Instagram Stories are an integral part of the platform. Though Instagram copied Snapchat’s concept a few years ago, over 500 million accounts use the Stories feature on a daily basis. Some users barely scroll through their feeds anymore. Instead, they prefer to watch the stream of Stories content at the top of their screens, which can range from well-produced to backyard videos.

If you’re using Instagram for marketing purposes, then you should definitely put effort into your standard posts. It is difficult to understate, though, just how important Stories are to building and engaging your audience. It’s a bit daunting, we understand — there is a wealth of possibilities out there, and you don’t know exactly what to use your Stories for. If your Stories could benefit from a bit of pizzazz injected into them, here are a few ways to step up your game:

Tell a story

You’re probably thinking: obviously. It’s called the “Stories” function. This tip is not a command to use the feature, though; it’s all about conveying a coherent narrative.

A one-shot image saying “Buy our products because we have a cool sale!” isn’t going to cut it. Like your posts, your Stories need to provide users with value, such as education or entertainment. Give behind-the-scenes looks at your business operations, interview respected figures in your industry, show off customer testimonials, provide interesting facts, make something funny, or so something else that gives viewers a reason to pay attention.

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Because you’re telling a narrative, your Stories need to have a beginning, middle, and end. This doesn’t mean that you need to have exactly three frames every time you create content, but you should be able to catch people’s interest and include your calls to action at strategic points.

Shake it up

Don’t show people the same kind of story all the time. They’ll grow bored. Even if you boast absolutely incredible photography and videography, you can produce all kinds of content through Instagram stories, such as boomerangs, GIFs, slow-motion videos, super zooms, and more.

Add extra elements

Instagram Stories allow you to add special elements to make them more compelling. Simple ones include stickers, animations, dates, the temperature outside, and more.

You can also add music to Instagram Stories! Background songs in videos will be included, of course, but you can add music to your Stories during production and control what section of the song plays, the volume, and other elements.

Additional elements provide an excellent way to incentivize audience engagement. While you should not hesitate to respond to comments on your posts. Stories allow you to create polls and ask if anyone has any questions. You can share the results and your answers later, which demonstrates that you care about what your followers say, and it makes Instagram a two-way conversation (which it’s supposed to be!).

It’s okay not to be professional all the time

One of the best things about Instagram stories is that, depending on the situation, you don’t always need to share well-produced videos. More candid and “real” content can go a long way (especially if you are trying to grow your audience for a personal brand).

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Speaking of growing audiences, social proof can be effective reaching new followers. While you should never purchase fake followers — which is unethical and will harm your reputation — buying followers can give you a helpful boost.

Don’t forget hashtags

Hashtags make your content visible. Without them, people who are interested in your niche and search for related keywords on their Explore page won’t be able to find you. You don’t need to include a bunch of hashtags in your Stories the way you do with posts (and probably shouldn’t), so research keywords pertinent to your profile and use them to stand out amongst the crowd. Like posts, Stories are searchable.

Highlight your favorites

Instagram Stories only appear for 24 hours — unless you highlight them on your profile. You don’t need to save every Story you make (things will look congested and become hard to navigate if you do), but people who find your account will look at both your feed and highlighted stories, which stay at the top of your profile forever. Save your favorite Stories that you want users to see even after they’ve expired to communicate what your business is like as a brand or who you are as a person.

Instagram Stories should play a vital role in your social media strategy. Most users don’t shy away from them, so how will you step up your Instagram Stories game?


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