Humans love stories, it’s part of our nature. We love telling them, and we love hearing them. It’s how our brains make sense of the world. This could be one of the reasons Instagram Stories are so popular and why Instagram Story marketing is so effective. More than one billion users a month are active on Instagram, and of them, more than 500 million of them use Instagram stories. Approximately one-third of the most-watched stories were posted by brands.
This year we’re likely to see an increasing number of brands focusing more of their marketing on 15-second videos or 10-second images. Insta Stories are a fast and easy way to showcase your brand’s personality. They offer a casual and endearing way to invite your audience and build trust. You can also use them to test new content and ideas with your followers.
Movement Is King
Engagement with Instagram Stories is outpacing that of its images. On average, videos get more comments than static, and with Instagram’s ever-changing algorithm, Stories are more likely to be seen in feeds than posts.
With competition for attention getting increasingly fierce, how can your brand grab the attention you want? Don’t worry, we got you. We asked our social media specialists for the best Instagram Story tips for improving engagement, and we’re sharing them with you.
Brands need to be active – which means posting regularly and responding to your audience – to attract followers and boost engagement. If you are consistent in Stories, you will always be at the top of the feed. Posting consistently ensures that your feed is fresh and you have more chances to be seen. Know when the best time and how often to post is key. There is no magic formula for when and how often to post. That will depend on your audience, so diving into your data will help you find the answer.
Just as important as posting consistently is responding consistently. When people reply to your story, and you have a conversation in the DMs, it tells Instagram that these accounts interact with each other. It’s more likely your content will show up in their main feed and Stories.
Make Sure You Are Telling a Story
Compelling stories are the best way to improve Instagram Stories engagement – that means a beginning, a middle, and an end. It’s not just an awesome image and your catchy captions that matter, but also the type of content you are offering. Giving your audience captivating content will give them a better experience and they will engage with it.
Don’t Forget the Call to Action
Seriously, don’t forget to add a call to action and make it clear and concise. You’d be surprised, or maybe you wouldn’t be, at how often people forget to add a call to action. Tell your followers what you want them to do and use text to keep it simple. Don’t make them have to guess what you want them to do.
Similar to calls to action, prompts tell your audience to take a specific action. In this instance, you promoting them to spend more time on your story, or to read through a multi-tile story.
Here are a few:
- Hold To Read – use this with longer text messages on your Story posts, and prompt readers to keep reading.
- Tap For More – start your Insta Story with a tile that asks a question, then add the prompt after the question. The next tiles can be videos or static images with more information.
- Get Ready To – create anticipation and set the tone for what’s next. You can let your audience know to a screenshot, turn their screens, or turn the sound on.
Share Your Instagram Feed Posts to Stories
Sharing your Instagram posts to Stories – with a call to action to go the post – can get your posts extra attention. It’s a great way to get more attention for a particular post as well as repurpose content, which can save you time and effort.
Use Instagram Stickers
Using Instagram stickers is another way to increase engagement for your stories. Stickers will encourage followers to chat and share their experiences and opinions, which helps create a loyal following that feels connected to the brand.
Stickers to try:
- Question Stickers – everyone loves a good Ask Me Anything (AMA).
- Quiz Sticker – this sticker lets you share multiple-choice questions and track the results.
- Poll Stickers – collect feedback on your services or products, crowdsource ideas, or use them to entertain your audience.
- Countdown Stickers – pique the interest of your audience and build excitement for upcoming events and sales.
These are just a few ways brands can use Instagram Stories Stickers to give their audience a chance to know them better. Be sure to post the results of quizzes and polls to encourage even more engagement.
Design for Sound on and Off
While 60% of Instagram Stories are viewed with the sound on, that means 40% are not. That’s a pretty good chunk of your audience. Use Instagram captions on videos with dialog, which you can do in platform now. This helps with both retention and inclusivity. For videos that don’t have dialog, be sure to include music and captions that relay your message.
Show off UGC as Much as You Can
User-generated content or UGC allows followers to become more deeply involved with a brand. This content is created at a much lower cost since the content is being created by the users. UCG is viewed as more authentic and builds trust with your audience, whether you are a product, experience, or service.
Give a “Behind the Scenes” Look
Everyone loves to see a little bit of what goes on behind the scenes. How are your products made? What does your office look like? How does your team interact? What is your creative process? It’s called social media for a reason, so keep it social and engaging by giving your audience a taste of what goes on behind the scenes.
If you run a restaurant, diner, or bar, step-by-step recipes work especially well on Instagram Stories. Or let a staff member take over your Instagram Stories for the day. This makes your brand seem more human, and people like to feel like they know the people behind their brands.
Add Hashtags to Expand Your Reach
Instagram hashtags can be a double-edged sword. When used correctly, they can drive traffic and create buzz. Overdo it, and your post will look spammy. Be strategic and thoughtful about the hashtags you choose to reach a specific industry or community, identify your service options, join a trending conversation, or push a branded campaign. Another option is to hide your hashtag under another element, such as a sticker.
Create a Shareable Fill-in-the-Blank Post
Use Instagram templates to create a fill-in-the-blank post that people can screenshot and share. It can be a this not that, would you rather, never have I ever, or anything else that engages the brand’s audience.
Add a Location to Your Post
Tagging posts with Instagram’s location stickers helps ensure that it shows up in the story library for that location. Like location tags for regular Instagram posts, when you add a location sticker, your story will appear in the public stories feed for that location. Whenever someone searches for the location, they will be able to engage with your story.
Always Test New Content Types
Some of the best content plans on Instagram come from experimentation. Testing out types of content can seem risky and daunting, but trial, error, and content experiments & story-telling are essential to being ahead of the pack and are a part of having a stronger strategy. Above are plenty of options to try, so start experimenting, testing, and analyzing the results to find out what type of content engages your audience the most.