Instagram continues to change its algorithm making it increasingly harder to grow your following. This is why Instagram stories are becoming more and more important.
Why Are They Important?
Instagram stories are a great way of making on the spot content and allows you to have more direct engagement with your followers through polls and questions. While there has been an increased number of bots lately who seem to be sliding into question on stories, I’m not too sure Instagram will ever be bot free.
Since they show up at the top of your screen and appear to still be chronological, they’re a good way to drawing people to your profile. They are also a great way to advertise your new services, giveaways you might be running or your brand in general.
While posting on your stories is a necessary move in order to grow your following, there are also additives you can use to make it more effective.
Instagram Stories For Your Business/Brand
Having a social presence as a business these days is incredibly important. With millions of people scrolling through social media apps every day, you’re missing out on $$$ if you’re not showing up. More and more people are using stories these days and some say stories are becoming more popular than your Instagram feed.
If you run a business or brand and use Instagram to gain clients then you’re missing out on a huge population by not utilizing your stories. They allow you to directly connect with your followers and grow your brand. You have a lot of flexibility when it comes to the types of posts you put out there with boomerangs, videos and image posts.
There are so many things you can add to your stories. Polls, questions and gifs being a few of those items. While captions for posts are starting to get more and more popular, a lot of people still don’t read full captions. Using stories to ask your audience questions so crucial.
Looking to launch a new product? Can’t choose between two designs? Post them on your stories and let your audience tell you what they like. I use the polls and questions features on a weekly, if not daily, basis to engage my audience and figure out what they need.
Show your Face on your Instagram Stories
It can be nerve-wracking to stick your face out there. Especially when it comes to talking on your Instagram stories. How many of us have recorded and then re-recorded stories before posting them? I know I have, sometimes even multiple re-records, but I’ve recently decided to challenge myself to just start posting the first take.
It was scary at first but the more I did it, the less I started to care if I fumbled a word. My talks also became WAY more genuine because I was saying things for the first time, rather than the fifth.
Even if you’re a brand it’s incredibly important to show your face. This doesn’t have to be random selfies on your feed but rather using your stories. Instagram has put a lot of emphasis on stories as they change the algorithm and they’re a great way to boost your engagement.
A few easy ways to show your face:
- Take a selfie or photo of you and add text
- Share a weekly tip with your followers
- Show the behind the scenes of your brand
- Share a big win
- Ask questions to your followers
It doesn’t have to start out with daily stories but over time you’ll get more comfortable in front of the camera.
Whether it’s an image or a video adding text is crucial. Never trust that people have their volume on. If you’re recorded a video of you talking, make sure to always caption the video. It doesn’t have to be word for word but cover all the important information. This way you’re not missing anyone. If people have their sound off they will still be able to get the point of your story and be able to engage with it.
The text doesn’t need to look boring. People are displayed a number of ways to get varying cool text versions. From rainbow text to different fonts to giving your text a 3D look, it’s safe to say that creating eye-catching text will draw in an audience.
No Changing Algorithm
While Instagram seems to forever be changing the algorithm they use on their feed, Instagram stories are a great way to bypass it. Stories are always stuck right at the top so it’s easy for all your followers to find them. Instagram also has been sticking story reminders in the feed to help you avoid missing stories that are about to expire.
Stories will increase your visibility among your followers and if you get engagement from your stories it will positively impact your brand in the algorithm. Instagram says that the algorithm prioritizes feed posts for accounts that you interact with. Pushing the most relevant posts to the top of their feed.
Using stories, and having people interact with them, will help your posts show up at the top of their feed. Instagram will associate your account and content with posts that are relevant to those users.
Instagram Stories Still Need Hashtags
Using hashtags on your Instagram stories is a great way to expand your exposure. Overall, hashtags are a great way to find new brands and for people to find yours. They’re key to growing your account and gaining new leads on Instagram.
When adding hashtags to stories I suggest changing the colour with the eyedropper and shrinking down the text. This way you can blend them into your posts seamlessly and they are less of a distraction to the viewer. Instagram allows you to add up to 10 hashtags on insta stories and I suggest taking advantage of all 10 whenever you can.
Adding a location tag is a great way of attracting local followers. It’s also helpful if you’re wanting to showcase a specific location, i.e. talking about that new coffee shop you just tried. This way other people can easily try the same things you have.
This is a feature that Instagram added in April 2020. Various challenges have taken over Instagram for the past few years and they finally hopped onboard by adding a sticker that lets you # the challenge and tag whoever you’re nominating.
Gift Cards and Food Orders
This one mainly applies to businesses but if you run a brand and want to utilize Instagram for selling, take advantage of these. I haven’t used them myself but I may end up using the gift card feature in the future for my photography. It makes it nice and easy for people to make purchases without having them leave the app.
For these, you have to choose a partner such as square, toast, raise and more.
The swipe up feature is only available to accounts with over 10K followers OR if you create and IGTV video. Instagram does allow you to input a swipe up if you’re linking to an IGTV video.
When you hit 10K, the swipe up feature is crucial to take advantage to. Especially if you have a blog or provide info on your website. This allows you to add links directly to your resources, blog posts or new offers.
Stories are a great place to repurpose content. Whether that’s showing new products you’ve put in your store or linking to your new blog post. You can also use stories to boost visibility for your most recent feed posts. Encouraging people to interact with your other content is a great way to grow your following both inside and outside the Instagram app.
This also helps you keep posting consistently. It can be hard to come up with constant engaging content. You want to make sure that you’re not just sticking anything out there as this can negatively impact your business. Repurposing your content will help you save time in the long run and draw more attention to the other forms of content.
What to Share
If you’re wanting to get new followers, clients or friends’ stories are crucial. They allow you to create new forms of content and have daily interactions with your followers. They’re a great way to share weekly tips or experiences and don’t impact the look of your feed posts.
You can share practically anything in stories, things that have become increasingly popular is showing the behind the scenes of your brand. This can be as simple as showing your workspace or even having someone do an Instagram takeover on your account. People love to know what happens behind the scenes and how it brings the end results.
If you’re a little stuck on what to post on your stories, that’s okay. Here are some suggestions for story posts that will help you gain engagement.
- Day in the life of you/your brand
- Showcasing your new blog post
- Share an accomplishment
- Ask them a question (can be as simple as “how’s your day going” or “what are you doing today”)
- Share 5 facts about you/your brand
- Show some behind the scenes action