With its August 2016 introduction of Stories, Instagram began offering a new opportunity to social media marketers. In spite of the platform’s access to 500 million active users each month, fewer than 40 percent of marketers are using it. That leaves plenty of space for those who choose to engage. Assuming you have a social brand strategy in place and are optimizing your post frequency and timing (if not, contact us) it may be time to get creative and start sharing stories.

Taking advantage of Instagram Stories can be especially good for small businesses or those with agility built into their social media plan. Stories allow more casual, personal content and, as with Snapchat, Instagram Stories have a short lifespan. They don’t show up on your profile grid or main feed, so you don’t have to be concerned about over posting.

Consider our top suggestions for ways to put Stories to work building customer relationships for your business.

1.    Build Behind-the-Scenes Buzz – Show a sneak peek of an upcoming event or a look into the inner sanctum of your business.

2.    Make it Personal; Make it Urgent – Make an offer or ask a question and request a response via Instagram Direct.

3.    Cross Promote – Drive traffic to your website or another platform by reminding your audience of a service, promotion or event and urging them to engage.

4.    Collaborate – Work together with other brands or influencers, using testimonials or even day-long channel takeovers.

5.    Show ‘Em Some Love – Tell a story about one of your customers.

And an added benefit? You know you’ll find another way to use that content! Download the photos and video and share them again on another platform. Develop that message. This might be just the beginning of the story.