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Your ultimate guide to Instagram stories

Feeling intimidated by Instagram stories? You're not alone! But what if I told you they could be the key to unlocking deeper connections, boosting engagement, and even driving sales? In this blog post, we'll dive deep into my favourite Instagram feature: stories!

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What are Instagram stories & what is their purpose?

Stories are one of the many features we can use on Instagram that allow us to upload a photo or a video. The catch? They disappear after 24 hours.


Instagram story with question sticker

Stories were initially introduced in mid-2016 and have quickly become one of the most popular features on Instagram. More than 500 million people create and watch Instagram stories every single day.


Why use Instagram stories:

  • Instagram stories are great for many reasons but the main one is that they help you connect with your target audience and build relationships authentically.


  • They are also great for brand building as you can give your followers small, unique insights into your day-to-day life & business.

  • And lastly, stories are great for conversions as they serve the lower end of your marketing funnel. 99% of your story viewers are your followers & most loyal fans, so it makes sense to sell to this warm audience. This is also why we are able to add links to our stories but not in our captions.


How to create an Instagram story:

You have 2 options:


Instagram feed interface
  1. Open the Instagram app & click on the big + icon at the bottom of your screen. This will take you to the story interface where you can either upload a photo/video or record directly in the app.

  2. Open the Instagram app & click on the + icon next to your profile picture at the top. This is where you'll also see your own stories. You'll be directed to the story interface here as well.



Once you are done recording or uploading, you can get creative. Here are just a few options you'll have when customising your story:

Instagram sticker options

  • Add a question sticker

  • Add music

  • Add a GIF

  • Add a slider

  • Add a poll or quiz

  • Start a countdown

  • Add a clickable link

  • Draw or highlight

  • Add filters

  • Mention other accounts ("tagging")

  • Tag a location


What to post on your Instagram stories & feed - the differences

 

Post it on your stories IF:

  • You don't mind that it is going to disappear after 24 hours

  • It is raw, behind-the-scenes content of your business or life (if that is relevant to your brand)

  • It's less polished content that helps you nurture a relationship with your followers

 

Examples:

  • A photo of you & your to-do list of the day

  • You're out at a client meeting & take a video of that. You tell your audience what you have been working on (--> helps them to see what they could work on with you)

  • You run a weekly Q&A session by using the question sticker

 

Post it on your feed IF:


  • You want it to stay there for longer than 24 hours - either evergreen content ("How to work with me") or currently relevant content ("a Super bowl meme")

  • It is a high-value piece of content

  • It's content that helps you attract new followers and/or build authority with the existing ones

 

Examples:

  • A mini-vlog of your day

  • An interesting post based on your expertise




Common Instagram story mistakes:


1) You just share your feed posts to your stories - nothing else.

This is usually the reason why your story reach will be low: people have learned that you just share your feed posts and nothing much else of value.


It's fine to share your posts but that shouldn't be the ONLY thing on your stories. You miss out on a lot of benefits IG stories can offer you if you don't use them properly.

 

2) You never show your face on stories:

A very common mistake/challenge - especially for service-based businesses! Showing up on your stories - whether that is just posting a photo or talking on camera - is a step out of your comfort zone but so beneficial for your business!


3) You don't provide any value in your stories and/or just make it about yourself:

People often focus too much on posting stories that are easy for them to make instead of thinking: "what would be useful to my audience?" You also don't need lengthy intros à la "Hi everyone! Happy Wednesday! I hope everyone is doing well! I just wanted to jump on here and talk about...". You've already lost your audience's interest. Always make sure to provide some sort of value!



There you have it - the ultimate guide to Instagram stories!



Interested in working together in 2024? Send me an email at info@hannarauch.com - I'm looking forward to hearing from you!



Talk soon,

Hanna

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