How to Optimize Instagram Stories for Contractors
This feature on Instagram gives you even more ability to provide massive value and build trust with your audience online.
If you’ve taken your business to social media, you’re not alone. More and more companies are creating social media accounts to develop online connections with potential customers. Instagram is the perfect social media platform for a contracting company wanting to create an online following, a streamlined portfolio, and quality customer connections.
Today we’re going to look at Instagram Stories, why you should use them, and a couple ways to make the most of this special feature. After its release in 2010, Instagram existed almost exclusively as a photo-sharing app. It was a place to share square-cropped pictures with your followers. In 2016, Instagram released a new feature … Stories. Instagram stories are pictures and videos that, once posted, disappear after 24 hours.
I’ll be honest, I was a bit nervous when Instagram stories first came out, but since then I’ve seen the opportunity stories give you to show your potential customers the behind the scenes of your business.
So, WHY Instagram Stories? What’s special about them? Here are three reasons you should use Instagram Stories on your contracting social media account.
Why Instagram Stories are Awesome:
#1. They’re Easy
Posting an Instagram Story is quick and simple. You open the app, swipe to the right to open the camera, take the picture or video, and post it to your story. If you want your followers to see a special moment in your day but don’t have time to take, edit, caption, and post a photo, Instagram Stories are perfect. Take the video, maybe write some quick text with the four different font options and post! Voila!
#2. They’re Authentic
Instagram stories give you a chance to show your followers your genuine self and company. It’s a real, unedited presentation. Stories are different from your normal Instagram posts; they’re generally less polished and more spontaneous. They’re a fantastic way to show your followers your day-to-day life and the Man/Woman Behind the Business. When your potential customers are let into your personal story—your projects, behind the scenes, etc.—a connection is built from that authenticity.
Ask your followers questions! If they reply to your story in a direct message, be sure to respond as soon as possible!
#3. They Offer Diversity
How do you post project updates and behind-the-scenes photos and videos without messing up your curated, high quality Instagram profile? Stories! Posting the less glamorous daily milestones on an Instagram Story lets you share temporary, personal information with your followers while still maintaining your professional profile.
How to Use Instagram Stories to Provide Value
Here are a few ways to use Instagram Stories to provide value to your followers and potential customers on social media.
#1. Teach Something
Use Instagram stories to show DIY projects. Take your followers on a step by step process of building porch steps or installing kitchen cabinets. Get on your stories and show by example how you fit that crown mold or how you lay pavers. Whatever it is that you do well, you have the ability to teach other people how to do it. Instagram Stories are good way to do that. They’re easy to watch and the genuine connection is awesome for project-oriented posts like that.
#2. Show Behind the Scenes
What’s more intriguing than seeing a gorgeous photo of a home remodel? Seeing the behind-the-scenes of what it took to make that remodel happen!
Instagram stories are such a good way to bring your potential customers into the sometimes-messy, but always rewarding process of building something from the ground up.
#3. Advertise Your Business
Instagram Stories are a clever way to promote your contracting company on social media. For one thing, they’re featured at the top of the Instagram app’s page; your followers will see them before they see the other posts below.
Do some teaching, showing behind the scenes of what you’re doing, and then every now and then throw in an advertisement that tells people to take action. Don’t post an ad every single time, or people will start just swiping through your stories and not watching them every time they show up.
Make your Instagram Story ads short; make them sweet; make them pop.
Bonus: Tools and Apps to Optimize Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories offer a feature within the story—a poll.
Simply ask your followers a question, i.e. “Which color of hardwood floor should I lay in this kitchen?” Post pictures or videos of both options and then create a poll with the two choices. While tapping through Instagram Stories, polls are almost impossible to resist. This is an excellent way to engage your followers and make them feel like they are a part of you and your company.
Currently, Instagram Stories only allow video up to 15 seconds long. This can make posting a long video complicated, as you either have to pause talking to restart the video or slice a previously-shot video into short segments and upload it separately.
Storeo is the #1 iOS app for making Instagram Stories longer than 15 seconds. This app allows you to upload a video of any length or record it straight from the app. It then slices your video into 15 second portions you can upload to Instagram. Your followers will see one long, seamless video.
If you’ve already created an Instagram account for your contracting business, give Instagram stories a try. Your followers will appreciate the personal connection and authenticity this feature provides them. You’ll enjoy the ease at which you can post and the interaction that can follow.
Thank you for joining me today. If you have any further questions or comments, please join the conversation in the comments below.
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