Engage your Customers with Instagram Live and Stories


Apps these days can feel like they have apps within the app. It can be overwhelming before you’ve even begun. We’ve talked previously about some content examples to get you started on your social media journey so now we’ll get into some of the finer details within Instagram. There are so many different ways to make a post within Instagram so today we’ll focus on how Instagram Live and Instagram Stories can really help your business thrive.

Instagram Stories

Let’s start with defining what stories are to begin with - Instagram stories are a way for you to share visual content with your audience, but that same content disappears after 24 hours. 
Because of this, it’s a great strategy to keep your customers informed without having to bombard them with instagram posts on their feed every 5 minutes with information that might not be worthy of a full post. For a restaurant this could range from advertising new items on your menu, a change in opening hours, or just wishing them a happy Friday!

You can post as much as you like to your story and some cool additions to that - you can also post your own posts to your story as well as include links to your website - providing another subtle funnel to get people engaging with another area of your content.

We’ve mentioned before about customers wanting to feel like part of your community and with Instagram stories you can easily do so! A great way to increase engagement is to repost your customers' posts in your story, this way your customers can get a bit of the limelight whilst simultaneously promoting your business. This also saves you a lot of time as you’re not curating your own posts. With Instagram including features like this, it can open up a world of opportunities to be creative with your marketing strategy.

If we look at this from the customer’s perspective and use competitions as an example:; we all love a competition and stories can provide you with that chance to reach your target customers.

You could run a competition for customers to post a picture of them dining in your restaurant and include a specific hashtag. A simple competition like this can provide a lot of exposure online:

  • Your customer base posting a picture to their feed; which then promotes your restaurant to their friends and followers
  • By having friends post about your place, they’ve already vouched for it which then makes their friends more likely to stop by your business
  • You can repost your customers entry’s to your story, providing you with endless user generated content and more exposure to the competition

These are just a few examples of the ripple effect that can occur when taking a risk online. As you can see, when you peel away the layers, there are numerous benefits to a marketing strategy such as this. It just requires some thinking outside the box, and, realistically -  what’s the worst that can happen? Nobody enters your competition? There are far more worse things in life.

Competitions are just one way to broaden the scope of possibilities when you get thinking creatively. Think of Stories as a daily newsletter to your followers.

Instagram Live

Instagram Live shows up in the same area as stories do - right at the top of the page. Live is a way to broadcast a live stream from your mobile device, directly to your audience! The video is then deleted straight after - or you also have the option of posting the video to your timeline after the event has taken place.

This is another fantastic feature that has enabled businesses to market themselves in a completely different way, they can interact real time with their consumer base, which is something we’ve never had the opportunity to do in the past. It’s there to use… why not use it?

Now that we know about how Instagram Live works, let’s look at some examples of how you can maximize your marketing and increase your audience engagement.

In a previous post we discussed how behind the scenes content can provide customers with additional insight to how your business runs. (link back to behind the scenes blog).
This can also be achieved with Instagram Live, with the added benefit of getting real-time reactions and comments from your viewers.

A popular trend on Instagram and TikTok as of late has been live cocktail tutorials. Jumping on board with recent trends is a fantastic way to make your content more relatable to wider audiences - and with videos like this you’d be both engaging with your audience and showcasing your bar staff’s skills! It also provides your audience with a chance to get to know more about your staff.

Another area to improvise with content is within the kitchen. The same idea can be said for recipe tutorials or even running a live video for a full Friday night event and letting your customers see how the kitchen works on a busy evening plus: It gives your chef’s a chance to broadcast their personality online.

Humans are hardwired to be curious; you need to be constantly putting yourself in your customers shoes when we’re within the context of online exposure. 
Satisfy that curiosity with your content! Running a Q&A would be a great example of how to provide your customers with information that they couldn’t usually get their hands on. Combine using stories with Instagram live to increase the opportunity for engagement. You could get your audience to send questions in and then run a Q&A event to answer the questions that were sent in. 

Little things like this can all combine to create a huge impact. The important thing about social media is to be consistent. If you’re struggling for inspiration you can use the app itself to find out how your competitors are advertising themselves online. Use their marketing strategies to come up with your own! As much as you are a local business, your content is being broadcast to the world, so it’s your job to get as much exposure to your business as you can.
Follow some of these tips and you’ll be making the most out of your marketing, with minimal effort..