3 Engaging Ways to Market Your Business on Instagram

Picture of Aliza ShermanAliza Sherman is a web pioneer, author, and international speaker. Sherman is the author of 8 books about the Internet including The Everything Blogging Book, Streetwise Ecommerce, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Crowdsourcing and Social Media Engagement for Dummies.

3 Engaging Ways to Market Your Business on Instagram

The ways you can market on Instagram have changed drastically over the last few years. While posting aesthetically beautiful photographs and images still happens on this highly visual mobile network, newer features on the app let you leverage video, stickers, links, and other interactive features.

Let’s take a look at three features on Instagram that you might not be using yet: Stories, Instagram Live, and Reels. All three of these features give you more creative freedom and flexibility in how you present your messages.

1. Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories were created to mimic Snapchat, a social mobile network most popular with young adults and teens. Stories let you combine photographs, graphics, and video and add embellishments like text, music, emoji and animated GIFs or stickers, location tags, @ mention links, polls, a questions function, and more.

While Stories you post are set to disappear in 24 hours, you can also save them to your smartphone to archive or use later. Stories can also be archived on your Instagram account page using Highlights that appear in circles under your account bio.

One way to get more out of your stories is to plan them like you would a video or video montage – with a storyboard or script. Planning out what you’re going to show and say helps you stay on brand and on message.

If your account has 10,000 followers or more, you can take full advantage of the linking feature and add a direct website URL to each Story you publish. By adding a link, your Stories can drive traffic to your website or any other web page for additional information or action.

2. Instagram Reels

Reels are a newer addition to the Instagram feature set that mimic the popular, short-video social mobile app TikTok. Use Reels to create shorter entertaining and informative videos. The videos you make on Reels can only be 15 to 30 seconds long but can incorporate multiple clips so you can do easy quick edits and stitch together any videos, including ones on your smartphone. You can also add text, audio – including original audio you create yourself, and AR filters to your Reels.

A few other editing tools lets you get even more creative including the Align feature to line up objects for seamless transitions, the ability to adjust video and audio speed, and a time so you can set up your smartphone and film solo without the need of a separate camera operator.

Instagram is really pushing the Reels feature, giving it prime real estate on the app so they are easy to access and view. Adopting this feature means potentially getting more attention for your social media messaging.

3. Instagram Live

Instagram Live is the real-time streaming feature that you can broadcast directly from your smartphone and the Instagram app. Live streamed video can be single-camera or split screen with two people in view – you and a guest - having a conversation from separate smartphones. The finished video is automatically archived in your Instagram account’s Live Archive. You can also opt to share a replay of your Live recording to your IGTV channel.

You can manage the comments section of your Live videos. If you’re using an iPhone during your solo Live streaming, you can add photos and videos from your camera roll straight into the stream. This feature is not available on Android phones or when you are in a split screen with a guest.

When you go live, your followers will see an announcement pop up when they are in the app saying that you are going live. Your profile picture may also appear at the top of their Instagram screen like it does when you post a new Story. When your followers are logged in, they may also see a colorful ring around your profile picture and the word “Live” over it to designate you are currently broadcasting.

Facebook continues to update Instagram with new features to stay competitive with other mobile social media apps and networks. These additional features can be beneficial for attracting a new audience as well as serving your current followers. To be successful with each, learn how to use them properly and find appropriate uses for them that further your marketing goals.