Almost 2 billion Instagram accounts use the stories feature on a daily basis. It’s a great way for users to experience real-time content from businesses, celebrities, influencers, and even their friends and family.
From a business standpoint, Instagram stories can show a more personal side that often gets a positive response. Most people on social media want to have a conversation, rather than view a thousand advertisements each day.
If you’re already using Instagram stories, you’re ahead of the game. But, adding to your stories each day isn’t enough. You could be using the feature as a way to engage with your current audience, start more conversations, and draw in more potential followers.
So, how can you make sure you’re using Instagram stories to its fullest and increasing engagement?
Follow Your Own Trends
One of the easiest and most practical ways to boost engagement on your Instagram stories is to take a look at what is already getting a lot of attention. Instagram does a great job of breaking down your analytics, so you can see everything from which age groups and genders are interacting, to the time of day your posts get the most attention.
When you have those Instagram analytics in the palm of your hand (literally), you can use them to fine-tune the way you post your stories. Some of the most helpful strategies include:
- Scheduling them for optimal, high-traffic times (You can schedule your Instagram stories with Edgar. Learn how here!)
- Optimizing them with locations, tags, and mentions
- Collaborating with influencers on your stories
- Referring to your photo posts within your stories
All of these techniques are designed to use the information you already have and make the most of it. You already have a target audience who wants to get your message quickly through your stories. So, do what you can to keep them engaged by tailoring your stories toward the things they already seem to like.
Understand What Your Audience Wants
In addition to understanding your target audience a bit more, it’s also important to know what they expect from your business. What do they want to see from you? What do they expect from you?
By asking yourselves those questions, you can focus on posting story content that reflects on the answers. Remember content is king, no matter what. But, the content you post on your story should focus on personalization and offering a solution to whatever “problem” your customers might have (what can you offer them that others can’t?).
Even if you offer a great product or service, your audience probably doesn’t want to see ads for it all the time. Maybe they want to see more behind-the-scenes content. Or, maybe they have questions they need answered. Maybe they need to see that product or service in action, instead of just seeing pictures or ‘stock’ video of it. Be real and fresh with your stories, and people are more likely to feel comfortable responding. Don’t ignore the questions and comments people are leaving in your posts. Instead, address them in your stories. By giving your followers exactly what they want in terms of engagement, they will be more willing to continue the conversation with you.
Customers who are fully engaged with a business equate to 23% higher profitability. People are tired of seeing the same advertisements and “commercials” every day. The stories feature on Instagram is an incredible platform for encouraging conversations with your followers, thanks in part to stickers. You can use Instagram story stickers to:
- As a question
- Take a poll/survey
- Have users vote on one item vs. another
Not only will you receive the data from the answers, but you can turn around and post some of that data by sharing some of your favorite responses. Or, you can let your followers know how the poll/voting results turned out. It takes someone using Instagram no more than a second to “click” a vote or poll button, so it’s an easy way for them to be engaged without having to put forth a lot of effort.
By asking questions, not only are you gaining real insight into what your followers are thinking, but those same followers may check back on your account again, to see if you answered their question (either publicly or privately).
You can also answer questions in real-time using Instagram stories, by going “live” with a Q&A session. Not only will this give your audience a sneak peek into the face behind your business, but it offers an opportunity for instant communication and engagement.
Instagram stories work. They are extremely effective. If you already have an Instagram stories content plan in place, that’s great. But, be sure you’re also focusing on more ways to engage with your audience, rather than just scheduling posts. By increasing your engagement, you’ll build more word of mouth marketing, and turn your current followers into loyal fans.
About the Author:
Adrian Johansen is a marketer and writer in the Pacific Northwest. She loves sharing information with others, and learning along the way! Find more of her writing here.