Not to put any pressure on you, but normal Instagram post engagement (aka, people seeing your stuff) is literally tanking for everyone right now. And instead of being mad about things we can not control - algorithms! - let's focus on what IS working!!
Stories is where I will keep my community connected to the “real me” and show what ever is on my mind that day, or where I’m going, or post questions I have specific to those who see my posts (HELLO POLL STICKER!!). Its a great way to show valuable content that doesn’t necessarily fit on your feed (I’ll talk more about this in another post! for now, lets talk about stories!)
If you’re just getting started now or maybe you just need a refresher guide - here are a few key pieces to remember when you plan to hop on the #instastory bandwagon and get your business creating stories daily.
Top 5 Reasons to Post To Instagram Stories Now (don't wait!)
- CONSISTENCY IN YOUR BRAND! Instagram stories is a fantastic place to continue your brand story and be recognizable. My tip here is to keep it simple, and easy to read/follow. Remember your instagram story clip is only 8-15 seconds long so avoid cluttering up the “frame” space if you can help it. Know what you want your audience to zone in on, and make sure it’s super easy to see/read! I catch myself trying to add in so many cute stickers and emoticons when really, simple text will totally get my point across and not have anyone confused in the process. <— A quick additional point: if you don't know what you like - watch other accounts you love and see what they do! No need to be a copy cat - but pull inspiration from those who are already killing it on Stories. I have a few ninja-tricks at the end of this post to add to this point!
- BE SEEN: Even if you haven’t made a post in awhile, you can still create an Instagram story to help keep you top of mind to your audience. FYI - you can see current stories by clicking the little coloured circles around the profile photos at the top of the “live feed" screen. The more someone watches your stories and engages with you via DM- the closer your account will move towards that #1 spot on their row of new stories. Create great content that your people love and you’ll move yourself to #1 to be viewed.
- HASHTAG HACK: Instagram stories with at least one appropriate hashtag hidden in your photo or text will get you more eyeballs on your stories. So choose those hashtags wisely!!! You can simply use the text option to type one in, or the hashtag sticker. Either way, don’t use a made up hashtag that no one would be hanging out on - use this time to add a hashtag that is super specific to what you’re talking about, or who you want to see your story. For example: When I used the #instagramtips hashtag in one of my Insta-story clips, it got 334 views vs the next clip when I didn’t use it - that got 288 views. Worth it!!
- LOCATION STICKERS: If you don’t want to use hashtags all the time- and you’re a local business or want to promote local people - USE THE LOCATION TAG sticker!!!!!! Seriously.. use it even if you’re not a local business because depending on where you are - odds are, you’ll get noticed/found through the curated location story… (click your explore tab to see what I mean - the city you can currently be found in should show up there for you to view)
- INSIGHTS ARE MONEY! This isn’t a MUST know as you get started - but once you’ve tried out a few different story clips - don’t forget about them! You can analyze what did well and what didn’t using your Instagram Insights tool (for businesses only!). Scroll to the bottom of your Insights where it says Stories. You’ll be able to see how many people saw your stories, who tapped forward, or backward, or exited your story completely. All of this info is MONEY in your inbox (aka - leads!) when you’re looking to create more value for your community. Giving them what they love and using your expertise to serve your audience is the ultimate goal of social media!
3 Bonus (& Super Easy) Creative Insta-story Design Hacks
Here are a few NINJA TIPS to get you started!
- Some Instagram stickers have different colour options if you press them once. For me, I don’t always want my location to be the main focus of my story clip so I press it once, and then pinch it super small so it almost disappears from view. Its still on the story so I end up on the curated story feed of that location - but it doesn’t clutter up my clip! (you can do this for any sticker or text)
- Use your brand colours!!! Or choose colours you love and stay consistent. I struggle with this because I love too many colours but I’m getting there! One tip not many people know is that if you want to have a blank backdrop you can do so by taking a photo of whatever (it will get covered so it doesn’t really matter) and then choose the marker tool - choose a colour you like either from the dropper, the colour wheel or the ones pre-chosen for you (swipe left to see them all!) Next, tap and hold the screen and voila! Your screen changes to that colour.
- The most number of views will most likely always be on your first Instagram story frame. I always use this one to set the tone and “title” my series. People don’t want to guess what you’ll be talking about so make it easy for them to want to follow along. (And remember to label any “sound on” shots with the sound on sticker so those who might be listening on silent, know to turn up the volume!)
- Bonus tip! Press and hold the screen anytime you want to "pause" the story clip and read or take it in a little slower than the usual 8 seconds gives you. If you want to write lots on YOUR post - make a little circle in the middle top or bottom of your page and specify "hold here to read". Giving clear instructions are always welcomed by your audience!
Instagram loves it when we spend more time on their app - which means using all of the features they have available. Using stories will help your posts, and posts will help your stories. Use them together to keep everyone in tune with you and your business!
I could talk about Instagram stories for DAAAAAYs, and maybe I will again soon - but for now, if you still haven’t really tested the waters with instagram stories - NOW is the time to do so. You haven’t missed the boat, and the only thing that will happen for you is increased engagement to your account/profile!!!
Any questions about this? Feel free to comment below or send me a DM on instagram. I am happy to connect!
PS! If you're interested in joining the growing list of lovely solopreneurs looking for Instagram help - I am creating something just for you! It'll be a small yet super impactful online course that I go into detail about here. Sign in and i'll keep you posted on the launch!
PPS - check out @katherinepenfoldmusic on Instagram to see more of our sunset beach photoshoot! That woman is heartbreakingly talented - you'll see what I mean when you check her out :)