UPDATED: June 2020
Instagram Stories is two years old now, and has reached more than 400 million active daily users. If you want to increase your Instagram reach and following, you need to include the Stories feature as part of your overall strategy.
1. Use the swipe up feature.
The Swipe Up feature is only available for Instagram accounts that have 10,000 or more followers, so if you’re not quite there yet, it’s a good growth goal to aim for.
When you have this feature, you can include it at the end of your Stories to encourage people to swipe up “to learn more.” It directs people to your website so they can learn more about the products or services used in the story.
2. Try polls, questions, and swipe meter.
Using polls to survey your audience and asking for feedback. Use this feature to determine what their favorite products are. Use the feedback in the development of future products. Before considering what to use the polls for, remember the results are shared with the audience, so you need to make sure you’re comfortable with that before posting.
Questions gives you an “Ask Me Anything” style format that allows you to share anything. This lets your audience ask questions and learn about your brand, company, and the people who are working there.
The Swipe Meter allows you to survey your audience to get their thoughts on something. You can use it to find out how much your audience loves a product, a recipe, an outfit, or something similar.
3. Drive traffic to your feed.
If you post a new photo or video on your Instagram feed, you can use the Stories feature to drive traffic to your feed. Once you post the photo, click the “Share” button on the post.
From there, you can click “Add Post to Your Story.” When you click that, you can add your copy, along with any other features you’d like from Stories, such as polls, hashtags, and additional photos or videos.
4. Post to Stories every day.
Stories only last on the network for 24 hours – though you can save them for re-use on other platforms. Each time you post new Stories content, your profile image will have a red circle around it that draws users attention to it. By posting every day, you build a repository of content you can use again later, and you keep the content fresh for your audience with a constant reminder of your new content.
You can also categorize and share stories again using the Stories Highlights feature. This is a great way to showcase stories you’ve done in the past that all follow a theme.
The stories you choose to highlight will display across the top of your profile, too. Categorizing them makes it easier for users to find content that they’re interested in. Starbucks Jobs, the Instagram account Starbucks uses to advertise careers with the company, has Story Highlights for education, stores, veterans, tech, and interview tips.
You can view the content to learn more about how Starbucks provides education benefits, learn about various stores, and even get some advice to help you land the job, from resume tips to interview advice. If you’re a veteran, you may want to look at that highlight just to see how the company works to hire veterans to support them in their life after the armed forces.
5. Use hashtags.
Just like with regular Instagram posts, you can, and should use hashtags in your stories. It’s best to use hashtags in your feed that you have the highest chance of ranking for. But, with stories, you can use broader and more popular hashtags, as long as they are relevant to the content you’re posting.
Many accounts are able to double their number of viewers simply with the hashtags they use. Experiment and see what happens. Keep track of the results to make sure you’re testing and using the best hashtags for your brand and content.
6. Get creative.
Since Instagram introduced Stories to compete with Snapchat Stories, they’ve been constantly working on new features, and we don’t expect that to slow down or stop any time soon.
Get creative and experiment with various options such as your font types, GIFs, background music, and more. Make sure you’re app is consistently up to date so you can be among the first to discover and use these new features to see how they affect your engagement.
7. Harness the power of mentions.
If your Stories feature any other person or brand, mention them. Mentions allow others to add content they’ve been tagged in to their own Story. This not only helps increase your engagement, but expands your reach because it allows people who follow the person or brand you’ve tagged to see your content as well.
Applying any one of these tips will help you get more engagement – likes, comments, and follows, to your main Instagram account. Using a combination of multiple tips can help speed the rate at which your engagement and overall growth occurs. As you try various new things, keep an eye on your Instagram
Analytics to see how it impacts your engagement. When you find something that works, stick with it until you see a negative effect. Use trial and error – and you’ll eventually find what works the best for your niche and specific audience.