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Instagram’s newest update may look familiar to those who use Snapchat; Instagram Stories was launched at the beginning of August as the company’s answer to Snapchat Stories. Similar to its predecessor, Instagram Stories allows users to upload images and videos to a feed separate from their regular one. Before diving into how you can utilize this new feature for your business, let’s go over the basics.

  1. You can add as little or as much content to your Instagram Stories feed as you would like.
  2. Text and drawing tools are available for you to add some creativity to your images and videos.
  3. Any content you upload to your Instagram Stories feed will disappear after 24 hours.

A few other features that are available are the abilities to: see who watched your story; block certain users from seeing your story; post content from your camera roll to your story; and feature a part of your story to your regular feed.

Getting started is easy – to add images and videos to your story, simply press the plus sign found at the top of your feed in the upper left hand corner. From there, you’ll have the ability to record a video or take a photo, as well as add text and drawings.

Instagram Stories is a great tool for businesses looking to engage with their audience on a more personal level. Here are three ways you can use Instagram Stories:

Games, Contests, and Promotions

Hosting content found only on your Instagram Story creates a sense of exclusivity for your followers. Whether you’re promoting a coupon code or sale or giving early access to a new product, the 24-hour limit on content could encourage followers to convert more quickly. This strategy also allows you to build brand loyalty.

Wilderness Culture recently used their Instagram Story to give their followers insight into their newest limited edition product.

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Drive More Engagement

Encouraging your followers to engage with your business both provides you with user-generated content and creates a conversation between you and your followers. You can ask them to post their photos to Instagram using a branded hashtag, similar to what National Geographic did. Additionally, your followers can now directly send you messages related to your story.

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Tell a Story

With Instagram Story, your photos and videos can come together to tell a story. Your followers can get an exclusive behind-the-scenes look into exciting events, promotions, or even just your day-to-day life. NBC used Instagram Story to their advantage during the Olympics – not only did they have exclusive broadcasting rights, they were able to provide their followers an inside look.

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How does your business use Instagram Stories? Let us know in the comments!