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How To Use Instagram Stories for Business: Tips To Boost Conversion

Jimmy Rodriguez
8 min read
Apr 8, 2021
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If you’re an ecommerce store owner, you can’t wait around for leads to come to you. If you want to succeed, you need to reach out to potential customers and promote your business across multiple channels. The more effective your promotion tactics, the better your store will perform. 

Fortunately, today’s digitized world means it’s easier than ever for business owners to reach potential customers. Today, we’re going to look at one particular digital promotion channel: Instagram Stories. 

Let’s get started. 

Why you should use Instagram to promote your business

When it comes to promoting your brand on Instagram, the numbers speak for themselves. According to Statista, Instagram has over one billion users as of 2020. That makes it the sixth most popular social network worldwide:

the usage of social media
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Contrary to popular perception, Instagram isn’t only used by teenagers and college students. Its usage cuts across age groups. In other words, on Instagram, you have a goldmine of potential customers of all ages waiting for you. So, if you have products to sell online, it’s a channel you can’t afford to ignore. 

Instagram Stories for ecommerce

Instagram has a great feature that brands and store owners can use to promote their products: Instagram Stories. 

An Instagram Story is a collection of still pictures or short video clips. Each runs for a maximum of fifteen seconds and disappears after 24 hours. You can create Stories in the Instagram app or upload them from your camera roll. 

With Instagram Stories, you can get creative. You can create doodles and add text on top of the pictures or videos. Instagram Stories being temporary is a great feature, too. You can use it to emphasize the fear of missing out (FOMO) and nudge potential customers into action. You can also generate mystery so potential customers will be curious about your brand. More on these strategies later.

Instagram Stories have fantastic reach. Instagram puts Stories at the top of users’ feeds. That means your Stories will be one of the first things users see when they log in. That’s prime promotional real estate right there for you! 

Tips to boost conversion

Instagram Stories are great for promoting products, but you still need to be strategic about running your campaigns. Check out some of my favorite tips to boost conversion below. I’ve added some examples to inspire you, too. 

1. Provide special offers

If you’re wondering what to post on Instagram, here’s an idea that’s always popular: special offers. Instagram Stories are great for emphasizing the temporary nature of discounts and deals. Here today, gone tomorrow. This allows you to generate a sense of urgency that prompts leads to take action.

Why not offer a discount that lasts for only 24 hours? Or offer a site-wide sale that is similarly brief? The FOMO will be so great that your audience will feel compelled to check out your offer. 

If you have more than 10,000 followers, you can use the “swipe up” function to send users directly from your Stories to your website. Here’s how Baskin Robbins in Pakistan did it:

Baskin Robbins Pakistan Instagram
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The famous ice cream and cake shop also included a menu at the end of its Instagram Story in case its viewers didn’t know the flavors they could choose from.

Pro tip: send people to a dedicated landing page. This will increase your chances of landing the sale by reducing distractions and providing a clear, cohesive call to action. 

2. Generate mystery

The temporary nature of Instagram Stories makes them ideal for generating a sense of mystery. This is when you tease a new product launch or another exciting development but don’t give it away completely

It works because you leave your followers intrigued and wanting to know more. This means they’re more likely to follow your page, sign up for your newsletter, or visit your website so that they can find out more.

Here’s an example from Samsung TV:

Samsung TV Instagram
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In this Instagram Story, Samsung TV first urges its viewers to choose their life story. The next shots ask them what they’d do in particular situations. So, there’s a question on what they would prefer to do to develop as individuals, what they’d prefer to do if they were a parent with three kids, and what they’d work harder for. 

The Story then ends with the statement, “Imagine if you didn’t have to choose.” At the bottom, there’s a “Stay Tuned” message with no other explanation.

The Story is very effective because it leaves viewers wondering about what exactly the Instagram Story is about. So, in the end, they wait for the next Story to be published to know the answer. 

To be effective, you have to be careful you don’t give too much or too little information. If you give too much, you won’t generate the mystery you wanted to create.  If you give too little, you won’t generate enough interest for your viewers to continue watching your Stories. 

3. Leverage influencer marketing

It pays to have a good influencer marketing strategy. A big majority, 80%, of marketers believe influencer marketing is an excellent strategy for promoting products, according to Mediakix. Even more, 89%, say the ROI from this strategy is comparable to, or better than, other marketing channels.

Influencers can affect purchasing decisions because of their authority, knowledge, and relationship with their audience. In other words, if they say a product or service is excellent, their followers are likely to sit up and pay attention. 

If you decide to tap into influencers for your next campaign, make sure they’re an authority in your niche. If you sell healthy food for fitness buffs, tap into influencers who are known fitness buffs, too. Their followers are likely to be into eating just that. Make sure their target audience aligns with yours. There’s no point working with an influencer whose main target audience is women aged 70 and over if you want to attract younger people who are into staying fit to your store. 

Tesco, a supermarket chain based in the United Kingdom, partnered with fitness influencer Gemma Talbot to promote its products. The partnership came about just as the supermarket chain, according to The Times, pledged to increase its sales of healthy food to 65% of its total sales by 2025. In her Instagram Story, Talbot showed an example of a nutritious meal customers could prepare with Tesco products:

Gemma Talbot Instagram
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Influencers are professionals, so make sure you treat them as such. Respect their expertise, pay them on time, and allow them to have creative input into the campaign. You can also use an email outreach tool to manage your communication with influencers. 

4. Give brand updates

Instagram Stories are great for sharing brand updates. Got a new product launching? Tell your audience about it through your Stories. You can do so through a series of still photos or make a short, creative video. 

Take a look at this great example from McDonald’s in Cyprus. To announce the launch of its partnership with Foody, an online ordering platform, it published an Instagram Story that showed close-up shots of Mcdonald’s products, including its burger. The Story then ended with a shot of the McDonald’s and Foody logos next to each other with the copy “Delivered just for you!”

McDonald's Cyprus Instagram
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The Story was so simple, but it worked beautifully. 

With Instagram Stories, you can make news about your brand exciting and engaging. In just seconds, your followers will know exactly what exciting things are coming up and when. 

5. Engage with quizzes and polls

Part of the beauty of Instagram Stories is their versatility. You can add elements, such as quizzes and polls, to engage your viewers and solicit their feedback. As we’ve discussed, engaged viewers are more likely to take your desired action, such as making a purchase.

To make this strategy work, your quizzes and polls need to be related to the products you’re selling. Here’s an excellent example from Forever21, an American fashion retailer: 

Forever21 Instagram
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In the Story, Forever21 posts the results of the poll it made a few days ago. It then ends the Story with another poll. The results of that last poll, we can assume, will determine the type of tutorial Forever21 will publish in its next Instagram Story.

People love being asked for their opinion or input. The more creative you get with your quizzes and polls, the higher engagement rates you’ll enjoy. That means better chances of turning some of your viewers into paying customers! 

Instagram stories for business

Instagram, one of the world’s most popular social media platforms, is a great channel to promote your products. Instagram Stories are particularly useful. The placement of Stories at the top of the feed puts them right in your audience’s field of vision. Additionally, the temporary nature of Stories makes them ideal for generating excitement and organic engagement in the moment. 

Just remember these top tips for ecommerce success with Instagram Stories:

With Instagram Stories, you can be very creative and use your imagination to engage your followers and encourage them to take action. Try out these strategies for yourself, take inspiration from your favorite brands, and think outside the box. You’ll see your online sales go up in no time.