What are ‘stories’ and ‘hashtags’ in Instagram

As Instagram continues to grow with over 500 million users it is becoming even more important to understand how this platform works and how it might be used to help promote your products or services.  In August 2016 Instagram introduced a new feature called ‘Stories’. Stories are a feature within Instagram that lets users post photos and videos that vanish after 24 hours.  It is ephemeral in nature and can’t be viewed once 24 hours have elapsed.  Instagram has traditionally been a social media platform for curating and posting photos and content.  It uses several filters to make photos look great.  If you want to find out more about Instagram for Small Business check out one of my past blogs.

Stories appear right at the top of your feed on Instagram.  The difference between ‘Stories’ and traditional content, or photos posted on Instagram is that you can’t ‘like’ or ‘comment’ publicly on Stories like you can with traditional posts, you can only view them, however you can see who has viewed your Stories. More recently, a feature was added that allowed for direct messages to be sent after a ‘Story’ has been viewed.

Hashtags – why are they important?

If you are not sure what hashtags are and how they are used on Instagram check out my blog post.

Your brand or business name can be used as a hashtag. It can also be used as your User Name (sometimes referred to as your ‘handle’).  Popular hashtags include #love #instagood #fashion #beautiful #photooftheday

Tips for improving your Instagram business profile and posts.

Make your profile public

Firstly, if you are running a business there is no use keeping your profile private.  You want to build an Instagram following and make it easy for people to follow your business or brand.  The more eyeballs you have following you the better. When setting up your profile make sure you select to make it public. By default it is set to public but there is an option to make it a private profile also.

Add a link to your bio

Secondly, many people don’t realise that they can add a URL link to their bio section.  Make it easy for people to find your website or online store.  Often people scroll through their instagram feeds or search/explore the app for content that is of interest to them.  Ultimately you want your instagram content to guide users back to your website or to your online store where they can make an enquiry or a purchase.  Add a link in your bio so they can quickly click across to your website or e-store.

Use the ‘Location’ feature

Thirdly, adding a location and telling people where a beautiful photo is taken helps to create interest and helps to get people commenting and sharing. Look for the location feature on the top left hand side of the photo that you post and add the details there.

Customise your posts

Use photo filters, tags and hashtags and relevant links and add these to your photos.

What sort of content can I share on Instagram?

Instagram is a great tool for product and/or event based businesses, it lends itself well to very visual businesses.  For example a Wedding Planner who creates beautiful wedding spaces or fashion or lifestyle business would be able to use Instagram to help showcase their products or services through the use of great photography and creative posts.  Here are some ideas about the types of content you could post on your business instagram account.

  • Product images.
  • Community and Networking event photos.
  • Awards nights and celebrations.
  • Fun staff events that show a human side to your business.
  • Office photos of the people working behind the scenes.

Tools and software such as Iconsquare for instance, allow you to access industry analytics and  data specific to facebook and Instagram.  That means you can see how many times your hashtag has been used and information on what’s trending in an industry.

If you are not sure where to start, don’t have the time, or need some specific marketing help contact Small Chilli Marketing.

Effie Cinanni
Founder & Director
Small Chilli Marketing