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How to Drive Sales with Instagram Stories

Instagram’s impact is undeniable, so creating an Instagram for your store is an absolute must...but it doesn’t stop there. Understanding how to drive traffic from Instagram can be one of the best marketing tactics for your brand. Instagram is jam-packed full of useful tools and features to grow your business — and with the right strategies, there are sure ways to gain followers, get more customer engagement, and increase sales. If there’s one Instagram tool you should be utilizing today, it’s definitely IG Stories! With this feature you can edit and share images, videos, or boomerangs in a slideshow format for 24 hours. These have become a unique and powerful way to reach a company’s target audience. 

You might be asking yourself, is it worth putting in the work and focus if the posts vanish after 24 hours? The answer is — Absolutely. Need proof? The Instagram Business numbers speak for themselves. 

  • Over 1 Billion active instagram accounts worldwide
  • 90% of those active accounts follow a business on Instagram
  • 500 Million accounts use instagram stories everyday

In this blog, we’ll take you through why this content is so effective and go through some of the best ways you can use Instagram Stories to drive online sales while building stronger connections with your customers.

Why It Works

You may have heard of evergreen content -- topics that are always relevant and create engagement. Instagram stories are one form of evergreen content. They can provide both current and new followers with valuable insights into your business and keep them up to date on anything they’d want to know. Stories are also a great way to share information with your followers, without clogging the main feed up with content. Overall, evergreen content has a huge payoff because it creates stickiness. It’s a fun and mindless way for customers to stay connected, which is why it works so well. Great Instagram Stories are:

  • Authentic: This type of content is about showing off real-time events, so it humanizes brands and allows them to be more genuine.
  • Compelling: Since each story is only accessible for 24 hours, it plays into the sense of FOMO (fear of missing out). Followers want to take fast action.
  • Attention-Grabbing: Stories show up in a separate feed, and users can see whether they have watched already watched a story or not, so it attracts more attention.

Plus... being interactive with your followers adds a whole new dimension to the word of Instagram and advertisements. Instagram stories allow companies to interact more personally with customers, which brings people closer to brands. This is the major reason Stories are so successful in marketing. The collection of interactive features -- like stickers, polls, questions, and tagging -- give you the opportunity to be engaging and playful. Not only do they help you stand out, but they can generate more impact for any kind of campaign you’re running. You should be using these interactive tools to promote products, spark conversations, engage with your Instagram community, gather insights for product development, and advertise your brand in general.

Optimizing Your Stories

With over 1 billion active users, Instagram has huge opportunity for you to reach your target audience. Here are six tips to make your Instagram stories to stand out, build a following, and boost sales.

1. Up Your Design Game

With so many brands tapping into the large market of those using Instagram, it can be challenging to stand out. Take your story designs to the next level by grabbing our Instant Download: IG Stories for Retail Brands (an instant Canva template!). For just $14 you'll snag yourself 30 shiny new templates ready for your photos, pricing, and brand colors to be customized to create truly unique & stunning graphics again, and again, and again. 

2. Clickable Links

Sending your followers to your website or a product landing page is the best way to inform your followers about your brand or a particular product, and therefore convert them into buyers. While most people add Link In Bio to their posts, another option to drive traffic back to your website is adding a clickable link in your stories. Instagram allows businesses to add a URL to stories if you have a business account with 10,000+ following. When you create a story, you can add the linked web page, which will appear in the story as a clickable link that says “See More”. Followers can then swipe up to visit your site without leaving the app. 

Not quite at the 10,000 following mark? Don’t panic -- we have two ways around that. Check out the next tip...

3. Shoppable Stickers

Simplifying the buying process for customers is always a great way to increase sales. The checkout process should be fairly quick and convenient, so it’s important to let your potential customers buy products without having to leave Instagram.

To make this easier, Instagram added this feature—shoppable Instagram stories stickers. It allows business profiles (with ANY number of followers) to tag physical products in their stories so that followers can learn more and make a purchase without wasting any time. This is done by selecting the @Product sticker. However, there are a few eligibility requirements to make this work.

  • You must have an Instagram Business account located in one of the 46 countries that the feature is currently available in.
  • You must be on the latest version of the Instagram app on either iOS or Android.
  • Your business must sell physical goods that comply with Instagram’s merchant agreement and commerce policies.
  • Your business profile must be connected to a Facebook catalog. This can be created and managed on Business Manager, directly on your business Facebook Page, or through Shopify.

4. Interactive Polls & Quizzes

Poll stickers are essentially mini surveys, and they are an awesome way to interact with your followers. You can even show off a lot of brand personality through this and be as funny, clever, or interesting as you want. However, the number one thing you can take away from a poll, is how to increase customer satisfaction. Polls give you the opportunity to better understand your customers and what they want. For users, a poll is a way to share their preferences and input. This is super valuable for you because you are able to collect customer feedback and learn what your followers are looking for in a fun way. Check out this example from Sephora for inspo:

5. Create Story Highlights

Wouldn’t it be great if you could add longevity to your Instagram Stories? Of course, Instagram read our minds. There is a way you can save and keep stories for more than 24 hours -- using the Story Highlights feature. Highlights are stored under your bio section in your profile. You can create a highlight, choose your best stories and categorize them into separate highlights so that your followers can get quick access to information without scrolling the main feed. You can even edit the cover of each highlight to match your brand’s aesthetic.

6. Live Streaming

Going Live on Instagram may seem intimidating but it’s the best way to show what’s happening at the moment with your business. It engages real-time users and keeps audiences hooked! More importantly, live streaming helps to project authenticity, offer something unique, and draw active engagement. In one study, 87% of people said they would prefer to watch video online if it offers more behind-the-scenes content. The reality is, customers are fed up with artificial ads and they crave more genuine interactions. To gain trust, it’s important to build a deeper connection with your followers.

Unsure of what to do on a live stream? Many brands take users behind the scenes to show their processes, and allow followers to meet their team. If you’re a small ecommerce shop without a physical business location --  that’s not a problem at all. You can still go behind the scenes:

  • Share something personal (the history of your brand, plans for the future)
  • Show the creation process (from new product ideas to the buying process)
  • Share progress (trainings, workshops, brainstorming)
  • Introduce the team or team-building events (invite your workers to tell more about their roles in the business, funny stories, or a little bit about themselves)

7. Host Q&A Sessions

No matter what your product is, you’ll  always have competitors. To stand out from them, you need to ensure your customers understand everything they want and need to know about your product. There’s no better way to do it than answering their questions directly. While responding to comments is great, being proactive and organizing Q&A sessions is even better. There are two ways to do this.

  • Live - Consider going live to discuss customer questions. Since followers can submit questions in real time, it helps them get a reply quicker and keeps them hooked. Be sure to market any session you hold, so your customers know when to jump on Instagram to attend. 
  • Stickers - There’s an Instagram sticker for questions too. Create a fun template (we recommend our instant templates available here!) and choose the question sticker when posting your story. When users view this story, they’ll have the opportunity to submit a question. You can choose to respond to these on your story or through direct message. 

You Got This!

It may sound simple, but our last tip is to be consistent! From your publishing pattern to regular call-to-actions, committing to consistency will help your audience know exactly what to expect.  

All of the Instagram tools above are super simple yet super effective. Get started by creating a few story templates and put them to use as soon as possible! Get a head start on creating engaging, optimized stories (and don't miss out on the billions using Instagram for another minute!) by grabbing our instant download IG story templates here.

Have questions for us? Send us an email!
[email protected]


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