How to Use Instagram Stories | Binary Fountain

October 14, 2019

How to Use Instagram Stories to Build Your Brand

By: Kayla Zamary

Instagram stories

Since civilization began, stories have been the most important way to connect with other human beings. Almost all of our shared experiences, perceptions and biases come from stories we have heard from another person.

Today, marketers can create new types of stories: Instagram Stories on the popular social media platform Instagram.

This article will help you begin to engage with your current and potential customers through Instagram Stories. We will walk you through how to post and engage with your audience.

Engaging with your audience is crucial to the success of your brand. By interacting with your followers on a regular (if not daily) basis, you can reinforce trust and loyalty with your brand. The Instagram Story placement is perfect for building these customer relationships by providing exclusive behind-the-scenes content, current events with your business, and opportunities for audience feedback, as well as easy access to content on your website.

How to Post Instagram Stories

First things first: How do you post an Insta Story? Don’t worry, we all asked that question when we first learned too. Below you’ll find 4 steps to making your first Insta Story.

  1. Open the Instagram app.
  2. Tap the camera icon in the top-left corner.
  3. Tap the white circle at the bottom of the screen to take a picture or press and hold the white circle to take a video.
  4. If you’d rather use a photo or video you already recorded, tap the square gallery icon on the bottom left of your screen, or swipe up anywhere on the screen.

Additionally, you can TYPE, LIVE, BOOMERANG, SUPERZOOM, FOCUS, REWIND, or HANDS-FREE post by selecting one of these options before you tap the white circle.

To select them, tap or swipe over to change the capture settings. Give them a try to learn what each means.

If you take your photos outside the app to post later, be sure that you shoot your IG Stories content vertically so it will take up as much room on the screen as possible. If what you shoot feels like it could look better, simply swipe the screen left or right to add a filter on top of your photo or video. If you upload a photo or video that was captured more than 24 hours ago, a date timestamp will appear on the screen. No worries, that’s not permanent. Simply click and drag the text towards the trashcan icon in the lower middle of the screen to remove.

If you want to kick your Instagram Story content up a notch, you can have a designer create images or videos in a separate program before you post. They will just need to be in the following format:

  • Video or photo aspect ratio: 9:16
  • Video or photo size: 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Max video length: 15 seconds

If you want to post a video longer than 15 seconds on Instagram Story, you have two options.

  • Record the video directly within Instagram Story, and the app will split up the video in 15-second increments and upload the videos in the correct order.
  • Use a third-party app such as CutStory to slice the video into 15-second increments.

What Should Your Insta Story be About?

Now that you know how to post, let’s talk about what to post. The most important thing to do is not overthink things or turn all of your content into an ad. Remember, you want the content on your Story to be a value-add to the content you’re already sharing in the main feed. Use this placement as an opportunity to expand your overall marketing strategy and really get to know your audience and what content they are interested in.

One of the draws of social media is getting a behind the scenes look at someone’s life or business, so you want to be authentic and genuine.

Not sure where to start? Here are a few different types of posts you can make to help you get moving on your Instagram Story implementation.

The Golden Rule: Tell a Story

People are wired for stories. It’s truly the best way to get people to engage with your brand. You can share anything, but always be authentic and vulnerable when possible. Share the journey of your team: highs and lows, or your shareable, noteworthy client moments. This is a great opportunity to share success stories and prove that your business can meet people’s needs.

The best way to do this is by taking a vertical video, which keeps you from having to write out several stories to tell the entire tale. It does help, however, to type out in a few words what your story is about to really capture the interests of your followers. 30% of Instagram Stories are viewed with the sound off, so this added text can provide context to your content, as well as provide an incentive to turn their sound on and tune in to your post.

You can also post the video you shared in your story to your feed for even more visibility.

Connect with Followers

A great way to interact with your fans is through some of the features created exclusively for the Story placement in Instagram. These features include polls, questions, location, mentions, hashtags, music, countdowns, sliding scales, quizzes, and chat. Below we will break down a description and how-to for the most popular features for engagement.

Polls on Instagram Stories

Polls are interactive stickers that allow you to get direct feedback from viewers. These can be a fun way to engage with your fans and learn a lot about them.

Steps for Creating Polls on Instagram Stories

  1. Take your photo or video.
  2. Tap the folded smiley icon at the top of the screen, which will bring up an assortment of stickers.
  3. Select the POLL sticker.
  4. Enter your question text.
  5. Tap on the default YES and NO buttons to edit them to enter your own poll responses.
  6. You can change the size and placement of it on the screen by pinching it with two fingers. Drag it anywhere you want to change the location of the poll sticker.
  7. If your poll is hard to see, use the brush tool to add a solid color behind the poll sticker to make it stand out. You can find that tool by clicking the marker next to the “Aa” option.

To check the results of your poll, click your story, go to the one with the poll, then swipe up.

You’ll see who voted for which option and get a tally of total votes for each choice. Anyone who answers your poll will be able to see how many votes each option got, but only you can see what option each user voted for.

How to Post Questions

The questions sticker can give you great material to work with for future posts. They provide your audience with an opportunity to share their opinion on a particular topic or ask a question to get to know you or your brand on a deeper level. Here’s how we recommend engaging with your audience via questions:

  1. Take your photo or video.
  2. Tap the folded smiley icon at the top of the screen, which will bring up an assortment of stickers.
  3. Select the QUESTIONS sticker.
  4. Keep the default text “Ask me a question” or tap on it to write your own text.
  5. Tap the color circle at the top of the screen to change the appearance of your questions sticker.
  6. Pinch and drag to change the size and location of the questions sticker.
  7. Once questions start to come in, you can find them by checking your Instagram Story views or by checking your post notifications.
  8. The questions will appear at the top of the list of viewers. If you like, you can tap Reply on any question to share that response (along with your answer) in a new post, or respond directly to the user by providing a response sent via direct message.

If the question asked isn’t too personal or self-identifying, it’s recommended to share these questions and your responses in a new story to show your audience that you’re actively engaged in the conversation.

Be sure to take note of what your viewers seem to respond to the most. Do they ask questions pertaining to your business, or are they more interested in getting to know the people behind the brand? For example, retailers will use the questions sticker as an opportunity to get audience feedback on an upcoming product launch or learn about shopping habits for upcoming seasons, whereas public influencers may utilize the feature to answer what they’re currently watching on Netflix.

For the questions sticker, the worst-case scenario is that no user questions are submitted on the sticker. If this occurs, you can just delete the post and try a different topic another day.

Removing Stories from Instagram

Stories disappear on their own after 24 hours, but if you make a mistake, you can always remove a story sooner than that. Here’s how:

  1. Tap Your story at the top left of the Home screen to bring up your Story.
  2. On the Story you’d like to delete, tap the three dots icon at the bottom right.
  3. Tap Delete, then Delete again.

Note: by deleting a post from your Instagram Story, you will lose all data associated with this post.

Instagram Stories in Summary

At this point, you will have noticed locations, mentions, hashtags, music, countdowns, sliding scales, quizzes, chat, and other fun stickers to add to your story, all available once you tap on the folded smiley icon. The best way to learn about these features is to experiment and see what works best for your business and your audience.

The most important thing to do when it comes to Instagram Stories is to use the feature to grow your brand and engage with your audience. Stories have much more visibility than your posts in your followers’ feed. The more they interact with you and watch your stories, the more your feed posts will be served to them.

We hope this guide helps you get started with Instagram Stories on your own!

Instagram Stories Helps You Build a Brand: We Help you Build a Great Reputation

Instagram stories may help you build a brand, but that’s only part of the online strategy you need in order to be successful.

If you run a local business, you need a great online reputation if you want to be found in local search results or acquire new business. At Binary Fountain, we’ve developed the perfect reputation management software to make it easy for business owners like you to take control of your online presence and gain the valuable insights you need to improve your business.

Download one of our e-books or watch one of our webinars today to learn more about online reputation management.

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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