Online shopping is no longer a foreign concept to us Filipinos. In fact, 41 million Pinoys are fond of shopping online, and proof of this is the frenzy over sales occasionally held by the leading e-commerce websites like Lazada, Zalora, and Shopee. Even big companies like SM, Robinsons Supermarket, 2Go, and Honestbee are investing in e-commerce.

With such big players in the market, and with so many brands competing on social media, it can be challenging for micro and small- to medium-sized businesses to create a dent online. With proper use, however, social media can be a great tool in promoting your business.

Take Instagram (IG) Stories, for instance: it allows brands to not just increase their presence but also establish recall with customers. Learn how to maximize this popular Instagram feature to help boost your online marketing efforts. These three local brands share how.

Make it personal. “Instagram users nowadays no longer scroll down that much,” observes Angeli Narvaez, owner and crochet artist behind Gantsilyo Besh. “They subscribe to their favorite accounts or just watch IG stories, where people share what’s currently happening.”

With IG Stories, business owners can readily interact with their customers on a more personal level. “I use IG Stories when I have new posts, new products, and customer photos and feedback,” says Angeli. “[I also post about] events and bazaars I am joining.”

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Nagbabalik ang Balangaw ? php230/pair Bisitahin ang aming FB page ( para sa iba pang hikaw) #gantsilyobesh #crochetearringsph #gantsilyo #crochetph #earringsph #handcraftedph

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Add hashtags and special effects. Nicole dela Cruz, baker and co-owner of Hiraya Bakery, is a big believer in keeping their Instagram content as spontaneous, relevant, and visually appealing as possible.

“We use GIFs…to add dynamism to the visual, and to make the story more engaging through humor,” relates Nicole. “IG Stories allows more engagement with the brand because of a more real-time feel as it takes the audience right down to where the action is. It therefore allows businesses to be more intimate with the audience.”

To help potential customers find their posts easily, Hiraya also adds hashtags to their IG stories.

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Bee-stung, sun-kissed. ?? ☀️? . . Link in bio for descriptions, menu and ordering details (Ortigas pick-up). Now accepting orders for Feb 1-3. . . Now at @siento_cafe. . . #hirayabakery #Lemon #honey #sweetsavoryseasonal

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Interact with your audience. Angeli also uses the app to get customers’ feedback, real-time.

“I use polls and questions to know their thoughts about our earrings,” she adds. “People like it when you’re talking and listening to them.”

Jim Bacarro, owner of Isabel’s, a food delivery service that has more than 20 thousand followers, treats IG Stories as sort of a mini-vlog. “Aside from ‘behind-the-scenes’ footage, we like sharing the feedback from our customers by reposting their stories,” he says.

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Working lunches are now easier, tastier, and healthier with our all-natural salad wraps ? For orders, visit ? ? @crankiermiker #IsabelsPH

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Showcase how your products are made. Customers appreciate it when they see how the products they buy are carefully made—whether it’s a dainty fashion accessory or a pack of delicious lunch.

“We use IG Stories to show the quality of our food and our preparation,” Jim relates. “From harvesting the vegetables to packing them into delicious salads, we aim to always have the highest standards. It’s nice to show our online community how much time and preparation is put into every meal.”

By injecting their brand’s personality and using IG Stories consistently, Gantsilyo Besh, Hiraya Bakery, and Isabel’s are able to establish not just a following but also a relationship with their potential and existing customers. You, too, can take advantage of this nifty social media feature as a means to make your brand stand out.

To learn more tips on promoting your business, sign up to Globe myBusiness Academy.

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