How to Use Instagram Stories for Business: Ultimate Guide for 2021

We’ve all heard a great deal about Instagram stories — and there’s a reason why. They give you a chance to get creative and real with your brand. If you’re thinking about making Instagram stories for your business, we encourage you to go for it! Instagram stories give you a lot of leeway in terms of strategy and overall brand movement. That being said, there’s a way to go about it (and a couple of ways not to). Ready to jump in? Keep reading and we’ll give you the scoop! 

What’s the deal with Instagram stories? 

Did you know that there’s been a decrease in regular Instagram posts since the advent of stories? It’s true — the average number of influencer posts has fallen every year since stories have become more popular. 

Still not sure? Instagram alone accrues a huge following. With over one billion monthly active users, Instagram is more than a popular social platform. It’s a force to be reckoned with. And if your business isn’t all over it, you’re missing out. Because stories are quick, easy to upload and can usually pass for uncurated, it’s a no-brainer. 

How to post an Instagram story 

So you’re sold on stories, but how do you actually go ahead and post them? Follow these simple steps and you’ll be good to go! 

  1. On the home page of your Instagram, swipe left. (No, not like Tinder!) This will take you to a screen that looks like your phone camera. 
  2. Here, you can take photos, create a live event, make a boomerang or add media from your gallery. 
  3. Time to edit! Draw on your story, add stickers, add a location or make a sketch. Get creative with it — this is a great time to really express your brand. C’mon, when else can you add personality by literally doodling it out? 
  4. When you’re happy with the finished product, hit “Done.” Then add your story by hitting the “Add to your story” button. Don’t forget to save your work! 

Boosting engagement 

One of the best parts about Instagram stories is that they boost your overall engagement. Stories are easy to view and fun to interact with, so it’s an easy, low-cost way to get your name out there. It’s not rocket science, but it’s also not a gimme. Here are a few tried-and-true ways to boost engagement on your stories

  1. Ask a question 

    What do you do when you want answers? Ask a question! There are several different ways to post a question on your Instagram story and gather responses from followers. It doesn’t always necessarily have to be about your brand. You can ask any relevant questions that will get people talking!
  2. Make a poll 

    Followers love answering polls and seeing what other people say, so if you have any questions up your sleeve, go ahead and post a poll on your story. Perhaps you’ll ask followers what color they like best, or maybe you’ll ask if they’re watching the latest season of The Bachelor. Make sure it’s a question that can somehow tie back to your brand, but there’s no need to overdo it.

  3. Create a live story 

    A lot of people stop at this one because it seems intimidating. If you’re thinking, “What if I mess up?” or “What if I say the wrong thing?” you’re not crazy. There’s an element of Instagram Live that can be a little… well, scary. Sure, you can’t take anything back once you’ve put it out there on Live, but as long as you cover your bases you’ll be fine. Just steer clear of any topics that could be contentious and think of your live story as a behind-the-scenes window into your business. 

    Instagram stories are so much more than 24-hour videos or images. They can offer a lot for your business (if you let them). Will it take practice? Maybe. Is it worth it? Definitely. So go ahead and put yourself out there — you won’t regret it! 

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