Making posts on Instagram is a relatively simple process – but if you’ve seen Stories posted by other businesses or people you follow, it can seem confusing at first. What is an Instagram Story? How is it different from a regular post? Why use it – and how can you do so effectively? These are all normal questions, especially at the pace with which the social media landscape changes. Here, we’ll answer some of your questions about Instagram Stories and how you can use them to elevate your digital marketing strategy.
What is an Instagram Story?
An Instagram Story is meant to be a quick snippet of engaging content (15 seconds long, as of 2022). It only remains accessible to followers for 24 hours. Instagram Stories can be as simple as a quick video or picture of something in your daily life or as complex as a flash special for your products and services with clickable links or messaging. In short, Stories are meant to be brief updates or pieces of content that your followers can engage with more easily than a simple post.
You can find Instagram Stories by clicking on the circular profile pictures at the top of your mobile homepage. If the circle has a gradient ring around it, that means one of the people or businesses you follow has posted a Story. Here, by clicking on your own profile picture, you can post your own Story.
How can I use Instagram Stories for business?
Stories are actually a great way to get followers engaged with your practice and your brand. Because they can be interactive, they’re a fun way to reach out to followers and grow your reach. Here are a few examples of ways you can use Instagram Stories for business.
Feature office happenings or culture
At the end of the day, your practice is made up of humans, and being human is the most effective way to relate and engage with your followers. If you’re having an in-office party or event (or even doing something fun around the office on any given day), take a quick video so your followers can get a look at what goes on behind the scenes. When your followers can see you’re friendly, fun, and approachable, they’ll be more likely to keep coming back for services.
Feature news or announcements
The medical field is constantly changing and there’s never a shortage of relevant and engaging news to post about. Keep abreast of developments in your field and what would be exciting to your average follower. Of course, don’t make it an entire article – instead, post headlines or summaries along with a link where interested followers can learn more. You can do the same for announcements within your practice about new products, services, hours, team members, and more.
Demonstrate products or services
Followers will always want to see how your products or services work before purchasing. Stories are a great way to show a brief clip of a featured product, service, or treatment along with some commentary on what makes it special. Just make sure the content is unique and doesn’t just provide answers your followers can find elsewhere. Instead, show your expertise and help your followers understand what they can expect at your practice.
Because of Instagram’s algorithm, it’s difficult to reach all your followers when it comes to announcing events through organic post only. You’re more likely to pique attention if you also post a branded Story with relevant information like the event’s name, location, date, and itinerary. However, best practice is to make use of your email list for invitations and use your Story as a reminder as the date approaches.
Feature a blog or social media post
Your loyal followers are always looking for new content, and your Story can be a great way to showcase it so your followers don’t miss it. If you’ve posted a new YouTube video, blog post, or before-and-after image, make sure to link it in your Story so followers know to go looking for it. Remember – some followers prefer Instagram for news and content and might not be regularly checking your website or other social media platforms. Make sure to also include a brief summary or tagline so new followers are interested in learning more, as well.
If your practice has been in business long enough, you’ve likely made connections with other people in your field. Your Instagram Story is a great way to help out your connections by featuring their posts or videos (especially if they do the same for you in return!) Depending on your practice structure, it can also be a great way to get followers engaging with your team members’ professional accounts as well.
Instagram Story Tips and Tricks
There are a lot of ways you can elevate your Stories to be as engaging as possible for your followers. Here are a few Instagram Story features you might not know about.
Stickers aren’t just a fun way to add some flare to your Stories – they can also be incredibly useful. Some stickers are just cosmetic but can add some personality and branding. However, make sure to explore location, hashtag, poll, mention, and selfie stickers, as well. These allow your followers to interact with your Story by exploring new hashtags, asking and answering questions, finding new accounts, sending pictures, seeing countdowns, and more.
Formerly, Instagram limited the use of link stickers to only high-traffic accounts. As of 2022, however, all accounts can now use link stickers on their Stories. So, make sure your followers have a clear call-to-action and a link to learn more.
Post multiple slides
Instagram Stories are very flexible when it comes to getting creative. Stories last for 15 seconds per slide, meaning a 1-minute video will be broken up into multiple snippets. Alternatively, you can create a slideshow of images or cards that viewers can click through. This means you should make sure your Story has a strong narrative to get viewers to continue. For example, if you’re showcasing a product, customize each slide to feature a different benefit (making sure your branding and design is consistent). And at the end, don’t forget a link to your online store!
Save Stories to your profile
Stories are published separately from your usual posts, but you can save Stories to be featured on your profile under different labels. So, you can use Stories to create highlights of your products, services, before-and-afters, and more – which followers can view any time they visit your profile. Since Instagram bios can be very limiting, it’s a great way to showcase more of your practice in an interactive way. Consider creating branded icons for your featured Story collections with organized labels so followers can easily find what they’re looking for.
View your Story analytics
Instagram is one of the best social media platforms available when it comes to providing analytics and data to business pages. By swiping up from the bottom of your screen when viewing your Story, you can see which of your followers has viewed your Story and any actions they’ve taken. This can include clicks, impressions, follows, profile visits, and more. This can help you determine what parts of your Story are driving traffic and where, helping you better strategize your social media campaigns.
Let’s Get In Touch
There are a staggering number of features available on Instagram and Facebook that you can use to grow your online presence and encounter new potential patients. At DLM, our social media experts can help sharpen your Instagram strategy and help your practice thrive. Ready to learn more? Give us a call or fill out our online contact form to learn more about our social media services and industry-leading digital marketing tools.