Instagram Stories as a Marketing Tool

58% of users surveyed by Instagram say they have become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in Stories. Instagram Stories can be a useful yet often overlooked marketing tool that can increase audience engagement with your profile. It is also useful to help you sell more or spread information more quickly. Here are a few ways you can use your Instagram Story as a marketing tool to your organization’s advantage:

The Swipe-Up Function

If your organization’s profile has over 10K followers, you have the ability to use the swipe-up function on your Instagram Story. With the swipe-up function, you can embed a link to your story so your audience can swipe-up and visit the webpage. Many organizations will embed a link to their product page or their ticket site. This gives the audience a chance to learn more about the product, performance, or service before deciding to buy. 50% of Instagram users surveyed say that they have visited a website to purchase a product or service after seeing it in Stories.

The swipe-up function is the most important marketing tool to use on your Instagram Story if you qualify. Instagram for business accounts will give you insights into your Story’s engagement. It will show you who and how many people viewed your Story and how many link-clicks the Story received.

Additional Content = Additional Eyes

If your organization only relies on regular Instagram posts to get the information out there, you miss out on additional eyes that may miss your regular posts. Years ago, Instagram would show posts in chronological order in people’s feeds. They now use an algorithm that places certain posts in their feed based on other engagement factors, so regular posts are more often missed than before.

Once you have over 50 views on your Instagram Story, yours will be placed first on the list of Stories. Since Instagram Stories are at the top, most people will look at Instagram Stories first before their feed. It is important to create additional content specifically for your Instagram Story that is visually different from your regular Instagram posts.

Engagement Tools

You can find the Instagram Story Countdown Sticker when you tap on the smiley square at the top of your screen as you are making your Story.

Instagram offers a variety of marketing tools that will increase audience engagement with your Story. One popular tool is the Countdown function. Organizations can post a Story using a Countdown sticker to incite anticipation and excitement for the organization’s next product launch. Countdown stickers are most effective when they are posted within the 24 hours leading up to an event. Instagram allows you to choose the color or gradient of the Countdown sticker so that it matches your content. Just set the date, and the sticker will begin counting down by the seconds to your organization’s event.

Increase engagement with your audience by using the Instagram Story Question sticker.

Another popular engagement tool is the Question and Answer sticker. This sticker gives your audience a chance to interact with you by answering a question. Most organizations will use this sticker as a feedback marketing tool. For example, let’s assume your organization is a professional dance company. Posting a question sticker on your Story that asks for your audience’s feedback on the performance will result in engaging responses that you can share onto your Story for other people to see. If someone in your audience answers your question with a question, you can share the user’s question and provide an answer through video or type. The Question sticker allows for stronger two-way communication with your audience.

The Possibilities are Endless

There are many other engaging marketing tools that Instagram Stories have to offer. Hopefully, you will use this blog post as inspiration to help you get started. Use your Instagram Story to your advantage and begin increasing your engagement, growing your following, telling more stories, showing more information, and strengthening the two-way communication between you and your audience with these marketing tools.

How to Disable Filters and Apply Backgrounds on Zoom

When the pandemic first started, schools, institutions, and organizations adopted Zoom as a means of meeting online. Over the past year, we have seen and heard many embarrassing stories about users with their microphone or camera on, users stuck with virtual face filters, and users who had nonsense going on in their backgrounds. We can obtain professionalism on Zoom with more robust user knowledge. Here is how to disable filters and apply backgrounds on Zoom so you can avoid embarrassment in your next interview or meeting:

Is your lawyer a cat?

This week, a lawyer appeared as a white kitten on Zoom for a live court proceeding in Texas. He had logged on to Zoom from his assistant’s laptop, which his assistant’s daughter had previously used to play with Zoom filters. Attorney Rob Poston announced that he could move forward with the hearing as a cat, but he eventually got the filter off with guidance from his assistant and the judge.

Face filters on Zoom are fun to play with, but before you log onto your next important meeting, make sure that the filters are disabled.

How to disable filters on Zoom:

  1. Hover your mouse over Stop Video. 
  2. Click on the upwards carrot next to Stop Video.
  3. Click on Choose Video Filter. 
  4. Select None. 

What does your Zoom background say about you?

Do you feel like you have a dark cloud looming over you when you are on Zoom? It might be the enormous dark-colored oil painting in the background above your head. You could solve that problem by taking the oil painting down or moving to a different location in your home. But what about the inevitable and unexpected distractions that come from your background?

If your goal is to keep your home-life private or keep your audience free from the unavoidable distractions in your background, Zoom backgrounds can help. Zoom backgrounds act as a green screen to help other users focus on you and take away minor distractions. Zoom backgrounds add an element of fun or professionalism. Make sure not to choose a background that is too distracting, which would defeat the purpose of a Zoom background. Zoom backgrounds are not hard to find; you can select one of your photos, search for “Zoom backgrounds,” or choose one of these to download:

Book Shelf Zoom Background

After you have chosen a professional background, here is how to apply it on Zoom:

  1. Hover your mouse over Stop Video. 
  2. Click on the upwards carrot next to Stop Video. 
  3. Click on Choose Virtual Background.
  4. Click on the plus sign to add an image or video. 
  5. Upload the image or video you want to use as your background.

Before your next meeting, check your Personal Meeting Room.

If you are worried that a filter or a non-professional background was recently used your computer, enter into your Personal Meeting Room on Zoom and disable filters and apply backgrounds to meet your professional standards.