Instagram stories are an amazing way to engage with your audience. If you are a business or an influencer using Instagram to generate brand awareness or sales, stories can be an effective way to connect with your followers and ultimately convert.
Through my Instagram account, I find that my reach in stories can sometimes be triple what I would receive on a normal post on my feed. This is why you should give your stories a little more thought and planning and work them into your social media marketing strategy.
Overall the Instagram Story feature is great for your online presence, and it’s also a way for you to get creative and have fun. So without further ado, here are 12 ideas to make the most of your Instagram stories.
1. An introduction
This should be one of the first go-to story ideas. Whether you're a business or an influencer, you should regularly do an introduction video for your new followers. This post can be saved in your highlights or IGTV channel so that people can instantly know who you are and what your page is all about. Remember, first impressions are everything so really take some time to plan this video to really wow your followers. If you're not comfortable with talking in front of the camera (yet) you can use story templates from Canva or Easil and fill in the blanks to questions like:
- Who are you?
- What do you offer?
- Where are you based? Where can your customers experience your service?
- Why do people need you/your service in your life?
- How can they access what you're offering?
2. Behind the scenes. #BTS
Your feed is usually filled with styled and edited images, but your stories should be a little bit more "real". People love the Behind the Scenes experience. We're all a little creepy like that. Use your Instagram Stories to share your story and the "behind the scenes" of what you do and why you do it. Not sure what to share? Try taking your followers on a journey of your average day. If you're working on something exciting, share that too. If you sell products, share the journey of getting each order ready and the people involved. If you have any exciting news coming up, be sure to share that in your IG stories too. What does an average day look like for you? Are you working on anything exciting? Can you give a sneak peek into a new product or some client work you are doing?
3. Play around with the special features.
Instagram has provided an array of exciting ways to jazz up your stories that jsut don't work on the feed. Play around with things like Poll stickers where you can ask your audience a poll about things, GIF stickers that make flat content pop, text, mentions, filters and so much more. These features make content more exciting and engaging so be sure to use them in your stories.
4. Instagram Story Takeovers
Take the pressure off and bring in an expert into your stories like an ambassador or a renowned Instagram expert in your field. An easy way to get fresh, quality content for your Instagram Stories is by staging an Instagram Story Takeover. Be sure you choose someone that your audience will get the most value from and resonate with.
Instagram story take over desigs available at Easil.com
5. Use story highlights.
When a new user lands on your Instagram profile for the first time they usually will look at your bio for info about who you are. There is only so much you can share in that space, so why not use your highlights to share the best bits about what your Instagram profile is all about. Think of the highlights bar as a short trailer for your business, create a few highlight sections that show what you’re all about and give a sense of what you offer. Below are two examples by Style Runner and Biologi Serums. You can choose to give your highlights an icon cover which you can create or used predesinged ones by a services like Easil. There's no right or wrong way of doing it, it just comes down to your brand aesthetics and what you prefer.
6. Give a shoutout.
Found something or someone you love? Give that brand or persona shoutout. The new Instagram algorithm has made it even tougher to grow your audience organically, the best way to do it is by working with other like-minded brands and share the love. By giving a shoutout you're helping your brand build stronger relationships on social media. If you're lucky you'll most likely get a shoutout back or have your content featured on that brand's story attracting more eyes to you. Plus, it gives you free and easy content for your stories when someone mentions you — all it takes is a screenshot and a few words of your own. I do this quite regularly with customer snaps of products they've received.
7. Answer FAQs
If you have a question that gets asked all the time, answer it in your stories and save it in an FAQ highlight of its own. You can also provide other educational content like tips, tricks, and advice that supports what you do.
There is nothing more powerful than social proof to turn warm leads and into conversions! People buy or work with people that are reputable. Ask your customers/clients for reviews and share them on your stories. This will also make a great story highlight.
9. Location, Location!
Use the story location markers to connect with people in your area. All the accounts I’ve worked with getting around 50% more views when you use the location markers. A team that with relevant hashtags and you’ll be scooping in more eyes on your stories. A sneaky way to feature locations and hashtags but not have them clutter up your story is by shrinking them until they're virtually invisible. This still makes sure that your content shows in the location/hashtag but not cluttered.
10. Ask a Question #polltime
Doing polls isn’t that new anymore, but it’s still a great way to get your audience to do something and take action on your story. The key is to keep it simple and ask yes/no red/blue kind of questions. This is a great way to understand what your audience likes too. I recently saw Stylerunner ask what words their followers used for things like tights/leggings, sweater/jumper it was a really effective strategy that got the audience involved but also gave them an insight into who their customer is and what terminology they prefer.
11. Encourage people to turn on post notifications
Another great way to boost your engagement overall is to ask people to turn on their post notifications. This will make sure that every time you post something new, they will receive a notification. This increases the number of likes and comments you receive.
12. Always add value
Become a source of education and inspiration for your clients. Your stories should be raw and unedited yes but also include some polished, well thought out content that will connect, inspire and engage your audience. Offer quick top 5 hacks, tips, looks, whatever your jam that will keep them coming back for more.