Last updated: May 20, 2019 by Loz James

Instagram Stories

When it comes to growing your ecommerce business, have you considered Instagram Stories? Not only can they help generate traffic and sales, but they also build engagement and customer loyalty too. So it’s a win-win situation for content marketers.

With that said, let’s learn what Instagram Stories are, how they work – and how you can use them to promote your store.

What Are Instagram Stories?

Instagram Stories are collections of photos and 15-second long videos that last 24 hours after they are published. Stories show up at the top of your feed (on your phone) and to the right of your feed (on the desktop version).

You can also see a user’s current stories by clicking on the coloured ring around the profile picture, and the highlighted ones (which are older than 24 hours) by clicking the buttons below the bio. The stories can be published directly from the app or from your camera roll. What’s more, you can add text, emojis, and stickers on top of the images to make them more appealing.

Quick tip: The Stories Highlights feature is a useful way to choose the best stories you’ve published and show them in a way that your followers can get fast access to the most important information.

We recommend that you keep your business account public, this way, you can share your stories with everyone.

Keep in mind that the purpose of this tool is not to get likes or comments (which are disabled). The goal of your stories should be to raise awareness and create loyalty. In other words, if people enjoy your stories, they’ll come back and watch more.

Such loyalty increases the likelihood that people will act on your stories. This means you can have them filling a survey, swiping up to visit your site, and even making a purchase right from their feed.

How To Create An Instagram Story

To create a simple story, click on the “+” icon on the top left corner of your app.

Quick tip: To move faster, just swipe left in your home screen.

Once you’re in the Story camera, take a photo or record a video (like you regularly do). Once this step is done, you can use a set of filters, text, and drawings to make your photo more interesting.

Next, click on the bottom check sign and select the audience for which you want the story to be promoted – and you’re done.

How To Use Instagram Stories To Promote Your Business

Instagram Stories provide a wide range of features that can help you leverage your user’s purchase journey.

If you take a look at the stats, you’ll learn that, in the US alone, 25 million businesses use Instagram. Most surprisingly, 72% of Instagram users have indicated they have purchased a product they saw on the app. Considering the 1 billion monthly active users, that’s a lot of people willing to buy a product thanks to the app.

So why not try to tap into this large audience for your own business?

Attract Traffic To Your Store

Let’s say you have a product you want your followers to see. To guide your followers to the buying page of this product, you start by introducing it in your stories. Next, you make full use of the swipe up feature, which is a smart feature introduced by Instagram for businesses.

Keep in mind: This feature is only available to business profiles with more than 10,000 followers. If you don’t have that many followers yet, check out this guide by Foundr on how to generate 10,000 followers on Instagram.

This allows you to include a link behind the story and people can activate it by swiping up. The swipe up is a user-friendly way to have people visit your site without disrupting their experience.

The feature works for any type of pages such as products, landing pages, blog posts or other social media accounts.

How To Create A Swipe Up Story

Create a story using the steps mentioned above and click on the link sign at the top. Write the URL you want followers to visit and press “Done.” Now, to make sure people understand what happens if they swipe up, add a bit of copy to guide them.

For this, click on the “Aa” sign at the far right, and add your copy. You don’t have a lot of space in here, so don’t over-complicate it. Just add the main benefit your followers will get from swiping your story up.

Instagram stories app

Get To Know Your Audience

Instagram recently launched a feature that allows you to add interactive polls to your Stories, which you can use to get to know your followers. You can use polls to uncover different aspects of your audience, like:

  • The product color your followers like the most
  • Their favorite model
  • The way they use your products
  • The products they’d like to buy

How To Create Polls

Polls are technically stickers that you add to your stories. So when you create a poll, you need to create a story and add the poll sticker to it.

Start by creating a story. Then, tap on the Sticker icon at the top of the screen and select the Poll sticker option. The app will then show you the option to ask a Yes/No question.

Write the question you want to ask in the text field and customize each of the responses. To do that, tap in the Yes/No boxes and write the appropriate responses for each one. You can write up to 26 characters for each option and you can’t write more than two responses.

Finally, place the poll sticker anywhere you want in your story.

Engage With Your Audience

While you want to use Instagram to attract traffic and make sales, you can’t forget about engaging with your audience just for the sake of it. Your audience needs to see your account as more than a brand, but a friend; someone they can trust and relate to.

Here are a few of the most popular ways to do so:

Use Q&A sessions

In a Q&A session, you have a member of your team answer questions from the audience, which is a great way to generate a genuine connection with the brand.

To create a Q&A campaign, start by picking a member of your team to answer the questions. Then, promote the campaign by asking your followers to send you their questions.

Once the Q&A is done, add it to the highlight section so your followers can access it in the future.

Behind The Scenes Content

People are aware of the promotional tactics used by companies (such as ads and corporate events) and understand these do not represent your company’s real face.

As such, behind the scenes content lets the user dig into what the “real” company is like – without all the marketing materials and professional aesthetics. Now, to use behind the scenes content, you only need to grab your phone and start taking pictures or making recordings of your company’s day-to-day life.

Engage Your Audience With UGC

User Generated Content is a lot more credible than any promotional copy, so why not you have new leads read what your customers say about your products?

For this, create a story where you ask your followers to tag themselves using one of your products. You can ask them to tag your company’s account or use a hashtag specific to the campaign.

After you’ve checked the people who participated in your challenge or contest, take a screenshot from the users who mentioned you, add them to a story, and tag them as well so your followers can see that your campaign is for real.

Instagram for ecommerce

Drive Sales With Shoppable Stickers

Now that you know how to drive traffic to your store, get to know your audience, and engage with it – it’s time to learn how to generate revenue with Stories.

In mid-2018, Instagram launched shoppable stickers, a mix of their shoppable posts and regular stickers. These stickers allow store owners to tag their products on their stories. Once someone presses them, he/she can view the item name, price, and description.

Keep in mind that there are a few eligibility requirements you’ll need to follow before you can use shopping stickers:

  • You must be located in one of the 46 countries in which the feature is currently available
  • You need to have an Instagram Business account
  • You must use the latest version of the Instagram app on either iOS or Android
  • Your products must comply with Facebook’s commerce product merchant agreement and commerce policies
  • Your Instagram business profile must be connected to a Facebook catalogue

The good news is that you can use this feature without waiting for your business to be verified or reach the 10,000 followers target.

How To Create Shoppable Stickers

Create a story and click on the stickers button at the top of your screen. In the stickers’ menu, look for the one that says “Product” and select the product from your catalogue, (you need to sync your catalogue with Facebook).

Once you’ve picked the product, tap the sticker and move it wherever you’d like it on your story. That’s all there is to it.

In Conclusion

In our opinion, there isn’t a more versatile, engaging, and low-cost promotional channel for ecommerce businesses than Instagram.

While it’s true that it can take a few months to get an audience large enough to make a dent on your sales, once you get there, it will be hard to ignore Instagram anymore. From building your audience and driving traffic to your site, to generating more sales – Instagram Stories are the perfect partner for your ecommerce store.

Instagram stories pin