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How to benefit from Instagram Stories as a business

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Now that Instagram has reached 1 billion monthly active users, it’s the 3rd most popular social media network in the world, behind only Facebook and YouTube. The trendy platform has stayed innovative throughout the years, even after being purchased by Facebook in 2012. A great example of this is the integration of Instagram Stories, an element of Instagram that suspiciously looks a lot like Snapchat but nonetheless has proven to be a favourite for users.

Instagram Stories are used by 500 million users everyday. They are actively seeking out stories on a daily basis and engaging with them. As a brand or business on Instagram, this means you have an exceptional opportunity. Wherever there’s an audience, there’s an opportunity - Instagram Stories give you an engaged audience and therefore a great opportunity. Here are 3 tips to help you take advantage of it.

Engage with your audience

Users who check their Instagram Stories regularly are most engaged in the content you provide. They are more likely to have their sound on and be attentive to what is on their screen - giving your brand the opportunity to ask them questions, give them something to interact with or just entertain them. This does not mean that you are guaranteed to have your audience’s attention - you never are - but if your content is engaging, you are much more likely to find an audience willing to participate here. So make sure your content provides great value and remember that your goal is to create quality content that is worth engaging with.

Show your audience who you really are

Brands work hard to cultivate a social media profile and feed that fits exactly who they are and show their best side. This often means that they can be a little too perfect. Marketing research has shown that users want to engage with real people. They connect with what’s human, not what’s perfect. Instagram Stories give you an opportunity to lift the curtain on your brand, be a bit more real and show who you are behind closed doors...without spoiling your brand identity. The ephemeral nature of Instagram Stories - they only last 24 hours - means that you can put yourself out there without permanently making a statement about your brand.

Post as much as you want

Your posts should still be high-quality posts - they should still have a clear goal and you definitely shouldn't be posting for the sake of posting. But you now have the opportunity to post more than ever on this platform - again, because whatever you post will all be gone in 24 hours. You can post content daily without annoying your audience - they won’t log on one day, only to be accosted by post after post from the same brand. But the more regularly you do post on your stories, the more likely you are to engage with them on the day that they do choose to check out their stories feed.

And for those audience members who log in regularly? Daily? Maybe even multiple times a day? These are the people you need to keep engaged with good content. If you're disrupting their stories with boring content every day - they will unfollow you without hesitation. But if you are giving them content they want to engage with on a regular basis, they will begin to look forward to your content every day. They may even start seeking you out specifically for your stories. The more value you give them, the more likely they are to remember you and look forward to your content, especially since it will be gone in 24 hours.

The bottom line to optimising Instagram Stories for your brand is to be engaging, post regularly and be as authentic as possible. This is the platform where you’re allowed be a little less polished, and a little more human. Take advantage!

Written by Altar Musodza, Social Media Manager at So Interactive