Six Tips to Enhance Your Instagram & Snapchat Stories

Instagram Stories are similar to Snapchat stories: the content is only viewable for 24 hours before it disappears. Photos and videos up to 15 seconds can be shared in real-time, or they can be curated and uploaded from your phone’s gallery. Different from your profile, stories allow your perfectly crafted profile to stay organized while enabling you to present your audience with more consumable content.

Since Instagram stories were launched last August, brands have been trying to incorporate them into their social marketing efforts. With over 200 million daily users, it’s never been easier or more necessary to have your content on Instagram stories.

So how exactly should you go about adding Instagram stories? And what are the best practices if you’re handling your own social media while running your own successful ecommerce business? Here are six tips to help your Instagram Stories and Snapchat Stories resonate with your audience.

Special Sales & Coupon Codes##

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If you aren’t quite sure where to get started with Instagram Stories, consider a limited time sale by offering your followers a special coupon code or sale price on select items. Have a new product launching and want to increase sales when it’s released? Add a product-specific coupon code. The Volusion software allows you to export your sales data to see how frequently your coupon code was used during the 24-hour sale.

Product Photos##

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Flat lays and lifestyle photos are a nice way to display your products in everyday life. One of Instagram Stories’ features is that they allow you to upload products from your gallery. If your social efforts are like most brands, this means you can capture a higher quality photo with a DSLR camera, edit it, send it to your phone to post, and upload it to your brand’s profile. Choose to focus on the product in the image itself or to edit the image in a tool like Canva, and add your branded fonts and colors to the image. For a more playful feel, add stickers or text natively in the app. If you’re going to add a curated image to your Snapchat story, note that it will show in the corner that the photo is from your camera roll.

Highlight Your Products’ Best Features##

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While pictures are a necessity to show off products on your website, Instagram stories give you freedom to show how to use your products with short video how-tos or with multiple photos. How-to videos are a great option for those in the fashion and makeup industry. For example, include short makeup videos on how to use a new makeup brush that has been released. Does your company specialize in men’s accessories and bow ties? Give your audience a step-by-step guide on how to tie their own bow-tie, or show them 4 ways to pair your new tie with different shirts and suits for everyday wear.

Use Your Location Tag##

Adding a location sticker to your story can increase your story’s reach. When you add a location sticker such as “Austin, Texas,” your story can appear in a location story alongside other posts that have used that location tag. This feature is similar to Snapchat’s “Our Story” feature. Instagram location stories are generated via software algorithms, whereas Snapchat uses people to generate these stories. The location tag feature is great for ecommerce brands that sell their products at retailers like Costco and Crate & Barrel. It’s also beneficial if your brand is on the road for events like SXSW, NY Fashion Week or sporting events like the College World Series.

Add Hashtags to Your Stories##

Instagram has given you the ability to get your content in front of more eyes and let users search stories via hashtag. To search for a hashtag story, simply search for the hashtag and look at the top of the results to see if a story is available. Broader hashtags are more likely to return story results. The platform is compiling hashtag stories with the same process that they use for location stories. This feature can help get your content in front of a new audience and potential customers. It can also be beneficial for brands that have an established following on the platform to see which users are using your branded hashtags.

Story Takeovers##

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If you’re trying to grow your audience on Instagram or Snapchat, consider partnering with a blogger or influencer that shares interests with your brand. Allowing them to show your audience how they use your products in their daily lives can give your followers a realistic view on how they, too, could benefit from your products. When bloggers do a takeover, they often post on their own story and profile that they’re doing a brand takeover with you and for their followers to follow along @yourbrandhandle. When executed correctly, both accounts will end up with new followers.

While most brands have started using stories as part of their Instagram marketing efforts, it should be noted that if your brand has not published a story yet, it is important to pick a high-quality photo or video to start with. Instagram will send all of your followers a push notification that you have published your first story. Embrace these six tips, incorporate them into your social media marketing efforts for your ecommerce business and see how your audience engages with them. Not quite sure how to get started with Instagram Stories for your business? Our team of social media experts can help!