Best Practices and Great Ideas to Help You Generate Sales Through Instagram Stories

After Reels, Instagram Stories is the place where people spend the most time on the platform. Despite humble beginnings back in 2016, this feature now has a solid viewership at 400 million that is twice as big as Snapchat’s!

The Phenomenon that is FOMO

So why such high viewership? It’s due to a phenomenon called FOMO, or “fear of missing out.” This is based on the fact that Stories is content that disappears after 24 hours, unless it’s saved in a highlight reel. This means that users are more likely to view and engage with this content because they don’t want to miss out on any updates you might share.

It is this phenomenon that makes using Instagram Stories such a powerful sales and marketing tool. So let’s take a look at some tips and ideas to help you truly unlock the potential of Instagram Stories to boost your sales. 

Best Practices for Boosting Viewership and Engagement on Stories

1 | Use Hashtags and Geotags to Increase Leads

Hashtags and geotags are a way for users to explore their interests on the platform. When you use both or either of these in your Stories, you’ll be able to attract viewers who are not followers of your account. For example, if you have a brick and mortar small business, using a geotag to tag your stories can help locals find you. Or if you are an online store that sells tea, using a hashtag such as #tealover might help you get discovered by new audiences. 

2 | Use Swipe Up, Link, or Product Sticker to Up Your ROI

After building a relationship with your audience, you need to move them further down the sales pipeline to increase your return on investment (ROI). Pairing the Swipe Up function, Link, or Product stickers in your stories with a powerful call to action (CTA) that encourages people to tap the link can increase conversion rates. What makes these features so powerful is that it is a great way to get people to your website to purchase a product or buy a service. But remember, adding these functions alone isn’t enough. You must entice people with a CTA that piques their interest. 

3 | Create Urgency or Scarcity

Without a sense of urgency or scarcity, your target audience will drag their feet. Some examples of urgency or scarcity include:

  • Using the countdown sticker
  • Counting down the number of spots left
  • Sharing “limited number left” when referring to a product
  • Letting viewers know this deal is sure to “sell out fast” 

4 | Try Paid Stories

Last but not least, you can always opt for paid (sponsored) Stories, which are available to business accounts. Paid Stories allows you to expand your reach on the platform beyond hashtags or geotags. It also allows you to target a specific audience who is more likely to convert. What is nice about paid Stories is that they appear in a user’s Stories feed just like an unpaid Story. The only difference is the word “Sponsored” placed under the IG handle in the top left corner. 

Ideas for Engaging Viewers on Stories

1 | Tell a Story

What better way to use Instagram Stories than to tell a story! Storytelling in marketing is a powerful tool because it allows you to connect with your audience on a deeper level. Effective stories stick in our head and they release oxytocin in our brains, which elicits an emotional response. Purchase decisions are often made off an emotional decision, not a logical one, which is why storytelling in marketing can be so effective. Be sure to check out our 6 tips for using storytelling to boost your brand’s marketing goals

2 | Offer Tips or Showcase Products

Using Stories is a perfect way to showcase what you have to offer to your viewers. Boost that even further by going beyond simply reminding viewers of your products or services. Offer them tips, show features on products they may have missed at first glance, or share a video Story that shows a product in action. These are all pieces of rich content that can keep eyeballs on your content and pique a consumer’s interest.  

3 | Share a Discount Code

Treat your Stories viewers like VIPs and share a special Instagram-only discount code. Don’t forget to remind them that the code only works for a limited time to create urgency!

4 | Tease a Product Launch or Event

Stories make a great venue for sharing teasers to get people excited for a big day. So show off a product that is in “beta” or “coming soon.” It can also be a perfect place for sharing how you are getting ready for an event or sale that you are hosting. 

5 | Engage with a Sticker

Create community and start conversations by using a sticker that encourages action and engagement. These include the Poll, Questions, Add Yours, or Slider stickers. When you create community and increase engagement, this allows you to build trust with your target audience. If you don’t have trust, people won’t click on your links or buy your products or services. 

6 | Share Behind-the-Scenes Content

People love to see behind-the-scenes content. It gives them a chance to learn what goes on in your day or to see the faces behind the brand. This creates a more personal connection to your brand and builds loyalty. So don’t be afraid to share the mess or the process!

7 | Share Social Proof

Stories is a great place to share social proof. These are the testimonials from your customers saying how great your product is or how much your services have improved their lives. It can also be people sharing how they are using your product or service. By sharing this type of user-generated content (UGC), it can encourage others to share their thoughts, photos, and videos, helping create a wealth of content for you to share without all the work of creating the content!

Final Thoughts

Don’t sleep on Instagram Stories just because it is an older feature on the platform. Instagram is constantly adding new features to Stories. In fact, the Link and Add Yours stickers are some of the newest features and have increased engagement on the platform for many brands. Remember, have fun with your Stories and don’t forget to focus on building community to create deeper, more loyal connections with your target audience.