Everyone knows the story with Instagram: it comes out with new features in the name of improving its platform, a few early adopters try them out, everyone else follows suit, and just when we’re all comfortable…Instagram changes things up on us. This happens often and has wildly impacted brands’ and individuals’ engagement rates. What are we to do to keep up?
It won’t help to lament the fact that Instagram does this. After all, if a brand isn’t evolving, it’s dying. That goes for Instagram, and it goes for everyone else. That said, using the Instagram Stories feature offers a wonderful opportunity to increase engagement. Below are a few ways in which Stories can be a gift to you:
Instagram Stories appear at the top of the page.
As more users join Instagram to post content of their own and to follow numerous other accounts, there will be tons of posts that appear in their feeds. It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. That’s why posting IG stories is so important: the stories show up at the top of the page, above the crowded feeds of users. When you do a Story, it’ll appear at the top with a colorful circle around your Instagram account icon – letting users know that there is something to see. Having that visibility is invaluable for engagement purposes.
Another bonus with this is that, with Stories appearing at the top of the app, you have a bit more flexibility on posting times. While there will always be optimal times to post to social media, Instagram Stories are available for 24 hours. That means 24 HOURS where your story will be at the top of the screen! As opposed to, you know, getting lost in a sea of thousands of other posts in a span of minutes.
There are tons of stickers that exist for the purpose of increasing story engagement.
When you enter the Instagram Stories section of the app and you have your content ready to post, there will be five options at the top of the screen to add words, filters, etc to your Story. Select Option #3 (the Sticker option) and you’ll be met with quite a few selections to choose from. Three of the most notable are Polls, Questions, and the Slider sticker.
With polls, you ask a question and receive an ‘Either/Or’ answer. You’ll also receive a percentage breakdown of responses. Users love polls because answering them isn’t work-intensive and it allows them to voice their opinion.
Here, you get to ask a question, but rather than having it be ‘Either/Or’, the answer is written in by the user. For example, you could ask your followers for suggestions on your product offerings. Again, they love these because they get to give their opinions. Notice a trend?
The Slider sticker is one where you don’t necessarily need to ask a question in order to use it. You could post a visual and, by posting the Slider sticker, the audience gets to slide the emoji to the left or right to give their level of like/dislike for what you’ve put up.
‘Mentioning’ Other Accounts
To ‘mention’ other accounts, you’d do this: Use the ‘@’ symbol, followed by the account handle. Mentions can be particularly useful for engagement because if you mention another account in your IG Story (being sure, of course, that the mention is relevant; don’t be a spammer), they then have the chance to repost your Story into their Story. This opens up your content to a whole new audience, driving engagement (and possibly getting you some new followers along the way!).
Story highlights are a favorite of mine because of the possibilities for organization for which they allow. Whenever you post an Instagram Story, Instagram automatically saves your story for you in the app.
So, let’s say that you are a magazine. Maybe you’d like to group your Stories by Art, Fashion, Music, Culture, etc. To do this, you’d go to your profile and click the ‘+’ sign to add a new Highlight. You’d pick all Stories that you want to appear under the Highlight category. Then, you’d give your Highlight a title and edit the cover (the icon that will show up to represent the Highlight). When you do that and click ‘Add’, the Highlight will show up on your Instagram profile.
Highlights can be great to display certain categories of your business that you’d like to spotlight; they last until you delete them. Highlights give your audience a way to learn more about you (which, if you have quality content, will lead to more engagement), and it gives potential followers ways to learn about you before following your account.
Drive Traffic To Your Instagram Feed
Lastly, Instagram Stories is a wonderful way to drive traffic to your feed. Think about it: Stories go to the top of Instagram users’ feeds, so it would make sense that you’d post your Instagram feed post in your Instagram Story.
To do this, go to the post that you’d like to send to stories, and click the ‘Share’ button (beside the Comment bubble). Click ‘Add Post To Your Story’, then add any stickers/words that you’d like to include. Send it to your Story, and you’re done! This is an excellent way to make sure that your Instagram posts are getting seen so that you can increase engagement.
These five tips for how to increase overall Instagram engagement using Instagram Stories are going to bring a lot of value to your social media efforts. If they don’t, you can absolutely be angry at me (just kidding; they;ll work!). Let me know how they work for you and if there are any more tips that it’d be helpful for you to know about Instagram engagement.