10 ways to use Instagram Stories to Improve your Engagement

Instagram Stories. They are a bit like Marmite, you either love them or hate them, but either way I bet you still find yourself endlessly watching them flick through one after another. Whatever your personal opinion on them, one thing is clear; Instagram Stories are a great tool for entrepreneurs and bloggers

Why Instagram Stories are so Powerful

Create A Personal Connection

Instagram stories allow you to connect directly with your audience, People can get to know you, see the behind the scenes and really start to form that know, like and trust factor that’s so important. Stories allow for people to see you not perfectly polished all the time, which seems scary, but is actually great because it makes you relatable and helps you build those personal connections.

So, here are my top 10 ideas and tips for improving your engagement through stories 

  1. Vlog your day

This is a post about your day. It’s a personal, talking to camera video blog so that your followers can really get to know who you are as a person or how you spend your day.

This sort of content doesn’t need to be slick and super professional, so don’t worry about spending too much time trying to make it perfect. A vlog is all about being real, so get personal.

How to do it right? Do a quick vlog at the start of the day, telling your audience what you’re going to get up to that day. You could ask your audience to choose some element of your day, so they’re encouraged to engage with your Story. Share more posts throughout your day and show how your day is unfolding. This will help stimulate that FOMO feeling and will keep your audience more engaged throughout the day. 

Then you could finish with a “call to action” to check back later to see how the day panned out.

2. Your latest blog post or Instagram picture

This is such a great one I do this over on the @thewhitethistle a lot. I go to my latest post and share it to my stories and then either put a sticker or a GIF over the top to create intrigue. Or, when using the pen tool, try pressing the different options multiple times to get an overlay of colour. You can then use the eraser tool to cut through it to the visual below.

3. Poll or Q&A

Polls and Q&A Stories are great for encouraging engagement, which in turn gives your content more chance of being seen. It’s also the perfect way to get feedback about your business or blog and the content you create.

Give your audience a poll of different content types, restaurants to review, or let them vote for your next holiday destination. If you’re planning a Q&A, let your audience know ahead of time and entice them with the opportunity to ask you anything!

4.    Giveaway or promo code

Have a sale, promotions or discount code? This is great content for Instagram Stories. You can post your giveaway in Instagram Stories to get more eyes on it, and repost it if you want to promote it again while the sale lasts – make sure you send the story onto some of your Insta friends and ask them politely to share it in their stories for a wider reach.

5.     List or countdown

This one’s pretty self-explanatory. List your favourite outfits, hairstyles, foods, blogs, products, or music choices. The options are endless!

How to do it right? Make your lists shop-able by including links to various stores even better if you can use affiliate links. You can also list your own products or freebies in lists and point viewers to them.  Use countdowns to generate buzz when it comes to launching a product, an event or going on a vacation!

6.     Behind the scenes

Regardless of what your blog’s about or what your business does, people will want to have a connection with YOU, the person behind it. So, behind the scenes content is really great way to give your followers exclusive insight into your brand and let them feel part of the family.

Tip: Add a location sticker for the potential to be featured in the Stories of that place. Same goes for the hashtag sticker.

How to do it right? The behind the scenes Instagram Story posts are especially good if you are representing a brand or you want to showcase a brand, a person or a product. Cover an event, show how you work on your projects or how you engage for a sponsored opportunity. The trick is to shoot at the time and to edit later! You do want to enjoy the process, right?

7.     Quote or daily motivation

Want to inspire and motivate your followers without filling your Instagram page with text overlay? No worries! You can still get inspirational quotes and daily motivation to your audience via Instagram Stories.

This leaves you to focus purely on beautiful imagery and slick video content on your profile.

8.     #FollowFriday

This is an opportunity to share your favourite Instagram accounts. Make sure they’re complimentary brands and align with your values.

If you work this angle well, it could even turn into another idea for a later date, an Instagram Stories Takeover! In a ‘quid pro quo’ relationship, you could offer to do a Takeover for their account too. 

9. Topic series or Highlights

Create a series of IG Stories around a single theme or topic relevant to your brand. Post your best quality, beautifully designed content in this stream, so you can save these Stories to your Highlights for later viewing.

Highlights live right at the top of your IG profile permanently, so make sure they reflect your best work and really illustrate the best bits of your brand. You can use free design tool, Canva, to create consistent cover visuals for these.

10.  Go live!

Instagram live is the opportunity to have a spontaneous chat with your followers. The great thing about Instagram Live is that it can be shared afterwards on Instagram Stories, so you can get some post-engagement going as well.


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