While the introduction of Snapchat into the social media world amused us for hours on end with its so-ridiculous-it’s-funny filters, Instagram had a new feature up its sleeve, ready to shift the game again. Its borderline obsessive popularity amongst the general public already put Instagram leaps and bounds ahead of most social media platforms, so when they integrated the coveted video feature? It was bye-bye, Snapchat, and hello, Instagram Stories. Slam. Dunk. Now it’s time to come up with some Instagram Stories ideas.
If you’re already using Instagram to promote your retail brand in the digital world, you should definitely be incorporating the use of Instagram Stories.
Related: How to create an Instagram account
10 Instagram Stories ideas
If you haven’t used it solely because you don’t know what to post, here are 10 Instagram Stories ideas to engage your retail company’s fans.
Behind the scenes.
Show off your design skills.
The production process.
Showcase fun events.
Give sneak peeks of new items.
Ask a question.
Leverage your employees.
Feature your followers.
Poll the people.
See an idea you like? Read on to learn more and how you can get started.
1. Behind the scenes Instagram Stories ideas
Have you ever watched those television shows about how things are made? Whether it was a gumball, a camera or military-grade machinery, learning the process of how something is made is fascinating. If you want to engage your retail company’s fans on Instagram Stories, post about the processes you incorporate in your business.
2. Show off your design skills
If you digitally draw your own T-shirt designs in Adobe Illustrator, post photos or videos at different points in the design process. You also can do a time-lapsed video from the starting sketches to the finished product. Narrate your thought process as you move things around on screen or talk about why you chose to use a specific color for a character you’re drawing.
3. The production process
The amount of time and effort that goes into creating one T-shirt is truly phenomenal. From the design, choosing your T-shirt, finding a printer (or screen printing your own!), choosing ink colors, sewing on tags … the list goes on.
If you work with a local printing company, see if you can film a brief interaction between you and your print coordinator. You can post strictly business-related content — for example, talking about ink colors or giving direction on where you want your design printed — or it can be as simple as telling the receptionist at the print shop to say “hi” in a video.
4. Showcase fun events
Having a photoshoot for your retail company or manning a retail booth at a festival for the first time? Use Instagram Stories to let your followers see snippets of what goes on at different events. Showing how you style models for a shoot or how the photographer directs models to pose are both ways to ignite interest in your retail company. If you’re at a local festival or market, showing people what your booth looks like, what items you’re selling and what the rest of the festival entails might prompt followers in the area to visit, and can let followers who can’t attend feel like they’re a part of your day.
5. Give sneak peeks of new items
Posting about new products is a must if you want to engage your retail company’s fans on Instagram Stories. When you get a new shipment of your freshly printed T-shirts, give your followers a first look. If you have an online boutique, post a model twirling in that new summer dress you just received.
Take a quick snap of your new item on a dress form or hanging in your store. If you want people to see how it looks on a body, find someone who is willing to do a mini-catwalk and flaunt your latest item. Flat lay images are always a solid go-to. Style your new retail item with other items you have in stock to give people an idea of how to style and finesse your new piece into their closet.
6. Ask a question
In July 2018, Instagram rolled out a new “question” feature within Stories. Accounts can pose a question allowing people to essentially ask the user about anything. To keep things focused, you can engage your follower base by letting them ask questions about a specific topic.
Posing a question about T-shirt design or business questions will prompt a flurry of inquisitive comments from people wanting to pick the metaphorical brain behind your retail brand.
But not everything has to be business-related. If you have a streetwear retail company, asking followers what they think about Drake’s new album can spark a more lighthearted conversation between you and your audience.
7. Leverage your employees
For Instagram Stories, you can post random one-off videos (like when a favorite song comes on and your employees have an impromptu karaoke session) or try a weeklong Instagram Stories series where one of your employees takes over your retail company’s Instagram account for the day and updates your followers on their job duties.
8. Feature your followers
People love being featured on social media, especially when it comes to their favorite retail company. Featuring your followers is one of the best ways to engage your retail company’s fans. Not only will they fangirl (or fanboy) over the fact that they were highlighted on your account, they might repost your post, giving your account more exposure and a wider reach.
Giving the limelight to your followers might be one of the best ways to get more engagement with your account because the more people see that you repost images of people wearing your clothes, the more inclined your fan base will be to take photos of themselves stunting your brand’s styles.
Don’t feature followers without their permission, though. Even if someone tags your company in a photo, make sure to send a quick comment or message asking if that person minds if you share their photo on your retail brand’s Instagram account.
9. Poll the people
Instagram accounts can post a poll asking followers to vote on two options. Using polls on your Instagram Stories is a great way to increase engagement and gain valuable insight into what your followers are interested in. Polls can be used to ask your audience which new T-shirt design you should print.
By asking ahead of time which design people are more likely to buy, you can save money in the long-run by choosing to invest in a design you know people are more likely to buy.
If you don’t have a new business item to feature, you can do a poll over something seemingly trivial that relates to your fan base. For example, Target recently came out with a Clueless-inspired line of clothing. If they were to do an Instagram Stories post about their new line, they could post a simple poll asking their followers if they are on Team Cher or Team Dionne.
10. Experiment freely
Instagram Stories are a bit more “forgiving” than regular Instagram posts — partially because your Story will disappear after 24 hours. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of articles written about how your Instagram feed should look cohesive and edited to complete and utter perfection. But when it comes to Instagram Stories, you can post a blurry video of you laughing so hard with your employees that you can’t hold the camera still — and people eat that feel-good-in-the-moment stuff right up.
When it comes to engaging your retail company’s fans through Instagram Stories, experiment with ideas you’ve been considering and know that Instagram Stories give you the freedom to post spur of the moment instances and allow your followers to see a more human perspective behind your retail brand.
Also published on Medium.