How Instagram Users Can Use “Stories” To Make More Money Online
There’s no denial that people are spending an unprecedented amount of time surfing on the Internet, whether for business or for pleasure.
According to recent data pulled from web marketing company SimilarWeb, Instagram users spend nearly 60 minutes a day scrolling through the app. And that’s on the Android platform alone!
Anybody in the know realizes that this creates an ample opportunity for making more money online.
The more time people spend online, the more advertisements they are exposed to. You now have the chance to fight for people’s attention (and their wallets) alongside your competitors.
This rapid rise in Instagram engagement can be attributed to the release of a brand new feature known as “Instagram Stories.”
What Are Instagram Stories And How Do They Work?
Instagram Stories allow users to post real-time photos and videos to their audience.
Unlike a typical post, Stories can only be viewed. Sadly, this means they won’t be engaged with in the usual sense (i.e. through comments and likes).
Within a Story, you have the option to post one picture/video, or several of them.
There are multiple “ultimate Instagram Story” guides online that go into every nook and cranny of this new feature, but here’s all you need to know about posting a Story:
- Using the camera feature on Instagram, upload your content. This can come in the form of an existing image stored on your phone, taking a new photo or recording a new video from the camera feature in Instagram.
- Edit the contents of the Story with any filters, objects, or modifications as you see fit.
- Share the Story to your audience.
The primary catch is that your Story is only available for 24 hoursfor people to view on your page.
Viewers will be able to access your Stories by going to the top of your page. After that time period, they will be deleted for good.
Why Are Instagram Stories So Darn Popular?
Don’t be fooled by the mere simplicity of Instagram Stories. The social media experts over at Hootsuite found that over 300 million people are using Instagram Stories each day.
To put that number in context, it’s nearly half of the entire Instagram user base.
On top of that, Stories is frequently getting updated with advanced features that allow marketers and influencers to take their social media game to the next level.
Preview, an Instagram feed planner app, published an epic guide that compiles all of the new features added to Instagram in 2018. More than half of them were exclusively for Stories.
Here are some of the more in-depth tactics you can look into once you get a hang of Stories:
- Learning how to create master-level edits on your Stories that turn them from simple and plain to visually stunning!
- Customizing certain properties of your Stories to help them reach a much wider audience that exists beyond your followers.
- Viewing relevant marketing analytics that allow you to track the performance of your Stories in real-time.
Instagram CEO, Kevin Systrom, has personally weighed in to explain why Stories have completely changed the way Instagram is used by both casual users and serious influencers.
Here’s a paraphrased version of what he had to say:
Stories have literally lowered the bar for sharing all types of photos and videos. Their casual nature allows people to deliver a message that is both authentic and consistent with what the brand stands for.
When the audience views the story, they feel like they are better engaged with the user. It’s as if they’re directly interacting with them, seeing a real-live human being who’s genuinely interested in providing value to them.
The word you’re looking for is “accessibility.” The experience is shared between the user and the follower. In fact, you’ll notice that many of the Stories which are casually filmed in a selfie format generally perform better. It’s organic story-telling that appeals to base emotions and desires.
And the fact that so many phones allow you to produce high-quality videos and photos is the cherry on top. You don’t need expensive equipment to create amazing content in the present day and age.
Yeah, That’s Great…Now Show Me The Money!
Enough chit-chatter. Here are what the past 1000 words or so mean for you and your online business:
Instagram Stories are an insanely powerful way for you to add a ridiculous amount of value to your audience, grow your following, direct targeted traffic wherever you want, increase your engagement rates, and more importantly…make MONEY!
Now it’s time to learn how to make that happen…
Sales-Generating Instagram Story Tactic #1: All Eyes On Your Link!
Whenever you post your Story, you have the option to add a clickable link that can be accessed by viewers while they are watching your story.
It’s a ridiculously easy-to-use feature that only takes a few extra seconds to set up:
- Before you publish your Story, click the icon at the top of your screen that looks like a chain.
- Insert your link. It can be towards a product page, a website, or sales funnel.
- When people see your Story, they can “swipe up” and click on the link. This will be visible to them through the “See More” text at the bottom of their screen.
NOTE: Your link should either collect email addresses (or leads) or take people directly towards the sale. Your primary goal is to make money immediately, or nurture someone so that they will become a paying customer later.
Here are a few street-tested tactics I’ve personally used to consistently create high-converting Instagram Stories:
1) Focus on the BENEFITS your viewers will receive from buying your product.
When somebody buys a luxury watch, they’re not buying the actual watch. They are buying the status, prestige and recognition they will receive when people notice the watch on their wrist.
The timeless fundamentals of effective selling have not changed, even though the mediums themselves always change.
This is your opportunity to get people HOOKED on your product. There are several ways to go about this:
- Show a real-time demonstration of your product doing what it says it will do.
- Share a genuine testimonial from a happy customer who can vouch for you.
- Have an influencer talk about their experience with using your product.
- Offer an exclusive time-limited deal not seen anywhere else.
Seeing is truly believing. When your followers’ questions, doubts and concerns are addressed directly in a matter of seconds, they’ll feel like they got a lot of value from your Story. And they’ll be much more likely to click the “BUY” button.
2) Make your CTA (call to action) as ridiculously straightforward as possible.
I’m going to be honest: It’s really easy to miss the “See More” button at the bottom of the Story that reveals the clickable link.
Your #1 goal is to get viewers – followers and non-followers – to click on your link and complete the sale. Full stop. Nothing else matters with your Story.
Therefore, it is your mission to make it as easy and effortless as possible for people to see the link and click on it.
Here’s how you make that happen…
- Explicitly tell viewers that they need to “swipe up” in order to access the clickable link, and TELL them to click on the link.
- Add in big bold text within your Story that says something along the lines of “SWIPE UP TO GET ACCESS TO [PRODUCT].”
People need to be reminded about the action you want them to take, and you need to keep their attention focused on taking that action. You want them to engage with your link.
Thanks to the extremely user-friendly editing options that are included with Instagram Stories, this won’t take more than a couple of seconds.
And if you have a business account, you can access marketing analytics that directly tell you how well your story is performing (Insights -> Content -> Stories). You’ll see how many people viewed your Story, exited your Story, clicked on your link, and much more.
Sales-Generating Instagram Story Tactic #2: Shoppable Stickers!
What if you aren’t interested in posting a single link and want to take your selling game to the next level?
Would you like the option to make multiple products in your Story directly clickable for purchase in the app without needing the viewer to swipe up?
Instagram has launched a brand new feature which allows you to tag products in your Story with a clickable sticker. This sticker will direct viewers towards an e-commerce page that features your product, allowing them to immediately make a purchase.
The time gap between being an interested browser and becoming a paying customer has been shortened even further.
All you have to do is click the stickers button at the top of your Instagram Story while you are editing it (prior to publishing it), select the “product” stickers, choose a product from your store, and place the sticker wherever you want on your Story.
That’s really it!
However, there are a couple of requirements that you will have to satisfy before you can gain access to this feature. According to Later.com, these are the requirements:
- You must be located in one of the 46 countries which Instagram has made this option available.
- You must have an Instagram business account.
- You must have the most up-to-date version of Instagram app on your phone.
- Your business account needs to be connected to a Facebook catalog. There are multiple options for creating and managing this catalog.
- The products you sell must comply with the commerce policies and merchant agreement set out by Instagram.
When you post an Instagram Story with shoppable stickers, there will be a special symbol that denotes the presence of said stickers. Your viewers will see them on the bottom left corner of the Story preview before they click on it.
As the viewer is watching your Instagram story, the stickers will instantly appear in plain sight.
I strongly suggest you follow the tips outlined in Sales-Generating Instagram Story Tactic #2 (emphasize the benefits, high-quality photo/video, engaging captions, super simple CTA, etc.).
Instagram can only do so much to make the online selling process easier. It is entirely up to you to put on your salesman cap and show your viewers what they’re missing out on!
BONUS: Let Your Stories Live On!
At the beginning of this post, I mentioned that Instagram Stories have a lifespan of 24 hours.
However, there is a workaround that allows you to archive your previous Stories, while keeping select Stories permanently hosted at the top of your Instagram page.
First, you need to ensure that your stories are automatically being archived. In mid-2017, Instagram launched “Stories Archive,” – a new feature that keeps your previously published Stories in the cloud.
Go to Settings -> Privacy and Security -> Story Controls -> Turn “Save to Archive” ON.
Even though your followers and visitors will not see the Story anymore, you will still have access to it.
NOTE: This will ONLY work for Stories that have been published since December 2017. If you want to revive any Stories older than that, you’re out of luck L
Next, you want to take advantage of the “Story Highlights” feature that you can access by opening up your profile.
You’ll be able to scroll through your Stories, whether brand new or archived, and select the ones that you want featured as a permanent highlight at the top of your page.
This is a brilliant feature to use for promotions that last a long time, or any evergreen offersyou may have. They can also serve as casual introductions that let newcomers know what your brand stands for, while hosting important announcements.
Why profit only once from an Instagram Story when you can profit from it many times over?
Wrapping It All Up!
I’ve introduced you to two game-changing features of Instagram Stories that allow you to turn your engagement into extra dollars in your pocket.
On top of that, you’ve been armed with a special feature that extends the lifespan of your most successful Stories.
Now it’s time to take full advantage of the opportunities that have been presented to you.
Instagram is taking its routes for monetization seriously, and only those who take immediate action will be able to reap the rewards.