How to Use Instagram Stories to Promote Your Business for free

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Are you looking to thrive in a competitive landscape? Establishing the digital footprint of your business on Instagram needs to be on top of your to-do list. But if you are serious about boosting brand recognition and skyrocketing conversions, simply creating posts on your Instagram feed is not enough. 

To level up your marketing strategy, you need to make the most out of Instagram Stories, a feature on Instagram that can help small businesses promote themselves and launch various campaigns. Instagram Stories are a big deal, and here are some compelling statistics to build a strong case:

  • 500 million people use Instagram Stories daily. 
  • 4 million businesses use Stories ads every month.
  • 62 percent of such people claim that they become more excited about a brand or a product after discovering them in their Stories.

Stories created by business profiles also grab more eyeballs as they make up for one-third of the most-viewed Instagram Stories.

However, here’s the bottom line. If you want to utilize Instagram Stories strategically, you need to master the right techniques for creating high-quality stories. If you’re having a hard time figuring out how to use Instagram Stories to promote your business for free, here’s a useful guide to help you get started!

What’s so special about Instagram Stories?  

Instagram Stories have a lifespan of 24 hours. They don’t show up directly on the feed, giving businesses a chance to use them as an announcement board to keep the brand top of mind of the audience.  

They make optimal use of the screen space and since they appear in a full screen visual format, the audience gets a distraction-free and immersive experience while viewing the Stories. This allows businesses to keep the audience completely hooked to the message and potentially boost engagement rates. 

Given their short life cycle, Stories are perfect for creating buzz about products and generating excitement. It feeds into the fear of missing out, creates a sense of urgency, and ultimately results in more participation from the audience.

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You can create promo videos of several types with the help of free online video editors. These promo videos can be in the form of a behind-the-scenes video, teaser video, or even videos that host giveaways or contests– all of which can keep the audience coming back for more! 

For example, if you are launching a sweat-resistant athletic wear line, sharing videos from the designer’s desk or the workshop can build excitement for the product. Next, dedicate a couple of posts highlighting the launch date to make sure that the audience comes back on the launch date to check out the entire collection.

You can also host a giveaway for your customers. While the detailed post about the giveaway can appear in the feed, you can use Stories to promote it by screenshotting the original post and mentioning the hashtags.

Lastly, Stories are also helpful to get the algorithm to work for you. For the algorithm to showcase your brand to the audience, your content needs to be truly appealing to the target audience.

Stories give you a great opportunity to develop a consistent brand voice and skillfully deliver the message using a unique storytelling approach that clicks with the audience. 

Make your Instagram Stories stand out in the crowd using these features 

1. Polls 

Polls are a great way to make your Instagram Stories more interactive right off the bat and encourage more engagement from the audience. They also force your audience to think hard and express what they like. You can use polls in a number of ways to interact with the audience and create a strong community. 

For instance, IKEA uses Polls on Stories to get the audience to vote for their favorite kitchen appliances.

Polls also allow you to display the product catalog without sounding too salesy. You can also gauge your products’ popularity by running Polls and receive more insights about your audience. 

For instance, if you sell artisanal soaps or candles, you can show the available options and ask your followers to vote for one they prefer.

In case you’re still working on a product, polls help you get real-time feedback on any subject and works better than email surveys that your audience tends to ignore. 

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2. Quiz Stickers

Quiz stickers are a fun way to engage with the audience, and businesses can use them in several ways. You can know more about your audience’s preferences, quiz them about your existing products, or even create top-of-the-funnel awareness about new launches.  

For example, if you are a skincare line and plan to launch special skincare products for women in their 50s, you can use the quiz sticker to find out more about the target audience’s daily skincare routine the products they love using.

3. Stories Ads

Instagram Stories are a powerful advertising medium too. Running ads on Stories can get you more followers and increase sales as they are effective for showcasing new products to an audience that is actively engaged with your brand.

There are countless ways of creating ads in Instagram Stories, and you can experiment with various formats. These include photo ads for still images that play for 5 seconds.

carousel ads that allow you to display up to three distinct content pieces within one ad, and full-screen video ads that appear between Instagram Stories and run for up to 15 seconds. 

Out of all the ad formats, video ads can provide an astronomical reach and the highest engagement levels for your business. 

Take, for instance, Krispy Kreme Australia. The doughnut giant used video ads in Instagram Stories and feed to celebrate the release of retro doughnut flavors inspired by Aussie childhood classics.

The audience could swipe right from the video ads in the Stories to launch a virtual retro-inspired handheld game console and try their hand at playing different games without exiting Instagram. The top players even won six months or one year supply of Krispy Kreme doughnuts. This highly creative ad campaign resulted in a 30 percent increase in ecommerce sales, year over year, and also recorded a 25-point increase in ad recall.

Thanks to free online video editor platforms, you can create memorable video ads for Instagram Stories from scratch without spending your marketing budget on hiring a video production team. 

Creative Instagram Story ideas to get noticed by your audience 

Host an employee takeover 

Employee takeover is precisely what it sounds like! Let an employee of your company takes charge of Instagram Stories for 24 hours and provide a no-holds-barred view into their day at work.

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This could involve a tour of the office, a glimpse of the work desk, or even a catch-up over coffee in the office. The idea is to showcase exclusive stuff to the audience and put a human face behind your brand. 

Share behind the scenes and how it’s done

Make your audience fall in love with your products by showing them how it’s made. 

For example, if you sell handmade earrings, you can always create a series of videos that show your audience how each pair is made from scratch. You can start by displaying all the raw materials, move on to the artisans at work, and showcase the packaging process at the end. 

     You can also save this Story as a highlight so the new customers can learn more about your brand. 

Record a tutorial 

You can simplify your audience’s lives by telling them exactly how to put your products to use. For instance, if you have a makeup line, get beauty influencers to shoot tutorials that show how different products can be used for transitioning between day and night looks.

And that’s not the only thing you can teach — the options are endless, and you can experiment as much as you want.

Promote your other content

You can give a boost to your overall content marketing strategy through Instagram Stories. If you have a well-researched blog post on your website that needs more traffic, adding a link to your Instagram Story is a good idea. But make sure to have at least 10,000 followers on your account as the feature is not available to all business accounts. 

If you’re serious about grabbing more eyeballs for your Instagram Stories, don’t forget to use the various built-in tools provided by the platform. You can use various filters, GIFs.

text blocks, fonts, and colors to create aesthetically pleasing on-brand stories. You can also browse through the effects gallery available within the app and pick special effects to add a dash of zing to your Stories.

Wrapping up

Using Instagram Stories is a must for business growth. We have shared some of how you can make the most out of this feature. So, go ahead and put these ideas into practice and watch your engagement soar!

Instagram Stories are a cost-effective way of harnessing your marketing efforts. With a little bit of creativity, your Instagram Stories can definitely help you take your business to the next level.