What are Instagram stories?
Instagram is one of the most interesting social networks for brands at the moment: with more than 500 million daily users, it has become the most famous platform to discover products. 79% of users say that they use Instagram to find out about brands, products, or services.
The commercial and advertising weight of Instagram is considerable, and its users find ads in their daily post feed and in video stories. And video is the tool that may be of most interest to you: videos are the most consumed online materials, especially via mobile phones, and with Instagram is an inexpensive and fast way to share videos and connect with your audience.
Instagram stories shows videos or static images of up to 15 seconds of duration, and they are stored for 24 hours. After that time has passed, you can save them on your profile so that users can see them again later and share them as often as they’d like.
You can use Instagram stories from your company or brand profile, sharing content with your followers, or create ads in stories format that will appear amongst the rest of the stories for your target audience.
Let us tell you how to take advantage of these two opportunities to boost your Instagram audience and the popularity of your products.
→ Taking the first steps: how to sell products on Instagram
Building your Instagram stories audience
In Instagram stories, as this is short content, the thing that counts most is to have an initial ‘hook’ that is attractive and makes interaction easy. Choosing between two options is a great temptation for most users: Yes or no to this shoe model in green? Do you prefer regular or decaf coffee?
For Instagram users, voting is a game. For a brand, voting is a great source of information about the preferences of your current and potential buyers.
To use voting in Instagram stories, you just need to include a stick that allows for two text options to be marked. You can follow up on the results in real time in percentage points, and you can share the final figures after 24 hours if you wish to do so.
Another variation of voting in Instagram stories is to use a slider, which is a sliding bar that the user can move from side to side to choose between two emojis. For example, if you share an image of your new couch model in a nice living room, a slider could range from the sad to the happy emoji, representing how much the user likes the new product.
The result for you is the same: you are measuring how consumers feel about your products, but it is done in a more visual way than the voting option.
This type of sticker is similar to the voting option, but there is a greater variety of answer options. It allows you to include a topic or question and several options for users to choose.
For example, if you want to see which product variant is better accepted ,you can share a model in three colors and ask that each user chooses his/her favorite.
The assessment that you can undertake with this tool perhaps is not 100% precise, as it all depends on how many people really see your Instagram stories (perhaps some followers have them muted). It is important to analyze how much exposure and how many interactions the publication has had before measuring the relevance of the opinions gathered.
If you’re looking for open-ended answers, use the question stickers. Write any question you want and users can answer it. Only you will see the responses.
This is an interesting way to get opinions from a varied, controlled audience without turning to tedious questionnaires and emails. What product would you like to have back in stock? What is your favorite product from our brand? Dare to interact with your followers: you will find that they are more than willing to share their ideas.
Answering questions live has become another noteworthy event on Instagram. Chats are attractive because they let followers see the questions that others ask and become inspired and excited to send in their own questions.
You can hold a chat for a special occasion, like a pre-launch of a product or season, or for a promotion. Being sure to offer some type of drawing or advantage for participants is another way to get more participation.
Broadcasting live videos in Instagram is another stupendous idea in relationship with unique events for your brand, like product debuts and collaborations with influencers.
Additionally, when you have a livestream on IGTV Live, a notification is sent to your followers so that they will instantly know that they can connect to see your video, thus bringing in the participation of those users who are online at the time.
→ This might interest you: how to collaborate with influencers
How to promote products on Instagram stories
Without a doubt, the most useful feature for brands on Instagram is the direct buy option and links to product pages.
With these features, users can go directly from a publication on Instagram stories to the page where you are selling the product, or to the native in-app purchase tab, depending on how you have things configured.
You can include these tags in both image and video stories, and you can encourage the interaction of your followers with your catalog and online shop as this option gets rid of obstacles in terms of looking for and buying a product.
Instead of tags on stories, there is also the option to link to an external URL. These stories have “swipe up” text for the user to open another window with an external website; for example, your online shop or a marketplace where you have launched an offer.
If your company profile does not yet have this feature activated, the alternative is to invite your followers to follow the link included in your bio (the description in your profile). There are hundreds of stickers and GIFs that can convey these messages in a fun and memorable way.
As with any social network, the short-lived sometimes has the best impact: something that brands commonly do on Instagram stories is to launch promotions with a countdown timer. This will give users a countdown until the end of the special offer or product launch.
Counters count down the seconds in real time based on when the user is seeing the publication, and they generate expectation and invite participation in a unique, limited-time offer.
As we mentioned before, apart from the publications that you can create on your brand profile, you can also buy ads on Instagram stories.
In this way, you can try attracting more traffic other than organic traffic. As these will be ads shown to users who are not your followers, they must be publications that present your brand or products in a good light, or which provide information about an event that is interesting for anyone, like a sale or a live presentation.
More than 130 million Instagram users interact with purchase publications each month: don’t let this springboard for your brand and product catalog get away.
→ Take a look: the new Instagram Shops online sale option
Tips for creating Instagram stories
- The size of stories in Instagram is 750 x 1334 pixels in vertical format, both for images and for videos. Other formats can be optimized to be displayed correctly, but preparing content directly in vertical format will ensure that your creations are displayed perfectly.
- Use pre-defined templates for Instagram stories if you want to save time. There are native templates and dozens of apps that you can connect to your Instagram account.
- According to some comparisons, contents with lower color saturation tend to be more popular; they should have a predominate shade and a little empty background space – white or another color.
- Video beats out images: this type of story gets up to 38% more interactions.
- Better with sound: 60% of Instagram users use the internet with their sound turned on. You can include a song or music from the stories creation screen.
- Add tags with hashtags and locations. If you are promoting the launch of a shop in a specific region or city, you will attract an audience from that area. Hashtags allow you to connect with the followers of those topics, but don’t include too many.
- Publish regularly: the average for brands is about 1.5 posts per day, both on the feed and in stories.
- Create custom augmented reality filters for Instagram stories. Users can use them and their stories will include the name of your brand as the creator of the filter.
- Share your own stickers, like animated GIFs that can be used in stories to personalize publications, or add them to the Instagram gallery so that anyone can find them and promote your brand.
- Use a consistent image style, with filters, GIFs, and recurring visual effects. In this way, your followers and users who do not know you will be able to recognize your publications easily and identify them with a brand image.
- Lastly, analyze: each story has a hit counter and you can also see impressions, reach, if users have seen the full story or when they skipped over it, and any responses and interactions received. With a business account, these analytical pieces of data on Instagram are much more complete.
→ Just in case you aren’t sure: Pros and cons of selling on social media
Promoting your brand and making your audience grow through Instagram is easy and hardly requires investment costs. You will need a creative marketing team that can create content regularly, but the conversions are worth it for companies selling products or services.
With Instagram stories, you can reach your customers and new consumers in an original and attention-grabbing way, taking advantage of one of the most popular formats at present.
And if you want to take advantage of Instagram to sell on social networks, a PIM solution can help you to control all your product information and connect it with any channels that you want. Try a PIM solution for free for 30 days with Sales Layer and take your products to the places where your customers spend most of their time.