Instagram Stories For Your Business

First Impressions and Instagram Stories

As a small business owner, I think a lot about social media tools like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. I am sure you do too, especially if you’re in a field where appearances matter. (Hint: you are!)

This week, it seems the whole world has been busy trying to make sense of the new Stories feature on Instagram. I’ve been wondering: how can I best use Stories for my own business, and what advice can I share with my headshot clients about how they can take advantage of the new tool?

I am a big believer in highly polished images. It’s my job! As a headshot photographer, I preach the gospel of the strong first impression because that’s what I believe — and that’s what I know headshots deliver.

But all those perfect images can sometimes feel a little restrictive. Sometimes you want to let your hair down, let people see you in a more candid light. Let them in on behind-the-scenes moments.

This “backstage access” has, in some sense, always been the promise of social media marketing. It’s not about ads, it’s about moments of real engagement.

But there’s been a catch! On a platform like Instagram, the images in your feed have to do double duty: they are supposed to function as both of-the-moment “status updates” and as a permanent gallery showing off your best stuff to first-time visitors.

Instagram Stories for Small Business

That’s a lot of pressure!

So I’m really excited about the new Stories feature on Instagram. Stories, bearing a shameless resemblance to Snapchat, allows you to post behind-the-scenes videos and images of you and your business.

You can make it as personal as you like. Include some family stuff—fans will be happy to see that you have a life and a personality. On my own feed, I’ve wanted to show a little more than just headshots, but I also wanted to maintain my account as a real time portfolio of my work. Now I can share some informal scenes from a shoot or a photography conference like Out of Chicago — images that I want to share, but don’t necessarily want featured as the first thing a prospective client sees.

These special posts will last for 24 hours. That’s it. You can keep it a little more raw without the worry of degrading the quality of your regular posts. And your fans get an intimate, authentic glimpse at what’s going on behind the professional facade.

What do you think? I’d love to hear how you’re using Stories. Send me a message @scottlawrencephoto!