Instagram Stories: 3 Tips To Increase Your Engagement

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Sure, it's a must these days to have an active social media presence - but are you funneling your efforts into Instagram's hottest feature - Instagram Stories?! In this blog post, we'll go over 3 tips to increase your engagement with your audience and how to cultivate a community through your DMs. Plus, we'll go over which mistakes to avoid, our favorite apps to use, and more!

If you’re local to Phoenix, I will be speaking on this topic in depth at The Emerald on Wednesday, April 17th from 5:30-7pm! You can buy tickets here :)

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If you aren’t local to Phoenix, you can still book a social media training/consultation with me to get you up to speed on the latest Instagram Story strategies that we can customize for your brand. Fill out the form here and I’ll be in touch!

Understanding the Instagram Algorithm

Let’s give a brief explanation of how the Instagram Stories “algorithm” works.

  1. Instagram makes money from ads

  2. Instagram can show you more ads the longer you stay in the app

  3. Instagram will prioritize showing you content that it thinks you will engage with (aka - watch the full video/story, read the full caption, post a comment or send a DM) so that you stay longer in the app and overall have a good time in the app so you keep coming back for more

Therefore, when creating content for Stories, it’s important to:

  1. Show up EVERY DAY & throughout the day so your Stories are pushed to the front of the “line”

  2. Give a reason for people to watch beginning to end (aka - tell a story)

  3. Give a reason for people to engage (ie. swipe up, screenshot, hold to read, vote on the poll, DM me questions, etc.)

Therefore, here are 3 tips to help increase your engagement on Stories….

Get Used To Showing Your Face On Stories

Did that make you CRINGE!?! Sorry not sorry, friends - Instagram Stories offers a unique way for us to ENGAGE in REAL TIME with our followers. It’s your chance to show the day-to-day of your brand, the behind-the-scenes, and the imperfect and relatable moments that your followers crave.

The easiest way to show face is to record yourself talking to your audience using your front facing camera - and I even prefer to record in Snapchat (so I can use the cute filters) and save it then upload it to Instagram. I still don’t have the capability to record IG Story clips longer than 15 seconds, but if you do (this is a feature they’re rolling out), you can just record it in Instagram Stories.

NOW - when you upload these videos to your story - ADD. CAPTIONS!!! Explain what you are talking about in the video so that people who listen to Stories without sound (I do it all the time lol) can still understand what’s going on. I will SKIP stories that don’t do this, and that will decrease your viewership and engagement.

The more people who watch your story from beginning to end without skipping, the more your Story will show up at the top of their feed to watch :)

Utilize Social Proof

Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation.

So, to capitalize on this, take a screenshot and share it to your stories when…

  1. Someone DMs you a FAQ (post the response or share the link to answer their question)

  2. Someone tags you in a picture that includes a product you recommended (or your own product) and they bought it

  3. Someone DMs you complimenting your product or recent blog or podcast or video and THANK them and show others where they can also get that product or read that post

This shows your story viewers that:

  1. You are kind & helpful

  2. You are supportive

  3. Other people like your content and find you useful!

This will encourage other users to engage with you, because it shows other people are already doing it!

Use Apps To Make Your Content V Cool

Don’t be afraid to get down and dirty with some apps. It’s important to stay on brand when hopping onto Stories and when designing graphics. My rule of them is to stick to one or two fonts and to stick to using your color palette as much as possible. Here are some of my favorite Instagram Story apps!

  1. Functionality

    1. Caption This - You can record yourself talking in the app and it will automatically generate closed captions for your video!

    2. Story Splitter - You can upload a video of any length and it will split it into 15-second long clips so you can upload it to Stories

  2. Design

    1. Canva - Has the most versatility with design and fonts. I usually design within the desktop version.

    2. StoriesEdit - Planoly’s new app. The designs are BEAUTIFUL and are relatively easy to customize.

    3. Unfold - Has easy templates to add multiple photos to a pretty frame for IG Stories

    4. Adobe Spark - A little bit complicated to figure out, but has beautiful templates.

  3. Scheduling - Both of these essentially do the same thing, just depends on which you prefer. You can schedule for a story to go live and the app will send a push notification to your phone for you to upload it to your Story

    1. Planoly

    2. Later

If you’re finding that you can’t seem to crack the code on IG stories, we have an Instagram Stories online course that goes over all of this and MORE.

Becca Booker