Today we’re going to make Stories a little less scary and hopefully I can convince you that they’re actually one of the most fun parts of Instagram! By the end of this post, I’m convinced you’ll fall in love with them & what they can do for your business.
So first of all, why should we be using Instagram Stories in the first place? And are they really worth the hassle?
1. Outsmart the Algorithm
Instagram loves it when users fully utilise their features, so you can bet that when you’re using Stories and all the features on offer, the algorithm will be looking favourably upon you. And if that algorithm likes what you’re doing? Well, that means it’ll show your account to more people, which means more growth coming your way.
2. Create a Highly Engaged Audience
Stories are THE perfect place to cultivate a more engaged audience. You can include polls, questions, chats, countdowns, quizzes – the list goes on. Each of these features actively encourages the viewer to interact with what you’ve posted. Higher engagement means people are becoming personally invested in what you’re doing, which makes sales one hell of a lot easier down the line.
7 Tips for Making the Most out of Instagram Stories
1. Keep it Casual
One of the most important things to remember about Stories is that it’s okay to keep it casual. Whilst your feed might be highly curated & carefully edited (perhaps you’re using a theme like I suggested in part 4 of the Instagram growth series), when it comes to stories you can be a little more relaxed.
In fact, it’s the perfect place to show some behind the scenes, and let people know a little bit about you. Remember, stories are a great place to create a real connection with your audience so show the less polished, perfect side of you/your business.
2. Embrace Interaction
When using Stories, you also want to make sure you’re using as many of the features as possible. An easy way to increase engagement on Instagram is simply to increase the number of ways people CAN engage. Make sure to use polls, quizzes, and questions to allow people to become involved in what you’re doing.
These kind of features also show your audience that you value their opinion and are listening to what they have to say, which is so important for creating meaningful connection online.
3. Use Video
A lot of people shy away from using video on stories, either because they feel embarrassed or find it too much hassle. But video is amazing! Think about it, are you more likely to connect with a photo of someone or a video of them talking directly to you? If you want to connect with your audience, it’s time to get talking.
Top Tip: make sure to write out captions for your video stories in case the user has the sound off! If they like what you’re talking about, they’ll turn it on and tune in to the rest of your stories.
4. Use Hashtags & Geotags
Using hashtags and geotags means that your story could end up on the story for that specific location or hashtag. For example, if I search ‘London’ in the places bar of Instagram, a Story for that location will appear in the top left corner. This story is made up of Stories from individual users who have tagged the location. The same can be said of hashtags. Tagging is a great way for new users to find your content.
Top tip: get involved with big events or national days by hashtagging!
5. Use a Call to Action
Once you’ve got an engaged audience of people watching your stories, it’s important that you direct them to where you want them to be i.e. your website. If you have over 10,000 subscribers, you can use the swipe up function to direct them to your site. If not, you can tell viewers to click the link in your bio. Don’t forget to use a call to action to remind users what to do. Don’t leave them to work out on their own that it might be something they’re interested in.
6. Create Hype with the Countdown Feature
If you’re launching a new product, course, or service – make sure to use the countdown feature! I’d recommend using this even for the announcement of the new product. Use the countdown feature to let people know that you have a big announcement coming up that you’re super excited about. This is the perfect way to create hype and awareness around whatever it is that you’re launching!
7. Create Story Templates that Others Can Use
Jump on to Canva and create a Story template that encourages other people to interact with you. Pick a relevant topic and create some kind of questionnaire based around it. For example, if you’re a yoga teacher, you might create a checklist template of all the different poses you can try.
Don’t forget to add your Instagram handle at the bottom of the page so that people can take a look at your page.
This is also a great (& free!) way to do some market research into what your audience likes! Take note of their answers & see how you can work them into your feed or business plan.
8. Use Story Ads
Consider using ads on stories. As stories often create high engagement, there’s a good chance that someone is likely to click on your ad if it pops up in their stories.
The Instagram Growth Series
The Instagram Growth Series is where we dive deep into each aspect of Instagram, learning how to utilise it to grow online & increase engagement. If you’re looking to grow your Instagram check out the previous instalments, including How to Craft the Perfect Bio, Write Captions that Convert, Create a Cohesive Theme, and Build a Personalised Hashtag List:
- Craft the perfect bio
- Write captions that convert
- Create quality content
- Create a cohesive theme
- Build a personalised hashtag list that works
- Utilise stories to increase engagement
- Manage your online community & find new followers