There are over 300 million active users on Instagram Stories every single month. It’s basically like its own platform; its own social media app within Instagram. And IG Stories can be a very powerful tool to help you grow your Instagram account.
If you follow these five tips, not only will grow an engaged audience, but you’re gonna reach new people and grow that audience faster than ever before.
Plus, at the end of the article, I’m going to throw in a bonus that makes implementing all of these tips much easier.
How It Works…
Instagram used to be all about getting followers. Your follower count was the number that you had to grow and it was so important. It was really the only thing that mattered on the platform.
But over the last few years, Instagram has really changed. Yes, followers are important; but what’s more important is actual engagement on your content.
This means that you have a strong audience that engages with you. It also means that you’re going to keep growing faster and reaching new people when people are interacting with that content.
Engagement and getting more followers, they go hand in hand. The more engagement that you get, the more people you’re going to reach, so you can get more followers and the more followers you’re getting, hopefully the more engagement you get. So it’s kind of cyclical and they work together.
So these tips are gonna cover both getting more followers and increasing your engagement.
Now in general, while you can plan out your stories, and I suggest that you do do some planning, you do want to keep your stories “top of mind,” as they say. “Top of Mind” is simply like just quick-shot, a quick selfie, make a little video, just show your life.
Be really informal and kind of a behind-the-scenes look with you or your business or whatever you’re doing with Instagram. You don’t want your stories to be super Photoshopped or too over-professional.
This is a more intimate look at yourself and your business then what you’re gonna see in your newsfeed.
So we’re gonna start with number five and work our way down to number one which has the most power behind it.
Number 5: Use Stickers
I don’t just mean looking through Instagram Stories and picking out something cute and fun to add to your picture. No, really strategically using stickers.
Sticker #1: Hashtags
Are you using hashtags? Are you adding them to your story? Because you should. Your story can actually rank on the explorer tab for that hashtag, so make sure that you’re using hashtags to give you the opportunity to reach more people.
Now there’s all different sizes of hashtags — meaning how many times they are used on Instagram, or how popular they are. So generally speaking you want to choose a hashtag that’s maybe 5,000 to 500,000 uses on Instagram so that you actually have a shot at ranking for that hashtag.
Choosing something that has several millions of uses, will be harder for you to rank.
So, if you have a really big account with a ton of engagement, go for the more popular and mainstream hashtags. But for everybody with smaller accounts, stick with hashtags that are less popular but still searchable so that you have an opportunity to rank on that explorer tab and reach a whole new audience.
Sticker #2: Location
Now another sticker that you need to be adding to all of your Instagram Stories, is location.
Location, location, location.
Yes, you can add your current location, but I encourage you to think bigger than that. By adding a location to your Story, you have the opportunity to reach people who are near the area you are tagging.
But you don’t always have to use the local town that you live in.
Maybe you’re in middle-of-nowhere, Oklahoma, where we used to be. There wasn’t very many people on Instagram there. You can actually think bigger by thinking about where your target audience lives, where would be a really big grouping of them?
So maybe it’s a big city, maybe it’s a different country. Maybe there’s a big convention going on in your industry and you can use that location hashtag to your advantage while the convention is happening.Then you can have the opportunity to reach a very specific targeted audience simply by adding a location sticker where that convention is.
Sticker #3: Mentions
You definitely want to use Mentions in your Stories as much as you can as it tags and notifies the other account.
For example, if you use hair products or makeup, or you’re showing off your car… you can tag the brands of your products in your stories. When you tag the brand accounts, you create an opportunity to be mentioned by them, or have your Story shared by that brand, which is a great way to reach a whole new audience.
But don’t just spam accounts or brands that have nothing to do with your story. It won’t work and it’s annoying.
Number 4: Add A CTA
Tip number four is to add “Call To Actions” or CTAs to your stories. You want to use those stories to get them to engage.
The more people that engage in your Story, the more people Instagram is going to show that Story to. So, tell your audience to engage with you!
Plus, Stories are a great way to get more views on your feed post.
Your Story could be something as simple as giving a little teaser of the post you just made on your regular Instagram feed.
So you can maybe cover up an important part of your main post with a sticker or let them know you just posted a recipe or something that they need to read the caption to get value from, so they have to check out your main page.
Make it enticing and for them to want to go there to see it.
If you have over 10,000 followers on your Instagram account, you can very easily send them to a website from your Story. You could send someone who sees your Story over to a landing page… this could be to a sales funnel, this could be to a video, a blog post, whatever you want to send people to.
All you have to do is tell the person viewing your story to swipe up on the post and you’ll link it to an external page. You can also use a swipe up feature to send them to IGTV if you’re uploading videos there as well.
Now, if you don’t yet have 10,000 followers, don’t fret. You can still drive traffic using your stories to get more engagement. Simply tell those who are viewing your Story to click the link in your bio. They can access whatever tip sheet, free giveaway, coupon- whatever lead magnet you have to offer- simply by clicking on the link in your profile bio.
So yes, they would have a few more steps to take to see your offer, which is a good incentive to get to your 10,000 followers, but sending traffic this way is still very doable when you have an engaged audience.
Number 3: Use Polls & Questions
Polls and questions are important tools that you can use to grow your account in a few different ways. For one, they help you to boost engagement on your posts, which means you’re going to be getting out in front of more and more people which helps you get more followers. And two, you can really get to know your audience better and what kind of content they’re looking for.
You could ask some questions on the types of products that they want to purchase, what sort of content they want you to create. Get a really good pulse on what they’re looking for so you can become a better creator.
Getting insight from polls and questions will help you become a better Instagram user and really build up that “know, like and trust” with your audience so you can make sales or do whatever you’re looking to do with your account.
On top of just getting a general feel for people when they’re answering a poll, when you ask questions and people respond to you, they are actually messaging you which is a great feature of Stories. When someone sees a story they can reply to the author through a private, direct message. So you can start a bunch of conversations that can often lead to sales.
PLUS, the more back-and-forth engagement that you are getting with Messenger, the better off your regular feed posts will be as they can gain more organic reach.
Number Two: Analytics
This is really important. Pay attention to your analytics, under the insights for your Stories. You need to learn what is working best for you.
So experiment with different things in your stories, what types of posts, questions, polls, anything in your Stories. But then go back to the insights and find out what had the most success, what had the biggest impact for your account.
Some things to look for would include:
- What brought you new followers?
- What Story had people taking action on by clicking on your link?
- What had people replying or sharing?
When you find something that’s working really well, double down and do more of that type of content. That’s how you really grow fast.
You experiment, find something that works, and then just run with it.
Number 1: Use Instagram LIVE
Instagram LIVE, is basically within the Stories platform. LIVE is very powerful because your live video is being pushed out to all of your followers in real time. They get the little notice that pops up on the top of their Instagram feed, telling them that you are going live.
Not only can you get a ton of engagement using Instagram Live, but live video is powerful way to build up that “know, like and trust factor” with your audience
Live video is the fastest way to build know, like and trust with your audience, which is required before they make any type of purchase.
Now on the Lives, you definitely want to interact with folks, say people names, ask them questions, engage in some back and forth dialogue. Plus, if they’re willing, you can even invite them to join you on the LIVE. For someone in your fan base, that’s a very, very powerful way to just lock them in as someone who loves you forever.
It’s preferred if you schedule your Lives. For example, you may have Thursdays at 2pm each week where you host a live Q&A session. Or maybe you do some training on whatever that speaks to your target audience.
Before you go live, you can always notify people through a regular Story, or through a Facebook feed post, letting them know what’s going to happen.
Your engagement and your growth can go through-the-roof using Lives.
And now I have a bonus to help make all of this easier for you.
Yes, posting “top of mind,” like when you think of something or you’re doing something kind of fun or interesting, taking a picture, doing a little video, putting it up on Instagram as a story is really good. You should definitely be doing that.
But I’ll give you a little tip…
We don’t always remember to do that all the time, let’s be real. We have busy lives or have things that can distract from getting posts into Instagram. So, it’s really great to use a tool like Planoly to schedule your posts.
Now, Planoly is really helpful because you can upload the images ahead of time and actually put them on the calendar for different times of the week, or month, that you want it to post.
But it’s important to note that they don’t actually do the posting for you, but they do send you a notification that it’s time to post your story and have the file all cued up to use.
And then you just click on it, and it feeds you right through to posting the Story on Instagram in just a couple clicks.
So for busy people, you can be fully organized and you can easily schedule and post your Stories.
Personally, I like to schedule at least one Story per day, and then when I think about it, throughout my day when I want to show people what I’m doing, vlog-style, I can just grab my phone and do some top of mind things as well.
But I at least have the scheduled one going out every day even when I’m busy. And that just makes it all easier.
Since you’re interested in growing your Instagram account, this video will teach you exactly what you need to do in 5 simple tips to take you to your next or first 1,000 followers as quickly as possible.