Instagram Stories are becoming increasingly popular with marketers and brands, which is why boosting engagement is so important; but what are some best practices for ensuring your Stories are not only seen but also produce high engagement?
According to Later, Stories generate more than 500,000 views daily. This makes it an ideal platform for brands looking to connect with their audience in a more authentic, human way.
Read on to learn about five things you can do to boost your engagement on Instagram via Instagram Stories.
1. Get creative with Create Mode
Create Mode was launched in October 2019 and has had several updates since then. Instagram added this feature in Stories to enable users to create content that utilizes interactive stickers, GIFs, polls, and text without sharing a photo or video.
You can find Create Mode on the left-hand side of your Story menu.
Here are a few features we think are especially helpful for businesses and brands to utilize on Instagram Stories:
- Shoutout followers, teammates, or brand partners – Using the Shoutouts feature, you can quickly tag other accounts for special recognition. The user you tag will be notified that they were included in your Story.
- Create a poll – Polls offer a quick, fun way to get feedback from your followers. Asking for your audience’s opinion indicates you value their feedback and creates buy-in.
- Ask a question – In addition to polls, this feature allows you to ask open-ended questions to your followers and collect more detailed feedback/answers.
- Start a countdown timer – Do you have a new product launch coming up? Big news on the horizon? Using the countdown timer in Stories is an excellent way to build suspense and get your followers invested in an upcoming project.
2. Don’t ignore the hashtag and location stickers.
If the goal of a particular Story is to attract new audience members, hashtag and location stickers are a must-use feature.
Just like with your Instagram posts, hashtags help make your Stories discoverable. You can add up to ten hashtags on one story but be careful! You don’t want your Story to become too cluttered with hashtag stickers.
A great workaround for this problem is to shrink and hide hashtags behind larger stickers or stack them behind one another, so it looks like you only have one hashtag on your post (even though there are ten).
Location tags are useful for any business, but especially brick and mortar businesses that can add their location hashtag to posts. This increases views among potential followers from user-generated content.
3. Be strategic and purposeful with your brand identity
The most successful brands and creators on Instagram have a consistent brand identity that they use throughout their content.
In fact, according to HootSuite, a consistent brand identity is one of the many factors that Instagram’s algorithm takes into account when determining which content to feature on its Explore page.
What goes into creating a consistent brand identity?
- Select GIFs
Your images should mesh together visually, in other words, be cohesive. To achieve this, be consistent with the colors, fonts, filters, and types of GIFs you use across all platforms. The goal is to be identifiable before users even see your profile name.
One way to achieve this is by using templates. If you’re not a designer, you can access beautifully designed templates using free design sites and tools like Canva or Crello. You can also pay to have a designer create custom templates for your brand or purchase them at a reasonably low price.
Taking time to plan your brand’s identity will not only make your brand look more professional but will also increase the chances of getting your content featured on the highly coveted Explore page.
4. Incorporate a clear Call to Action
Instagram has created a wealth of resources via stickers to get followers engaged with your content.
Here are some examples of strong Call to Action stickers you can start incorporating into your Stories:
- Place a food order – Instagram allows you to connect your account with a third-party delivery app to your Story, which will enable followers to start their order directly from Instagram. This is perfect if your business is in the food/hospitality industry.
- Offer gift cards – Add a gift card sticker to your Story to allow followers to easily purchase gift cards for your business.
- Ask followers to send you a DM – The “DM Me” stickers are a great way to encourage your followers to message you. You can use this feature to start conversations or take questions regarding an upcoming product or event.
- Host an Ask Me Anything (AMA) – AMA’s are a great way to get engagement. Use the Question Sicker to prompt your followers to ask you anything. When someone sends you a question, it goes to your inbox. From there, you can share the follower’s question along with your answer via a new story, or you can answer them in a direct message.
5. Create a weekly series
When it comes to social media marketing, consistency is key. Instagram Stories are no exception. Use Stories to create weekly content that followers know to expect.
For example, Alex Beadon, an Instagram expert, hosts a weekly Stories series called “Work With Me Wednesdays” where she takes viewers behind the scenes on her day and encourages them to ask questions.
Think about the kind of value-add information you can provide to your followers and plan a weekly series around that content.
As you can see, there is an abundance of creative content opportunity available to you via Instagram Stories. The next step is to decide what works best for your client, business, or brand and get started!