In the current state of social media marketing, it’s all about engaging the audience you currently have. It’s not always about the views or reach of our activities, but more about how many people are taking action when they see your posts.
In this post, I want to share some key tactics you can implement to help you increase your Instagram Stories engagement. And with the Stories format on the rise, it's definitely worth considering.
Try utilizing these Stories tips.
1. Tell a Story
First and foremost, the easiest way to improve your Instagram Stories engagement is to actually tell a story, one with a beginning, a middle, and an end.
I know it’s easy to just throw a photo up (I’m guilty of this myself), but giving your audience a little context will make the experience all the better for them.
2. Add Captions or Let Viewers Know to Keep Their Sound On
A simple, yet clever thing to do to increase your Instagram Stories engagement is to add captions to your video stories.
Let’s be honest here - most people don’t have their sound on when they're browsing through their IG feed. Instead of just being a talking head in a video, take a little time to write out what you’re saying to maximize your audience reach and response.
3. Use Stickers
Instagram Stories stickers are so fun, and will make your Stories more interactive.
There are two sticker types, in particular, that can help brands boost their Stories engagement:
Although you can simply prompt your audience to ask you a question in your stories, using the question sticker has its own unique benefits. When you repost the question submitted, the person who asked gets a notification that their question has been answered (giving you an automatic view on your story).
Ask your audience to ask you about a particular subject, what their biggest challenges are, or what they’d like to see from you next.
People love polls. Use the Stories poll sticker to get in on your audience’s preferences, and let them help you make choices in your business (like the next flavor in your line), or provide general feedback.
A cool thing about the poll sticker is that you have easy access to a list of people who've answered your poll. You can then send them a direct message for 24 hours after the poll has concluded in order to take the conversation further.
And these aren't the only Stories sticker options which can improve your engagement. Using location stickers can ensure you show up in relevant region searches, and adding hashtags to your Stories will also help you get in front of more eyes. Instagram's other sticker options - which they are adding to all the time - can also add more attention-grabbing, interactive flair to your content, and help to improve performance.
4. Use Prompts
Sometimes you have to tell people what you want them to do.
In the case of Instagram Stories engagement, you can relevant use prompts to increase time spent on your story, or retain viewership through a multiple tile story.
- Hold To Read - Try adding longer text messages to your Stories posts, and prompting viewers to “hold to read” the full content.
- Tap For More - Start your Instagram Story with a tile which asks a question, and add “Tap for more” after the question. The next tile (or few tiles) can be videos of you giving information, or static images of the relevant info.
- Get Ready To - The “get ready to” prompt can create anticipation and excitement, and help you set the tone for what’s coming next. You can prepare your audience to take a screenshot of the next slide, turn their screens horizontally, or even just simply turn their sound on.
5. 'Screenshotable' Stories
'Screenshotable' Instagram Stories can be a great interactive option.
What do I mean by screenshotable? You can offer several things for your audience to “Get ready to screenshot” - here are some examples:
- Fill in the blanks - You can have so much fun with fill in the blanks Instagram Stories. You can make them simply for entertainment, or, again, to gain further insight about your audience (think of it as a survey) which you can then use to create products, services, or content. Don’t forget to brand your fill in the blank tiles, and to ask followers to tag you in their stories when they post them or send them to you via DM so you can collect answers.
- Wallpapers - Wallpapers are an easy way to add value and give a little something to your audience. Your wallpapers can be quotes, or simple images. Gary Vaynerchuck has weekly wallpaper Instagram Stories which he shares with his audience. This tactic is also an opportunity for you to be creative, show personality, and reinforce branding or brand values.
- Stories Contests - Gamifying any experience can be a great way to increase engagement. Apply this mentality to your Instagram Stories - you can award a prize to people who fill out your survey, or create a standalone giveaway using the screenshot and repost prompt. Again, ask entrants to tag you or use a hashtag within their story or send it via DM.
6. DM For Download
As noted earlier, in the current social media climate, it's all about generating engagement and getting your current audience to talk to you.
Here’s a page taken from email list building tactics – ask for a DM in order for your viewer to receive a freebie. This can be anything from a downloadable checklist, to an eBook, or even a seat at your next webinar. Through this, you can build a list of people who you know are interested in a particular subject - and you’ve already started a direct conversation with them, which is more engaging than simply adding them to your email list.
Instagram Stories can be a great way to stay in your followers' feeds when you’re not necessarily posting to your own profile. I find that when I'm active on Instagram Stories, my account does better overall.
Hopefully, these six tactics for increasing your Instagram Stories engagement will spark your creativity and get you thinking about how you can make better use of the option, aligning with broader usage shifts.
A version of this post was first published on Dhariana Lozano's blog.