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Instagram Stories aren’t just a way to share personal moments and try out fun filters. Stories are also increasingly important to brands as they seek out multimedia opportunities, and they give you a valuable medium to strengthen your follower engagement. Given their short “shelf-life,” however, Stories can present some challenges as you work to build a consistent audience.
If you have an international audience, for example, some followers may not have a chance to see your content before it disappears; and if you’re posting a spontaneous moment, you won’t have time to alert your audience. We have compiled some tips to help you attract the largest possible audience for your Stories, both while they’re live and after they’ve disappeared.
First, let’s look why Instagram Stories matter:
Studies have shown that video is more impactful to viewers than imagery alone, which means brands are increasingly looking to incorporate multimedia content into their overall strategies, including their influencer marketing collaborations. Instagram Stories have an audience of 250 million active users every day -- about 100 million more users than Snapchat. This traffic increase, combined with better metrics, has made Stories more attractive for brands. If you’re looking to maximise your brand collaborations, cultivating your Stories traffic can help you secure new opportunities.
Stories can also help you grow your audience and strengthen your engagement by sharing a different side of your personality. Where Instagram posts are often carefully planned and highly edited, Stories have retained much of the lightheartedness that made Snapchat so engaging in its early days, giving you a chance to show a more authentic, “unfiltered’ side that draws in viewers.
Maximising views for your Instagram Stories starts with the same two fundamentals that apply to your blog traffic and overall Instagram account following: posting consistently, and ensuring that every piece you create is high-quality. To counter the challenges of disappearing content, here are five tips to get more live and long-term viewers:
1. Post consistently, and at peak times. If your followers know when to expect each new Story, you can be sure they’ll tune in, just as you know when to watch live shows on TV. Use this article to determine peak times of the day for your timezone.
Paola Alberdi of Blank Itinerary posts a Story almost everyday -- something that has helped grow her following to nearly 730k followers.
2. Use locations and hashtags to attract new viewers. You can now use helpful search tools like locations and hashtags to help new users find your Stories. Just remember hashtag best-practices: don’t overdo it, and be mindful of generic or “banned” hashtags that can prevent your Story from appearing in certain results.
A quick search for #fall fashion introduced us to these new bloggers to follow.
3. Republish your content on your blog. You can now easily save your Stories to post on other platforms, allowing you to post content to your regular Instagram feed or blog. We recommend rounding up your Stories each week and publishing them in a weekly blog feed, giving your viewers an evergreen place to view what they missed, all while strengthening your SEO.
In her IG Story about London, Alyson Haley of Sequins & Things offers a preview of her upcoming blog post.
4. Go “behind the photo.” Use your Stories to show what goes into a photoshoot or creative Instagram post. From scouting a location to getting the lighting just right, going behind the scenes can help viewers develop a new appreciation for your Instagram content. Nicole Bernardes used Instagram Stories to give the backstory of this hat after a strikingly similar piece ended up on the DIOR runway:
When a thrift store purchase is so on-trend, sometimes a Story is the only way to share!
5. Use your analytics. Just as Google Analytics show you your most effective blog content, your Instagram Insights give you valuable information about your audience demographics and the types of content they want to see. Although your Stories disappear after 24 hours, you can continue to view insights for past content. Use these insights to determine what narratives are likely to drive the strongest engagement.
You can also use great tools to help you create more engaging Instagram Stories:
This free app for iPhone lets you upload video clips that are longer than 15 seconds to Instagram Stories, allowing you to create a seamless narrative that doesn’t feel choppy. You can also make a selfie video that isn’t in mirror image. If you don’t love the “Storeo” watermark in the free version, you can remove permanently for a one-time fee of $9.99.
Visually plan and schedule your Instagram posts by uploading photos and video directly from your computer saving content for future use. This lets you create while you’re feeling inspired, and later post at peak times. Since Latergramme saves your content for you, you need only click to approve your posts. Manage up to 30 posts per month for free; available for iPhone.
These free apps let you save Stories you love to your own phone, allowing you to watch them whenever you like for inspiration. These apps also let you upload them yourself to “repost,” but it’s always best to get permission from the original user first.
Add animation, text and even songs to your videos, or stitch together images and short videos to create a longer, Story-like narrative. Flyr gives you tools to express yourself with creative, Snapchat-style videos, including a library of imagery you can use. Choose the free option, available for both iPhone and Android, or upgrade to a bigger library and more advanced creation tools for $9.99 per month.
Have other tips for how to build your Instagram Stories? Share your thoughts in the comments!