Instagram Stories have quickly become one of the most popular ways for both individuals and brands to connect with their audiences. As a small business owner, learning how to effectively leverage Stories to promote your content and grow your following should be a key priority in 2023.
In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll cover everything you need to know about re-sharing feed posts as ephemeral Instagram Stories, best practices to maximize engagement and conversions, real-world examples of success, and more.
A Primer: What Are Instagram Stories and Why Do They Matter?
For the uninitiated, Instagram Stories enable users to share photos and short videos that disappear after 24 hours. You can spice up your Stories with interactive elements like polls, questions, sliders, links, music, mentions, locations, hashtags, and more.
As a small business, Instagram Stories offer a way to:
- Give followers a unique “inside look” at your brand with fun, casual content
- Rapidly test and iterate different types of content to see what resonates
- Engage customers and create touchpoints between purchases
- Promote products, offers, content, events, and more to drive traffic and sales
In fact, 500 million Instagram users use Stories every single day. And when you share a feed post to your Story, it appears at the top of your followers‘ feeds where it will get the maximum views.
An example of interactive Instagram Stories from Airbnb (image from Oberlo).
Stories represent a massive opportunity for free marketing and audience growth that most small business owners are failing to fully capitalize on.
My agency has helped dozens of small ecommerce shops, local restaurants, hobby bloggers, artists, and coaches successfully use Instagram Stories to:
- Increase website traffic by 5x month-over-month
- Grow their follower count from 500 followers to over 10k in under a year
- Generate 25+ leads per week
The key is understanding how to properly leverage Stories for conversions rather than just vanity metrics.
Sharing an existing post from your Instagram feed to your ephemeral Story is a great way promote that content, drive more traffic, and maximize its impact.
Here is exactly how to do it:
- Open the Instagram app and navigate to one of your published feed posts.
- Tap the paper airplane “direct share” icon below your post caption.
- Select the “Add post to your story” option from the menu.
- Customize the version of the post appearing on your Story however you‘d like – feel free to get creative! You can add stickers, change the background color, ask a question in the caption, mention relevant accounts with @, add a location, add a hashtag, etc.
- Finally, tap either “Your Story” to share it publicly or “Close Friends” to share with your inner circle only.
And voila! Your feed post will now appear as a shareable Story at the top of your profile for the next 24 hours.
When people view your Story and tap on it, they will be sent directly to your original Instagram feed post for more details, context, potential purchase links, etc.
Example of an Instagram feed post reshared to an Instagram Story.
Best Practices for Post-Story Sharing
Now that you know how to technically share feed posts as Instagram Stories, let‘s discuss some best practices and pro tips to maximize your results:
Choose High-Performing Posts
Be selective about which posts you share to Stories rather than blindly re-sharing everything. Analyze your Instagram feed analytics to identify your best-performing content in terms of engagement rate, saves, traffic driven, etc. Re-promote these proven winners through Stories for a second surge of interest.
Personalize With Questions, Polls, & Mentions
Don‘t just re-share a post to your Story as a static image. Make use of Instagram Stories‘ unique interactive features to start meaningful conversations. Ask a related question in the caption, run a poll to crowdsource opinions, or mention users to get their attention.
Promote Time-Sensitive Content
Instagram Stories are ephemeral and timely by nature. Use Stories to give existing evergreen posts renewed relevance by tying them to current events holidays, awareness dates, or timely themes.
For example, reminiscing on an old Earth Day post in April or surface past inspirational content tied to International Women‘s Day in March.
Retarget Website Visitors
Use UTM campaign tracking links in your Instagram bio and feed post captions. When website visitors come from a specific post, you can then retarget them with a Stories reshare when they‘re back on Instagram.
According to Instagram marketing expert Jenn Herman:
"Retargeting Instagram visitors with stories featuring your products increases chances making the sale. I‘ve found story swipes ups lead to more conversions than likes and comments."
Maximizing Story Views and Swipe Ups
While sharing posts to your Stories is easy enough, getting them seen is a separate skillset.
Here are some data-backed ways to maximize views on your reshared Stories and drive traffic by earning swipe ups:
Post at Optimal Times: According to Instagram’s internal data, the best times to post stories based on audience availability are:
- Weekdays: Monday – Friday from 11am – 3pm
- Weekends: Sunday at 7pm, Saturday at 10am and 5pm
- Hook Viewers Fast: You only have 5-7 seconds to grab viewers‘ attention before they skip your Story. Frontload the most visually striking or intriguing element at the very start.
- Educate About Swipe Ups: Many Instagram users still don‘t know they can swipe up on profiles they follow to access links and longer content. Explicitly tell them: "Swipe up to shop" or "Swipe up to register".
- Incentivize Swipe Ups: Run giveaways and contests around swiping up on your Reshared Stories. "Swipe up to enter" or "First 100 swipe ups get a discount code". Scarcity and exclusivity work very well to drive engagement.
- Pay to Boost Stories While organic Instagram Stories have limited external reach to your existing followers, you can invest small ad dollars to supercharge reshared feed post Stories to thousands of additional targeted users. I generally recommend starting with $5-10 per day.
Real-Life Success Stories
To inspire you, here are just a few examples of small business owners absolutely crushing it with strategic Instagram Story resharing:
Wholehearted Eats (@wholeheartedeats) is a health food blog who drove over 50,000 website visitors in 3 months by resharing old evergreen recipes and articles to Instagram Stories. They would mention relevant ingredients or food holidays to give them renewed relevance. Their Instagram following grew by 25% during that same period.
Urban Arrow Family Cyclery (@urbanarrowfam) is local bike shop who uses Instagram polls in their reshared Stories to crowdsource new products, services, and inventory their audience wants to purchase. These real-time market research Stories have directly driven over $20k in new mountain bike sales.
Paparazzi Accessories Consultant Britney @sparklysteals holds weekly 60-second Story giveaways of jewelry bundles where users have to swipe up and fill out a Google Form to enter. She sees up to 1500 entries per giveaway, generating crowdsourced leads and driving traffic to her online shop with each reshared Story.
The options are truly endless if you get creative and strategic with re-sharing your top posts as Instagram Stories!
FAQs and Troubleshooting
Here are quick answers to some of the most common questions around this strategy:
Can you reshare multiple posts to your Story at once? No, Instagram currently only allows sharing one feed post at a time. However, you add additional images/videos taken directly through the Stories camera.
Can private accounts or posts be shared? No, you can unfortunately only share public posts from a public Instagram profile as part of Stories. Any private accounts or posts cannot be accessed for resharing.
Can I stop someone else from resharing my posts? Yes! In your account settings, go to privacy, then story controls. Simply disable “Allow Resharing to Stories” so other accounts cannot share your content.
Can I delete a post shared as a Story? Sure can! Just go to your Instagram Story tray, tap and hold the snippet you want to discard, then hit the trash can icon.
Can I see metrics on reshared story performance? Sort of. While not as robust as feed post insights, you can swipe up on any stories you reshared a post to access basic metrics like exits and replies.
I hope this guide has shed some light on how story reshares can be an incredibly powerful tactic for small businesses aiming to accelerate their growth and engagement on Instagram this year! Let me know if you have any other questions.
Disclaimer: I am an active Instagram marketing consultant. My thoughts here represent my own professional opinions and experiences working with SMB clients.