Witty Kitty’s clients are currently seeing the most paid media success and organic growth on Instagram. We’re advising them to embrace Instagram’s one billion active users—through strategic daily posts and a healthy dose of Instagram Stories. Millions of eyeballs are ready and waiting to consume your content and purchase your products or service on this fun, visual platform. Here’s how to use Instagram Stories to grow your following quickly, increase engagement, and boost conversion.
1.Tell Your Brand Story
Instagram Stories is a great place to—you guessed it—tell the story of your brand! Kodiak Cakes does an amazing job sharing their evolution on Instagram’s Stories Highlights. They’ve shared family photos and historical tidbits about how their company found success using the recipe of their founder, Joel’s, mom. Isn’t Penny just a peach? We want her to make us pancakes.
Similarly, you can curate the story of your brand on Instagram Stories. Get together 5-8 images that illustrate how your brand was built, adding text overlays that explain each picture. You can also add locations and hashtags—anything that will give context. Publish your story and add it to your Highlights. This is the best way to make short-form content like Stories earn evergreen engagement from new followers.
2.Let an Influencer Take Over
Vega, a company that makes some of our favorite plant-based nutrition products, recently let Neen Williams take over Instagram Stories for the day. Neen is a pro skateboarder with an impressive 313k followers. He recorded a promotional video for Vega, as well as posting throughout the day to update followers on an exciting Vega-sponsored event.
By having a sports celebrity like Neen take over their Stories, Vega gained the trust of their target market, exposed their brand to thousands of potential new followers, and kept Vega products top-of-mind with consumers. Could your brand do the same? You don’t have to secure a huge celebrity to talk about your products. It could be an industry expert, local athlete, or an employee with a large Insta following who would find your product interesting.
3.Promote Sales and Exclusive Offers
Instagram Stories, unless you pin them to your profile, disappear after 24 hours. This makes them the perfect medium for promoting limited-time offers, sales, and discounts and promo codes only available to followers. Whole Foods Market uses Stories to alert their followers to “Delish Deals” they can find in-store. These kinds of promos can take followers from your Insta profile to your brick-and-mortar location or online store.
Some e-commerce retailers use unique promo codes so they can attribute who is coming to their website from Stories. You can add a link to your Story that allows followers to easily visit your website and make a purchase. Which is a great transition to our next use case…
4.Share Links to Blog Posts and Resources
Instagram Stories can be a powerful tool to drive customers to your long-form content—gently guiding them through your sales funnel to a sales page. NOW Foods often posts blogs and resources that entertain, educate, and ultimately convert their followers. Think of your story as a movie trailer—it should tease your audience and reveal just enough about your long-form content to make them want to “See More”. Try using hashtags and relevant handles in your image to give more information without cluttering your Story with too much text.
5.Offer How-to’s That Feature your Products in Action
Want to show your audience all the amazing ways they can use your product? Stories allow you to share short how-to videos, or educate your followers using step-by-step photos. Pressed Juicery publishes easy-to-follow recipes on their feed, with creative ways to use their juices like overnight oats, fruity cocktails, and super-charged H2O. You could also demonstrate your product being used by different types of customers, in different settings, and in ways that your followers may not realize are possible.
6.Conduct a Poll
Usana Health Sciences used this poll to drive their followers to a blog post about intermittent fasting—do you think it was effective? Yes or No?
You can now poll your following on Stories, tapping into the opinion of current and prospective buyers—for free! Polls boost engagement by giving your followers an action to complete. It also leaves them curious how others have voted. Ask your fans if they like your new product prototype, if they’ve tried using your product in a certain way, or if they approve of how your employees have used it in a fun picture. You can even tie polls to giveaways! Use the results of your poll to spur long-form content ideas or publish your results in an Instagram Post or future Story. There are a million creative uses for Polls, so don’t be afraid to experiment.
7.Share Behind-the-Scenes Moments
Your founder and employees are interesting—people want to see them and learn about how your product is made! If you want to build trust and earn the loyalty of your following, you have to personalize your brand. Give them a tour of your office space, share a sneak peek of how your staff is preparing for an upcoming event, or let them see the silly antics that take place when no one is watching. Fitness Queen, Emily Skye, loves to post pictures of baby Mia, showing that she’s is a normal mom who’s life doesn’t revolve around burpees (not that we could tell, because she looks ahhhmazing). Your followers want to know the humans that are behind your daily posts and Stories and we have found that these types of posts predictably get the most engagement.
8. Spotlight User Generated Content
Stop talking about yourself and let your fans gush about how amazing you are! Use Stories to share User Generated Content (UGC), like this one from Nordic Naturals. A health and fitness blogger featured one of their products in her Insta post, so they added it to their Nordic Naturals IRL story, where they spotlight creative posts from followers. Not only does this build trust, it also motivates your followers to post photos of your product more often in hopes of being featured. UGC is genuine, usually high-quality content that doesn’t cost you a dime, and it makes the perfect subject for a Story.
Instagram Stories can help you gain and engage more Instagram followers. It can also pull fans from Insta to your website to consume content, explore promotions and, hopefully, buy your products. There are countless ways to use Stories, so we hope these ideas will be a source of inspiration for your brand. If you have a new and unique way you’ve been using Stories, we would love to add it to our list. Don’t be shy—tell us all about it!