Instagram launched Stories, a feature that was heavily inspired by Snapchat (some argued that the idea was so “inspired” it was actually stolen) back in 2016. While there was a lot of brouhaha surrounding Stories when they first went live, we’re now so accustomed to using them that they can sometimes feel old-fashioned and a little bit boring.
If you’re feeling this way, you’re def missing out on some of the new tools and trends that are not only fun and exciting but are boosting engagement, driving clicks, and keeping your followers interested. It’s time to spice things up! Here are 4 ways to change up your Story game:
1. Get More Blog Traffic with the Swipe Up
Instagram has always been annoying when it comes to sharing links with your audience. You’ve probably gotten so used to typing “check out the link in my bio” that your iPhone automatically fills in the phrase for you. A major perk to Instagram Stories? They allow you to put those links right at the fingertips of your audience, encouraging them to check out your latest blog post and ultimately driving conversions.
Two types of accounts have access as Instagram slowly prepares to roll it out to more people:
- Business accounts with 10,000 or more followers: Connect your Instagram profile with your business Facebook page, then tap the gear button on your profile and click “Switch to Business Profile.”
- Verified accounts: Unfortunately there’s no way to request a verified badge, other than being a popular brand, a public figure, or a celebrity.
Upload a photo or video to your Story, tap the link icon at the top of your Story, then type in the URL. Instagram will now add a small “See More” button at the bottom of your Story as a sign to your audience to Swipe Up. Don’t forget to add your own custom call-to-action!
2. Ask a question
Everyone loves a good poll! Not only do people like to share their own personal opinions, but they also want to know if their ideas fit in with everyone else. Give the people what they want with Instagram Polls!
Polls instantly add a level of interactivity to your Instagram Story. Create your Instagram Story, then tap the Sticker icon and select the Poll sticker option. Add a question and adjust the answer options. This is your chance to get creative! Instead of the boring “Yes” or “No” perhaps change your answers to “YAAAAS” and “HECK NO” or whatever best reflects your personal brand. After you post the Story, you can monitor the results on your analytics page.
Use Polls in strategic ways depending on the purpose of your Instagram Story. For example, you could:
- Drive sales. When you’re promoting a ticketed event, you could use a poll and ask people if they’re attending. You could also ask if they like a product or service and if they plan on purchasing it in the future. The list goes on and on.
- Get insight into your followers’ preferences. Should you post more food photos or baby photos? Do they like your “Motivational Mondays” theme? Get direct feedback from your fans so you know what to post more of, and what to skip.
- Comparisons and Research. Nike, for example, once had their audience vote between two different pairs of Nike shoes to help determine the next release. If you’re a fashion blogger, you can ask people to choose between two different outfits or looks. If you’re a food blogger, you might ask your fans to vote on various recipes or restaurants. Make it unique to you!
3. Add a Location
Geotags are no longer reserved just for Instagram posts! Head over to the Sticker section of your Story and add a location sticker. Not only does this give people a clue to where you are and some geographic context, but it also adds you to the location-specific Story.
For example, when you head to a location-specific page, like Victoria, BC, in the mobile app, you can see that the city has its own Story populated with stories from other users. This lets you reach beyond your current followers and attract engagement from other people in your area.
4. Go Behind the Scenes
We’re all pretty used to the idea that regular Instagram posts are staged, edited, and ultimately curated. But there’s a reason why Forbes magazine’s business experts said authenticity is the greatest, most important strategy for social media right now. While we all love a perfectly composed photo, your fans want to know that you’re relatable and that your life is more than what’s in the pictures.
The next time you’re cooking for your food blog, show people the step-by-step process in your Stories. If you’re at a fashion and design photoshoot, share your raw, unedited look behind the scenes while getting ready. No matter your Instagram account’s theme, there are opportunities to give your followers an authentic look at what it takes to be you, and that will make them love your account that much more.
Ready to Use Instagram Stories to Build Your Social Career?
Brands are always looking for people who are creatively using Instagram’s features in new ways to drive engagement. If this article inspired you to rethink how you use one of Instagram’s oldest features, join #ThePaidCrew community and start partnering with world-class brands.
By day, Josh Duvauchelle is the co-founder of Frey Union, a marketing firm in Vancouver, BC. By night, he’s a health and wellness coach featured in Teen Vogue, Men’s Journal, Shape, Men’s Fitness, and more. Find him on Instagram under @joshduv. Josh is a member of #ThePaidCrew editorial team.