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How To Use Instagram Stories To Build Brand Recognition

Which Comes First: Marketing Or Sales?

Traditionally, the best stories have a clear beginning, middle and end. Instagram Stories, on the other hand, are more like an ongoing series of slice-of-life vignettes that tell you something no matter where you jump in. If you’re not a regular user of Instagram, the Stories feature is usually

Traditionally, the best stories have a clear beginning, middle and end. Instagram Stories, on the other hand, are more like an ongoing series of slice-of-life vignettes that tell you something no matter where you jump in.

If you’re not a regular user of Instagram, the Stories feature is usually sitting at the very top of the interface you see in the app. You’ll notice a row of circles with the faces of various people you’re following. The one closest to your own profile picture on the upper left was probably the most recent person to update their Story.

Click on their face in the circle and almost anything could happen next. You might see a cute photo of their dog or cat. After a few seconds, this could transition to a few seconds of video where they offer a happy birthday greeting to a friend or relative among their followers. There could be another screen filled with nothing but text.

Often Instagram Stories make use of special effects, such as filters that could superimpose a pair of rabbit ears on the user’s head. You can add text to a video you shoot, or music straight from the streaming service Spotify. If you have a large enough following, you can even let people go to a URL outside of Instagram by swiping up. All these features make Instagram Stories one of the most dynamic, versatile tools available for marketers who want to put social media to good use.

This is probably the reason why Instagram Stories is so prominent on the app, and why many sponsored Instagram Stories pop up as you move through the list of people you follow. Though it started off as a photo-sharing app, Instagram Stories has allowed the facebook-owned service to evolve into something much more powerful.

Paid promotions aren’t the only way to get noticed with Instagram Stories, though. As you develop an organic following on the platform, the marketing possibilities are limited only by your imagination. Start with one of these ideas:

‘Here’s How It’s Done’

Using a series of photos, videos or a combination of the two, create a simple explainer that helps guide people in using your product, or even some insider tips and tricks to unlock capabilities your followers never knew it had.

You could take a similar tack by repurposing the main points from a more traditional asset — like an eBook or guide and breaking it into the components of an Instagram Story.


Launching a new product? Celebrating some recent client wins? Having a team offsite (either in-person or virtual)?

You can give your followers a behind-the-scenes look at the effort you put in to creating a strong customer experience, while capturing the unique spirit or culture of your team.

This could even get as “meta” as providing a look at how you brainstormed your firm’s most recent marketing campaign. Customers often feel closer to organizations that offer this kind of transparency and access.

‘Go Live’

Not all Instagram Stories have to be made up of pre-recorded elements. With the single push of a button, you can livestream yourself from anywhere.

Think about conducting an interview between key members of your team about an industry topic. Or invite a die-hard fan to share what they love most about your products and services.

The best part of hosting an Instagram Live broadcast is that it’s an impromptu event, where those watching can easily ask questions or share comments and emojis.

‘Ask Me A Question’

One of the tools within Instagram Stories is a sticker you can put on a photo that contains a little box where your followers can write something. You can use this to let them directly inquire about your products, policies and other items.

You’ll be the only one that sees what they ask, but you can then reply and post them as individual pieces of your Instagram Story. These answers will appear as little boxes that can sit on top of other photos, including any kind of marketing creative you’d like to feature.

You can be more specific than inviting a simple “ask me anything.” Solicit their recommendations for new products and services you should offer, or gauge their tastes and interests that could better inform other aspects of your marketing.


Instagram Stories were never designed to be a “me, me, me” kind of tool.

If you see a great Instagram post from one of your followers, you can add this to your Story with a few clicks, extending their reach into the rest of your community. Some brands like to do this when someone has a post where their products and services are featured, for example.

When someone tags your brand account in their Instagram Stories, meanwhile, you can add it to your own. This is user generated content at its best, and it shows you’re connected to your fans.

Purpose-driven brands can also use these features to amplify causes they care about, driving awareness on important social issues.


Much like the ask-me-a-question feature, Instagram Stories has a built-in way to set up polls. The default for this is often Yes/No, but think of what you could do with that — your followers could see which colour or model of your product is more popular, or you could let them help choose your next product name or marketing tagline.

You can also get creative with the questions, asking something like “What’s your goal for 2021,” with answers like “personal growth/more money.” The character limit for both the questions and the answers is small, and you have to stick with only two possible answers, but that leaves plenty of room for creativity.

If you don’t update your Instagram Stories, nothing bad happens — you just won’t appear at the top of their feed with all the others. The more often you’re there, though, the more likely you’ll be able to tell them something important about your brand.

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