If you’re looking to step up your Instagram Stories game right now, then you’re in the right place! It’s crazy to think that when Instagram first introduced Stories that a lot of people weren’t on board. Now, Instagram Stories is where it’s at for bloggers and all kinds of creative entrepreneurs.
Over the past year, I have really enjoyed using Instagram Stories more and more. I have seen the potential it has to reach my target audience first-hand. It’s now one of my favorite tools to use to engage with my audience. I have said it before and I’ll say it again… in order to establish credibility and to grow your audience online, you have to prioritize building a relationship with your target crew!If you're looking to step up your Instagram Stories game, then you need to read this right now! Click To Tweet
Last year, I shared about 9 different ways to get creative with Instagram Stories and you all loved it. While the information in that post is still relevant, I must say, IG Stories has gotten much cooler since last year.
7 Instagram Stories Strategies That You Need To Use:
1. Consistency // Dun, dun, dunnnn… There is it! You knew this had to be my first talking point. Consistency is the key to building a known presence on IG Stories (and online in general). You need to find out what your consistency is going to look like and then stick to it. In other words, you don’t need to utilize IG Stories to the max every single day, but you do need to set a good pace for yourself and set a level of expectation for your followers.
Your audience simply wants you to show up. Do that and you’ll be able to cultivate community.Your audience simply wants you to show up. Do that and you'll be able to cultivate community. Click To Tweet
2. Add Hashtags (And Possibly Hide Them) // For the longest time, I never used hashtags on Stories. The only time I’d use hashtags was for sponsored projects where there was a specific campaign hashtag. That’s when I began to notice that I started to get viewership from certain hashtags. This was a huge game changer for me! Let’s continue…
This was also around the time when I first started seeing other bloggers share that they’ll just throw hashtags on every single Story they post… and the kicker is, they hide their hashtags. What do I mean by “hide”? You hide hashtags on Instagram Stories by adding the hashtags via text and then dragging them off the Story screen. This still allows those Stories to be searchable via that hashtag.
Some influencers will use popular hashtags that get tons of views that have no relation to the actual Story they posted… Yep, that’s a thing. Their whole reason for doing so is to gain maximum exposure and reach. While I understand this reasoning, I do think it can be abused. If you’ve been around here for a while, you know that I’m only for growing in an authentic and genuine way. I’m not about that follow/unfollow crap or any other sneaky methods out there.
I think that hiding your hashtags is a great way to maximize your reach but only when done in an honest way. If you’re sharing an outfit of the day post, then use #OOTD and other fashion-related hashtags – feel free to hide them. But if you’re sharing an outfit of the day and you’re using hidden hashtags that have nothing to do with fashion just for the sake of exposure… I’d be cautious.
This is just my opinion, of course! I know many people claim that this is a good “business strategy” but at the end of the day, I think that transparency is the best business practice. 😉
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7 Instagram Story Hacks To Boost Engagement Click To Tweet
3. Add Subtitles // A few months ago, I used the polls option on IG Stories to get some feedback from my followers on whether or not they listen to Stories with sound. About 80% said that they don’t typically watch Stories with sound on for numerous reasons. For me, 95% of the time I listen with the sound on, so while my poll results were shocking to me, it was more of an eye-opener!
Ever since getting those results back, I have used subtitles on my Stories whenever I’m talking so that everyone feels invited into the conversation. You also never know if someone is hard of hearing. Adding subtitles is a simple way to open up the chance to connect more.
I have seen my IG Story views grow since adding subtitles. I usually just add the plain text to my clips but if I have more time, I’ll use the “Caption This” app to add actual subtitles. The app cost just under $4 (if I remember correctly). It allows you to upload a clip and then it’ll add the text for you. Sometimes it doesn’t get every word correct but you do have the option to edit the text yourself. The photo below shows an example of the text – it scrolls just how subtitles would!
4. Add Your Location // Whether you’re a travel content creator or someone who’s looking to build a more local following, adding your location to your IG Stories is a great way to expand your potential reach. When I started traveling more, I started using the location feature and to my surprise, it helped my Instagram Stories reach more people. This is because people use the location feature to see what’s going on in the area. For example, when I went on my trip to Nashville last summer, I would use the general Nashville location and then more direct locations on my Stories while I was there. I gained some new followers by doing this!
I will put this out there as a caution – If you’re at a specific place and want to use your location, wait until you leave to post/tag your location. There are twisted people out there and your safety should be more important to you than posting something in-the-moment. Be safe, friends!There's a huge benefit to using hashtags and locations on Instagram Stories. Learn why here! Click To Tweet
5. Highly Utilize The Interactive Features // While Instagram doesn’t always give us what we want, they have done a pretty great job at giving us some amazing interactive features to use for our IG Stories! I know not everyone has every feature that has been rolled out (I hope you get them soon!), you should still use the ones you do have to your advantage!
- Music guides at Runthemusic
- Newest: Quizzes
These are all actionable features to use to connect and engage with your followers, as well as adding personality to your Stories!
6. Make Your Own Story Graphics // Instagram Stories shouldn’t be bland and boring, they should be exciting and inviting! I’m a firm believer that IG Stories is the perfect place to share your not-so-curated photos, videos even the ones that are converted from Hi8 to digital, and behind-the-scenes of your life. People LOVE that kind of stuff! But if you’re a professional, you should still aim to keep some kind of cohesive branding in the mix with Stories.
An easy way to do this is to create your own graphics for Stories! There are many different apps out there that allow you to do this. Some of my favorites are:
- Unfold – this free app comes with free options and the option to purchase additional graphics packs!
- Canva – has an endless amount of graphics that you can use for free and tweak to be your own. You can use Canva on desktop or their app.
- Over – this is a free app with the option to go pro for $29.99/year that features many free options to use or to start from scratch!
There are many others out there, too! Plus, there’s always the option to purchase some off Etsy or Creative Market.
7. Have A Q&A Session // Your followers are following you for a reason. They love your content and they probably really enjoy getting to know the real you! When you’re a blogger or brand who’s focused on sharing your content all of the time and not sharing the real bits about you, people can start to lose interest. People want to see the real stuff! One easy and fun way to do this is to have a Q&A sesh on IG Stories! When I do this, I’ll usually ask for questions (via the questions option) about a week in advance before my Q&A sesh. This is a great way for people to ask questions about your brand and questions about your real life. It’s been one of the best ways I’ve been able to interact with my followers.
You can also switch it up and ask them questions, too!7 Instagram Stories Strategies That You Need To Be Using Click To Tweet
That’s a wrap, for now, friends! Well, until Instagram rolls out some new IG Story features! What has been your favorite way to engage with your followers on Stories? What’s been the best way to grow your Story views and interaction? Let’s chat!