Building know, like, trust is fundamental to the success of your small business, and as you should all know by now, Instagram is a fantastic way to do that.
In 2016 Instagram introduced Stories, 15-second video clips that you share on a separate part of your profile, which also has its algorithm. I've mentioned before that Instagram Stories is still hugely underutilised by the Insta-Community, with less than half of all users creating Stories Content; which for YOU as a small business owner is blimin' marvellous because you have less competition for your content. It's widely reported that users admit they are watching more Stories content than scrolling their feed (admit it, we've all found ourselves sucked into watching Stories and before we know it twenty minutes has gone past, oops.) Therefore you need to be creating engaging Stories content and being the face of your brand is a fast way to build that all-important know, like, trust and grow your business. People buy from people after all.
Did you know that one-third of the most viewed Stories on Instagram are from businesses? As well as, on average, one out of every three business Stories leads to a direct message from a customer.
A direct message is an opportunity for you to have a 1:1 with a prospective customer, much like being in-store and speaking to a customer. At my "How to Build Your Brand on Instagram" workshops we talk a lot about giving great customer service online, and this is exactly what you are doing. Talking to a customer one-on-one in-store is the easiest way to close a sale, but many of us don't ever meet our customers in person; use Instagram Stories to be the "face" of your business and direct message a place to chat, give great customer service and close the sale.
Last week I posted a short video on my Instagram Stories with tips on talking to the camera (you can find it under the "IG Tips” Highlight); to help you get comfortable in front of the camera. But now I've told you how to speak to the camera, the next common question I get asked is "Help me, Sam, what do I say!?"
You ask I deliver! Following on from my popular 30-day Instagram Prompt download and of course, drawing inspiration from the lovely Joanne Hawker and her #MarchMeetTheMaker 30-day challenge, I'm bringing you #smallandmightystories a 30-day Stories based challenge to help you get your business story across in an engaging, concise and productive way.
#smallandmightystories is a thirty-day challenge, providing prompts to help you to know what to share everyday for a month
I know thirty-days seems a long time, but it's proven that doing something for thirty days creates a habit. When I first started using Instagram stories, I made myself talk to the camera every day for thirty days, and it worked - even I had the fear factor, please don't think I am immune to being on camera, as with everything it comes with practice.
Before you start here are a few tools to make your life easier:
1. Tripod, this is great for holding at arms distance for recording or propping it up somewhere.
2. Bluetooth remote - cheap as chips and available with most tripods, using a remote means that you don't have to keep tapping at the screen.
3. Continual / CutStory / Stereo (iTunes), Story Split, Video Show Plus, Story Cutter (Android) these apps let you record a video in one take and then cut the video into 15-second segments ready to upload to Instagram Stories, great for when you have something planned that you want to share as a continuous video. I use Continual because it was the first on the market. However, there are now free options available.
4. Natural light, sadly not available online. When recording to camera stand or sit facing a window, it is so much more flattering on your face, and the quality of your video will improve for the viewer.
5. Add the screen recording option to your iPhone widgets (Android users I had a google, and it appears you may have to use an app for this - more here). Screen recordings are a great way to tease a blog post or show something new on your website. My top tip here is to record more than 15 seconds so that when you upload it to Stories, it doesn't show you ending the recording on your phone.
To add Screen recording
1. Settings > Control Centre > Customise Controls on your iPhone, and scroll down to find Screen Recording.
Make sure that Screen Recording is toggled “on” so that it features in your Control Centre.
2. Go to your home screen and Swipe Up (or from the top right down if you have an iPhone X) to access your Control Settings. You should now see the Screen Recording Icon.
3. To record, click the Screen Recording icon. You’ll get a 3-second countdown. Alternatively, you can press and hold that same button to get the microphone to switch on if you want to record audio through the mic (use headphones if you want to add audio).
When you are finished recording, a pop up will tell you the recording has been saved to your camera roll.
When recording starts you'll get a pop-up, everything you do or appears on your phone screen is recorded. When using this feature, switch on "do not disturb" to avoid unwanted pop-ups, such as a message from your mum appearing for all to see.
Screencasting is so useful for Instagram Stories and can be used in numerous ways.
Five of my favourites are:
1. Teasing a blog post, go to your blog on your browser and record scrolling down.
2. Show a preview, it could be inside your membership site, a sneak of your new website or even a preview of a new lead magnet (such as a downloadable when someone signs up to your newsletter).
3. Show your new website or new products now available online
4. Highlight reviews or testimonials you've received on your website
5. Show a "how-to", getting lots of questions as to how you did something? Share a screencast with your audience. Customers confused as to where to enter a promo code? Show them.
Remember your customers want to be inside your brand, and this is a great way to not only include them but to reward them for following your Instagram Stories.
Getting started with #smallandmightystories
You can start whenever you like, but The Small and Mighty Business Community are kicking off on Sunday 1st April, which gives you plenty of time to get your tripod, and mentally prepare yourself for the challenge. Please do come and join the group if you haven't already, there's oodles of evidence that when you tell others you are committing to something you're more likely to stick to it.
I've created this challenge using my four content pillars, and the prompts are taken from the 101 you get as part of my ecourse (or as a 1:1 client). All the prompts are written and designed to help you build know, like, trust with your followers and CONVERT your audience to customers! I don't want you wasting time on Instagram and not using it's full potential to grow your business, that's just silly!
I've created two versions of the challenge, one for service based businesses and one for product based businesses, please make sure you sign up for the right one at the bottom.
Finally, don't forget to add the tags to your stories #SmallandMightyStories and a location tag for where ever in the world you are! This will help you to be found by other small businesses and also prospective customers under the geo-tag.
I cannot wait to get started, and as always I will be cheerleading you along the way.