LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more! There are so many social media platforms available to us today that it is a job in itself to master even one. Many companies have taken on this challenge by running their own business pages on several different platforms. One of the most popular is Instagram with over 70 percent of businesses in the U.S. having an Instagram page. While the platform was not originally directed toward businesses, it is becoming more obvious that it is a great platform for businesses to have. For example, 80 percent of Instagram users follow at least one business account from their personal profile. It is an efficient way for companies to interact with their customers at any time.

Instagram is constantly adding new features to adapt to the needs of their users whether they are middle schoolers or multimillion dollar companies. Instagram stories first appeared in 2016 and users instantly loved the different vibe that stories offered. Compared to typical Instagram posts, stories seem more genuine and spontaneous. For the 24 hours the stories last, they stay at the top of a user’s feed making it a great way for a business to stay in front of their followers.

It seems like every month there is a new feature on Instagram stories. They may be confusing, but they also offer many great opportunities for your business. For the sake your time and sanity, here is a quick list of some of the most useful Instagram story features for your business.

 

  1. Basics

Unlike normal Instagram posts, Instagram stories are almost always jazzed up with the many elements the app offers. There are some basic tools that are useful and easy for anyone to use.

Filters: Just like a normal Instagram post, Instagram stories offer you the ability to add filters to your pictures and videos.

Text: There are several different options for font and color of your text. Also, it can be any size and placed anywhere on your picture or video.

Drawing: There are a few different tools to draw on your pictures including a marker, a neon wand and a pencil. Each adds a slightly different effect and they all come in many different colors.

Stickers: Stickers are little icons that can be added anywhere on a picture or video. There are tons of choices and many of them are even GIFs.

 

  1. More Stickers

Some stickers are just for decoration and fun, but others can help broaden the reach of your story.

Hashtag Sticker: The hashtag sticker works like any other hashtag. When a user clicks on it, they will see all other posts with that same hashtag.

Location Sticker: The location sticker is very similar to the hashtag. It will show you any other posts with the same location.

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Tagging Sticker: This sticker allows you to mention another user in your story, and when it is clicked on, it will take you to that user’s page.

 

  1. Interactive Elements

Some of the most useful features for your business are the interactive elements on the stories. Technically, they are also stickers, but unlike the other stickers, each user can respond to something that your business has asked.

Polls: A poll allows you to ask a question and give your followers two options, often “yes” or “no.” A user can select an option, and then see what percentage of people also chose that option. Your business will then have collected data from everyone who participated and even be able to see which individual users chose each option.

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Rating Scales: This allows you to ask a question and have your followers respond on a rating scale. You even get to choose an emoji to use as the slider on the scale to make it more fun. Just like the polls, you will be able to see your follower’s individual responses.

Ask Box: There are two main ways to use the ask box. First, you can ask a question and your followers can type out a response in the box. Alternatively, you can allow your users to ask YOU a question by typing it in the box. Either way, you will be able to see your followers’ responses.

 

 

  1. Links

Another cool Instagram story feature is the ability to add links. Users are able to swipe up on your story and go straight to the website you have linked to without leaving the app.

 

  1. Highlights

The sad thing about stories is they only last 24 hours. However, if you want to keep something from your story, you can make it a highlight on your profile. A highlight is a collection of pictures or videos from your story that you want to keep longer. For example, you could create a highlight called “Client Success Stories.” Every time you post a client success stories on your Instagram story, you can also add it to that highlight so even after your story expires, the picture or video will still be accessible to anyone who clicks on your profile. The highlight will be available until you decide to delete it.

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Instagram is always adding new features and it can be challenging to keep up with them all. That’s why we are here to help. Try some of these features to take your business’s Instagram stories to the next level.

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