I remember the day Instagram Stories first launched. I was at rehearsal for MAIC 2016 and I couldn’t wait to share it with my team. I recorded my first “Story” while getting dressed for our event and loved the immediacy and intimacy of the tool. It was the best way to share a peek behind-the-scenes during an otherwise hectic day. And it continues to be a phenomenal social media tool. But have you used it for your business yet?

At rehearsals for MAIC 2016.

If you’ve been using Instagram for your business, you know that over the years it’s become one of the most popular and widely-used social media channels around. It’s an incredible opportunity to use visuals to showcase your firm rather than leaning heavily on text, making it a unique and fun platform to get creative with.

Historically, Instagram has been a place to post photos, which live permanently in an ongoing stream, giving your followers the chance to look back and revisit photos any time they want. But recently, Instagram added a feature called Instagram Stories to the top of everyone’s feeds.

Taking the chance to get to know everyone at MAWC. Smile for the selfie!

Instagram Stories is a Snapchat-type tool that allows you to post short videos or still shots that disappear after just 24 hours. They’re also highlighted at the top of the feed, meaning they get showcased, but also don’t clog up the feeds of your followers. Here’s what Business Daily has to say:

“Like Snapchat Stories, Instagram Stories allows you to post photos and videos in chronological succession to tell a “story” over the course of a day. These images do not appear in your regular collection of Instagram posts; instead, after a 24-hour period, anything you’ve posted to your story will disappear.

“Instagram’s new update is a direct duplication of Snapchat’s functionality, with a few key parts missing, for now,” said Jenny Marder, director of social media at Red Tettemer O’Connell + Partners. “Similarities include the ability to add captions or colored filters, but lack ‘lenses’ which add in more of a fun factor for current Snapchat users.”

Capturing the moment as it happens.

4 Tips on Using Instagram Stories for Your Business

So why would you want to use this for business? Let’s think about it a few different ways.

#1. All business owners are working to find that unique factor that solves a problem or sets them apart. Instagram stories is the perfect way to bring attention to the great things your business has to offer. Maybe you’re hosting a giveaway or have deals, coupons or other specials happening that are worth highlighting. Instagram stories is a great space to get that done without clogging up your feed.

#2. You can reach a whole new demographic. This is a tough one! How do we speak with demographics outside our norm? This is an easy way to reach into that younger world – the millennial crowd who is so adept at using Snapchat. Chances are, they’re clicking on Insta Stories too and now is your chance to get your branding in on the action.

MAIC 2016 Behind the Scenes Stage Setup

Behind-the-scenes setup for MAIC 2016.

#3. Showcase the personality behind your business. What a great way to give sneak peeks at everything that goes on in the background to make your company run. Perhaps you have a shipping center, a factory or a huge space where all the top secret “tech” stuff is handled. Maybe your business is home grown and literally run from your living room. Whatever you want to share, you have the chance on Insta stories to quick some quick, fun insight into what it is that makes your brand tick.

#4. You can make it fun! People are drawn to businesses that are able to remove the serious stuff and have a little fun once in a while and sharing some fun moments from your team is one of the best ways you can humanize your company, just a bit. Remember – it’s a just a glimpse, not all the ingredients to the recipe – be discerning and continue to keep it pro.

Have you used Instagram Stories for your business? What do you think of the new feature?

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