10 Best Practice Tips for More Engaging Instagram Stories

10 tried-and-tested best practice tips for more engaging Instagram Stories to help you save time and grow your audience.

Instagram Stories not only boost your brand awareness they are also a great tool to engage your customer base and grow your audience. But like with many marketing efforts, you often have to try a lot, before you find what works for you. This post contains 10 tried-and-tested best practice tips for more engaging Instagram Stories.

One of the best things about Instagram Stories is that they are super budget-friendly! You don’t need a generous marketing budget to create engaging, impactful and visually appealing content.

In fact, you don’t need any budget at all – using Instagram Stories to boost your brand awareness and memorability on social media is completely free.

– But how many Stories should you be posting on your business profile per day?
– What should you be posting about?
– And how can you make your Stories content super engaging, interesting and successful?

Read on for 10 tips to make your Instagram Stories more engaging than ever!

1. Be a storyteller

Always remember to tell an enticing story. In most cases, it is not enough to just post one image – you want to make use of the sequential nature of Stories and take your audience on a journey with you.

Write something with every single photo or video you post. Don’t just drop the image and leave it up to your follower to put the puzzle pieces together – write down the story your pictures are telling.

2. Use interactive features

Make use of the interactive features in the app to get people to engage and participate.

I particularly like polls because they are very useful to gauge your audience’s interests and preferences. This allows you to further tailor content for them in the future – because you now know what they are interested in. This will make your Stories even more engaging.

Not sure which interactive features to use? Check out my How-to Guide for Instagram Stories!

3. Ask questions

People love to share their experiences or opinions – so ask them for it! Asking questions shows that you have interest in your followers as people, not just as consumers, clients or customers.

Social media is all about – you guessed it – being social. And what better way to have a two-way conversation with your followers than by asking them about themselves.

Top tip: The Questions feature can be overrun by bots, so don’t get disheartened when you get more spam messages than real responses. In addition to using this feature, also use Polls, Quizzes and the “DM me” sticker.

4. Make your Stories accessible

Unless you work in the music industry (or similar), the majority of your Instagram followers are likely to consume your Stories on mute. That means you should optimise your Stories to be engaging and enticing, even without sound.

If you post a video with a voiceover or you speak directly to the camera, add text explaining what you’re saying. You don’t have to write word for word subtitles or captions, but a summary of the most important points helps.

And while we’re talking about text and accessibility: make sure that the text is easy to read, i.e. large font and clear colours on contrast background.

Not only, will this enable your followers to view your Stories on mute, you are also making your content accessible to deaf and hard-of-hearing audiences.

5. Add a dose of minimalism

Every brand looks different and not all of them are minimalist – and that is totally fine.

However, being minimalist on Instagram Stories has a lot of benefits and very few downsides. You can still be creative and add a unique aesthetic to your Stories without overwhelming your followers.

The key is not to be messy by using too many stickers and features on one single Story.

6. Include clear CTAs

One of the best reasons to be minimalist and clear on Instagram Stories is to make it easier for people to engage. Think about it this way: more people will press one eye-catching button, than if they have 6 flashing boxes to choose from.

In a similar way, people are much more likely to interact with your content, if you tell them what you want them to do. This is called a “Call to Action” (or CTA).

Decide what action you want your followers to take and spell it out to them: “choose your favourite”, “message me”, “screenshot & share it with a friend”. Try it and see what works!

7. Cross-reference often

Instagram Stories are well-positioned on the app interface and less at the mercy of algorithms – it is a feature that is actively pushed by Instagram and thus many of your followers might actually see your Stories even if your grid posts are buried in their feed.

Even though the content that performs well on Stories can be very different from ideal content for your Instagram grid, you should, therefore, cross-reference them on a regular basis. Entice them to click through from your Stories to your profile.

I also like to cross-reference the other way around and send followers from my grid posts to my Instagram Stories. For example, I might post a picture on my grid but then share a behind the scenes in my Stories. This strengthens the relationship with my followers and builds trust.

8. Share user-generated content

The great thing about Instagram Stories is that you don’t necessarily have to create all content yourself. Like on many other platforms, user-generated content (UGC) can be incredibly effective in Stories.

Ask your audience to share a picture using your product or enjoying your service. Invite them to send you short clips or photos of their experience. Encourage the use of a specific hashtag for user-generated content. The opportunities are endless.

3 best practice tips for user-generated content:

  • Ask for permission before sharing someone else’s image on your grid – even if the image is tagged with your UGC-specific hashtag.
  • Tag them on the picture and in the caption (on the grid), or in your Story via the “Mentions” feature.
  • Be clear about what kind of content you want from your followers and make it easier for them to create it.

9. Post participatory stories

Creating participatory Stories is the next step up after using interactive features and stickers. Thinking about how your followers can join the action can be incredibly impactful for your engagement and brand memorability.

Some of the most impactful participatory content ideas are “This or That” quizzes, Bingos or Word Search Puzzles, which you can easily create with low-cost tools like Canva (there is a free version, but Canva Pro really pays off).

Top tip: Use your brand colours and fonts and don’t forget to add your Instagram handle to the template.

10. Pay attention to insights

One of the most important things to remember is to take a close look at Instagram Insights and analyse your performance.

Check what days and times your audience is most active and make sure to post content then.

Look at your engagement rate on explicitly interactive Stories and analyse which features and stickers work best for you. Find out when people jump off and think about how you can hold their attention for longer.

There is so much to learn about creating engaging Instagram Stories, but not every audience behaves in the same way. Nothing beats trying and tweaking as you embark on this journey.

But eventually your efforts will pay off, and you will grow your business with the help of social media!

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