Want to gain more followers on Instagram? Instagram Stories, or IG stories, is a place for users to share photos and short videos to their “story” for just 24 hours. Instagram stories are stored separately from the main Instagram feed, at the top of the home screen. Originally mocked for being a Snapchat copycat, Instagram stories have quickly become one of the most used features of the social media platform. With the ability to quickly turn on the camera and share a snapshot of whatever you are up to at that moment, or alternatively access your camera roll and share more refined a more refined photo or video content, an Instagram story is a super easy and fun way to up your follower count on Instagram with just a few clicks.
When sharing Instagram stories, keep in mind these tips for ensuring your story is an eye-catcher:
- Make a point: Plan what you are going to say before posting. Even if it is a spur-of-the-moment post, keep the quality of your posts high.
- Make it attention-grabbing: Users will often click through Instagram stories without watching them fully, so make sure to grab their attention in the first few seconds.
- Provide value: Make sure to include useful information or links to valuable resources.
- Call to action: Make sure to tell users to interact with any links on your Instagram stories, including the “swipe up” feature or shared posts.
- Stay true to your brand: Keep your Instagram stories on-brand and consistent with the types of things you regularly post on your Instagram account.
Here are some great ideas for making the most of your Instagram stories, inspired by one of my favorite accounts:
Create a Story storm
If you have a lot of information to share at once, instead of writing a long-form Instagram post on your main feed, why not turn it into a story storm? This is where a stream of shorter Instagram stories all focused on the same content are posted at the same time to tell a longer story. An Instagram story storm means each slide or story is still captivating but gives you much more space to get your point across. If the information you are sharing is highly relevant to your brand, consider saving it all to a highlight so that it lives at the top of your profile for people to view anytime
Holding an Instagram live session is a fantastic way to boost engagement and gain more Instagram followers, getting their input and feedback in real-time. It is a great service to use for events such as a product launch to announce a new exciting project, or simply for more down-to-earth Q&A sessions. Instagram lives can be a fun and fresh way of delivering content, without the need for picture-perfect refinement. This format will also let your audience feel much closer to you and give a feeling of authenticity to your brand.
The Instagram app will notify your followers every time you go live, for maximum engagement, but it is also a good idea to upload your live session to your Instagram stories once it is over, so that users who couldn’t make it can still catch up later on their Instagram account.
Link to your content
Make good use of the “share to your story” feature, and share your main posts to your Instagram story every time you post. This ensures that your content is reached by everyone, even those who may have missed out due to the ever-changing Instagram algorithm. If you want to increase the chances of your followers clicking on the link and interacting with your actual post, make sure to add some text prompting them to check it out and like/comment/share with their friends. Alternatively, add an expertly-placed sticker hiding the main feature of the photo, so that your audience is intrigued and has to click through to see the final image.
Offer a sneak peek
Sharing a sneak peek of Instagram posts, upcoming content, or projects to your Instagram stories can be a fun way of creating hype and intrigue amongst your followers. Hinting at exciting new content can be a great way to get a conversation started – try integrating stickers or polls asking users to guess what you have in store!
Countdown to something exciting
Another way to get people excited about an upcoming project or event is by trying out the countdown sticker. Add it to any story, set the date and time of the event, and voila, you and your audience have a to-the-second countdown to whatever it is you have planned. Seeing the time tick down can be a great way for audiences to feel involved and get excited together. Encourage them to share with their friends to spread the hype and get more Instagram followers!
Incorporate user-generated content
Sharing user-generated content can really increase engagement for your Instagram marketing strategy. Encourage your Instagram followers to send you artwork or designs inspired by your brand and share your favorites each week, or start a hashtag where your followers can share their works themselves. Make sure to remind people to tag you, and be engaging with your followers by responding and commenting on their submissions and encouraging them to do the same. Incorporating user-generated content is an opportunity for you to share fresh content, while also involving your follower base. (It will help if you’re friends with Chris Pratt)
Make use of Instagram highlights
Take advantage of the Instagram highlights feature. Unlike regular Instagram stories which disappear after 24 hours, highlights are a permanent fixture on your page. Use this to store some of your best bits, important information, or even just some of your favorite memories. Even better if you can create cute covers for each highlight, new Instagram followers may use these to get an idea of you and your brand voice.
Use stories to boost your Instagram bio
This is an expansion of the last point, but turning your highlights into a part of your bio where Instagram users can access important brand-related information at a click is a great use of the feature. Consider adding cohesive cover images to each of your highlights, and grouping similar content together to keep things neat and tidy.
Brighten up any Instagram Stories post with stickers. Either try out funny, colorful ones to add a splash of creativity to your posts, or add a location sticker or hashtag to let your followers know what you’re up to.
Get your followers involved
A lot of the stickers offered by Instagram involve polls, question boxes, and yes/no options. These can be a really fun way to keep your engagement high and involve your audience. Whether it is asking for opinions on recent or upcoming content or used as a fun game, interactive Instagram stories are a hit with audiences and can have a really positive effect on user engagement.
Schedule your stories in advance
If time is an issue for you, consider scheduling your Instagram stories in advance. This saves time, as well as ensures your posts are going out at the best times without having to interrupt your busy day. Try using apps such as Hootsuite or Facebook Business Suite to make scheduling regular posts an even easier process. When you schedule Instagram posts, your followers on Instagram will stay engaged with fresh content.
Invite your audience to share similar content
Whether it’s a fancy new outfit or a new recipe, when you share something new try inviting your Instagram followers to share their attempts at the same thing. This gets current followers excited to try out your content, as well as increases your potential followers every time you’re tagged in a new post or story.
Asking your Instagram followers questions and encouraging them to interact with your Instagram stories is a great way to boost engagement on your social media profile. Making use of the question box feature in the Instagram stories stickers is an easy way for your followers to interact and have their say. Ask for your follower’s opinions on trending topics, to help pick your outfits, or to contribute to a discussion. As a bonus, post the answers anonymously to let everyone feel involved in both the question and answer process!
Try out polls
Similar to the last point, using polls to create interactive instagram stories can be a fun interactive way of getting to know your target audience better. Ask your followers on Instagram to pick between two things, either related to your brand such as the type of content they would like to see next, or else as a fun activity, such as their favorite pizza topping. Your Instagram followers will be able to vote for their favorite and see the results from the rest of your community in real-time, with updates every time they re-watch your Instagram story.
Construct a “takeover”
Consider working with a brand or other influencers to host a takeover. An Instagram takeover involves a celebrity, an influencer, or a team member taking temporary control over another account to share content. Combining two well-known channels or brands like this provides an opportunity for both parties to grow a wider audience size as well as engagement, as well as provide space for fresh new content.
Run a competition involving people posting/tagging you in their Instagram stories
Try collaborating with other accounts to host a giveaway or competition of some sort. Competitions can be a fantastic way to boost both engagement rates and follower reach. If you’re doing this through stories, make sure to ask people to repost the competition to their Instagram stories and to follow and tag all accounts involved as well as their friends.
Go behind the scenes
Let your followers feel even more involved in your brand by taking them behind the scenes. Whether it’s snapshots of your creation process, or a day in your life, letting your followers into the inner workings of your brand will make them feel like they’re a part of the process. Sharing this usually unseen element of your brand will be an exciting way to add a human, personable element to your Instagram profile.
Hold an “AMA” (ask me anything)
Either through an Instagram live session or through the question box feature in story stickers, holding an Ask Me Anything is a great chance for your followers to get to know you better and ask any questions they may have. You can use it as an opportunity to connect to your followers and is an easy way of creating an afternoon’s worth of content for your platform. Simply ask your followers to submit any questions they may have, and answer any and all you are comfortable with – you don’t have to answer everything. An AMA can also be a fantastic opportunity to share news or thought leadership related to your brand, all while you build engagement.
You may have noticed that I’m a huge Marvel fan. Yep, and they are social media masters. If you want great ideas about how to make money on Instagram, Marvel is a great account to follow.