4 Creative Ways to Use Instagram Stories for Small Business

  •    Danielle is a freelance writer with bylines in Teen Vogue, Esquire, Vice, and more and runs a blog, The Millennial Freelancer.

Move over, Snapchat: Instagram Stories are here to stay. Compared to posts, Instagram Stories can provide a more personal touch. Many soloprenurs use Instagram Stories as a platform to talk directly to their audiences using the front-facing camera, which can feel like they're talking to someone one-on-one, face-to-face.

But how can your story stand out amongst the competition? Check out these four quick tips to incorporate some creativity into your Instagram Stories.

1. Show us a “day in the life"

What's it like to work for your business? Give your audience a sneak peek into what your office looks like, even if you work from home. Tell them what projects you're working on and any meetings you're attending (along with tagging people you're meeting with), but don't be afraid to share your lunch, either.

However, be mindful about the content you choose. Kickstagram warns soloprenurs from showcasing uninteresting happenings like binging on Arrested Development reruns. Especially if clients are watching, remember that your “day in the life" content can create a bad reputation if executed poorly.

2. Tease a countdown

Do you have a big announcement to make, such as launching a new product? Use a countdown to tease the launch.

GetResponse also recommends creating a teaser campaign across different social media networks, which includes making a new hashtag. While you tweet and compose posts on Facebook, Instagram Stories offer you the chance to provide real-time updates. You won't experience much audience engagement with redundant posts every few hours, but adding to your Instagram story multiple times a day reminds viewers of your campaign.

Start the teaser campaign at least seven days prior to your initial announcement and post every single day, multiple times day, counting down the that launch date to spark excitement among your audience.

3. Invite an employee or client to takeover

Switch it up by asking an employee or client to takeover your account for a day.

Following our “day in the life" advice from the first bullet, ask them to walk your audience through their daily work flow. Ask them to post their workspace and discuss any projects they're working on, but invite them to have fun with it. For instance, if they've received an exciting package or tried out a new lunch spot, that's an opportunity to spruce up the story beyond just business-as-usual content.

Social Media Examiner suggests a takeover for a special occasion. So if you're partnering with another company on a project, ask someone from that organization to take over your account for a day or perhaps, an event related to the partnership, such as a launch event.

4. Invest in a story

Just like sponsoring posts on other social media platforms, you can pay to boost certain Instagram Stories that will show up between users' content. As they browse through Instagram Stories posted by accounts they follow, your ad could appear in between those stories.

You can turn your Instagram Stories into sponsored content through purchasing ads from Facebook. These are best utilized if you are persuading the audience to take some type of action, like buy a product or download an app. You have the option to choose from a series of call to actions, such as “book now," “download," “learn more," “sign up" and more.

Whether it's paid or not, Instagram Stories are a great way to help your brand get a more personal touch, such as through “day in the life" and takeover content.