Communicating with Instagram Stories

Communicating with Instagram Stories

November 7, 2018
Shari Steinbach

By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor

With over 1 billion users on Instagram, it’s safe to say that many of your customers are using this social media platform for obtaining and sharing information. The addition of Instagram Stories has made this space even more interactive. Not only are Instagram Stories fun and creative, but they’re great for growing consumer engagement, building brand awareness, and driving traffic to your store. Perhaps you are looking for ways to improve how you use Instagram Stories to create captivating content for your shoppers, or are curious how to even begin? Regan Miller Jones, RD shares tips for effectively using Instagram Stories in your work as a retail dietitian: 

Here’s the basics:

  • Instagram Stories appear in a bar at the top of your Instagram feed and all Instagram accounts can share stories. When there’s something new to see, their profile photo will have a colorful ring around it.
  • To view someone’s story, you simply need to tap on their profile photo, and their story will appear full-screen, showing you all the content they’ve posted in the last 24 hours.
  • Once you’re viewing a story, you can tap to go back and forward or swipe to jump to another person’s story. Unlike regular posts, there are no likes or public comments.
  • To create a story on Instagram, you have to tap a new “+” icon at the top left-hand corner of the screen, or you can reveal the story camera by simply swiping left.
    • Start with using the normal button for a picture or a 15 second video – for video just press the button and hold down – a timer will indicate your 15 seconds. 
    • Use the Live button if you have a little bit more to say. This will also push Instagram stories up and draw attention to what you have posted earlier. Boomerang button will show a “back and forth” video.
    • After you’ve recorded your video or taken a photo, you can use a range of filters and also add text and drawings to your content. At the top of the screen you can select type font and color.
    • Instagram Stories stickers enable you to add extra context to your Instagram Stories content. To add stickers to your story, take a photo or video and then tap the Stickers button (a smiley face in the top right of the screen) to find customizable stickers for weather, the current time, location and more.
    • You can add a hashtag to your Instagram story by tapping the hashtag sticker. Once selected, you’ll be prompted to write your hashtag.
    • Once your story is posted you can also view some basic analytics, to show you how many times each post in your story has been viewed and who has viewed it. When watching your own story, swipe up to check out this data and who’s seen each photo and video.

Best practices:

  • Be consistent with color and font and use good quality photos.
  • Give context with TEXT function but use minimal words to engage and be personable.
  • Consider creating a consistent, weekly series – 30-minute recipes, or healthy snack ideas.
  • Provide how to tips - Adding more fruits and veggies into your diet, or meat case guidance.
  • Satisfy shopper’s curiosity by showing what happens behind the scenes – How does produce gets from the field to the store, or from the farm to the can. 
  • Be responsive – this is part of making the connection with your audience.
  • A good Instagram Story should be useful, unique, urgent and ultra-specific.
  • Practice and keep learning… there’s more to know and do!

Finally, Regan reminds us that, “At the end of the day, the ultimate thing to remember is people don’t come to social platforms to get sold to – they come to connect, socialize and learn new things. So, make sure as a business user you’re using it the same way.”