039: INSTAGRAM FOR BUSINESS: YOUR INSTAGRAM STORIES QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Today’s talking point:
I struggle with knowing what to talk about on Instagram. How do you decide what you are going to speak about on your stories each day? I want to gain active followers, engage with them, and create my own engaging Instagram stories.
Today we're covering a topic that I get asked about a lot. How to create compelling and engaging Instagram Stories for your business. Instagram is big, Instagram Stories are even bigger, so that's what we're going to get into today.
THE OPPORTUNITY IN INSTAGRAM
There are 1 billion Instagram accounts worldwide that are active every month. Of that, 500 million accounts watch Instagram Stories daily. Every. Single. Day. That's a huge amount of people. It's been three years since Instagram came out with Stories, yet so many people are hesitant to try it out. There's so much more growth to happen and still lots of room for people to come out and make a wave on Instagram Stories.
Almost all the innovation on Instagram is inside of Instagram stories. They're constantly coming out with new features, it's almost a platform within a platform. IG users spend almost 50% or more time in the app now because of Stories. So because people are watching Stories, people are staying for longer in the app.
Think about real estate. When people are scrolling, there are TONS of distractions. On a story video, it is just you and whoever is delivering that story. From a marketer's perspective, that is true value.
The beauty of stories is that you can connect with people in such a more real and authentic way and people are actually responding well to that. People like feeling close, people like feeling like you're on the other end of a mobile phone, not in a production studio.
It allows users to respond in a more private and connected way, cultivating a level of loyalty, intimacy and closeness that I don't think is easily replicated. The DMs is just such a good place to connect deeper with your audience and it's just so easy for them to do so. (Which also signals to Instagram from an analytical perspective that you should be higher in the algorithm).
The beauty is that no one knows how many people are responding and how many people aren't responding. So unlike comments that are visible to everyone, you could be getting lots of responses to your DMs or not that many, and no one's going to know. They also don't know how many people watch your story. It's just an intimate one-to-one kind of experience.
Hopefully you all understand that stories are very, very powerful. I know some of my clients would confess that they don't do stories enough, so let's talk about some creative ideas to empower you to start creating more inside of Instagram Stories.
MASTERING YOUR INSTAGRAM STORY STRATEGY: CREATING ENGAGING CONTENT
There's an idea that if you're using Instagram Stories, you need to be posting content every single day. You don't. However, post consistently: if you decide to post once a week, stick to it. People should know what to expect from you, but it's not going to harm you if you're not showing up every single day.
Show up in a Series
Implement a weekly series. Come up with a catchy name and it becomes a trigger for your audience, it becomes something that they kind of look forward to. It becomes another layer of ways that people can connect with you. Listen to the full podcast episode for a step-by-step guide on how I run a weekly series.
Have a “how to” piece of content, or a piece of content that gives advice. Really the purpose of this content is to add as much value as possible. You want to create the type of content that your ideal client gets excited about every time they see a new story from you. So for this, you're really thinking about:
Keep it as short, sweet and to the point as possible. Keep in mind it doesn't have to be 100% related to your product or service - just relatable to your ideal client.
This is really, really big and can be done in so many different ways - get creative. Don't just show up and say, “we're doing 25% off today.” (Although that is great and important and it has its time and place.) Think about all the ways that you can encourage people to buy from you, so that might be highlighting a customer and celebrating wins or sharing a testimonial.
There are so many different ways to link stories into all the parts of Instagram. Use the swipe up feature if you have 10k+ followers and if not (Pro tip!) use IGTV - where regardless of followers you can swipe up.
You don’t only have to focus on promoting products, promoting podcast launches or blog posts etc. Focus on engaging with your audience by sharing things that they’ll love.
Behind the Scenes
Let's talk about some other behind the scenes things we can do to creatively to show people the work going into whatever you do.
There are so many ideas. It's just honestly looking whatever situation that you're in and writing a list of what the things are that happen behind the scenes. It could be anything, including:
Get to know where you work (or who you work with)
How products launch
New things in the works
It's so much more fun when you see the people rather than when you're a faceless presence. You might think it's boring and mundane, but the truth is everyone who is living their own life believes that their own life, situation and circumstances are boring and mundane (but everyone else is living their own lives completely different to yours.)
I find that the stories that I think are the most boring are some of my best, most engaged stories just from simply bringing people behind the scenes. Don't underestimate your own situation.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD STORY
First thing’s first: A story is called a story for a reason. Many don't realise that when you post different stories throughout the day, they should all flow. There should be a beginning, a middle and an end. Think about what colours you’re using, can you use your brand colours again and again, can you use the same fonts again and again? Can you add emojis? Can you spend 15 more seconds making it look a little different to the average story?
Write it Out
Most people are not listening to your stories. I've done polls about this before, my audience is probably split 50/50 right down the middle in terms of who watches stories, with sound on vs. without.
If you are talking into the camera, you’re missing a huge percentage of people who just flip through. Captioning your stories to get the general point across is powerful. Everyone can understand the value of whatever it is you're saying.
The big thing, don't upload in the moment. When you take a video and go to caption it, you have to re-listen to it. It takes some time. Take your stories. One after the next, save them and then later when you're at home, listen to it and just type it out. Most of the time, I like to type it out word for word because it requires less thought, but sometimes I talk a lot and I can just narrow it down.
You want to make it so that if someone sees that story, regardless of whether they hear your voice or see your face or see your little name, we want them to know it's you.
Have an Ending
Let’s go back to the beginning, middle, and end. I know a lot of people struggle with the end part. Everybody knows how to start and maybe what the middle is, but how do you end a story? You have to have a conclusion, a finale, a summary of what you said, thanking people for showing up, saying goodbye. I try and do that as often as I can because I'm so constant with my storytelling that I always say good morning, so it just makes sense to say good night as well.
Engagement is one of those key metrics that the algorithm looks for. So how do we get better engagement?
Ask people to DM
You don't just ask them once, don't ask them twice. Make it a part of the way that you show up on stories. Say “I want to hear from you about ____.” You don’t have to respond to every message, open and double tap to like their response. As long as I feel that my audience feel heard and seen, I'm good.
Include polls or questions when you can. They are the simplest features to encourage an audience to engage and respond. Every time someone engages with a poll of yours, it's signalling to Instagram, “I'm interested in your content. I want to see more.”
You can use them for silly things - If I'm going to be getting my nails done and I don't know what colour to choose, I’ll ask for an opinion.
For deeper questions, use the question & response feature so your audience can give more individualised answers. Use this to determine content: “what are you struggling with right now in _____,” and then solve it.
Try the quiz feature
This allows you to ask a question and then use up to four different answers, then choose the correct answer. You're quizzing your audience. It's so fun to do things like “get to know me and my business.” And so one of the questions might be:
How many years have I been doing what I do?
Who worked with me behind the scenes?
What is my dog’s name?
Human nature is to want to know what the right answer is. Many just guess and interact just to see what the answer is.
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