How to Create More Engaging Instagram Stories

Welcome to 2019, Instagram stories are all the rage right now. They’re driving profile views and website traffic and consuming a TON of time in the our day. In fact, 400 million users watch Instagram stories every day. Businesses that use Instagram get up to 37% of their impressions just from stories. If you’re managing an Instagram account for a business or for your personal brand, you need to be utilizing the power of stories.

So, what can you do to create engaging stories? Here’s where you can start:

So Glam (3).png

Clean your camera lens.

First things first, you need to have quality media – and that doesn’t mean you need a fancy camera. Today’s cell phone cameras do a pretty good job especially when it comes to Instagram. But you do need to get into a habit of cleaning your camera lens on your phone every single time you take a photo or video. Even if your phone has only been in your pocket for a few minutes, dust, lint, and finger prints can collect on the lens and affect the quality of the photos and videos. It only takes a few seconds but makes a huge impact.

Clear, quality media is what the people want. Give it to them!

Use good lighting.

Whether it’s natural light or a ring light, full sun or a lamp… Make sure that what you’re showing off is visible. Things to consider: if your follower is watching your story with their screen brightness all the way down, will they still be able to see your story? If they’re watching it with their screen brightness all the way up, will they still be able to see it? These things are not in our control, so we must cater to any possible viewing environments. Regardless if you are doing a selfie or featuring a widget of some sort – make sure that it is well lit.

Use subtitles.

MANY Instagram stories are watched on mute (We’re talking to you, in the bathroom at work avoiding your grown-up responsibilities, it’s okay. We do it too). If you’re sharing a video or doing an Instagram Story with audio, consider using subtitles so users who are watching on mute know what’s going on too. It’s also makes your video more accessible.

Define your style and stick to it.

Fonts and filters – oh my! While it is incredibly fun to play with all the features Instagram offers, keep to a consistent theme. This helps with your branding as well. Do you use the “modern” font or the typewriter font? Do you use a filter? If so, which one? Do you have a color scheme you like to stick to? Define your style – much like you define your brand – and stick to it.

Create original content.

The ability to share others’ content to your story is a wonderful and well-used tool, but we caution overuse. Original content geared towards your audience’s interest is going to speak loudest to them. If all you do is reshare quotes from inspirational profiles (while we LOVE those and they’re great), you’re not going to get a ton of engagement. People follow you and your brand because they like you and your brand. They want to hear from YOU. Give them more of that.

Use the tools Instagram gives you.

Tag locations. Mention other profiles. Use #HASHTAGS. Add music. Create a poll. Add a GIF. Ask a question. Use a countdown. Add a reaction bar. Use a sticker.

Instagram created all these tools, not for their benefit – but ours. When people engage in your polls, answer your questions, tap a location or mention, or react to something you share, your content is bumped up in the algorithm. These triggers tell Instagram “Hey! People like this type of content! More people should see it!” (Unpopular opinion: Algorithms really aren’t nearly as complicated as many people make it out to be.)

Be consistent.

Victoria did some independent testing on her own Instagram profile and found something pretty crazy. Going from sharing stories maybe 2-3 times per week, to sharing on stories at least 3 times a day, every. single. day, she increased her profile views by over 500%. You read that right. In one month, her profile views increased by over 500%, the only change being consistently posting a story at least three times a day (think breakfast, lunch and dinner). The key is to share quality content and not just posting on Stories because we told you to.

While we can’t say that these results are standard, we can say that if you’re struggling with engagement… increasing your Instagram story presence is a great place to start.

Pay attention to what’s working.

Instagram provides analytics within the app. Look at your Stories history. What types of content get the most views? Look at both impressions and reach. The ones with the highest numbers are what people like. Post more like this. Look at the “next story” clicks and exits. The ones here with the highest numbers are what people don’t like. Post less like this. Use these numbers to create your content strategy.

What has been working for your profile’s Stories? Share with us!

Need help creating a strategy? Contact us below!

[button to social marketing landing page]

Victoria Evans