Instagram Stories: How To Use Them in eCommerce
Instagram Stories has changed the way that brands market themselves on social media. It is a powerful tool that helps you create and maintain meaningful engagement with your customers – as well as increasing the “Know, Like, and Trust” Factor of your brand.
With its temporary nature (i.e. stories disappear after 24 hours), some people argue that it may not make sense to invest time to craft content for this function; however, when utilized correctly, IG Stories are a great supplement to your promotional efforts and tie in well with your main feed.
So what are Instagram Stories, and how can you use them to effectively promote yourself and your business?
Here are a few tips and tricks, which would hopefully give you ideas on how to use it to convert that engagement into sales.
IG Stories vs IG Posts
Aside from the main difference between that two (i.e. stories disappear, posts don’t), it is important to note that the two operate on completely different algorithms, and you can use this to your advantage.
We know that Instagram works on algorithms – basically, the more a user engages with a particular brand, the more it appears in their feed. A lot of users follow tons of handles on Instagram, and it is unavoidable that the IG Profile of your business will be buried under the personal pages, memes, and cat photos that appear on your target market’s feed.
Enter the IG Stories.
Stories sit on top of the app when users first open it, and it doesn’t rely on the algorithms that govern the main feed. This increases the likelihood of people seeing your stories.
The 400 million active daily users of Instagram are active in IG Stories, and this is the first thing they do when they open the app.
Plus, statistics show that 59% of stories take users to a shoppable page, so users are aware that most brands use stories to promote items, and will not be surprised if you do it too.
As well as this, 25% of all IG Stories start a conversation (through the reply function in the story itself). This ends up in direct messages between your audience and the brand, which in turn drives up engagement. And it also helps increase the “Know, Like, and Trust” Factor.
The added benefit is that the algorithm of the stories modifies the algorithm of the feed. So when a user interacts with your story, the algorithm tells Instagram that this user is interested in your account, which in turn will make your page more likely to appear in that person’s feed.
So if you’re not sure what to post, here are a few ideas…
A simple example is to link your page by posting the content you posted in your feed into a story for the day. However, there are other things you can do in your stories, which increases engagement for your profile.
There are four types of tags you can post in your stories:
- Location Tags
- Profile Tags
- Product Tags
Location Tags and Hashtags act the same way in the Stories as the normal IG Post. This means that if there’s a location or hashtag in your story, it will also appear in the searches for those tags.
Let’s say, for example, that you sell beach bags, and you publish a story wherein you put a picture of your bag with a location tag (of, say, a beach), and a hashtag (e.g. #beachbag). Your story will appear for people who search for the location tag and the hashtag, which would drive up engagement.
Profile Tags on the other hand act as a way to draw attention to someone or something that is relevant to your story – you can tag your own page in your story, or tag other related pages. This is great for collaboration with other businesses or accounts.
Product Tags let you tag your products which will link directly to your store. It’s a great way to raise more awareness of your products and you can see how many purchases are a direct result of your IG stories if you’ve got it set up in Google Analytics.
Polls are a great way of receiving instant and direct feedback from your audience. You can ask any questions – for example, what does your audience want you to launch next, what do they think of a particular product, etc.
This is effectively a free way of getting market information from your audience. It’s convenient and easy to use, and it shows your audience that you care about what they think.
Story Ads (and Swipe Ups)
Running ads in IG Stories could be a really great way to reach a new audience and make more sales. Running ads in stories can be very disruptive and effective because users are already scrolling through stories, and the story ad appears in the middle of viewing their other followers’ stories.
With ads on Instagram (and Facebook), you can create custom audiences based on the demographics of your target customer, so you can choose exactly the type of people who view your ad.
With story ads, you can add a ‘swipe up’ call-to-action to go direct to a specific URL (e.g. your website). This is a great way to increase traffic to your website or Amazon listing – without the user going through the link in your bio.
Note: If you want to enable the ‘swipe up’ feature on your stories, you’ll need to have over 10K followers – or run IG story ads. Profiles with under 10K followers cannot do swipe-ups on regular stories, only ads.
Posted a great story, and feel like you wished it wouldn’t disappear in 24 hours? This is where the Story Highlights function come in.
Story Highlights negates the transitory nature of IG Stories, as the highlights remain saved at the top of your account.
Make sure to turn on your auto-archive function for stories, so that after it disappears in your Stories feed, it goes to your archive. Go to your page, and then create highlights from your archived stories.
You can group your highlights by topics (or products), which means that your highlights are organized and easy to look up.
For example, you can create specific highlights for Products, Customer Reviews, Behind-The-Scenes, Shipping Policies, FAQs, and more. It’s a great way to highlight the personality of your brand as well as helping you to gain trust from prospective customers.
Here are some stories from Nicole’s The Adventure Book – explaining how the book works as well as customer reviews:
These are just a few ideas on how to make Instagram Stories work for you.
Remember, however, that consistency is key! Try to post at relatively the same time every day, so that there will always be an active story for your page.
The best way to go about it is to dive head-first and try it out. We hope these tips will help you improve your engagement with your customers. Remember, it’s not about the number of followers, but the quality of engagement you have with your customers – this is what turns those likes into sales.
And finally – Instagram stories are likely to be just one piece of your marketing puzzle. Check out our article on “How To Dominate Content Creation” to help you plan your content strategy. Good luck!