How To Start Using Instagram Stories Like A Pro And Build Your Audience
I’ll be the first to admit that I LOVE to HATE Instagram stories sometimes. But the truth is that stories are here to stay and they are absolutely critical to making your brand stand out from others, growing an organic following, and monetizing your blog. In fact, over 400 MILLION Instagram users are active on stories every single day (and that number is constantly growing).
Also, there’s an increasing awareness of the fact that people are only sharing their “highlight reel” in their feed, so bloggers are utilizing stories to show more candid and “real” moments of themselves. It gives you a chance to connect with your audience on a whole new level which will make them feel more connected to you and your brand.
So don’t feel intimated. Here are five tips on how to use Instagram stories the right way in order to attract your ideal customer:
1. Make it interactive
One of the best features of Instagram Stories is that they have a built in SURVEY and QUESTION tool, so you can start a dialogue right from your stories and get to know your followers even better. Take advantage of these tools and ask questions about your content to ensure you’re in tune with your audience. Here are some examples:
- If you have a couple wines or recipes you’d like to try, ask your audience which one you should post about next.
- Ask them for validation on an idea you have for your next blog post.
- Ask them why they follow you! It may feel weird but it will give you a better idea on what’s working (and maybe what isn’t)
2. Don’t make them too long
Don’t forget that people have short attention spans. If you have a really, really long story that doesn’t really have a beginning, middle, and end, people won’t hang around. And even worse, they may get annoyed. Make sure to keep your videos short and sweet.
3. Tag Them With A Hashtag & Location
Just like you would tag a regular photo in your feed, make sure to tag your stories with a location and relevant hashtags! I’ve had story posts get thousands of views that strictly found me through hashtags (story analytics will show you if your viewers found you via hashtags). Tip: You can hide your hashtags behind words and graphics if you don’t want the story to look cluttered
4. Use Templates
As you learned in my 5 must-have tools for Instagram guide, there are lots of apps out there that will make you look like a professional. Taking a couple extra minutes to beautify your stories (like the examples I created below) will catch the attention of your followers.
5. Show your face
People love seeing a face behind the blog or brand, so don’t be afraid to show your face in your stories every once in a while. On the flip side of that, don’t post video if its really not something you’re comfortable with. Even if its an occasional boomerang or selfie, people will feel more connected to you when they see you. Here are some tips that help me feel more natural when I take a video:
- Standing up – Always makes me feel less awkward
- Smile / Laugh at yourself – Don’t take yourself too seriously
- Stand by a window in the daylight – Natural light makes everything look better