Header Image by ToodlesNoodles
Instagram Stories are a great way to share in-between moments and add depth and personality to your brand. Sharing authentic, engaging content shows the value of your product and can make buyers fall in love with you and your story. But what’s a good Instagram Story? And how do you know if it’s working?
Who’s using Stories? Hear from the Seller
Alice is the Brisbane-based designer, maker, and model behind Etsy Shop Alice Nightingale. She regularly uses Stories to connect with buyers and demonstrate the skill and craftsmanship that goes into each piece. “I started off doing pop-up markets, and for the past 7 years I’ve been educating buyers that I make everything myself. A lot of people assume you outsource stuff overseas. Instagram Stories are so valuable for showing what actually goes into every item.”
“I love following other sellers’ Stories. It’s so cute to see behind the scenes – whether it’s something they’re making, doing, or even what coffee cup they drink out of.” – Alice
Alice says Stories are great for developing a personal connection but tries to keep the focus on her brand and positive content. “Negativity doesn’t make growth. We all get down, but I try to keep that to my personal profiles to share with friends. My business account should be mostly positive.”
And what about quality? With such a beautiful feed Alice says there’s less pressure to create such perfect content for Stories. “It’s like the light-hearted version of putting up a photo. My feed is very sacred and represents my brand, but low-quality, silly, and plain is Ok for Stories. It’s great to have a space for the everyday photos!”
Tips for making your own Instagram Stories:
Instagram Stories don’t need to be as polished as content in your Instagram feed. In fact, Stories can be more authentic if they’re not! Play around to see what your audience engages with, but here are a few styling tips to keep in mind:
- Shoot in bright, even, and natural light where possible
- Since you can upload from your camera roll, shoot as regular photos and videos rather than shooting directly within Instagram Stories. This allows you to trim, edit and review content before posting and can result in a smoother story.
- Keep in mind the dimensions of Instagram Stories photos and videos are different than the dimensions of regular photos and videos shot on phone, so your content will be auto-cropped on the outer edges. Stories dimensions are 1080×1920 pixels
- Get creative with doodling! Use the brushes to draw attention, fill in a blank spot, and create interest
- Too much text? Share the photo twice and just change the text.
- Take advantage of the Instagram Stories features like mentions, links, boomerangs, selfie stickers, location and hashtags.
Key Takeaway: Get creative, have fun, and don’t worry about perfection
Key messages are points or information you want to get across to your audience and buyers. Once you’re clear on your key message, you can build your content around it. You might never even say the key message directly, but you want all content to carry the message across.
Here are some key messages that could work well on Instagram Stories:
- Real craftsmanship goes into everything I / we make. Buy it in person or online.
- I’m a trusted source for trends. Buy trends in my Etsy shop.
- Our brand is a small business and when you shop small, you contribute to people like us.
Decide on a key message and build your Story around that.
Key Takeaway: A key message is something you want your audience to feel or understand after looking at your Story
What to post (Content Ideas)
- Preparing for a market
- Tour of your studio or where you make
- Sneak peek of an upcoming product
- Announcing a shop update
- Moments of your personal life
- A sale or discount code
- Directing people to an exciting post on your Instagram feed
- Another seller whose Instagram feed inspires you (make sure to tag them!)
- Thanking people for sharing your product. For example, if you get featured by a buyer, a magazine, another seller, or Etsy
- It’s winter – share things that warm you up!
Key Takeaway: You’re a maker or a curator – and that’s just one part what you do! You have lots to talk about, don’t be shy.
Getting buyers to visit your shop (Call to Action)
People don’t want to be hit over the head with a sales message, but if they’re following you there’s a fair chance they’re interested in what you’re selling. Don’t be shy about promoting your Etsy Shop, especially if you’ve got new items or it’s a key shopping time (like Christmas or Mother’s Day).
A call to action is a clear instruction or next step for your audience to take. Make sure that every few posts you direct buyers to your shop. On Instagram, this might look like
- Shop new items in my shop (link in bio)
- Buy this cutie in my Etsy shop
The link in your bio should direct buyers to your Etsy shop, not an individual product. Who knows – they might find something else they like!
Pro tip: Write your Etsy Shop link in your Instagram bio as shopname.etsy.com, and verify your account so you can add links to your Story.
Key Takeaway: People are following you because they like your stuff. It’s Ok to talk about your Shop and direct them there.
Tracking and Measuring
Throughout the month track shop visits via social using your shop stats. Also keep a note of which Stories get the most engagement thinking about things like views, messages, shop visits, and follows. And most importantly, think about which Stories are the most fun to make and share!
For Alice, she says the greatest measure of success is if people are responding to the post through messaging or favouriting her Etsy shop or an item. “It’s a real commitment for someone to get out of the story and say ‘love this top’ or find my bio link, so that’s always great encouragement!”
Key Takeaway: Making Stories should be fun, but also worth the effort. Use tools to measure what’s working.
Download the Instagram Story Schedule
We’ve created a schedule of when to post specific content to guide you through a month long trial of Instagram Stories. Feel free to play around and edit the schedule in a way that makes sense for your Shop. Download the campaign schedule now.
See you on Instagram!
Reana works in Etsy Australia’s community team, a job she has described as “second only to the person who gets to name nail polish colours.” She has a soft spot for french seams, quirky jumpers, botanical illustration, homewares that look like they were made with hands, bonfires, cold beer, and patting dogs.