Instagram Stories: 5 Creative Ways to Use Them in Your Marketing

Instagram Stories smartphone with instagram from above
Instagram Stories smartphone with instagram from above

Instagram Stories might typically be ephemeral, but they can have a lasting impact on your marketing. For great Instagram story ideas plus tips on optimizing for business, read on! Then, download our Marketer's Guide to Instagram and build a full-fledged Instagram marketing strategy.

Instagram Stories was launched all the way back in August 2016 and was widely considered a carbon copy of Snapchat. In 2020, however, more than 500 million Instagrammers use stories every single day.

If you’re wondering what impact Instagram Stories can have on your brand, wonder no more. Stories should be an integral part of your social media marketing strategy, including Instagram advertising. They’re a great way to increase engagement with your audience and reiterate your brand story. Brands not utilizing stories are missing out on a huge opportunity for engagementgrowth, and sales.

Today we’re exploring Instagram Stories for business. Let’s dive in!

5 Creative Ways to Use Instagram Stories

1. Share “Stories About You” with Your Audience

One of the most challenging things to do as a brand on social media is talk about your product or service without coming across as inauthentic or “sales-y“.

Luckily, the new Instagram Stories About You feature just might be the solution. Stories About You is only available to Instagram users with a Business Account or Creator Account and allows brands to easily share content they were tagged or mentioned in. 

Mixing in user-generated content with your branded content is a great way to increase trust and authenticity. It demonstrates that you’re willing to let your audience shine and likely helps to increase social proof.

2. Share Limited Time Offers and Promotions

Given that Instagram Stories only last for 24 hours, it’s the perfect channel for sharing limited-time offers or promotions.

This type of content gives your brand the opportunity to reward your existing followers for their loyalty and engagement. Plus, it incentivizes people to share with their friends and family by creating a sense of urgency and exclusivity.

Instagram Stories also include a bunch of native marketing features to help your offers and promotions stand out. Instagram stickers, in this case in particular, the countdown one,  are a great way to spice up this content.

3. Create Instagram Stories Advertisements

Instagram Stories have emerged as one of the most effective advertising channels for brands.

The key part of running Stories ads is creating the ad creative — the Stories image or video — itself. When you post traditional “feed” content for Stories, the Stories ads won’t look like most Stories content. You want to create content formatted specifically with a vertical screen in mind. This will help to make your content look native to audiences on Instagram. 

Creating great Instagram story ads is all about simplicity. You might be tempted to fill your ad creative with many things. That could confuse your audience and lead to a lower conversion rate.

Use short copy, beautiful imagery, and a powerful call-to-action. 

4. Promote Top Performing Interactive Content

One of my favorite utilizations of Instagram Stories for marketing is when brands promote top performing content in new and interactive ways.

Repurposing your best content in an interactive way will ensure that it reaches as much of your audience as possible, increasing your Instagram engagement rate. Blog posts, press releases, product updates, announcements, and more can all be leveraged as stories content.

For example, HubSpot took one of their most-read posts on how to write good emails and turned it into an interactive quiz. People love a good quiz on social media!

Tons of brands are embracing interactive content and seeing amazing results. Experiment with interactive content such as: Instagram polls, quizzes, AMAs, games, contests, surveys, and countdowns.

This type of stories content is perfect for deep engagement and demands your audience’s undivided attention.

5. Tell a Compelling Brand Story

This might seem like a given seeing as how it is called Instagram Stories. However, many brands fail to capture the essence of what makes for great stories content. It all starts with a compelling brand story.

There are virtually unlimited ways to tell a story as a brand (all within the 15 second maximum Instagram story length). For example:

  • Restaurants could show how their dishes are prepared in the kitchen
  • Musicians could show what it’s like on the tour bus
  • Sports teams could share a pre-game speech in the locker room
  • Consulting agencies could discuss how to approach a specific challenge a business is facing
  • SaaS platforms could show a tour of their office and meet the team
  • Ecommerce brands could share tips on how to create the perfect outfit

Use Instagram Stories to tell your brand’s story and you’ll quickly discover that your audience loves the interaction on a whole new level.

Instagram Stories are one of the best channels to drive engagement, build brand awareness, drive traffic, and even increase sales. With Meltwater’s Social Media Management tool, you can publish and engage from one platform, and easily report on the insights that matter.