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Instagram has proved an extremely useful tool for marketing. Many businesses are using it to increase their customer engagement and develop their brand. As a food supplier, Instagram allows you to share your story and show transparency in your food business. Your profile can be personal, unique, and approachable!

Unlike creating a post on Instagram, Stories are a temporary image or video that you can share with your audience. They are formatted for mobile-viewing and are visible for 24 hours. Stories show authenticity, as they are quick and easy to digest, versus a curated Instagram profile feed. They can be used to talk directly to your audience and allows them to “talk right back” by using direct messaging on the app. You can’t market on Instagram without using Stories.

How to use Instagram Stories:

Step 1: Open the Instagram application to your newsfeed. This should be where you can view all the posts of the accounts you follow. At the top of the page, under the Instagram logo, there are profile pictures of the accounts you follow with pink circles around them. These are the stories of the accounts you follow. You can click through these to see what others are doing!

Step 2: To create your own story, click the camera icon in the top left corner above the picture of your logo. It will prompt you to your camera. You can also get here by clicking your logo in the top left corner. Note, if you have not granted Instagram access to your camera or microphone, do this. It must be granted in order to create a story.

How to use Instagram Stories as a marketing tool - Local Line
This is what you will see when you enter Stories mode. Note all of the icons on the screen.

Step 3: To update settings, click the settings icon in the top right corner. Here you can change who can see your story, saving preferences, and more. Set these settings to best meet your needs. To go back to the newsfeed, click the arrow in the top right corner.

At the bottom of the screen, you will see these icons from left to right: a square, a lightening bolt, a big white circle with a lighter circle around it, two arrows forming a circle, and a happy face emoji.

Square: This will prompt you to your camera roll. You can use any of the photos on your device for your stories.
Lighting bolt: This will update the lighting options for your camera – such as flash and low-light setting.
Circle: This is the trigger to take a photo or a video.
Circle of Arrows: Flip the camera.
Happy face: This is where you can find face filters for silly photos or videos.

Additionally, there are also a series of words that you can scroll through. These mean:

Type: Allows you to type on a coloured screen if you do not want to have a photograph/video.
Live: This is a setting that will let you live-stream with your customers.
Normal: Regular camera/video.
Boomerang: This will allow you take a “moving” picture.
Superzoom: Different filters for video-taking such as Surprise or Paparazzi.
Focus: Take a portrait by blurring out backgrounds around a subject.
Reverse: Play videos in reverse.
Hands-free: Allows you to take videos without having to hold the centre button.

These many options will allow you to create content specific to you. Play around with the options and determine what you like best!

Step 4: After you are happy with a photo or video to share, you can edit your post by clicking on the icons at the top of the page! Instagram provides many tools, such as adding text, drawings, hashtags, account mentions, etc. These are called Stickers. They help add actions to your posts and increase engagement. You can access them by clicking on the square icon located at the top of the screen.

Here are some stickers you should use:

Poll sticker: Ask your customers what they want by asking questions with customized answers. Instagram will show the results and let you make educated decisions. For example, what day is best for delivery? Monday or Tuesday?
Questions Sticker: This sticker allows your followers to ask questions relevant to a topic. For example, ask which day is best for delivery, and let your followers send you their responses. It is an informal way to speak directly to your audience.
Hashtag sticker: Hashtags can be a very powerful tool at reaching potential customers. A hashtag sticker will link your story to the hashtag and automatically get added to the Explore page. Remember, that hashtags can also quickly come across as spammy, therefore make sure to be critical when using a hashtag.
Location sticker: Add the Geotag (location)! Same with adding a hashtag, this sticker links your story to all posts in the same location, which helps increase your exposure.  

In addition to these stickers, there are many more! There is a lot to discover on stories, therefore play around with the features when you’re first starting out.

Step 5: Tap the Your Story button to post your story publicly, Sent to to send it privately to selected accounts, or Save to download it to your phone to post at a later date.

Instagram Story Highlights

Keep your stories on your profile forever! Instagram stories only last for 24 hours, however the app lets you make a Highlight, which is a curated collection of chosen stories to stay on your profile. These highlights can be used for:

  • Frequently asked questions – use the Questions sticker to ask your customers for questions. Save these stories as a highlight to easily answer any questions new visitors may have about your business.
  • Farm tour – film a farm tour on your stories and save to your highlights. This will help show new followers where their food is produced and who’s doing it!
  • Products – showcase popular or new products on your story and save as a highlight to keep them visible on your profile.

To create a highlight, go to your profile. Underneath the bio section, you should find a circle with a plus sign. Click this and it will guide you to an archive of your past stories. Pick which stories you would like to use and add a title. The highlight will show up on your profile.

Stories and highlights can be a very useful marketing tool to help your business account connect with more followers and in turn help you increase your customer base. Use the tips above and before you know it, you’ll be an Instagram marketing pro!

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