A Small Business Guide to Instagram Stories [Infographic]

A Small Business Guide to Instagram Stories [Infographic]

This article was written by G. John Cole, who writes on behalf of NeoMam Studios. He’s a digital nomad specializing in leadership, digital media, and personal growth topics.

When Instagram launched its Stories format in August 2016, commentators – and Snapchat loyalists in particular – were quick to point out its similarities to Snapchat’s core service: disposable photo stories.

In the months that followed, though, Instagram cruised out into waters of its own, through the app’s combination of usability and versatility. If Stories apparently began as an effort to lure away Snapchat users in bulk, it quickly became a key part of traditional Instagrammer’s daily lives and a powerful marketing tool to boot. And small businesses are perfectly placed to capitalize on the combination of intimacy and ephemerality that Stories promises.

Using Instagram’s Photo Story Feature

Instagram Stories boasts 250 million daily users (to Snapchat’s paltry 166m!). And one in five small businesses can expect to receive direct messages off the back of their output, making it an excellent way to tell a whole bunch of people that your company is waiting to hear from them.

Creating those stories is famously straightforward – it’s a consumer app after all – so there’s really no excuse not to get started.

The key thing to remember is that all the media you use must have been generated over the past 24 hours. Tap the camera icon to get started, use the record button to create photos or video, and slide up to add images from your library. Swiping left or right will alternate your filter options.

Just because your story has to be fresh, it doesn’t mean you needn’t plan ahead.

Your Instagram story should match the tone and image of your brand, even if the story has an added element of spontaneity. A story is closer to a video than a photo in the sense that it is time-based. You need to use the first four seconds to make an impact and keep the user hooked right through to your call to action (CTA).

There are plenty more techniques you can use to ensure you get maximum response from your story. Instagram has become the home of the hashtag, and a location tag can really boost your viewership. It’s simple to add a link allowing those viewers to swipe straight through to your website in response to your CTA. Don’t forget to add an arrow motif to remind them which way to swipe!

It’s a great idea to try a couple of simple stories out while you figure out how to do it. And indeed the occasional random story shows that you’re human and you just want to share.

Once you start to get hot at Stories, though, taking it to the next level is a no-brainer.

Maybe you’ll create a series of stories so that casual users feel compelled to follow you and check back for what comes next. Or perhaps you’ll invite a customer, supplier, or another influencer to ‘guest’ for you for a day. As a small business, you’re perfectly positioned to keep your approach to Instagram light, playful, and imaginative.

Ready to get stuck in? Have a run through this new visual guide from Headway Capital – it’s packed with all the tips you need to maximize the Storytelling potential on your smartphone!

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8 Tips for Women to Help Grow Their Career

8 Tips for Women to Help Grow Their Career

Why are there so few female CEOs? It’s a commonly discussed topic in the Australian business landscape, and often highlighted as an issue in society.

This has been made evident in the inaugural Robert Half CEO Tracker, commissioned by specialised recruiter Robert Half to identify common traits amongst the leaders of the ASX 200-listed companies. The research found the top position in the workplace is still male-dominated, as the majority of ASX 200 CEOs are men (94%). Only 12 ASX 200 CEOs are women.

It’s an unfortunate fact of the current C-suite employment market, with women underrepresented in top positions – a fact that applies to not only ASX 200-listed companies.

Despite this, it’s well known that diversified boardrooms with women represented across leadership positions bring enormous value to organisations and the wider business community. This is not just because of their wealth of experience and knowledge. But also because of their diverse perspective applied to business strategy that’s required for any organisation to succeed.

Whilst looking at the low percentage of female CEOs, within our Executive Search branch, we’re seeing a strong push for diversity from companies looking to hire at the C-suite level. Organisations are actively specifying diversity in their recruitment agendas, and not only just based on gender, but on an all-inclusive approach.

While there still is a long way to go for women to be represented equally at the boardroom table, it’s encouraging to acknowledge just how far Australian women have come and actively promote steps they can take to further their careers in the business world. More can always be done to empower women within the workplace. And understanding the common professional characteristics of top Australian CEOs is a great place to start their C-suite journey.

For women looking to hone their personal attributes, CEOs need to be clear communicators who are capable of both giving direction and accepting expert opinion. And as with all leadership positions, exceptional people skills are essential. By being assertive, forward-thinking and willing to take risks, ambitious women in the workplace can ascend the corporate ladder to the top job just as fast as their male counterparts.

How Women Can Grow Their Career

energy focus and productivity tips for anyone working from home all day

1. Know what you really want.

Think about what you want to achieve in your career – and why. Ask yourself some important questions:

  • As a senior executive would you be willing to work long hours and take up extra responsibilities?
  • Do you like to solve complex problems?
  • Are you comfortable as a leader?
  • And, crucially, how do your family feel about you pursuing a career as a business leader?

2. Develop a career plan.

Determine what you want to achieve, and work out a detailed career plan. This will be a blueprint that maps out your journey to the top of your organisation, allowing you to focus on your ultimate career goals.

3. Work continuously on your leadership skills.

Developing leadership skills is an ongoing process and an essential element for women pursuing a management position. By developing your technical, managerial and social skills, you are more likely to climb the corporate ladder – and be better prepared for the challenges you face along the way.

4. Communicate (more) directly.

Well-developed communication skills are essential for all managers. Yet men and women often have different communication styles.

Women usually take on a more modest tone, and often tend to communicate in an assuming way (“wouldn’t it be better”, “could we perhaps”, etc.). However, for a male audience – who usually communicate in a more direct way – this style of communication can suggest you lack confidence or are unsure about the matter at hand.

5. Take risks.

Women are usually less inclined to take risks than men. Yet this is part of being a leader. If you can prove you are willing to take calculated, carefully considered risks, you’re more likely to assume a managerial position.

6. Offer to take on certain tasks, even those nobody else wants.

A willingness to take on additional projects or raise your hand for tasks that others are sidestepping, can showcase your skills beyond your normal job duties. This is a great way to demonstrate you’re a team player, who is willing to go the extra mile for the company.

7. Do not be afraid to stand out.

All great leaders stand out from the crowd. As a manager, it’s likely you will have to make tough, and at times, unpopular decisions, so be prepared to set yourself apart from others in good times – and in bad.

8. Build your network.

People like to work with people they know. So do not underestimate the possibilities offered by traditional and online networking. Building your network can be important to getting ahead.

About The Author

Robert Half Executive Search specialises in the search for and placement of executive leadership talent across a broad spectrum of function areas and industry sectors.

By being assertive, forward-thinking and willing to take risks, ambitious women in the workplace can ascend the corporate ladder to the top job just as fast as their male counterparts. Here are 8 tips to help women grow their career