The atmosphere has been getting busier with the season, and you are probably wondering how your brand can stand out among an influx of shopping offers, discounts, and sales. Instagram alone is buzzing with Christmas ads and campaigns, enough to keep followers on the lookout.

As a brand, you probably already know the power of Instagram. The platform’s 1 billion unique monthly users make it a strategic venue for reaching as many followers as possible. Influencers and brands have already leveraged Instagram for business, allowing their followers to make direct purchases and get special product discounts.


Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash

Compared to the regular Instagram post however, Instagram stories have become the latest tool of choice for interacting with audiences. Everyday, there are around 500 million active users of Instagram stories, sharing as many as 10 stories per day.

Using Instagram stories, you can mention another user’s account, link the story to your website or email, and upload as many videos as you can without flooding your followers’ timelines. Some brands use Instagram stories to promote their weekly newsletter and other resources that followers can subscribe to.

There are as many ways to be creative with your Instagram story as there are with your entire marketing strategy. Let’s look at how some of today’s best brands are doing it.

1. Partner with a celebrity or an influencer.

Depending on their hobbies or interests, Instagram users follow a select number of influencers and high-profile individuals. Think about the celebrity or influencer that relates the most with your brand, and try to book them for a short promotion.

This doesn’t have to cost a lot—you can check out the most accessible influencers in your community or any of the individuals who have gone viral over the past few months. This can also be an opportunity for them to get more followers.

Below is an Instagram story by Harrods. It uses a minimalist design, doesn’t go all out with the promotion, and mentions influencer Sabrina Elba so she can also share it on her profile. Don’t forget to include hashtags that you would like your followers to remember.

Harrods' Story

Source: Harrods’ Instagram

Allow your followers to experience the full range of your online presence. Whether on social media, website, email, or on a mobile app, engage your followers and let them know that they can find you on most of these platforms. This way, they are exposed to more of your products and services and will have higher chances of becoming full-fledged members of your online community.

For Instagram, you can now link your stories to a website with a curated list of products or a landing page where followers can choose to subscribe to receive your promotions, newsletter, or email updates. Once the link is on, your followers can swipe up and they will be redirected to the website or landing page.

Here’s an example from Nordstrom:

Nordstrom's story

Source: Nordstrom’s Instagram

3. Make it interactive.

What do your followers want for Christmas? Use polls and questions on Instagram stories to find out. It’s a great way to engage your audience and offer a little bit of fun in the middle of hectic Christmas schedules. You can also ask your followers if they’re willing to subscribe to your mailing list and get more information about products, services, and promotions.

Questions on Instagram stories are also a great way for you to segue your answer to an email subscription link or to a promotional page on your website. Lego, known for being one of the most creative brands on Instagram, likes using polls to promote its products and showcase its latest bricks.

Lego's story

Source: Lego’s Instagram

4. Help followers with Christmas shopping.

It’s a great season to shop, and also not a great season to shop. Christmas is enjoyable, but the traffic and the crowds can take away from the experience. To help their followers avoid the Christmas hassle and reduce the stress of thinking about dozens of gifts, Nordstrom shared some gift ideas by organizing its products into categories and using Instagram stories to present them:

Nordstrom shopping

Source: Nordstrom’s Instagram

It doesn’t have to be a single Instagram story. You can present one promotion across several stories and incorporate holiday designs in keeping with the season.

Wrap up

Instagram has many uses for influencers, brands, and budding companies. Beyond Instagram stories, you can also promote your business using IGTV, lots of hashtags, sponsored ads, and the regular Instagram post.

Are you wondering if you are maximizing your business profile? The platform also provides brands with data analysis using Instagram Insights, where they can break down their followers into categories such as age, gender, and location. You can also view insights on profile visits and website clicks as well as insights on your content.

Knowing how to integrate Instragram into your overall digital strategy can help you market your brand and bring you the strong following that you need.

About the Author

Ash Salleh

Ash Salleh is the Director of SEO at Campaign Monitor, where he works closely with content, copy, and analytics teams to improve site-wide optimization. Prior to his time at Campaign Monitor, he also provided SEO and digital marketing expertise at Zappos and Axiata Digital.