your marketing plan, you can rest assured it just got much, much easier to share your brand with the world.

When they first unveiled, I’m sure Snapchat was throwing tables and yelling at people (a la Real Housewives of New Jersey circa 2009) because this could seriously change the game for social media. It's dangerous for Snapchat because it allows businesses & influencers to share their snaps in ONE app, leaving no need for Snapchat.

While Instagram Stories doesn’t offer the private snap feature or filters, it does make the entire idea much simpler for all of us who spend so much time trying to figure out how to manage even one more social media outlet. I like the simple fact that I can easily post a message to my followers without posting an image and oversaturing my followers’ feed.

 

If you’re wanting to share something that may be more lengthy, it’s so much simpler to capture the attention of your followers with a video versus an image. While images captivate and grab attention, consumers don’t always read the caption so if you’re image isn’t conveying your message in its entirety, it’s hard to get it out there. With Instagram Stories, it makes life much simpler and sharing your message just got 100 times easier.

I know that so many business owners I speak with are see-sawing with the idea of Snapchat. Please know that I’m not knocking Snapchat - I use it often. But, what I have found is it’s extremely difficult to convince customers to gravitate from one platform to another. So, relocating your 50,000 Instagram followers to Snapchat is relatively impossible unless you’re a celebrity. No one wants difficult. If they can do it all in one app, they will, and why wouldn’t they? They’d be crazy to not want that. This is where the amazingness of Instagram Stories fits your bill perfectly.

If you’ve spent enough time trying to build your Instagram that you’re exhausted with the mere thought of translating them to another social media account, you need to ditch the Snapchat method & try Instagram Stories. Not only will it save you stress, it’ll also save you time and effort with both asking followers to leave Instagram to see you on Snapchat and finding new content for yet another platform you have no time for.

So, what do I think needs to be shared on your #InstagramStory? I’ve got some ideas for you:

Try hosting a Q&A for your followers, asking them to send you questions as a comment or a private message.

Boutiques & other small businesses can share behind the scenes from photoshoots, sales, their stockroom, and the newest arrivals + styling tips.

My personal favorite is to share your employees and let them say hi to your biggest fans - sharing their background or a quirky, fun fact about theirselves.

Host a session for tips. For example, if you have an employee or model that always has fantastic hair and your customers are asking how she does it, ask her to share her tips on your Instagram stories. Talk the session up a few days before, counting down to the big style sesh! Share the exact time & date that it will be live.

For entrepreneurs in general, share your story!

Business mentors & coaches can share tips on different areas of careers & goal planning.

Restaurants can share a video of their favorite simple recipe or new meal on the menu.

Hairdresses and nail salons can post videos and snapshots of their beautifully finished work.

But, whatever you do, be GENUINE. Don’t overthink it, don’t overplan. Sometimes the best videos & images are those that weren’t planned one bit. I think sometimes we, as business owners, forget that spontaneity can be a great move. Sometimes the greatest things come to us when we least expected it. If we planned it all to a T, we would never allow room for creative magic to happen.

I encourage you to post random, off-schedule images and videos to your Instagram Stories this week in an effort to put yourself, your brand, and your personality out there. Get to know your customers & clients in a whole different way.

I’m going to be using this amazing tool to host Q&A sessions on branding, business owning, Shopify questions, and excerpts from my new book that’ll be launching soon. Plus, I kinda like that I can show my clients & followers my daily life a bit that no one sees.

I'm really excited to see what Instagram has in store for us with their new stories. After all, they've launched their business section & Facebook ads all within a few months. I have to say, I think the Instagram team has been working super hard, and it's paying off for sure. 

Come follow me on Instagram & comment “Found you on the blog!” so I can follow you back, and view your new Instagram Story. And get to sharing your story, now!

xo,

Kait