Anyone who spends any time on Instagram at all has probably gotten stuck on the scrolling “conveyor belt” of Instagram stories, and rather than exiting out, you just keep tapping to forward to the next story to see what’s coming up. If you’re not using Insta-stories, you’re really missing out on a great way to market your business and to connect with your ideal clients.
As makeup artists/hairstylists and other visual creatives, Instagram is such a brilliant tool for us to showcase our work, and you don’t need to have 100K followers to be booking clients regularly through Instagram. I’ve dedicated a few of my recent blog posts to how you can use Instagram to build your business, and what sort of things you should consider posting. However, there’s a big difference between what you post on the main feed and what you post in stories… and you need to understand that they both have a purpose, and that purpose is different.
The main feed is becoming the place to post your best work, and to really attract your clients to click over to your profile and follow you (and then, logically, buy from you). I always tell my coaching clients and students to monitor their insights on their feed to determine the sort of images that are getting the most reach and engagement, delete those images that are not performing so well, and to post more of the sort that are. This is assuming, of course, that your audience is primarily made up of your potential ideal clients. NB. In order to access Insights, you will need to switch to a Business Profile.
What are Insta-stories?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or you never go on Instagram, you’ll be familiar with stories. When you go to the main feed, the circles at the top, with your friends logos or profile pics contain their stories. Stories are pictures or videos that you can post, which disappear after 24 hours. There are some limitations on stories, especially video, the limit for video is currently 15 seconds, however, if you want to post a longer video there are apps like “CutStory” which will chop your video up into 15 second segments, and Instagram has rolled out a new feature where it will cut a 1 minute video into 4 segments you can post (apparently this feature isn’t available to everyone at the time of writing, I have had it for only a couple of weeks).
Why use Insta-stories?
Your Insta-stories, unlike your main feed, are where your followers can get to know you, to see YOU, and to get a glimpse of your life, and what its like behind the scenes. People LOVE seeing behind the scenes stuff, so posting what’s going on in your day-to-day life really helps you to develop that Know, Like and Trust factor with your potential clients. Insta-stories are a lot more about connection, and engagement. There are so many great features within your stories, so many ways for you to connect with your followers, and remember, the algorithm always rewards engagement!
If my stats are anything to go by, only about 5% of your followers will see your story anyway, but there are a few things that you can do to boost that reach, and to maximise your connection with your followers.
Like everything, remember to “post with purpose”. Don’t just chuck a bunch of photos and videos up there for the sake of it. Remember these are insta STORIES – and your purpose here should be to tell a STORY with a collection of images and video. A story has a beginning, a middle and an end, so think about how you can organise your images and video into a story that gets people wanting to watch the whole thing.
What to post on Insta-stories?
So I’ve already talked about Behind the Scenes. Its true. People LOVE behind the scenes stuff. They love getting a glimpse into your life to see what really goes on. Now this doesn’t mean you have to post a pic of every meal you eat, or walk down the street doing video selfies all day, unless you really want to, so mix it up a bit. Heck even as a “full-time” makeup artist, I’m only actually doing makeup maybe 20% of the time, the rest of it is all the other admin, washing brushes (my favourite… NOT), organising my kit, buying new products, doing research on new products and makeup & hair trends, networking and social media… and that’s before I even start working on my App or my coaching business!!
My followers love to get a peek inside my kit, all makeup artists love to see each other’s set up, so post those! As mobile makeup artists we get to work in some pretty spectacular locations, so that’s another great thing to post. Bought some new products? Post about them on your stories!
If you have an iPhone (and a tripod – use the one from your ringlight) you can set your phone up to record a time lapse of you doing a client’s makeup (with her permission of course), and I think no matter how long you take, the iPhone makes the clip only 30 seconds long. As Insta-stories only last for 24 hours, I find stories a great place to post work that I’ve done each day that probably wouldn’t make it to my main feed, for whatever reason.
Whatever you decide to post though, remember it’s about getting engagement, establishing that connection with your followers, and ideally turning your followers into customers. Fortunately, Instagram has some cool little features to help you do this. From Questions, to Polls to the “I love it” slider, explore these and get your followers engaging with your stories. This helps you get to know your followers more, builds that KLT factor for your followers, AND helps you play the game with the algorithm – which improves your reach.
AND, if you want to grow your followers through your stories, you can do that by using location stickers and hashtag stickers, which will mean that your story will be visible to more people than just your followers.
When to post to stories?
Here’s the great thing about stories, while they only last 24 hours, every time you add a new picture of video to your story, they pop back up to the beginning of your followers story feed. So, rather than posting a whole bunch of images and videos at once, post a couple at a time, every couple of hours throughout the day, if possible. I like to post something first thing in the morning (today it was the birds singing as I drank my morning tea and did my meditations out on my patio), then my set up when I get to a job, and then a couple of behind the scenes images of my model in the chair, and then on set – remember to always get permission from the client if you’re on a commercial shoot, the photographer if it’s a test or editorial submission, or the person in your chair if it’s a personal booking. Of course, if it’s a wedding day, don’t post any images of the bride or her party until the evening!! Just in case.
When you have a really great story post, you might like to add it to your highlights, those little circular tabs that appear at the top of your profile. That way your story can last longer than 24hours… until you decide to remove it. This is a great way to keep collections of certain images, like say, Bridal Makeup, Editorial Makeup, Formal (Prom) Makeup, Hairstyling, Upstyles, or whatever you like! I know that some people post to stories JUST so they can add the images to their highlights!
I’d love to see some of your stories, so feel free to tag me in them (@suemclaurinmakeup), and I’ll repost some of the good ones and give you a shout out!
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Big thank you to Leoni Bolt Photography for taking my amazing new Photos! If you’re in SE Qld and need headshots, definitely give Leoni a shout!