Instagram is one of the world’s most popular social media platforms. Launched in 2010, Instagram has had 10 solid years to become what it is today. With over 1 billion active monthly users, we’d say they’re doing pretty well for themselves!
Instagram started out as a platform to share photos and videos in your content feed, but it has expanded to a marketing and e-commerce giant. Not only that, it’s created new features for users to engage with, such as Instagram stories.
Instagram stories was launched in 2016, and since then, it’s boomed in popularity. If you want to have a productive and engaging Instagram presence, you definitely can’t avoid using Instagram stories. The feature adds use time of the platform by an average of 28 million, and over half of the monthly active users also use stories, which brings it to about 500m+ monthly.
Instagram stories is a vital piece of your Instagram success and marketing efforts, and it’s actually one of the easiest ways to boost engagement, as the stories can be very interactive.
In this guide, we’re going to give you all the hottest tips for Instagram story engagement; they’ll definitely take your Instagram stories content strategy to the next level!
Let’s jump in!
Tip 1: Post to Instagram Stories Regularly
Instagram stories are unlike the typical in-feed content in the sense that they are only available for 24 hours. After they disappear, they are available on your archives which you can then post later in your Instagram story highlight album.
When you use Instagram stories regularly, you’re giving yourself access to content that you can later publish to your profile and use as features on your main profile page.
Not only that, when you have an active story that users have not yet seen, a red gradient circle will appear around your main profile image, enticing users to view it. If you are consistent in posting story content, your followers and new profile viewers will be reminded of you and your content on a regular basis.
They will also start to expect to see content from you, which can end up creating a loyal and engaged fan base. If you post one day and then don’t post for two days, it may through off your users.
Also, when new viewers come across your profile, having an active profile makes you look more engaged on your platform, which is beneficial for your reputation and professionalism.
Tip 2: Promote New Posts
You can cross-promote your content through features on Instagram; it’s become a new tactic for people to use Instagram stories to direct them to new content that has been posted on their main profile feed.
When you post a new photo, video, or carousel post, you can post it on your Instagram stories, covering it up by a GIF or text that says “new post!” Doing so will make people want to see the whole post, which can then lead to them viewing your profile and checking it out.
Driving traffic to your profile feed is a great way to get them to spend more time viewing your content, and even prompting them to check out your link in bio.
These are the types of insights that you’ll gain on Instagram and you can see which stories are leading to actions from your users, so you’ll be able to identify if the strategy is working for you. Doing this will cause a lot more profile views, whereas normal stories without this plug might not even get any profile views.
Tip 3: Use Swipe Up
You may have seen that many stories now feature the option to “swipe up” for more information; this is commonly used to direct traffic to external links that wouldn’t be available anywhere else on Instagram.
When you use a link on Instagram, it will never be clickable. The only clickable link on Instagram is in your bio, so using the swipe up tool to link out to related content you’re advertising in your stories is a vital tool.
If you’ve tried and noticed you can’t find this feature to save your life, it’s because you may not have the follower requirement yet. In order to limit the number of swipe ups on the platform, Instagram only offers the feature to users who have over 10k followers.
Don’t worry if you’re not there yet— slow and steady wins the race. Just keep working towards your growth goal and keep using good content and reach strategies to gain more Instagram followers.
Tip 4: Use Polls and Other Engagement Features
Instagram stories itself has built-in engagement tools that are incredibly useful for Instagram users to encourage users to participate and engage in their content. There are so many different ways you can incorporate these features.
Let’s take a closer look at a few of them and see how you can implement their use:
- Instagram polls: Users love these because they’re so mindless and you can easily participate. Usually, you’ll give your viewers two options to choose from, and they can pick what they like best. You can ask them for your opinion, show two photos and ask which they prefer, and even get their opinion on what content you should post next. It’s a super easy way to build higher engagement levels and have fun.
- Ranking meter: You can also use a slider with an emoji that people can use to agree or disagree with the emoticon that you post. Maybe you post something beautiful, and you keep the slider with the default heart eyes. Or maybe you post something annoying, and use the poop emoji. There are endless combinations and it’s a super fast tool for engagement and for people to give their opinion.
- Questions: Using the questions feature is awesome not only for engagement from your followers and viewers, but for you to respond and interact with them. It builds bonds with your community and shows that you’re responsive, and also gives users a chance to get their question featured by you, which also prompts more participation.
- Quizzes: Quizzes is another easy way to build in fast engagement. You can check your customer’s knowledge base about something or ask them trivia for fun; whatever you decide, they’ll be able to see the right answer after responding and it’s fun for them.
These are the four main features that Instagram stories include so that you can interact with your followers and boost your engagement. They really work— they show that you’re active on your profile and also let viewers feel like they’re connecting with you and a part of something.
Tip 5: Use Hashtags and Mentions
When you use hashtags and mentions, you’ll be able to propel your stories to a higher level of discoverability and reach. They both work a bit different, but are both valuable.
If your story incorporates any other brand, business, or user, tag them. When you mention someone else in your story, as long as your profile is public, the user you tagged can repost your story into their story.
This is a big way to gain more publicity from accounts that have more users, thus launching your content out to an even larger audience that may be interested in your account.
What’s more, when you use hashtags, you’ll gain more discoverability for your stories. Hashtags work to include your content in feeds using the hashtag, but you have a bit more flexibility with hashtags for stories, as more general hashtags don’t have as many posts as the content feeds do.
You can use less specific, popular hashtags and still see a big jump in your story reach; your story will appear in the hashtag feed and can also be featured by the story feed which means that you’ll gain more viewers. If you have awesome story content, you can draw in many people to your account, boosting followers.
Final Thoughts on Story Engagement
All five of these tips are really pertinent in boosting your Instagram stories strategy. You should incorporate them in your content in order to have a more cohesive and thoughtful Instagram strategy that drives engagement and results.
One final thing that we want to mention is to get creative. Instagram stories is a really wonderful feature for brands and businesses because you have more freedom in what you share; they’re only available for 24 hours and they’re just short snippets, so you have so much freedom and flexibility to make them creative.
You can feature videos, boomerangs, add music, use filters, add GIFs, text, and more. They’re truly customizable and having creative and interesting content that uses the tips above will no doubt give you the Instagram stories performance that you’re looking for.
If you’re looking for a great site that can help you with templates and designs for your Instagram stories, Canva is an excellent free option that can take your story design to the next level.
Don’t be afraid to show your personality and let your brand image shine in your IG stories! Your followers love to see it.