When you go to Instagram (IG) do you head straight to stories? [My hands in the air] I DO! Reels might be the new kid on the block sure, but IG Stories is getting the most attention, and the perfect spot to be sharing branded business content.
Statistics (from 99 Firms) show that 500 million users now use Instagram Stories every day and one-third of the most-viewed Instagram stories are from businesses.
As a graphic designer and business owner, I have been helping businesses showcase themselves using Instagram stories, yet I see so many underutilising the platform. Your social media and visuals represent your business and customers will ‘judge’ you (and your competitors) based on that. Having a set of pre-designed Instagram stories will help you plan your content (save time) and build a connection with your community.
Are Instagram Stories Really That Good For Business?
Stories are great for interacting with your community and sharing your knowledge, with behind the scenes, off the cuff tags, shares, interest. And it’s also the space to tell the world about your business and the value you add to their life/business.
By sharing eye-catching branded content, you create brand awareness & encourage engagement with your audience, and in turn this will give you a greater chance of appearing in your followers’ feeds and help you stay front of mind for when they’re ready to buy.
It may sound like a lot of work (and a little daunting) but the time you put into your social will be lessened by developing evergreen content, that can be used on a repeated cycle. It’ll bring value to your stories, to your audience and it will stop you from feeling flustered about what to post.
Making The Most Of Instagram Stories For Business
Develop a series of graphics that showcase your point of difference and what you stand for [eg. eco friendly, deep dive discovery, vegan specialist, selfcare expert, holistic approach]. Show how you solve your community’s problem through your unique services, products and the experience you provide.
This can all be shared through a collection of evergreen stories which are key sentences representing your business and its values. Sharing branded testimonials backs this up and if possible, include an image or video of a client sharing the testimonial. If you have a lead magnet or freebie create a graphic for your stories that showcase the value to your followers.
Share graphics that contain original imagery including your products, you and your team, as this humanises your brand and people want to know who they’re doing business with. How regularly should you share evergreen stories is up to you, I say weekly, just remember not everyone will see your story and you can rotate between evergreen content shared.
Remember to always think creatively to grab consumers’ attention. One way to do this is utilising music and basic animation libraries in apps like Canva, InShot & within Instagram. If this all seems too time-consuming work with a designer [hello] and copywriter [Hello] to craft the right keywords and graphics, showcasing the quality service you offer and your point of difference.
Video Is KING! Use It Creatively
I know this might sound daunting but stay with me. There are ways to get around video shyness and still share video content. You can use a mix of photo’s, graphics & a little pre-recorded video and or voice over, and stitch these together. The free version of InShot will allow you to trim and adjust speed of content.
To maximise your story time on display, ensure your final video length is 60 seconds [Instagram will let you publish 4 frames at a time in stories [15 seconds x4].
Here are some examples of what you could video in a creative way:
- share how to style an outfit, a room a product in it’s environment.
- demonstrate a task.
- share the environment you work in.
- explain how or why to use products you use to service clients needs.
- share customer experiences through their eyes,
- take your audience on a journey in your story.
- share behind the scenes timelaps in your field.
- share client unboxing, receiving goods.
Encourage Engagement And Create Conversation On Stories
Interact with your community by asking your followers questions (using the Instagram question icon) relative to the problem you are solving and gather feedback to build more content, engage by responding in direct messaging and develop connections with members of your community.
Create polls that are fun, informative and connected to events in the calendar year. This will help boost your ranking with followers who engage with your content and identify who you’re connecting with.
Must-Dos On Instagram Stories
- Design in Story dimensions (1080 x 1920 pixels) and utilise vertical space.
- Keep wording short and sharp with business tags or instructions ‘link in bio’ or ‘new post’. Make it easy for your audience to find out more and access your goodies.
- Download evergreen stories to your phone. Save to a folder for ease of access and for posting on the go.
- When you upload evergreen content, save it to an appropriate Instagram Highlight. To do this, click on the love heart icon when viewing the story and select the highlight you wish to save the story in for safe keeping. This allows followers and newbies to your page to access this information easily, without leaving the platform. Highlights is another great space to showcase your business and the value you add.
- Add a compact logo when sharing stories on the go (png file format is best if the logo requires transparent background). You want people to recognise your brand easily which will help you stay front of mind.
- Don’t feel overwhelmed creating a set of evergreen stories, chip away at one a week and slowly build content that you can reuse.
Evergreen Stories Build Trust
When sharing evergreen stories on a regular basis, you are building trust with your community, you will be front of mind when the time is right for your audience to reach out to collaborate. Creating social media graphics is time consuming, so by building evergreen stories you’re using the platform strategically adding value to your business.
I hope you find this article helpful. I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic and what you found most useful. Feel free to connect with me below.
About the Author
Kelly Mevel is a designer with 20 years experience working in the graphic design industry. She has worked with brands such as Ikea, New West, Nike, Australia Post, Giordano and Target Australia in her corporate days.
Since starting her own business she works with amazing small businesses who are ready to invest and extend their brand story and social media profile. She has been working with service and product-based business including copywriters, child psychologists, interior stylist and more.
She designs with purpose, creating visuals that engage with her client’s communities and further develop a brand story that can be carried through all the business’ visual touchpoints.
To connect with Kelly go to: