At this point, we all know that Instagram is a great social networking platform for most brands. You’ve probably been working really hard on getting your aesthetic just right, as well as posting great captions, researching hashtags and including a compelling call to action. It’s social media marketing 101, right?

So now you might be wondering how you can take your brand to the next level, asking yourself the question: ‘How can I engage with my followers in real time, build a real sense of brand advocacy and connect with those that truly love my brand and message?’

That’s where Instagram stories come in!

Today we’re sharing 5 ways to increase engagement on your Instagram stories. Whether you’re a newbie or just feeling a little lost, unsure of the value Instagram stories can provide, we’re sure you can boost your engagement with these simple tips.

1. Understand your audience

We highly recommend spending some time in the analytics section of your Instagram business account, looking at your top performing stories to learn exactly what type of content is the most popular. Pay particular attention to what type of story gets the most views, and what stories tend to get a high exit rate. You want your followers to stick around, exiting from your story means that you’ve probably lost their interest.

If you’ve not yet posted stories to see what works and what doesn’t, we recommend starting with some ‘behind the scenes’ footage. Your stories are a great place to share what goes on to achieve the finished results that end up making it onto your page as a permanent feature.

2.Use stickers (polls/questions/votes etc.)

We’re sure you know by now how important it is to include a call to action on your posts. Well lucky for you, Instagram story stickers let your audience take direct action on your stories and collates the responses all in one place.

You could create a poll to gain your followers’ opinions on new flavours/styles or any other variation of your product. They can vote with a simple tap and boom! You’ve got instant market research.

You can also create quizzes to teach your followers about your brand and encourage interaction, or start a conversation with a free text box for your audience to offer their advice, thoughts, feelings, or feedback on anything you like.

You can even add a countdown sticker for launches or events, helping to keep it front of mind!

3. Reach out to other brands

Social media is just that: It’s social! So make sure that you reach out to other brands you could collaborate with, whom you admire or who you use to help facilitate your own business. For example you may use a specific brand of notebook to help organise your to do lists. Tag them to let them know!

Not only will they get a notification that they have been tagged in your story, but they are prompted to then share it to their own story, meaning further exposure for you to their audience. You can either tag other accounts using a sticker or as text on top of your story, whatever looks best to you.

4. Use hashtags

Hashtags are not just for posts on your newsfeed! You can also use them to your advantage on your stories. You can use up to 10 hashtags and can be covered up by GIFs or any other sticker if you don’t want them to be seen on the story itself as they can make the image look quite crowded. This is a great way to expose your content to new people who are interested in the subject you are posting about as they are searching for that hashtag. You may find this is a great way to gain new followers who will love your brand.

5. Repost User Generated Content

If a customer takes the time to post a story about your product or service, they clearly feel strongly about your brand, and it’ll mean a lot to them if you share their story to yours.

Not only will this help create a connection between you and your customers, but it will also show potential customers how much your existing ones love and appreciate your product or service whilst also showing it in situ. No matter how slick your own images are, people love to see what things look like in the real world. Sharing UGC may help prompt those who are on the fence to reach out or take the plunge!

We hope you have found these tips useful and that you’ll be implementing them in your social media strategy ASAP! We’re sure if you start applying these ideas, you’ll see an increase in engagement from your followers, helping you boost your page and achieve your goals!

Thank you to our guest Blogger Chantelle Davison – Choice Words By Chantelle