Five Ways Your Business is Using Instagram Stories Incorrectly

Jul 30, 2018


How to Use Instagram Stories for Business

As a public relations firm offering social media management services to our clients across Colorado and Denver, we make it our job to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and platforms captivating social media users. Ever since Instagram Stories made their debut in 2016, the platform has proven to be an excellent way for our clients across a variety of industries including healthcare, nonprofits and festival management to connect with their audiences in a fun, lighthearted way.

Posting your first Instagram Story or creating new content to publish can feel intimidating. Our team recommends turning to the top brands in your industry for inspiration. After all, the way a healthcare brand uses Instagram Stories will likely be very different than how a festival brand uses the feature.

However, no matter what industry you are in there are several things every business should NOT be doing on Instagram Stories. Read on to learn which mistakes to avoid at all costs!  

Mistake #1: Not Using the Instagram Stories Feature

The biggest mistake your business can make when it comes to Instagram Stories is not creating them! More than 400 million people use Instagram Stories each day, making it an important tool for brands looking to interact with their audiences.

If the massive number of potential clients using Instagram stories isn’t enough to inspire you to create an Instagram story, the fact that your competitors are posting stories may do the trick.  Over 50 percent of businesses on Instagram have created a story and one in five stories generate a direct message.

Instagram Stories offer your company another avenue to create a dialogue with your audience and invite their engagement. Don’t neglect the massive audience consuming Instagram Stories by failing to post them!

Mistake #2: Leaving the STORY out of Instagram Stories

One of the most serious mistakes we regularly see brands making when posting stories is forgetting to use the feature as a tool to take the audience on a journey by telling a complete story. Posting one photo with no caption or context doesn’t engage your followers.

To optimize the impact of your Story, before posting your first slide, think about the narrative you want to share. How can you creatively tell your audience what they are looking at? What background information do they need to understand? Taking a moment to plan out the beginning, middle and end of your Story before you start posting is essential to creating high quality content.

Mistake #3: Thinking You Have to Post Live

While your thinking through the logical flow of your story don’t fall into the trap of assuming you need to begin posting live as the topic you are sharing about unfolds. You definitely want to share content in a timely manner, but taking a moment to pause will allow you to collect the best set of images and plan the content you are going to post.

While documenting an event, use your phone's camera to save photos and videos (remember to shoot in vertical mode!) that you can review before posting. Once you have captured all of the content you need for your story, take a few minutes to review it, select the best shots and plan out your post copy.

Mistake #4: Posting Only One Type of Content

When curating content to share on Instagram Stories, be sure to capture a variety of image types. For still photos capture a mix of detail shots, action shots and unique angles. However, be sure that you think further out of the box than posting just a series of photos!

Strong Instagram Stories include a variety of media including photos, videos and speciality effects. Instagram offers users the ability to create some seriously cool Stories by taking advantage of in-app tools including Boomerangs (looped video), stop-motion video, Superzooms (videos that zoom in on a focal point and add graphic effects) and rewind videos.

Play around with mixing in different types of content to share your message in new and unique ways.

Mistake #5: Forgetting to Use Features

Instagram is constantly debuting new features to incorporate into your Instagram stories. In the past month alone we have seen the introduction of the question sticker and music into the platform.

You may already be using these features on your personal Instagram Stories and there is no reason you can’t incorporate them into your businesses Stories too! Consider asking your followers their thoughts about one of your latest product offerings using the poll tool, opening up the floor for feedback using the questions tool or adding a little levity with a clever (and business appropriate) gif.

If your business is looking for innovative ways to use Instagram Stories or other social media platforms to increase brand awareness, contact us to learn how we can help you meet your goals.

Caty Carrico


Caty Carrico is an award-winning social media strategist and public relations practitioner at Pushkin Public Relations, a Denver-based PR firm. Her expertise lies in helping brands identify their distinct social media persona and crafting communications strategies that engage target audiences. In her spare time, she can be found eating her way through Denver's restaurant scene or working on her latest DIY project.

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