More than 300 million people use Instagram Stories every day. Much like its predecessor Snapchat, Instagram stories are short video and photo clips that disappear 24 hours after being posted; the content you share on Instagram Stories will not appear on your grid. Instagram has reported that Stories encourage users to stay on the platform longer and visit it more frequently. This is great news for any social media-savvy business. On average, one in five Stories posted by a business receives a direct message. Think about all the potential customers that could reach out to your business! With the introduction of Stories, Instagram marketing has a new frontier to explore.

Instagram Marketing Tip #1: Take Advantage of Polls

Last October, Instagram launched a feature that allows users to add polls to their Stories. These polls are a fun and easy way to engage your audience. In addition to being a fun Story feature, polls allow you to gain insight into the opinions of your customers. Your followers’ opinions are an incredible asset to your marketing strategy. Using Instagram polls could save your business time, money and energy in marketing research.

To create a poll, tap on the sticker icon at the top of the Story screen and select the Poll option. Type the question you’d like to ask in the “Ask a question…” box. To customize the answer options, tap in each box and type the response of your choice. Polls are limited to two response options, so choose wisely.

After your poll goes live, Instagram will send you notifications when someone votes. To view the results of the poll, swipe up on the post to view analytics. Tap the eye icon to see who viewed the post and which users voted for which option. Set a reminder to grab your poll results before the story expires and is gone forever!

Instagram Marketing Tip #2: Tell Your Story

An effective Instagram Story is more than a few unrelated images slapped together with a caption or two. Digital storytelling is the art of creating a cohesive narrative with a combination of photos, videos, captions, stickers and all of the other fun tools at your disposal on Instagram Stories. Use Stories to tell your story! If that sounds overwhelming, don’t worry – storytelling should be fun above all else. Your storytelling skills will improve with practice. Documenting your brand’s journey with Stories makes your business seem transparent and approachable.

Here are a few examples of effective storytelling unique to your business

  • A restaurant showing how food is prepared
  • A sports team sharing fitness tips
  • A crafty brand doing a DIY tutorial
  • A band going behind-the-scenes at rehearsals
  • A tech business showing product prototypes

Instagram Marketing Tip #3: Host a Takeover

Instagram takeovers are a method of growing your following by either taking over another Instagrammer’s account or having a social media influencer take over your account. These takeovers typically last 24 hours and are a great way to build a mutually beneficial relationship between your brand and another influencer.

In this example, fitness brand RUNGRL partnered with

Olympian Natasha Hastings to give followers exercise advice

Takeovers are a fun exercise that draw special attention from your audience. Since the takeover benefits both parties, it can be a key tactic in growing your following. To try one out with your brand, you might choose an employee from your company to do a “day in the life” Story. You could also approach a fellow content creator within your industry and suggest that you swap Stories for a day. Doing so will diversify your content and keep your consumers engaged. Aligning your brand with a host who contributes to your brand vision fosters authenticity and trust with your audience.

Instagram Stories are a powerful tool for connecting with your audience in an organic, engaging manner. There are endless possibilities of creative ways to incorporate Instagram Stories into your marketing strategy. Do you have more ideas about how to use Instagram Stories? Share your thoughts in the comments!