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Small Business Made Simple Podcast

Mar 11, 2020

Hey there podcast family, welcome to episode 63 of the Small Business Made Simple Podcast.

Thank you for lending me your ears today – I know you have lots of choices, so I sincerely appreciate me being one of them!

If you’re a first time listener, super super welcome, I am so pleased to have you here.  I am your host Jenn Donovan, and, it’s my job, via this podcast, social media and everywhere else actually, to make your business life simpler. 

Business can be lonely and hard and complicated and it’s hardly ever easy, but it should be simple or at least simpler, so that’s my commitment you to on the Small Business Made Simple podcast!

One way I help to make your life simpler is by having a group of like-minded business owners all in one stop.  To ask questions, get answers and enjoy the journey of business! If you haven’t joined the Like Minded Business Owners Facebook Group, then hope over there after this episode and join!  Simply search Like Minded Business Owners in Facebook or come to the show notes for the like.  Show notes are at

I am just a wee bit excited for this episode, but first, I just wondered, have you downloaded by ever so popular FREE eBook – 108 Social Media Content Creation Ideas?


Well, if you’re struggling with social media, and content creation and ideas, this is the eBook for you and hey it’s free!

Simply head to and download it from there.

If you get it, read it, print it out and look at it all the time, it will change your life (or at least your social thinking challenges life!)

So, it’s at

In my Facebook group the other day, I was asked by Mychelle about a podcast on Instagram stories.

As I went searching my library, because I knew there was some, or one – I realised that it was episode 7 – that long ago.

I was comfortable to send her back there – because all the information is still relevant – but I thought perhaps I needed to do an updated take on Instagram stories and how to use them in 2020 for business.

Because, let’s face it, Instagram stories are were it’s at, at the moment, on social media.

Why Instagram Stories Are a Powerful Tool for Business

With over 500 million daily users, Instagram Stories are a great way to reach potential new customers — and build a stronger connection with your existing ones.

And since Instagram really took off – we are seeing a steady decline in the new feed of viewers and posters alike.

Businesses are seeing the power of Instagram stories and are preferring to put their time into stories rather than the feed itself.

If you’re not using Instagram Stories for business, you could be missing out on a huge opportunity.

Not only are Instagram Stories fun and creative, but they’re one of the best ways to grow your engagement, build brand awareness, and even drive sales!

We hear the word “authentic” thrown around a lot lately.

And I agree wholeheartedly, those businesses who show up, more often, as themselves, less curated, less formal, but always on brand, they are the ones going to succeed in 2020 and beyond.

If you listen to this podcast much, you’ll know I’m all about the H2H – human to human marketing, interaction, being social on social media.

How to Boost Engagement with Instagram Stories for Business

Instagram has really made it easy for us to get engagement with stories.

There are a ton of features that you can use to really get your audience engaging with you.

Some are simple superstar – some perhaps need a little more work.

Here’s some of the simple ideas.

  • Head to Instagram, click the button to do a story – either your profile pic with the + symbol or just above it the camera symbol
  • Down the bottom – click swipe to create.
  • Here you can do all sorts of marvellous things. Add a gif, next you’ll come to a page with some dices up the top middle, keep clicking those – there’s all sorts of options there – quote of the day, what you’re listening too list, pizza toppings ranking, what you’re watching, three accounts to follow list, quick draw challenge and more.
  • Now just a little pro tip here – if you choose, say, the what you’re listening to list – use it, fill it in and then post a blank one and invite your audience to tell you what they are listening too and tag you in it – you are you showing a little bit of your personality, and then asking for the engagement back. Works nearly every time – because hey, who doesn’t like to have their opinion heard!
  • Ok – so we are scrolling post that, still in create, next window invites us to ask a question, next, get your audience to ask you a question, a timer is next – great for anything going on in your business that’s time sensitive, and then a poll option – again, see the dice in the top middle of almost everyone one of these, click and get more options – pre-made for you!

Heading back to the beginning, still on stories though – but this time we are on “normal” – this is where you will find some filters.

Have a play – see what the filters are – no one else can see you do this unless you click – and if you scroll at the very end of the filters here – you will see some very unknown filters in the effect gallery – most don’t know there are even more!

Touching the camera button here will take a snapshot, holding it will take a video of you.

Also, in the bottom menu is where you can go live on Instagram, do a boomerang video, a superzoom or do some hands-free recording and picture taking.

I know going live is scary as – but here’s the positives

  • No one expects greatness – you are in Instagram stories and if you’re honest and open and say, “this my first one” or “I’ve been challenged to do this” or whatever, your audience will appreciate you. Plus, let’s be honest, most people will think, wow, I couldn’t do that – that’s so cool.
  • There are filters, if you think you should have one – if that will make you feel more comfortable
  • They disappear after 24 hours
  • Everyone in your audience gets a notification that you are going live – that’s great for engagement.

And frankly, if you get 1 or 2 viewers live, that’s ok – don’t be too worried about that – people will watch when you’re not live!

But, if you consistently only get a few viewers, do think strategically about it – perhaps it’s a good time for you but not a good time for your audience.

And business is all about your audience – not you – so think about changing up the times of your lives to see if you can engage more people at a different time.

Here’s my advice on lives,

Have some point to you going live.

Don’t just get on there and ramble.

Have a point.

It could be as simple as sharing something you found funny or sharing your day or more business like and sharing a tip or trick – but have something.  Don’t hop on there and share rubbish.

If that means you need to have 2 points written down before you do a video – then do that.

What’s rubbish to be posting?  Well that’s subjective.  It depends on what your audience is looking for.  But if you are doing videos or live videos from your business Instagram account – rubbish is perhaps something that is off brand for you – like perhaps you have a clothing store and post all about your clothes and you and your staff all the time, then all of a sudden you are all about politics or giving medical advice – it’s not what your audience expects from you – so it’s rubbish to them.

Here’s my solid marketing advice when it comes to Instagram stories:

If you want engagement, real engagement, like you are serious about wanting to build your engagement and numbers and create more sales via Instagram and Instagram stories – YOU HAVE TO SHOW UP ON VIDEO.

There is no way around it.

You can use all the other tools in your toolbox, but honestly, if you are serious, you need to show up on video.

And I am talking to myself here as well – don’t worry, I know it and even I struggle with it.  But I see it time and time and time again.

Those growing quickly, those getting loads of engagement – they are consistently showing up, every day, in a video.

Not necessarily live – but on a video.

They use video as a part of their tools, then they use stickers, polls, questions, sliders, questions and all the other things I spoke about up top, to build on their video.

They do a video about something, then ask a question on the next story, people answer and then they share the answers and talk about them – it’s marvellous marketing.

So, forget the tools for now, forget all the tips and tricks on engagement and simply start showing up.

If you need to, put a filter on, if that makes you feel better, and just start recording – with an idea of what you’d like to share.

If you’re super keen, here’s some ideas for doing a video for the next 7 days – do them and start getting yourself comfortable.  Make this commitment to yourself

Day 1 – Do an introduction to yourself and your business

Day 2 – Give your audience 3 facts about yourself that they don’t know – personal facts – not too personal – but personal – ask them if they have something people don’t know about them – perhaps use the question sticker and get them to tell you!

Day 3 – Tell people how your business started – ask your audience to share their story and tag you in it

Day 4 – Introduce a team member or a product if you don’t have a team member

Day 5 – Share a win for your day or your week – ask them about their wins

Day 6 – Share Instagram accounts or pages that inspire you – make sure you tag them – invite your audience to do the same

Day 7 – Give a tour of where you work – at home or in a workplace –

For the pros – Day 8 – Share what you’ve learnt from this tiny 7 day challenge to show up more on video. Inspire another small business owner who’s struggling!


So now you have awesome engagement, how exactly do you drive sales from Instagram stories.

Well, if you’re a product based business, who sells physical goods, shoppable tags and the newish shoppable stories stickers, are the way to go.

You need to be eligible for shoppable tags and shoppable stickers and there are some eligibility requirements.  If you haven’t looked into these and you have a physical product based business, then get googling!

Find this out. have some great free blogs on all of this – head over there if you’re not sure where else to go and follow the instructions.

But what if you don’t have a physical product business, a bit like me!

Well, I believe our best use of Instagram stories is to get them off the platform altogether and into our email list via a fabulous offering.

Whether that offering is a free masterclass, a free downloadable guide, a free eBook or whatever, using stories to tell our followers about these great freebies and getting them off the platform, into our world, a little closer, is the best way to use stories to drive sales.

Of course, it goes without saying, the more you show up on video, the more people will get to know, like (or love) and trust you, the more people will engage with any offering you have.

If you’re their go-to person for whatever it is that you sell or talk about – they will happily come into a free event or a download a freebie, because they, you guessed it, already know, like and trust you.

And if you’re still wondering, if I’m right or if I’m right – firstly, put me to the test and secondly, watch you own habits and thirdly, remember, humans interact with humans – 100% - you need to show up on video. 

Do the 7 day challenge above and come back to me and let me know what results you saw.

Let’s ramp this Instagram Stories thing up together – you in?

We can, of course, chat about it in my group Like Minded Business Owners on Facebook – if you’re not a member yet, then please come across and join in!

That’s all for episode 63 – all about Instagram stories.

I’ll be back next Thursday with another great episode to help you simplify your business in 2020. 

If you’re enjoying this podcast, can I ask you to do me a favour or two

  • Subscribe to this podcast – I have some exclusive content coming up for those who do! Like episode 61A – that only subscribers got to know about.
  • Could you share with this a friend? Another superstar business owner who’s doing the daily grind and would appreciate someone making their business simpler, and
  • If you’re looking to share some love in February, the love month, I’d love you to leave me a rating or even a review if possible.

See you next week on the podcast for episode 64.  But in the meantime, let’s hang out on social and get social on social – you’ll find me on Instagram, Facebook and my fav LinkedIn.

But whatever you do,

……..remember small business peeps, as my opening song says, there’s no point in dreaming small!