We live in a time when social media has evolved to include much more than just gaining friends Facebook. Now, Snapchat, Tumblr and Instagram are much more relevant for those who wish to stay connected.
Owing to the increased traffic on social media sites, marketers and businesses are now finding it to be an excellent place to interact with potential customers. Those of you who have Shopify businesses, knowing how to operate Instagram and its various value-added features is a must.
There was a time when all anybody could do on Instagram was post pictures. However, following the success of Snapchat Stories, Instagram has been quick to follow suit and deliver a feature which lets its users post stories on the platform.
What Is Instagram Stories?
If you have ever used Snapchat, you will find Stories to have an uncanny resemblance to it. As per Instagram, it is a feature that lets you share moments from your entire day rather than just the bits you want everyone to see forever. Stories let you share both videos and photos of your daily happenings.
These photos and videos disappear after 24 hours and appear like a slideshow for anyone who wishes to view them. Moreover, you can doodle and add stickers and text to your photos and videos as well as the ‘Swipe up!’ feature where users can swipe up for the Instagram Story that links to a separate page. (Very useful for businesses)
Many have been quick to call the Instagram Stories feature to be a copycat. However, when you consider the entire package Instagram Stories has to offer, you will realize that it is an excellent tool for your Shopify business as well as for personal use.
Why Use Instagram Stories for Shopify?
I have already discussed why you should use Instagram for your Shopify business. However, you might be wondering, why and how Instagram Stories can be useful for your business? After all, they disappear after 24 hours, right? So, why should you spend any time at such a fleeting feature? Here are a few reasons.
People Love Stories!
According to the study conducted by Cornell University, Individuals prefer Snapchat over other social media platforms like Facebook because of its ephemeral and less formal format as well as its “fun” vibe.
I previously established how Instagram Stories have all the same features as Snapchat Stories. Thus, anything that is true for the latter also applies to the former. Furthermore, after Kylie Jenner’s recent tweet against Snapchat and Snapchat’s controversies, many are moving away from it. This means that more people are likely to interact with Instagram Stories.
Therefore, you should be using Instagram Stories for your business because people and, hence, consumers of your product are highly likely to watch them. While many don’t view Instagram posts when scrolling through their feed, seeing a series of photos and videos from the same person or contributor is bound to leave an effect.
Active Base of Customers
Not only do we live in the time of social media, but we live in a time when social media platforms are all the rage. Many people have become habitual users. You don’t even realize just how many times you pick up your phone and visit social media sites just to scroll through your feed. The Stories feature has increased this habit even further.
This is because people post about their life constantly and many of us have the urge to remain up to date on the happenings of the world. Also, no one wants to miss a Story since it disappears after 24 hours and can never be viewed again.
For this reason, not only do people love Instagram Stories, but they also view it daily. A whopping 260 million people interact with the social media platform daily for the sole purpose of viewing different Stories. This stat means that even though a Story disappears after 24 hours, since a lot of customers are likely to view Stories on a daily basis, posting stories will allow you to reach the masses even though the feature is quite fleeting.
Creating Stories Doesn’t Take Much Effort
Do a quick survey for yourself. Go to Instagram and view a few profiles. Make sure to view both business and personal accounts. The one thing you are bound to find in most Instagram profiles is how glamorous they look. Who could have thought a picture of someone’s breakfast can look so artsy?
Instagram has that vibe. It is all about sophistication and getting the perfect lighting. The shot must look professional even if the subject of the photo is informal. If this is the standard being set by personal accounts and bloggers, you can only imagine the pressure there is on businesses to post quality pictures and videos.
With Instagram Stories, you can loosen up a little. It allows you to create content effortlessly. You don’t need to worry about getting the perfect angles. Instead, in Stories, it is all about sharing in real time or promoting in a creative way. Therefore, compared to Instagram or any digital media post, Instagram Stories allows you to get your point across without all the frills and fancy shots.
Testing… One, Two, Three
Marketing isn’t just about coming up with a campaign and leaving it be. You need to assess whether your audience views the campaign positively or are interested in it. Posting a campaign or an idea for the world to see without testing it first can be quite embarrassing.
Think of a campaign which requires consumers to send in videos or responses. Your post about it on Instagram, but no one interacts with it. Now, you must take the post down which looks bad.
Instagram Stories prove to be the perfect platform to test all your ideas. As the posts disappear after a day, it allows you to discontinue an unpopular idea without it seeming embarrassing. If people watched your Story enough times without switching to another one midway, that is your cue to upload relevant material related to the campaign as permanent posts or even extend it to other platforms.
Drive Traffic to Your Shopify Business
This advantage is only available for verified accounts. However, who knows when Instagram might decide to expand it even further or when your business grows enough to be able to get verified? Regardless of this limited feature, the fact that you can add links to your Stories that can direct customers to your bio and site will allow you to not only market your products but also ensure that potential clients can be directed to your official site. This is highly likely to increase your sales and orders if your marketing campaign and social media presence are strong enough.
How to Use Instagram Stories
Creating an Instagram Story is a piece of cake. For those of you who are new to the platform, I am are here to provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to use and create Instagram Stories.
- When on your home screen, swipe right. This will open the Instagram camera. You can also open the camera by clicking on the camera icon on the top corner of the home screen.
- Once you are on the Instagram camera, you can either take a photo or record a video. To do the former, all you need to do is tap the record button. To do the latter, hold the button for 10 seconds to create a 10-second video.
- Another type of content you can create on Stories range from Boomerangs to hands-free videos.
- Moreover, on the camera layout, you will also see various other buttons. The half-moon one will allow you to take a better photo in low light. The button which looks like a thunderbolt is the flash, while the arrows will allow you to switch the camera from back-facing to front-facing. You can also add filters like smiley faces which resemble Snapchat’s Lenses feature.
- If you wish to upload a photo which you have taken using your phone’s or some other camera, Instagram Stories allow you to do so too. However, the photos must be taken within the last 24 hours.
- To upload such photos, all you need to do is swipe down.
- Once you have taken the photo or filmed the video, it is now time to add some text to it. Tap on the screen and the text tool will spring up. The text tool allows you to vary the text size and color. It also lets you use the “#” sign to add a hashtag or the “@” sign to tag accounts. Adding a hashtag allows people who don’t follow you to view your Story if they search the hashtag on the platform. This lets you reach a much bigger audience than your current number of followers.
- You can also doodle on the post using pen styles. Currently, there are three styles available. Any doodle that you don’t like can be erased using the eraser brush tool. You can view it like a miniature version of MS Paint!
- Add stickers to your post by tapping on the sticker button that appears at the top corner of the screen. The available stickers range from your current location to a mini-selfie sticker and a hashtag. The mini-selfie is seldom found in other platforms. It lets you take a selfie and add it as a sticker to the post.
- Other filters can be applied by swiping right/left.
- After you are done editing your photo/video, tapping the “Next” button will allow you to share your story, and you are done!
Once you have created the story, not only will it appear on the feeds of your followers, but people could also view it if they visit your account and tap on your profile picture.
For a business, it is important to know how a post is faring. Instagram allows you to do so by swiping up whilst viewing your Story. By doing so, you will see the number of people who have seen your Story. For further beneficial insights, make sure you select the insight option in your profile. This will allow you to learn about different metrics ranging from impressions to reach.
How Much Should You Post?
There is no clear-cut answer to that question. Neither Instagram nor your followers will penalize you for the number of posts in your Stories. However, the chances of people viewing too many posts are quite less. Thus, it is better to be succinct. See which one of your stories have people looking till the end, and try and stick to that number of post.
Similarly, whether or not you wish to post every day is your choice as well. For your Shopify business, you must be mindful of what you are posting. This is because people now have the option of muting Stories. If you spam them with poorly thought-out posts every day, the chances of individuals viewing your stories will become less. Therefore, it is better to aim for quality rather than quantity.
The general rule of thumb as to when you should post stories is identical to the usual Instagram posting. Mornings from 8AM to 11AM and evenings from 6PM has the most views for Instagram stories. You can also experiment with that by posting in different times and comparing what you find. If your viewers are more frequent at noon, it is in your interest to post then rather than morning or evenings.
Wise marketers can use almost any platform to market their products and services. If you are starting out, social media is the best place to start your marketing efforts. After all, it features huge traffic and lets you interact directly with customers. It is also a great place to learn about what your target market approves and what they are like.
Rather than using Instagram Stories to share your everyday happenings, turn it into a tool for your business. The landscape of marketing is changing, and you must change with it. Post relevant and creative Stories, and rest assured that you will reap rewards in the form of better sales and positive image in the mind of the customers.
Promote your Shopify business. Think about what you want to share. Don’t be impulsive. Be smart. Your profits await you.