15 Efficient, Effective Ways to Use Instagram Stories

One great way to reach tons of current and potential customers, even with limited time and budget, is using Instagram Stories, as adding this approach into your marketing strategy can be a significant boon to engagement. To help you tap into this feature, we asked the members of Young Entrepreneur Council the following question:

“Time and other resources can be tight. What is one way small businesses can use the Instagram Stories feature to its best effect? Why is this approach so effective?”

Instagram Stories Strategies

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Use Later.com to Schedule Stories

“With time being a constraint, I like to plan our Instagram posts and stories in advance, using a tool called Later.com. This way we are constantly creating relevant content and planning it around our company promotions, holidays, specials and messaging.” ~ Rachel Beider, PRESS Modern Massage

2. Create a Limited-Time Offer

“Stories last for just 24 hours, making them the perfect place to set up limited-time offers. This works well because it creates the fear of missing out, which can compel users to act fast. You’ll boost conversions and get engagement in a very short period of time.” ~ Blair Williams, MemberPress

3. Schedule Stories Around Hashtags

“Hashtags are an important part of social media culture. If you want to make the most of your time and resources, publish a limited-time story and use relevant trending hashtags in your story. Odds are, your target audience will see your content while browsing their favorite trending hashtags and topics.” ~ Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

4. Use Stories for Product Launches

“I like to use Instagram Stories as part of my marketing strategy week before I launch a new product or service. It’s a great way to let followers know of any upcoming product or service launches. If you have over 10,000 followers, then you can include a link to whatever you want to promote. I usually include a link to a landing page where my followers can add their names to the waitlist.” ~ Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC

5. Share User-Generated Content

“Half of the challenge of managing a channel like Instagram is sourcing engaging content. With user-generated content, small businesses get the benefit of authenticity, and they’re able to reduce time spent creating content for the channel. This is also great because you can prioritize content that has been proven to perform well already.” ~ Kyle Wong, Pixlee

6. Practice Influencer Marketing

“Instead of just focusing on your Instagram Story, why not consider reaching out to an influencer? If you can make a deal, these folks can post high-quality content to their story that actively promotes your brand. This tactic is effective because in some cases, millions of people see stories posted by popular influencers.” ~ John Turner, SeedProd LLC

7. Track KPIs

“Stories work because clients do not like to be flooded with Instagram updates on their wall. Stories allow you to track which stories had the highest audience interaction, the best message and the real engagement of such clients. Once you track these KPIs, you can then start the right marketing message based on real metrics, instead of just guessing. This saves time and money!” ~ David Chen, GTIF Capital

8. Interact and Get Feedback

“Instagram Stories are an excellent tool to enable a more constant and fluid interaction with our fans and audiences. Make sure you are taking advantage of them and getting the most out of them: interact with your customers, create surveys, ask them which products or services they prefer most, and ask them what should improve as a company. The possibilities are endless.” ~ Kevin Leyes, Leyes Enterprises

9. Post Behind-The-Scenes Stories

“While this depends on the type of company you have, the majority of our clients see the best results with authentic, behind-the-scenes stories. Instead of trying to be overly creative with product placements or constantly bragging about yourselves, get your team involved, show your processes, office and warehouse. People connect with people, not products.” ~ Karl Kangur, Above House

10. Create Highlights

“Instagram Stories are a great way to share information about a business that makes it easy to digest. The drawback? You lose that content after 24 hours. However, by using the highlights feature, your content can remain long term, giving old and new users alike easily accessible information.” ~ Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR

11. Prioritize Social Proof

“People trust content created by their peers over branded communication. You can share your users’ content as they interact with your products and brand. This will make your Stories more compelling and will also offer social proof, building trust faster and leading to conversions.” ~ Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

12. Post Questions and Polls

“Use the questions and poll features within Instagram Stories to generate more engagement and poll quick feedback. Your audience is looking for interaction, so instead of simply watching a story, get them to interact within it. Garner their feedback on product options, what they want to see more of, or ask them what questions they want to be answered or areas they need help within.” ~ Jared Weitz, United Capital Source Inc.

13. Share Live Events

“Live events can be in the form of a free lesson, event coverage, an exclusive interview or a special product reveal. It can make traffic through notifications to your followers that you are going live at that moment on their social feed. These events are rarely staged on Instagram, so take advantage of that space and go live as much as possible.” ~ Maria Thimothy, OneIMS

14. Give People a Compelling Reason to Follow Your Stories

“Reward your audience and drive engagement by making unique offers available only to story viewers. The offers could be discounts on products, free trials, engagement rewards, etc., but what’s important is to give your audience a uniquely valuable reason for following your stories. By making your stories unique to them and their interactions, you’ll have much better success.” ~ Jordan Conrad, Writing Explained

15. Create a Community

“Don’t just post content about your company. Create interaction. Ask your followers questions using the “Polling” function, and repost the best answers. Run a campaign relevant to your industry which encourages people to tag you in their stories. Then, repost that on your own story with an insightful, thoughtful, or just “fun” comments. Audiences love interaction, so take the time to nurture that.” ~ Thomas Smale, FE International