Expert Shares Instagram Stories How to Tips for Small Business Marketing

Instagram Stories How To: Actionable Advice

Most of Generation Z spends over three hours viewing online video daily, with an emphasis on mobile devices. They also only watch one or two movies per quarter, according to a National Association of Broadcasters panel in April.

These lopsided numbers sound all too familiar when you listen to enough media industry panels. Mobile and interactive digital have the momentum, while difficult-to-measure buckets (print, cable TV, etc) continue to lose in reach and budgets. But small businesses seeking to use video to reach an ever expanding audience must look under the hood at mobile video’s social functions to better understand this.

Where Audiences are Dwindling, so are the Dollars

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers 2018 Global Consumer Insights Survey (PDF), ad budgets are shifting to digital marketing but as the authors point out, “the trick is to present their brands and products naturally in the social media discourse.” Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty products were mentioneed in the PwC survey for the feedback gained from social bloggers, as was restaurant brand Sweetgreen for its pairing of food imagery with comments from customers and chefs. A separate study from Allianz this year says 86 percent of Americans trust social media posts from people they know personally, versus 55 percent when a brand posts, almost as bad as a coin toss.

Instagram Stories How To Tips

Small Business Trends connected with Nicholas Kirchner, a marketing agency owner who at 21 years old is near the cusp of Gen Z himself. Here’s our Q&A about Instagram and Facebook. For the most part, his answers align with what research is saying.

Instagram Stories How To: Actionable Advice

Nicholas Kirchner is founder and CEO of Pixsuls, a Milwaukee based digital marketing agency that helps ecommerce companies, influencers and consultants increase revenue through paid social advertising on Facebook, Instagram and through sales funnels. Areas of expertise include reduction of ad spend waste, custom audience strategy, lead generation and ecommerce funnels. Kirchner has been invited to speak about marketing at various conferences and universities such as the University of Southern California.

* * * * *

Small Business Trends: How could Instagram be used as an audience research tool?

Nicholas Kirchner: Quick and easy polling on Instagram Stories is one of the most powerful methods for determining whether a product or service will resonate with an audience. I strongly recommend polling your audience several times per week; remember, people love to have and share opinions.

I frequently have clients post polls on their social to determine something as simple as what their audience wants to see from them, all the way to whether they would buy a new product or service if they launched it.

Polling allows you to get direct feedback within minutes that you can utilize to make good marketing decisions moving forward based on data, not theory.

Small Business Trends: Specifically on IG Stories, I sense a lot of brands oscillating between excitement and fearful inaction because they know IG Stories have so much potential. How can a brand stand out from competitors who are also using IG Stories?

Nicholas Kirchner: Remember to use polls, tag locations, etc. I find our clients get more engagement when we use these tools. Use a variety of photos and videos so it’s not always the same thing over and over.

If you meet up with other influencers, be sure to tag them in your Stories with their @name and ask for a story shoutout in exchange. This is an easy way to grow your following and partnerships are key to growing your Instagram quickly.

Use Stories to document your day to day life, because if you want to build your brand around who you are, people need to know what that really means. Gary Vaynerchuk always says “Document over create” meaning you don’t have to wait until you have something super cool to share; just show people what you’re already doing! It’s more genuine and relatable.

Small Business Trends: One great thing is that Instagram has intensified the optional bells and whistles we can use within an IG Story. Can we go through the popular ones?

Nicholas Kirchner: Let’s go through four.


  • Boomerang is a feature inside of IG Stories that allows you to record a few seconds of video, and then plays it in reverse and keeps looping. Kind of neat for short clips or experiences; it adds some variety to just otherwise short video clips.