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Feel the Customer Love With These 9 Instagram Stories Tips Straight From the Source Instagram's Small Business Lead Morgan Cornelius shares how your business can utilize Stories.

By Rose Leadem

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Klaus Vedfel | Getty Images

Instagram presents businesses with a lot of opportunity to grow their brands, but it can be challenging to build an audience on the platform. It involves more that just posting images on a Feed and "liking" photos. In fact, there are a number of helpful Instagram tools that many businesses are overlooking, and a major one is Instagram Stories.

Related: 10 Instagram Accounts Every Entrepreneur Should Follow

Launched a year ago, Instagram Stories is a great way to connect with consumers and give your followers a behind-the-scenes look. While it might seem daunting at first, once you get started and begin to experiment, the process gets easier. At least that's what Instagram's Small Business Lead Morgan Cornelius tells us.

"There is no right answer when you're just getting your feet wet. Instagram Stories are intended to be playful, in the moment, [and] something that represents who you are, and gives more of a raw view into [your] business," she says.

Related: 7 Marketing Tips to Help Grow Your Brand on Instagram

Today, of the 250 million businesses using Instagram, half of them are utilizing Stories. Whether that includes you, or if you're in the other half that's not using Instagram Stories, Cornelius shares these nine helpful tips.

Give followers a behind-the-scenes look.

"Consider taking followers behind the scenes to give [them] authentic footage. Tattly, a temporary tattoo business in New York City, will give behind-the-scene looks at their upcoming line of tattoos that they're about to launch.

"Meghan Shimek, a fiber artist in Oakland, Calif., often uses stories to give her followers a behind the scenes [of] her everyday -- she'll take an Instagram Story when she's going hiking or meeting up with friends just to give [followers] more of a well-rounded view into who [she is] as a business owner."

Be experimental.

"The beauty of Stories is that they disappear within 24 hours. Where a business could go wrong is just not trying it out. The more you use it, the more comfortable you'll get.

"In Austin, Texas, this company called Mindy's Bakeshop [uses] Stories to launch and test out DIY products to see what will sell and what won't. Over the holidays last Christmas, they created a DIY Holiday Cookie kit and it was so successful on their Instagram Stories that they sold out almost immediately."

Go Live.

"You can go Live within Stories. There's a company called the Paper + Craft Pantry in Austin, Texas [that] uses Stories to go Live and they record their workshop[s] so you can watch from the comfort of your home. It's a really great way to expand your reach and raise awareness. There's also a rescue company, Found My Animal, based out of Brooklyn and they go Live on their adoption days so they can get people interested [and] engaged. Sometimes people who are watching Live end up reaching out and saying [they would] like to be considered as a foster or adoptive parent.

Related: 8 Unconventional Ways to Grow Your Instagram Following

"The longer you're on, the more likely your followers will check out what you're doing. The best thing to do is think about a good 10- to 20-minute Live video where you have enough going on. It's good to narrate as you're going Live so people tuning in understand what's going on if they're jumping on in the middle. You can also save your Live video and post it to Stories. So if someone misses, you can increase the number of views by posting it afterwards to Stories."

izusek | Getty Images

Utilize special tools.

"In the last year since it launched, we rolled out 20 different tools and features within the product itself. I think it catches people by surprise when [businesses] start utilizing some of the face filters [or] adding some playful stickers.

"You can actually take photos from your phone's camera roll and upload them to Stories. So, if you do a quick pull down motion within Stories, your entire photo tray from your camera will pop up. If somebody wants to shoot something and post it later, that's a nice way to have something prepped.

"And then @ mentioning is an amazing way to give a little hat tip to your followers if they're posting stuff about your business. Businesses get incredible responses [by] @ mentioning their followers or screenshotting somebody's content and posting it."

Rob Culpepper | Getty Images

Promote products, services and sales.

"Fifty percent of businesses on Instagram are producing Stories. That has to do with the fact that you can actually put out real-time marketing. For example, you can post on there: 'Hey, this is a time sensitive sale that we're [having], click through to our website or DM [us] for details.' That sense of urgency within Stories plays really nicely for business owners who want to promote something, sell something [or] highlight something that has an expiration date or time."

piola666 | Getty Images

Do a takeover.

"When it comes to finding an influencer or somebody to promote or do a takeover, find someone that embodies [your] brand and is very complimentary to your business. A takeover is very fun [and] it's even more fun when you have the business owner interacting with that person who is co-hosting the Story."

Tom Werner | Getty Images

Cross-promote your content.

"If you've got something really cool, interesting and exciting to share on your Story that you're planning, it's to your advantage to post something within your Feed or Instagram account [about] it. [You can] say in the caption, 'Hey, we've got a special announcement today. Check out our Stories to enter this contest or to see what we're unveiling.' It's a good idea to cross promote and draw eyes to both places."

Related: The Low-Down On Using Instagram Stories For Your Business

mihailomilovanovic | Getty Images

Use the geotagging location tool.

"Every business -- if they have a physical location -- [has] a geotag and when you go to it, you see all of the user generated content. Now you can see Stories running [and] if [customers] use the geolocation tag for that business, that actually pops up as active Stories. It's something that people should definitely check out in addition to the Feed posts to see who's in your store or in your business. It's fun to see in real time who's there and who's checking you out."

Westend61 | Getty Images

Track your performance.

"If you [have] a business profile on Instagram, you can track your Stories insights. So, as you're getting familiarized with the feature, you will be able to see how it resonates with your followers or anyone that comes across your Story. If you want some kind of indication of performance metrics, converting to a business profile and being able to track those metrics on Stories Performance is definitely something I would pair along with testing everything out."

Rose Leadem is a freelance writer for 

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