What if the secret to higher engagement on Instagram doesn’t have to do with your feed?
So we are going to deep dive into Instagram Stories!
Your Instagram feed is only one piece of the Instagram engagement puzzle.
You can’t just upload a few square-cropped photos, add a witty caption, and call it good for the day. That was Instagram circa 2014-2015.
2018 Instagram is a whole other beast.
Along with your feed, you also have Instagram stories to create.
While this may be creating you instant anxiety and want to give up right away I am going to tell you instagram stories are your friend and really no one cares about what your hair and makeup looks like or if your voice sounds weird.
Well maybe they do.. But if they do you do not want them following you anyways because they are mean… 🙁
What is an Instagram story?
If you’re wondering what in the world an Instagram story is, we’re happy to give you the 411. An Instagram story is a collection of video clips and photos that are available for public viewing for 24 hours.
Stories were first introduced on Snapchat, but then Facebook and Instagram borrowed the feature several months later.
Instagram stories are a great way to engage your audience and show a behind-the-scenes look at how you run your business.
Since you’ll want to keep your feed aesthetically pleasing, your stories can show the unfiltered, highly personable side of your business.
If you’ve been neglecting your Instagram stories, today is a reminder to get back into it! But don’t worry you are not alone.
If you haven’t started to create Instagram stories for your business at all yet, today’s blog post will give you even more of a reason to do so.
But hold up, wait a minute!
Before jumping into the stories feature, let’s make sure you know how to actually get your audience to engage with the content you’re creating from the get-go.
Ask your Instagram audience a question
One of the most simple ways to engage with your audience through Instagram stories is by asking them a simple, direct question.
You can do this either by typing your question and placing it over a photo, or you can create your own graphic with the question already designed on it.
While both of these strategies work, our favorite way to ask a question on Instagram stories is by taking a selfie video and asking the question aloud. As you can imagine, it is far more engaging than a graphic your followers can quickly flip through.
If you ask your followers a question on video, make sure you also type it in using the text feature so people know what you’re asking even if you’re on mute. Not everyone listens to their Instagram stories with the sound turned on so it’s smart to ask both ways.
When you ask a question over video or through a graphic, tell people how to answer you! If you ask a question but don’t give your followers the next step, they may not know how you want them to answer.
Instead, motion to the private message box below the Instagram story video or add arrows to highlight the message box. You can also type “DM me”, which tells followers to direct message you in the box below.
Create an Instagram story poll
Are you loving the idea of asking your audience questions? If you have a simple yes/no question, you’ll get more interaction if you create a poll.
When you create a poll in your Instagram story, you’re able to see how your followers vote on specific options. You can use polls for market research (like asking if they’re interested in your new product idea) or to show the fun, more personal side of your brand (like asking if they prefer coffee or tea).
We absolutely love using polls to see what our audience wants more of! It also cuts down on the amount of private messages we have to reply to, which our social media manager greatly appreciates.
Want to get started with Instagram polls? Open your Instagram story and hit the smiley face button in the top right. Then hit the “Poll” option to write your question and choose your answers. “Yes” and “no” automatically pop up but you can customize your answers to say anything.
Tag your location
Many bloggers do this with photos in their Instagram feed, but did you know it can help you grow your audience if you tag your location on Instagram stories too?
Whether you’re traveling to a far off country or simply enjoying a latte at your favorite local coffee shop, you have the option of tagging your location within your Instagram story.
Tagging your location will help others locate where you are and can kick-start conversations with your audience members about the place or destination.
Simply click the smiley face button in the top right of your Instagram story and select “Location”. It should automatically generate your location if you’ve given Instagram permission to see where you are with your phone’s internal GPS. Neat, huh?
Include a relevant hashtag
Think hashtags can only be used to grow your Instagram through your feed? Think again! Instagram recently launched a new update to their hashtag search pages.
Now when you search for a specific hashtag, you’ll not only see all of the top posts and most recent photos with the hashtag, but you’ll also see a hashtag stories feature at the top.
When you click on the hashtag story, it opens an automatically generated collection of Instagram story clips that have happened within the last 24 hours. The more views and interaction your story clip gets, the more likely you’ll be featured on the main hashtag story.