Telling stories, selling wares – the anatomy of an Instagram Story

The Instagram story. Lauded as an opportunity to show you - the real you; the face behind your business and all the goings on behind the scenes, Stories have rapidly become THE niche feature on Instagram to boost sales and build a connection with your audience. When you’re doing them well, arguably they can’t be beaten, with over 500million Instagram users using Stories during their daily scroll. For a brand, Stories can be used to promote visibility and awareness, through to driving ad conversions. If you’re not currently making use of Instagram’s Stories feature, or don’t know where to start with Stories, this post is for you.

The basics

By creating Stories, you are opening up your own conversation and really presenting your followers with an extra option to connect with you. You can offer up a different perspective on the story of your business, in a more informal and relatable way. Stories can be as polished or as low key as you like, as long as authenticity woven throughout your content.

So, how do you create a Story? Instagram has put together a handy step-by-step guide, available here. Stories will stay on your profile for 24 hours before disappearing, however you can create a series of highlights above your main grid to keep them there for posterity. Feel free to keep it simple in the beginning, while you find your feet

Image: Instagram

Scaling it up

Now that you know the basics, you can really start to up your game. Stories are a great way to increase exposure for your brand or business, and a good way to do that is by making use of the ‘stickers’ available. Here you can add your location (important when localising your conversation!), tag in accounts you want to connect with (the tagged account will be sent a direct message letting them know that you've included them in your Story, thereby presenting you with a chance to build on or foster relationships with key accounts), include a relevant hashtag, ask questions, and more.

If you are a retailer and have leveraged your account to make it shoppable, you can add links to items on your website in your Stories, too. To keep things fun and fresh, Instagram offers a vast range of gifs that you can add to your story - have fun with it!

Instagram stickers example

Learning from Law & Co

If it suits your brand, Stories are a great place to host a series of regular features that you may not want to include on your grid. Anything from trips behind the scenes, question and answer sessions, interviews with members of your team - it’s up to you. Save them as highlights on to your profile, and keep them up to date. Regular features create consistency in your content and a level of expectation with your audience.

Few smash their Stories better than Denise Law from Law & Co. She’s a great example of an independent retailer using Stories to leverage her business and boost sales. Law & Co is a womenswear brand based in the Cotswolds, and pitches themselves perfectly at their target audience.

Denise’s personality and enthusiasm comes bursting out of her Stories, pulling you into your screen. Her regular ‘try on’ sessions have become a favourite with her audience, as she painstakingly goes through new and current stock, describing the fit and features of the clothes on offer. Law & Co is a great example of authenticity within a brand; Denise is passionate about what she does, and it shows. With stickers and swipe up links (available to accounts with more than 10,000 followers) directly taking you to items themselves, it’s easy for the viewer to invest not just their energies in the brand, but their pounds, too.

Denise’s Stories drive engagement and sales

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A post shared by 𝐋𝐚𝐰 & 𝐂𝗼. 𝐒𝐭𝗼𝐫𝐞𝐬 (@lawandcostores) on

Image 1: @lawandcostores on Instagram | Image 2: Law & Co on Instagram stories

Making stories work for you

There is so much scope for your Stories and the content you can share that it can be a little mind-boggling.

Within Stories, you can: share grid posts - your own and others (by tapping the little paper aeroplane icon underneath the post you want to share); simply type out your thoughts using the ‘create’ function within Stories; speak directly to camera (don’t forget to caption your content!); upload photos, videos and more!

All of the above can be as formal or informal as you like. There is an agreed assumption now that due to the ephemeral nature of the medium, any less polished content shared via Stories will not detract from a more considered and curated grid.

At Maybe*, we love to use our Stories to promote our fabulous product users and clients, which we do by sharing posts, and by creating content just for Stories that we won’t then use on our Instagram grid. Our two favourite apps for Instagram are Canva and Mojo. Canva is a brilliant tool when it comes to creating social media graphics, and is available as both a mobile and desktop app.

Canva allows you to set brand colours, fonts and sizes, so that you have consistency throughout your posts. You can also easily resize posts within Canva for your other social channels, saving you time. For video story content, we use Mojo, a mobile app which offers a wide range of easily adaptable templates, fonts and styles to allow you to create slick, professional videos in no time at all.

Image featuring Canva designs on the left and Mojo on the right

Key takeaway

Stories can be a game changer for many businesses. Regardless of the content you decide to post, don’t forget to add hashtags, locations and mentions when uploading to your Instagram story. Don’t be scared, give Stories a go and tag us in @wearemaybetech to make sure we don’t miss out on your efforts! We’re always happy to share the love around great social content! 

Maybe* is a collaborative social media management platform that provides engagement tools, actionable insights, reports and access to training that enables organisations to make social media work for them.

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