When Instagram released their “Stories” feature, it basically declared war on Snapchat. A couple of years have passed and now, it’s daily use is even higher than Snapchat.
More than 200 million people view Instagram stories every day. But as a business owner, what you will find more interesting is that more than one-third of the most viewed stories are uploaded from business profiles.
In fact, in the Middle East, businesses in countries like Bahrain are using Instagram very profoundly and effectively. There is a Social Media Marketing Agency in Bahrain known as Imapro.in which keeps their clients on toes when it comes to Instagram and keeps on updating new techniques which increase visibility and interactivity through Instagram stories.
Instagram stories go away in 24 hours, and instead of commenting or liking publicly, all you can do is reply to them. And even that can be turned off.
They won’t appear in your profile feed unless you highlight them. Moreover, texts, drawing tools, stickers, and more make stories the place to showcase your brand’s creativity and truly experiment.
When you post stories, the chances of your customers seeing them are much higher than your regular posts.
And to make things even simpler, there’s really not much going in the algorithm department for stories either, unlike the regular feed. Instagram stories give you the freedom to be more creative and flexible with them and worry less about quality.
So, if you too want to take advantage of this amazing feature Instagram offers, then this is the place to be. Today we’ll be discussing the top 5 techniques you can use to drive those sales numbers up with Instagram stories.
#Using Stories Normally but Creatively:
Here, the keyword is ‘creatively’. This method is nothing special. A story of this kind won’t contain any shoppable stickers, links, direct product promotion, except maybe “link in the bio”. And yet such stories can prove to be an incredible way to establish your brand’s image and drive traffic.
This category includes user-generated-content, sneak-peeks, behind the scenes, and creative use of story features like polls and quizzes. User-generated-content is content generated by users. This includes any and all content that talks about you or features your products.
So if you’re a clothing brand and one of your customers uploads a picture wearing your clothing, consider this as free promotion and share it in your stories. One thing to always keep in mind here is, always give credit where it’s due. Tag the person whose picture/video you’re using.
Share early pictures of products that are going to come out in the future, to create a buzz around it. These occasional sneak-peeks can help your sales significantly, as shown by some of the big brands like Ben and Jerry’s. How well do you think this “CHILL-ACO” did when it came out? Hint - very good!
You can also share behind the scenes photos in your stories to improve the bond your brand has with its customers. And in case you don’t have any user-generated-content yet or don’t have a big team or any new products coming out, don’t worry, you can get creative with any normal post.
Use those stickers, polls, quizzes, question-answer features that Instagram stories have. At the very least, it’ll engage your followers and establish your brand’s name in their minds.
You probably don’t pay this feature the attention it deserves but starting now, you should. Going live coupled with a “link in the bio” can come in handy especially when introducing a new product. Got a product you’re particularly proud of? Got a big announcement to make? Got a prototype for a future product? Want real-time feedback? Or maybe just want a one-on-one with your followers? What are you waiting for? Go Live
And unlike any of your other posts, Instagram will actually send a notification to all your followers when you go live.
And it also builds up a sense of urgency among your followers, because these will disappear after you go offline. So there’ll be a lot of people lining up to “watch it before it ends”. Thus, making it a very efficient way to do all the things mentioned above and more!
#Sharing Shoppable Posts in Stories:
This is pretty straight-forward. As you already might know, you have the option of sharing posts directly in your stories. If someone sees such a story, they can directly go to that particular post just by tapping on the post inside the story.
As a rule of thumb, any of your posts is shown to only 20% of your followers first and depending on how it does among them, it is shown to the remaining 80% of your followers.
On the other hand, your story isn’t held back with such algorithmic restrictions. So, whenever you share a shoppable post on your feed, make sure that you also share it in your story. This ensures that more people can see the product and thus buy it.
In fact, you should share every other post in your stories for the same reason. Just remember to hide parts of the post with stickers and stuff so people have a reason to actually click on it.
#Swipe Up feature:
This is one of the most powerful tools Instagram stories has to offer for businesses of all kinds. To understand it, picture this - you’re at your home, going through all the stories of your friends one by one. In between them, comes the story of your favorite singer announcing that she’s going to be performing in your city in two weeks!
You immediately lose it and want to get your hands on the best tickets as soon as possible. At the bottom center of the story you see the words “Book Now” so you immediately swipe up and are redirected to the website where you finally book the tickets.
Just like how you got the chance to witness what you desperately wanted, someone else also might see your story one day and have the same reaction. And when that happens, the “Swipe Up” feature will be there to help that person boost your sales. Though there is a catch to this feature. You must have more than 10,000 followers in your account to be able to use it. Other than that, simple, amazing feature!
#Shoppable Stickers for Stories:
You must be wondering about those brands who don’t have 10,000 followers yet. Fear not, e-commerce brands can make use of the shoppable stickers in Instagram Stories to tag specific products in their stories.
This is just like your regular Instagram shoppable posts. Brands have already been using Instagram Stories anyway, so they might as well make some money off it. With shoppable stickers for stories, you aren’t just limited to trying to get your followers to “swipe up” to be able to shop.
When watching your story, your followers can tap on each sticker to learn more about the specific product from the story itself and ultimately, make a purchase.
However, to be able to use this feature, your business account needs to be connected to your Facebook catalog and you must be located in one of these 46 countries. Along with this your business must sell physical products that must comply with Instagram’s commerce policies and merchant agreement.
This is an excellent feature for small as well as big businesses. So if you meet all the requirements, don’t forget to show-off your products to your customers. It can help your sales by a lot!
Given the success of Instagram Stories, all these features and tools are indispensable for any e-commerce brand trying to drive sales on the platform. Instagram Stories in 2019, have become a crucial part of businesses’ plans to reach their marketing goals. And it has never been easier or more effective, than now. So go and employ these top 5 techniques so you too can drive your sales through the roof.
Gaurav Agarwal is the founder of ImaPRO - Digital marketing agency based in Bahrain, providing 360° Digital Marketing solutions across the globe from last 16 years. With his years of experience and expertise in Digital Marketing, he serves businesses from a wide range of industries, including Retail, Fashion, E-commerce.