Instagram Stories are quickly becoming a vital part of the social networking site. For those who aren’t familiar with Instagram Stories, it’s similar to Snapchat.

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If you don’t know what Instagram Stories are, then we suggest you do a little research online. The purpose of this article is to educate you on how to use Instagram Stories to promote your business.

It’s all about timeliness:

The reason why your followers will feel so compelled to look at your Story is they know that it will only last for 24 hours. Yes, after the 24 hours is up your Story is gone. Your followers will need to break their neck to see what you have to say.

It’s essential that you make sure that what you post in Stories is worthwhile. If it isn’t, then you’re quickly going to render this feature useless. They’ll know right away that your Story is junk and not worth checking out.

Quality does matter:

Yes, this article is about Stories. No, we’re not taking our eye off of the ball. Instead, let’s take a step back and think about what Instagram is. Success on any part of Instagram boils down to the same principals. If your content is anything less than stellar, then you’re not going to succeed.

We aren’t saying that you have to go out and hire professional content producers to create pictures and videos that get attention. What your followers do want is content they’ve never seen before. If there were any one specific tip to ensure your Instagram success, it would be to post content that is 100% unique.

Build a relationship with your followers:

Your followers want to interact with you. They don’t want you to keep shoving products down their throat. No matter if we’re talking posts or Stories, your content should inspire them to react. You want interaction more than anything with your content. The problem people have is they think if you spam any social platform enough, it’ll produce results.

The next time you go to McDonald’s pay close attention to all the people working behind the counter. If it were so easy to make money online, not a single one of those people would be flipping burgers. There is some sort of odd reasoning that people think that making money on the internet is super easy. Some people believe that all you need to do is spam any given social networking site and you’ll end up driving a Porshe. You’ll end up daydreaming about one day owning a Yugo if that’s your attitude.

Create custom content:

Almost everyone reading this is trying to sell physical items on the internet. You might have a Shopify store or sell via Amazon FBA. You need to have the products that you’re selling in your hand. This is one of those overlooked areas that end up breaking businesses to the point where they can’t recover. You need to have unique content featuring the items that you’re selling.

Do not post stock photos of your merchandise in Stories or on Instagram at all. That last sentence should be shouted from a rooftop somewhere. Do you want to be successful? Go the extra mile and don’t be like those who are failing. They fail because they’re too lazy to put forth the effort to succeed. Then, they say internet marketing is a scam and not blame themselves for their failure. Don’t be one of those people.

You can get a digital camera for cheap. How cheap? You should be able to find one for less than a hundred dollars. If you’re low on cash, then check out eBay or your local pawn shop. Who knows, you may even get lucky and find an old digital camera at a thrift store.

You can’t expect to use the same images as everyone else and be successful. It doesn’t work that way. A constant supply of fresh pictures and videos are needed to keep the attention of your followers. Anything less than that and you’ll discover that it’s tough to turn your followers into customers.

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A few dollars is all it takes:

Most of you are promoting items on Shopify that can be bought for a few dollars from AliExpress. It’s not unheard of for people to buy something for a dollar there and turn around and sell it for ten dollars. If this describes you, then break out your moldy money and invest five or ten dollars into your business. Buy several of the products and have them shipped to your home. A small investment like this will pay off big time when you’re able to create custom content with the product. It’s little things like this that separate successful people from those who never get off the ground.

Take advantage of polls:

Your followers want to interact with the content you post. That’s the whole point of social networking in a nutshell. They all don’t have anything to say in reply to your post. However, a simple yes or no poll can do amazing things. It takes almost no amount of time on their part to answer a simple question. Doing so creates a level of interaction between your content and the invaluable end user.

There is no reason why you can’t post a poll per day. If that’s too much, then at the very least a few per week. Keep in mind that the poll will only last for 24 hours. After the 24 hours is up, the poll will vanish into thin air. You should keep the poll questions fun and your followers will enjoy interacting with them.

Instagram isn’t just about pictures:

Stories can also have videos in them. It’s a huge mistake to think that pictures are the only thing that Instagram is good for. Those who go the unfortunate route of using stock photos tend to not take advantage of the video capabilities of Instagram Stories. The videos that you post don’t have to be extraordinary by any means.

No one is expecting you to produce videos that are cinema quality. Get rid of that idea altogether. Your videos don’t have to be long at all. Also, you don’t need to be in the video. You’re not selling yourself, but a product. Being in front of the camera isn’t a must, but if you feel up to it, then go for it.

Don’t boost your account with fake followers:

You may be wondering why we’re even bringing this up in the first place. It’s because many people on Instagram think that boosting the number of followers they have will somehow improve their account. The social media sites these days are way too smart for that to work. It will hurt you in the end if your account has a lot of fake followers. Why? It all boils down to your engagement rate.

Instagram cares about how many of your followers engage with your content. If Instagram sees a low engagement rate, they’ll immediately think your content isn’t that good. That, in turn, will hurt their algorithm and how often your content is shown to others. You may have great content, but your engagement rate is terrible. If that’s the case, then it will harm your account in the long run. Don’t buy followers. Get them the old fashioned way by creating quality content that people want to consume.

Stories enable you to connect on a fun level:

The relationship you have with your customers should be fun. You don’t need to have this stiff cardboard relationship between you and them. People will share your content if they feel you add something to their life. That may sound kind of odd if you’re selling strange things like poodle earrings. But, it shouldn’t.

You need to identify who your customers are and what type of content they want to consume on social media. You can’t continuously think of yourself as a business with a constant poker face. Allow yourself to have fun, and it’ll rub off onto all those who follow you. Your content will never go viral if you don’t get out of your shell.

What’s your Story? Get it out there on Instagram Stories. Be creative and allow yourself to fall flat on your face. Don’t shy away from flirting with creative collapse. You have to stick your neck out sometimes to achieve the type of success that is worth mentioning. If you go down the path, everyone takes, then don’t be surprised by failure.

If all you’re doing is publishing the same product pictures as a thousand drop shippers, then realize that failure is right around the corner. Success starts when you break free from the mold. It’s when you make yourself stand out from the pack that you get noticed. There is no other way to make it happen.

Those who cut corners have the results they earn. Don’t be one of them. Instead, take a few minutes out of your day and create quality content. Try to connect with your followers in a way that ads value to their day. There isn’t a good reason why you can’t post at least one Instagram Story per day. It’s possible to make your Stories in advance and have them ready to go. If you spend a few hours a week producing quality content, it’ll eventually result in sales.