Three years ago, Instagram introduced "Stories" and has taken the Internet by storm ever since. That's because Stories is a powerful tool for helping customers, and it's being used by nearly 500 million people every day.

Most companies use Instagram Stories to engage and support customers. In fact, one-third of the top-viewed Stories each month are from business accounts.

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If your business hasn't utilized this social media feature, it's time to get started. After all, investing in Instagram Stories can lead to monumental improvements in customer communication and satisfaction.

Oberlo-Instagram-Stories

Source: Oberlo

But, with all the potential benefits of this feature, it can be hard to know where to begin.

In this post, we'll explain how you can effectively and affordably maximize your customer service offer through Instagram Stories.

Instagram Stories for Customer Service

Use the tips below to turn your Instagram story into a customer service opportunity.

1. Go live with Q&A Stories.

Instagram Live is a sub-feature of Instagram Stories and it's formatted perfectly for Question and Answer sessions. The Live Stories feature allows users to stream live videos and engage with followers in real-time. When the live stream is over, you can post the video for followers to watch later. It'll be featured first in your audience's list of Stories, making it an easy shortcut to a more noticeable position for your business.

Using Live Stories to answer questions will build trust with your Instagram followers. You can respond to concerns, offer explanations to products, or simply build more personal relationships by showing a more genuine side of your brand. Your willingness to address questions will show that you take your customers seriously and care about understanding them.

And, because these Stories are live, they aren't scripted or edited for maximum appeal. Customers appreciate interacting with a brand that feels authentic and human. The more they can see the humans behind the account, the more they'll feel comfortable engaging.

2. Use polls to collect customer feedback.

One of the many add-on features to Instagram Stories is the Poll feature. It's an easy way to gain a better understanding of how customers feel about your product or service.

You can find the Poll feature by tapping on the sticker icon (the square with the face) at the top of the Story screen. Once you do, you'll see the interface depicted below.

Instagram-Poll

Polls are an excellent tool for supplementing your survey efforts, and Instagram's polls allow users to respond to questions in less than a second. That's much faster than email surveys which have an average response rate of only 30%. This makes the poll feature a great, low-effort addition to your survey efforts.

Not only are polls useful for getting customer feedback, they can also increase engagement in general. Use polls to ask fun questions and build personal relationships with Instagram followers. This will help improve overall communication with your customers.

3. Be consistent when timing posts.

Setting up a routine for posting Stories increases your efficiency when communicating with customers. Consistently posting similar types of Stories on the same day at the same time lets customers know what to expect, and they may start to look forward to your posts.

Some accounts use themed-hashtag days, such as "#TipTuesday" or "#HowToThursday." These types of routines are easy to remember because they have catchy names and are often used by other accounts. This makes your content much easier to find since users can search by a popular hashtag to locate your post.

The key to creating a routine is being persistent. Your users might not notice the pattern you've set with your first two, "HowToThursday," but by the tenth post, users will start to look for them routinely.

When choosing a schedule for posting Stories, make sure you're choosing the optimal time and day of the week for posting. Research shows that Fridays are ideal for posting and that posting outside of work hours leads to higher engagement. For more information on post scheduling, take a look at the graphic below.

Instagram-Chart

Source: How Sociable

It's important to remember that these statistics are averages, so they can vary significantly from industry to industry. Make sure you keep track of how well your Stories perform at different times and days of the week so you can create a consistent schedule based on your top-performing posts.

4. Pay attention to aesthetic.

On Instagram, it's important to make your content highly-engaging and visually-pleasing. The aesthetic of Instagram Stories can make or break their success. You want it to be quick and easy for followers to get the desired message from your post.

Find an aesthetic that's neat, professional, and fun. Once you've found a look you like, keep it consistent across all your Stories. The effort you put into your design will be noticed and appreciated by your followers.

There are a variety of apps that can help with the design of your Stories. StoryBoost, an app in the BoostApps suite, has over a thousand pre-designed templates as well as animations, stickers, and filters that make your Stories more unique. Apps like this help your Stories stand out from hundreds of other Stories — especially if you're a solopreneur, micro-influencer, or SMB on a tight budget.

Regardless of which tool you use for design, a carefully designed aesthetic is an essential component that can't be forgotten. Even the best information can be lost on users if it's delivered in an unappealing format.

5. Take advantage of user-generated content.

You can improve communication with Instagram followers by using their content in your Stories. The "Share" feature allows you to re-post any Story you're tagged in and shows customers that you care about the things they create. It also empowers customers to be honest with you because they know they'll be taken seriously.

Consumers trust the opinions of other consumers, especially when lots of people agree on a certain product. This is why it's important to share user-generated content frequently. This will show followers that many people like your product. Your followers will see this content as more authentic and trustworthy because people without any bias or agenda are creating it.

And, the more you can build trust with your customers, the easier it'll be to gather feedback from them. Successful businesses are experts at obtaining feedback because they demonstrate a genuine investment in their customers' well-being.

6. Use the "Swipe Up" feature to direct users to additional resources.

Instagram Stories are awesome for answering quick questions and giving out simple information, but they're also perfect for directing followers toward lengthier resources. If you have a blog or knowledge base, use the "Swipe Up" feature to quickly direct users toward additional documents and information. Users simply swipe up on their screen and they're brought to your website.

You can use the Swipe Up feature to promote support articles or other informational content that helps users get the most from your product. Sometimes brevity is king, but other times a more detailed piece of information is really useful. You'll never leave anyone out by including both options.

For more tips on supporting customers via Instagram, read about social media response times.

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Originally published Nov 27, 2019 8:00:00 AM, updated December 02 2019

Topics:

Customer Support