5 Ways Businesses Are Using Instagram Stories

Earlier this year I attended a Facebook Openbook session centered around Instagram Stories. It was a great session where Instagram shared their initial findings on how businesses were using the platform.  Although it was a few months back, the categories still ring true today, so I wanted to share them here.  For any size business, engaging with your audience through stories is a no brainer, so I hope you find this valuable.  Some of you are seasoned stories users, but I know there will still be some nuggets of new information that you'll leave with today. 

More than 60% of stories video views are with the sound on...
— Facebook Openbook


Since its launch, Instagram Stories now has more than 250 Million users daily* and is contributing to more content and engagement. More than 60% of stories video views are played with the sound on and 25% are Boomerangs^.

80% of Instagrammers are following a business with 1/3 of the most viewed stories coming from businesses*.  


How Businesses Are Currently Using Stories:

Instagram is seeing 5 ways...so far...how businesses are using stories.  As you look through the list, you'll see these are fairly easy ways to engage with your audience and promote your products or services. I personally do a lot of behind-the-scenes footage in my stories as seen in the video sample below of me and Terra at this year's Digital Newfronts in NY.

1. Play w/ time: Stories are only up for 24 hours, so this is ideal for limited time sales or a way to create a sense of urgency for your products or services. You can also provide real-time news if that is part of your business model.

2. Play w/ Promos: This allows for a creative way to announce a promotion and provide the rules (hashtags, deadlines, etc.).

3. Tutorials: Fantastic way to bring your audience something valuable and interesting (recipes, how-tos, interactive tours, etc.). 

4. Discovery: Use stories to tease upcoming promotions, product lines, events, interviews, video posts, and collaborations.

5. Behind-the-scenes: A great way to show authenticity and provide your followers with exclusive content (backstage access, prep, candid/casual interviews, etc.)  

Below is a list of brands I feel are killing it with Instagram Stories. They all have a series of consistent content, that as a follower, I joyfully anticipate for them to launch everyday.  

Brit+Co: They have 5 Stories You Need To Know ASAP 

GaryVee: He Teases audio from him podcast The Garyvee Audio Experience and provides a call to action for viewers to submit their questions.

Create & Cultivate: They always provide behind the scenes footage on what the company is up to and how they prep for large events, etc. 

The Vintage Twin: An excellent vintage store located in NY. Due to the unique vintage pieces they have in-store, they often promote when awesome items hit the rack.

Color Me Courtney: She goes to a lot of great events, so she shares a lot of behind the scenes footage that makes you feel like you are there.  

Make sure you are providing value to your followers...
— Lin Marty

Creative Suggestions:

Given the statistics of Instagrammers watching stories videos with sound on and how often Boomerangs are used, its important to use a mixture of video with audio along with a variety of other executions such as Boomerangs, Hyperlapse, stop motion, illustration, gifs, etc.  Also, remember not to overload your stories with just sales sales sales, buy buy buy messaging.  Make sure you are providing value to your followers, while occasionally pushing your products or services.  There is no set rule on how often you should provide value vs sell, but I have heard from others that roughly what works for them is 3-4 value messages for every sell message.  Side note: this goes for your Instagram tiles as well.  

With all these new opportunities for custom content to increase follower engagement and drive sales, this can get overwhelming in the social space.  As your business grows, look to hire a digital content company (hmm...like that plug there). This can be a mixture of photographers, videographers, illustrators and writers.  Mix it up and figure out what your personal needs are to keep a consistent flow of content for your audience.  If you are just starting out, look to do collaborations with some folks you admire on Instagram and that are in your local area.  Its a great way to experiment on what your needs are along with meeting and supporting other businesses.

I recently added comments to my blog, so please feel free to contribute to this post and let me know if there are other ways you've seen businesses use IG Stories, I would love to hear.

So with that I leave you with a short video I pulled from the Lin Marty archives.  Enjoy!

Until next time, be cool.


^Facebook BluePrint Course, *Instagram Business Blog - Getting Started.