By Brent Leary
Instagram Stories, a feature that lets you share all the moments of your day, turned a year-old last month. With 250 million daily users, businesses on Instagram are really stepping up their usage of Instagram Stories to engage their audience, hoping to convert that attention into more opportunities to transact business.
I recently spoke with Morgan Cornelius, Instagram’s Community Programs lead for small business, to learn more about how businesses are using Stories. Below are a few keys to getting up to speed with Stories.
What exactly is Instagram Stories?
Morgan Cornelius: Instagram Stories is essentially a way for people to share their in-between moments throughout the day. It’s something that is ephemeral in nature in the sense that anything you post to Stories disappears within 24 hours. It could be a compilation of photos and videos you are capturing, and it essentially populates in a slideshow format.
The beautiful thing about this is it’s not a labor-intensive post that you’re adding to your official profile. It’s something that should be a little bit more casual in nature, and should be a little bit more raw in terms of the footage that’s captured.
How are you seeing small businesses use this?
Cornelius: Small businesses are using it in a ton of creative ways. When you’re first using it, test things out within Instagram Stories. It’s going to disappear within 24 hours. If you really don’t like what you’ve posted, you can delete it from the Story frames altogether.
I recently met up with a bakery here in San Francisco. I was speaking with the owner, Joanna, and she said, “You know, I’m finding that while we’re a bakery and a bistro, when I post Stories about the behind the scenes of us creating our croissants in the morning versus how we’re preparing a dish at lunch,” the overwhelmingly positive response about the Story about the croissant-making outperforms the Story about the lunch bistro dish that they’re preparing.
You can also utilize Stories to shoot a live video, in real-time, and you can go live, actually in the moment, and capture whatever is happening in front of you. There are people that host workshops, and if you couldn’t make the workshop, they will go live within the story and allow you to follow along with whatever they’re doing.
The opportunities and the ideas are endless.
How do you measure the impact of Stories?
Cornelius: You’ll actually have insights you can access on the back end of your profile. Some of those insights will allow you to understand the performance metrics of your Stories. One of the biggest and most impactful data points we provide is the completion rate. Let’s say you have a Story that’s 10 frames about a contest you’re running. You can identify if that particular contest performed well, or if people tended to swipe right because they weren’t interested in it, and go on to the next businesses or person’s Story.
[There are] 250 million people are already using Stories daily, and in the last month over 50 percent of businesses on Instagram are producing a Story. Of those businesses, we’re seeing one in five organic Stories gets a direct message. What that means is that if you’re seeing high engagement, people can message you within your Story to ask questions about a product you posted, to comment on what they like. That kind of engagement metric is one to keep an eye out for. A