If you’re already using Instagram to connect with your followers, it’s time to get familiar with the Instagram Stories feature to level up. Stories bring a bit of Snapchat-esque functionality to Instagram—photos and videos you upload there will disappear after 24 hours. This makes timing very important and changes the way you would normally structure your posts.

To use Stories, just click on “Your Story” at the bottom right of the screen when you go to add a photo or video.

Here are a few tips to get rolling with Instagram Stories to help build your brand and engage with your followers.

  • Use the built-in scarcity of Instagram stories to host special deals and limited-time offers. Because Stories disappear, it’s an ideal medium for special limited-time-only deals for insiders. Of course, be sure that you’re actually offering something of value to your audience. Gimmicky, low-value offers will be filtered out like so much advertising noise. But, if you can offer an exclusive, your followers will feel like insiders and super fans, and find value in continuing to follow you. They may even spread the word.
  • Take advantage of editing options. While you should definitely take advantage of Instagram’s built-in editing options to add interest and more information to your posts, don’t forget that you can upload any pre-edited photo that you want. You can use a tool like Canva to create gorgeous photosets with typographical overlays and all kinds of graphic flair.
  • Create a slideshow or “story” by linking multiple posts. There’s no need to upload stand-alone posts one at a time, you can upload posts in succession to create a slideshow. Try uploading a “process” story that shows how you create your product or deliver your service to make your audience feel like insiders and make your brand more accessible. Or, upload teaser images leading to a big reveal of a new product line or service offering or coupon code. Upload multiple images from an industry or promo event, or create a virtual tour of your office or workspace. Stories are meant to be viewed one after another in succession to create a snapshot of your feed. Take advantage of the format to get creative and come up with something special to keep your followers scrolling through your content.
  • Create a strong call-to-action with clear steps for your followers to act on your content. Instagram offers tagging and linking capabilities for some users—but keep in mind that only verified accounts can add clickable URLs to their posts and Stories. For unverified users, you can always direct followers to your bio for links. As a call to action, you can ask followers to DM you to receive a coupon code or share an experience for a chance to enter a giveaway.

Instagram Stories are a powerful tool for you to form a closer connection with your audience and get your message across in a more intimate, informal way. Build your next Instagram campaign around Stories, and watch your engagement grow organically.

Reach out today for a free consultation to learn more about how you can amp up your social media marketing.