The stories feature was first introduced to Instagram in 2016 and has since become an increasingly popular part of the app, with millions of stories shared every day. The beauty of an Instagram story is that it tends to be more spontaneous and relatable than a grid post – which the majority of your audience will love – thanks to them only being live for twenty-four hours.
With this in mind, businesses should be utilising stories to build rapport with their customers and increase engagement with their Instagram followers – and here’s how.
Each story ‘segment’ is up to 15 seconds long for a video and 7 seconds for a photo, which means you tend to build up a series of short and sweet snaps or footage. The limited screen time, paired with a twenty-four hour live time and our decreasing attention spans means your stories need to be top-notch to stand out among the crowd on Instagram.
One of the best ways to ensure you’re seen is to post frequently, which ultimately increases your chances of exposure.
If you post often enough, with high quality and interesting content, then your Instagram following will begin to expect your posts and, hopefully, look forward to them. By establishing yourself as part of their daily content consumption, your audience are more likely to engage with you.
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Ask Direct Questions
One of the best things about Social Media is the ability for everyone to have a platform and therefore a voice. By asking your audience a direct question on your Instagram Stories, you’re enabling and encouraging them to share their thoughts, feelings and options.
Not only will this increase your engagement, it will help build a relationship with your audience.
Utilise Filters, Effects and Reels
As above, you’ll need to ensure you stand out. Instagram users spend on average 28 minutes on the platform each day, which is quite a short window of opportunity.
Utilise the features that Instagram provides, including filters, effects and reels, to give yourself more of an edge without having to install several additional apps.
By keeping your content fresh and creative, you will give your Instagram audience a reason to stay following you and keep increasing your engagement opportunities. Just be sure to maintain a suitable image and tone of voice for your brand.
Polls are a sticker that you can add to your Instagram Stories with two options to choose from. The default answers are ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ but you can tailor this to your post to make it more relevant. If you’ve used Instagram Stories yourself, you are bound to have seen Polls encouraging users to vote ‘this or that’ on everything from favourite films and chocolate to genuine business decisions.
Remember that Social Media can be fun and although some posts may not seem like they’re super relevant to the business, it’s nice for users to enjoy using the platform and it will definitely drive your engagement.
Host Quizzes and Q&A’s
Another two engagement-driving features of Instagram, and both quite similar, are the Q&A and Quiz stickers for stories. The Q&A tool defaults at ‘Ask me a question’, but this can be edited, and users can type anything into the provided box for businesses to then share and answer publicly or respond to privately if necessary.
The Quiz sticker allows businesses to type a question and provide up to four answers in a multiple-choice format.
You will need to select one correct answer which will appear in green once the viewer submits their vote.
Ask For A Rating
Similar to the above, the ‘Rate’ sticker in stories allows you to ask your audience a question and they vote using a sliding emoji.
This emoji can be anything, but it defaults as heart eyes. Once a few of your followers have rated whatever your content is about, anyone else who submits their vote will see an ‘average’ answer.
Last but not least, engage back. Although other followers may not get to see that you are engaging with users from your stories, it will increase your chances of keeping loyal engagers if you respond to them. It’s also just good manners as a brand.
Engaging back should also be applied to your comments section and DM’s in general. You can learn a lot from your followers, including what they like or dislike or perhaps what they want to see from you as a business, from reading and listening to what they have to say.
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