I love them.
Stories are the single most customisable feature on Instagram today. I'm all for injecting your personality into your business and in my opinion there's no better way.
Instagram stories are a fantastic way for your clients to get to know the person behind the brand. They are helpful if you want to engage with other professionals or to simply update your following without posting to your feed. The opportunities are endless, you can literally do what you like with them.
Fonts, Gif's, images, locations, emoji's, video, boomerangs and that's just the beginning. The ever evolving portal of fun is there available to you right now.
What are Instagram stories?
Instagram stories is Instagrams bigger, better version of Snapchat. You can post anything, it will be visible for 24 hours and you can customise the content to your hearts content. They can be used to update your day to day escapades, behind the scenes, general information, announcements, new posts, competitions- whatever you fancy.
It can be daunting to start at first, there's always the niggling fear of putting yourself our there, however I have only ever had positive experiences with Insta stories and will wax lyrical about these for the foreseeable!
If you post something you want to save, or to be visible until you choose otherwise, Instagram have recently added the HIGHLIGHT feature to the story posts. That little heart on the bottom right of your post, pressing that means the story will be available for later viewing on your profile.
By highlighting a story you will be asked to add it into a current category or start a new one. You can have as little or as many as you choose. Personally I like my branding to be consistent, so I spent 30 minutes of a day a couple of weeks ago adding category posts I wanted to highlight to my story covers. I then added the highlight placeholders to my profile. I've chosen to highlight my upcoming workshop, suppliers I love, life, Instagram templates for photographers and behind the scenes of Love Luella to name a few.
You might choose to highlight your months as they pass, your year in review, all your new blog post stories, your obsession with cats or your love of Netflix. The options are limitless and whatever you decide to highlight, make it yours.
I created my highlight holders with Canva. But there are many apps with fonts, text and quote generators that you can customise to create yours too. Font Candy is another popular option available on the app store. Failing that- The old faithful Photoshop! I prefer the cleaner look that placeholders give to my Instagram. Check out @shootitmommaphoto and @amyfaithphoto for more examples of consistent branding across your Instagram.
If you didn't realise highlights were a thing until recently and you know you had some gold added to your story in the past- fear not! Highlights can be added from your archive. Just press the three dots on the bottom right of your highlight post, then edit highlight, from there you can click archive to change your cover image, remove or highlight older stories.
- When watching Instagram Stories hold down your thumb to pause the page you're reading
- Tap the left side of the story screen to go back to the previous page. This avoids the dreaded reset and watching the entire story again
- Same goes for the right side of the screen, tap it to skip a page
Why post Instagram stories?
I've already touched on it above, but Instagram stories are an invaluable resource to stamp your business. In a saturated industry it's important to be yourself and let clients know who it is they are booking/buying from/supporting.
Marketing is a fundamental side of business and with this free, accessible resource it would be daft not to use it!
More than anything, for me it's been a fun way to introduce myself as Tash, rather than just Love Luella. It's easy to become businesslike and generic. Instagram stories gives you the freedom and space where you can really take the opportunity to be yourself. Talk about your day, current affairs, or keep it for behind the scenes.
The best part is they are totally optional. Your followers don't have to be subjected to it, they choose to watch.
If I haven't already won you over on stories, here's some more reasons why you NEED TO USE THEM FOR YOUR BUSINESS!
- Instagram stories are free
- They keep you in peoples minds
- They are diverse
- They are fun
- They offer a creative way to make announcements and offers
- They give you freedom to post images you may not post to your curated page
- Humanise your brand
- Make your brand stand out
- Sell you, not just your business
- Connect with other suppliers use the @ feature
- Shout about what you love
- Support others
- Allow followers to make simple decisions for you and engage with your day to day life
- Speak directly to your ideal client
I caught up with Anna Pumer Downing who had this to say about Stories and how she uses them-
"I make my Stories humorous and story-telling. I also do personal stories to keep folks watching. I sometimes offer sneaky discounts to anyone who watched to the end of the series of Stories - it makes them feel like they've found something others haven't (which is often true!) I then duplicate the templates and create a new Story from them so they have the same look and feel so viewers recognise them as mine. I try to use tempting text to make them watch the next Story. I've made several sales from my Instagram Stories. Tagging a Story with a hashtag and location massively increases reach too."
Below is a snapshot of one of Anna's story's targeted at photographers who find it hard to write wedding blog posts (hint- the discount code is active until 16th March if you want to get your hands on this fab bit of kit!)
Friday's snow day with two poorly boys, meant I had some unexpected time to experiment with templates (whilst simultaneously having a film afternoon #momlife) so I spent some time creating some simple, useable and customisable templates for businesses to use in their Instagram Stories.
Find these templates on my @loveluella profile highlights under USE ME. I'll continue to add colourful diverse templates to the 'use me' highlight folder over the coming weeks to give you fast and effective tools to add content variation to your stories.
To use the stories, hold down your finger to pause the image and take a screen shot.
Customise these to suit you, most are re-usable so you can update over time. I would love to see these templates bringing you some use, please feel free to pop me an @loveluella so I can see your stories!
If you would like one to one mentoring on your Instagram and tailoring stories to suit you please contact me here.
If you got to the end of this, thanks for reading!
For more Instagram stuff head here.