6 Ways to Use Insta Stories like a Champ

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Hiya! So happy you could join us for a brand new Top Knot Tuesday small business tips post. Each week I look forward to sharing a new topic with a fresh set of insight from amazing business owners with you. You inspire us to share bigger & better each time. 

The best things about this weekly post are that you get your hands on tips that’ll help you strengthen your business in a straight forward & easy to implement way. Also, you get to know how awesome Boss Babes like Amy Braswell, Claire Price, Melissa Meredith, Marti Martin, Ashlee Hamon, Jai Lopa, & Ren Altizer promote their brand and propel their business forward. There’s nothing more epic than powerful women sharing what they know to build one another up. SO. This brings us to this week’s topic: Insta Stories. 

What are your current feelings about Insta Stories? Whether you love them, don’t care for them, or haven’t tried them out, this post is for you. These tips can help you share better, give you a reason to warm up to them, & show you that yes you can rock them for your business. 

 You once you learn the ropes & start owning Insta Stories for your small business. 

You once you learn the ropes & start owning Insta Stories for your small business. 

Let me start by saying I didn’t care for Insta Stories until pretty recently. I didn’t utilize them for the same reason I didn’t use SnapChat. Why would I spend time & energy on content that disappears after 24 hours? It’s a valid question until you realize that Insta Stories isn’t about curation or spending time & energy— they’re about sharing your content (whether it be behind-the-scenes or a piece of content that already exists) quickly and in a different way than your curated feed. You snap a picture of a work in progress, draw a heart around the part that you’re most fond of and add a short, colorful caption. You share an image from a recent blog or a clip from a video you created and invite followers to click the link in your bio to catch the whole thing. It’s about sharing your content in a fun & quick way. It’s like a text message to a friend. You know how Pinterest & Instagram are two different social media languages? That’s kind of how Instagram’s feed & Insta Stories are.. they're different ways to share the same thing. Don’t miss out on exposing your followers to what you’re working on— utilize your feed AND Insta Stories. You’ve done a great job at finding your voice in Instagram— keep pushing & sharing. 

My new favorite tool in Insta Stories is the ‘highlights’ section. For something new or something you really want to make sure people see, add it to the ‘highlights’ section by clicking ‘highlight’ on the story once it’s posted. You can then edit the title of the highlight to further represent your brand. And! Drumroll please… you can add multiple stories to each ‘highlight’! Yes, ladies. Some fab examples of Boss Babes doing a great job using this aspect of the feature are This Jenn Girl, The Creative Spring, KH Boudoir, & Ashley Solberg. Take a peek at how others are using these tools & start rocking them for yourself in the ways that it makes sense for you and your business. Without further ado, here are tips from 6 fabulous small business owners. 

Stay boss. xx

-G

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Amy Braswell | PaperFinch Design // IG

“The poll option within Instagram stories is a game changer. People love to feel valued and to be heard, so giving them the chance to speak (in a super easy way) makes for some great engagement. The polls that I've done on IG have ranged everywhere from "styled photos vs. catalog style" (ie, the chance to help shape how I display my products) to "do you like candy corn: yes or no". And they always get about 3x the engagement as regular posts!”

St. Petersburg, FL

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Ashlee Hamon | Ashlee Hamon Photography // IG

“Stories have become one of my favorite tools! I’ve found that they’re wonderful for a few key reasons:

1. You can show your clients more of your work in a easily consumable way. Because it’s temporary, you can let them feast their eyes so to speak as they are killing a few minutes or casually exploring. 

2. You can show more aspects of your business without muddying your feed. You can keep the feed curated, but create buzz for your posts by showing behind the scenes etc. People can live vicariously and you can share your excitement!

3. I think it’s the best way to add YOURSELF into your marketing. People love to see that you are a real person with pets, dinners, parties, flat tires, wardrobe malfunctions, and tired eyes. We all love to see the humanity behind a brand and showing the good, the bad, and the real will connect you to your customers in deeper ways than you think. 

Personally, I cannot wait for the day that I either break 10K followers or they release this feature to everyone. When I can finally link through my stories it will be a game changer! Insta is my favorite vehicle to drive traffic to my blog posts. Right now I use tons of sneak peeks and screen recording to show people the blog post but I would much rather have them click to the actual post. It would also be so great to post links to my Pinterest or other tips and tricks etc. 

If you haven’t used stories yet just jump in! If you try to post at least 1 a day you will quickly get the hang of them and see more and more opportunities to share throughout your day. Good luck!”

Tampa, FL

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Claire Price | CTP Creative // IG

“Instagram stories are an amazing tool as a more informal touchpoint with your audience. It’s important to consider your audience- who they are and why they’re following you. For example, my audience is comprised primarily of potential clients and other designer peers, so I use Instagram stories with two goals in mind: 1) educate about my unique branding process by sharing a full summary of the process with each new brand launch, and 2) be a relatable creative business owner by sharing snippets of my day or big takeaways, ‘wins’, or ‘that didn’t go quite as planned’ moments.”

London, England

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Jai Lopa & Ren Altizer | Wolf & Rabbit Marketing // IG

1. Story Search // Instagram has now added the feature where users can search and find STORY content with the use of Hashtags and Location features! Always post your location or a relevant hashtag in your story to up your organic visibility.

2. Show off Your Newest Post // Get more engagement from your followers when you use your story to show that you have a new post that they’ll want to check out.

3. Lead them to Your Blog // Let’s say your Blog is “top three tips to…”. Do a video Instagram story giving your audience the number ONE tip and let them know they can find the rest of the tips at the link in your bio (unless you have over 10k followers and then you can have them swipe up!). 

Tampa, FL

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Marti Martin | Bridge + Bloom // IG

"Figure out what you want your stories to be like. It can be many things, you can be fun and interactive, but also have beautiful images of your work to grab people’s attention daily. We try to have a nice mix of our personality shine through with fun stories of our office or adventures, along with images of our work. It’s a great tool to keep your friends/audience interested in what you’re doing and to spread the word about events or happenings with your company."

St. Petersburg, FL

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Melissa Meredith | Marketing With Mel // IG

1. Show the behind the scenes of what goes on in your business that people may not normally see.

2. Offer special giveaways or discounts, this not only creates engagement but can show you how many people are reacting to your stories and the value of Instagram to your business.

3. Get creative and don't be afraid to try new things and see how they perform. That's really the BEST way to know what works for YOUR business!

Tampa, FL