Instagram stories for online merchants

by Kristof Maletzke, 11.04.19



With around 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram offers online merchants a great opportunity to leverage the platform for marketing purposes. One of the biggest benefits of this social network is that you can get great results with little effort and without investing any money.

On Instagram, you can get customers to engage with your brand and can unleash your full creative potential. This can also be achieved with the so-called Instagram Stories. They are a quick and easy advertising tool that you can use for your advantage even when you’re on a shoestring budget. All you need is a phone that can take a decent 15-second video, a little ingenuity, and you’re all set.

What are Instagram Stories?

It’s a feature of Instagram that’s used by 400 million people daily. It works much the same way as uploading pictures does, except that you use video to get your message across. The video has to be short – a maximum of 15 seconds at a time.

That said, if you want a bit more time, you can post a series of these short snippets. Instagram doesn’t place any limit on how many you can post in a day. However, we advise taking cue from the medium itself and keeping these videos short. So, if you want to shoot a series that’s fine, but don’t go beyond three or four videos in a row or your audience might lose interest.

What can you shoot in 15 seconds? Actually, once you get there, you’ll find that you can get quite a lot done over that time span. You’ll just need to prepare what you’re going to say ahead of time, and consider writing a script so that everything goes off without a hitch.

You might choose to highlight a new product, show what you are working on or present special offers.

The other aspect to consider is that Stories will only be live for 24 hours. You can get around this by posting them on your profile page as highlights. But the short-lived nature of them is part of the appeal – you get to play with different styles to see what works for your audience.

What should I post about?

There are many different options here. At the end of this post, you’ll see an infographic that was originally published on the 99firms site.

In this infographic, you’ll see 30 different examples of how big brands have been using this medium. Many of the ideas can be adapted to fit a small business, so check it out to get some more inspiration.
For now, though, let’s have a look at some things to consider when deciding what to post.

What does your target audience want to see?

All content should be centred on your target audience and their needs. Do they want content that entertains them or content that informs them? Ideally, any video should be engaging and useful to your target market, so ask yourself:

  • How can I make the lives of my followers better?
  • What do they want to see more of?
  • Is this content going to add value for them?

If you can create content based on the needs of your audience you’ll prove to be a valuable resource. They’ll love the content, share it, and keep coming back for more. And in between you can look for ways to subtly promote products at the same time.

It’s a win-win for you and your followers, and you don’t need a huge budget to pull it off.

About the author


is Communications Manager at ePages.

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