Instagram stories quickly became the number one way to communicate on Instagram. People loved the way they can share something that it is not going to be permanently associated with their account. They could build nice girds in their profiles and share quick and easy stories with their friends.
During the years Instagram developed a lot of features that made Instagram stories even better. It now has filters, stickers, and a range of other things that you can add to your stories.
One of the most essential features that Instagram added was the ability to add links to Instagram stories. I will show you everything there is about using links in your Instagram stories and why it is very important and much more in this article.
There are also several ways to optimize your stories so that you don’t have to spend too much time on them. The better optimized they are the more interaction they will get.
So the first thing is first.
What are Instagram stories?
Well, the Instagram story is a feature that allows you to share short videos or photos that will be visible on your profile for 24 hours.
After 24 hours, your story will disappear and no one will be able to see the content anymore.
This feature was introduced in 2016 and quickly it became the most popular way of sharing content on Instagram.
Images and videos that were posted in this section were visible for just 24 hours after posting but they can reappear if someone screengrabbed them.
Instagram stories are visible to your followers. Also their followers and anyone who take a look at your profile.
This feature is very popular among people and it is used daily by millions of people!
But you might be wondering how exactly you can create an Instagram story?
How do they work?
Creating an Instagram story is very easy. It is a lot easier than uploading a photo or video to your profile, and it takes just a few seconds to do it.
You can create an Instagram story by:
- Option 1 by swiping left when you are on your home screen/feed;
- Option 2 is by clicking on the camera icon in your profile to the left of the plus icon;
- Option 3 is by pressing the plus icon at the top right corner of your screen and selecting “New story”.
After you click one of those options you will see a screen where you can decide what exactly you want to upload to Instagram.
You can either take a photo or a video for your story.
All of these methods are easy, but if you want to use the last one, make sure that you choose stories from the dropdown menu at the top of your screen.
This is it for creating an Instagram story. It is pretty straightforward and there are not many things involved in it.
How to use Instagram stories?
Instagram stories can be used to engage with your audience. There different features that can involve your followers and engage them. The best formats for engaging with your audience in Instagram stories are :
I will talk about them below. After we talk about what they are, I will show you how to use them. Spoiler: It is very easy!
I will also give you some tips for using Instagram stories to engage with your audience, as well as tips for successful Instagram stories. I came up with 6 things that are important for a successful Instagram Stories.
How to optimize Instagram stories?
Here are 6 practical ways you can optimize your Instagram stories:
- Optimizing your Instagram stories for speed
This is the first and most important tip for the optimization of your Instagram stories. When I say speed, I don’t mean how fast you can take a photo or how fast you can record a video. Of course, it is important to make them as quick as possible but this is not what I mean here. I am talking about the speed of your Instagram story.
- Optimizing your Instagram stories for length
This goes along with the first tip. If you want to post a photo or a video that is too long, it will get cut out by Instagram and you will not be able to see the entire photo/video in your profile. This can be really bad because people might not be able to see what you were trying to show, and they might not like it as much as if they saw the whole thing.
- Optimizing Instagram stories for your audience
If your audience is from the US, always post in the time zone that is most familiar to them. Don’t post in Europe at 4 am if you know that practically no one will see that post because they are asleep at that time. I know it can be weird sometimes, but you have to do it. This is very important for successful Instagram stories.
- Optimizing your Instagram stories for Android users
Android users love video content and they usually don’t like images. This means that if you post a photo as an IG Story, Android users will not engage with it the same way iOS users do. This is why you have to think about your audience. It might be a good idea to upload images and videos both for Android and iOS users if you want to be sure that they will engage with your story.
- Optimizing Instagram stories for hashtags
As I mentioned above, make sure not to use too many hashtags in one post/story. You really don’t need more than 5-6 hashtags in each post/story (if you use them at all). With that said, try to choose the best ones that your audience uses and add them into the caption of the post/story if it is not a video or photo. You can also add these hashtags into the description of your video or photo.
- Optimizing your Instagram stories for creativity
You have to be creative! This is probably the most important tip I can give you for successful Instagram stories. If you post boring, repetitive, and meaningless content, people will unfollow you and stop engaging with your page completely. You have to keep them interested! This means that you need to change your content every time you post a story. You want the people who follow you to be excited and interested in your stories because if they are not, they will forget about you and this is a bad thing.
How do I optimize Instagram stories for my business?
If you are using Instagram stories for your business, I have a few tips for you:
- Optimizing Instagram stories for reach and engagement
While targeting the general audience might be a great way to get more likes on your posts, it is not always the best strategy for business purposes. If you want more people to see your stories, make sure to target a relevant audience that you know will benefit from what you are posting.
- Use Instagram stories for events and contests
So if you are not targeting the general audience, how do you reach them? The answer is simple – use Instagram stories to promote anything that is seasonal. For example, if it is summertime, post photos of your products or services with the hashtag #summer so it appears in the story section on Instagram when someone searches for this hashtag. Similarly, if it is Christmas time, post photos with the hashtag #Christmas so your content gets more exposure.
- You can use Instagram stories for strengthening your brand’s identity
If you want to strengthen your business’ identity and make people remember you, you have to be creative. Your business’ Instagram page has to be different from all the others on this app – it has to have its own personality. Use funny memes about your products or service instead of boring descriptions that can be found on any other page. This way you will build a relationship with the people who follow you and they will become loyal customers because of a genuine interest in what you offer them. This applies both to stories and for posts.
- Create stories for your target audience
Create stories for the people who are likely to benefit from using your services. If you have a coffee shop, create Instagram stories about tasty drinks you offer and if you have a gym, share healthy recipes or tips on how to get fit. In this way, you will show your followers what they can expect from your business and they will become loyal customers.
- Use Stories to announce new products or services
If you launch new products or services, you can use Stories to announce this important news to your followers before anyone else does it. Engage them in a fun way and get them excited about your products. It’s another way to position yourself as an industry thought leader.
How to schedule Instagram stories?
Here are 5 ways you can schedule an Instagram post:
- The way I schedule Instagram stories is by using Creator Studio. It is a free tool provided by Facebook and I use it because it is an official tool and I don’t risk getting a shadow ban from Instagram. You can just set a day and time for your story to be posted and that’s it!
- Using third-party apps to schedule Instagram stories
You can use tools like Later or Buffer to schedule your photos and videos to be uploaded at a certain time. Both of these apps have free options but they also have upgraded options that cost money. I use the free version of Later and it is great!
- Scheduling your Instagram stories through an Instagram scheduler
There are several apps that you can use to schedule your Instagram stories. I recommend using Repost app or Later because they have a lot of features that make them easy to use and simple to understand.
- Scheduling Instagram stories through Facebook
You can use Facebook page management tools to schedule your posts and Instagram stories as well. You need to connect your page to Facebook so that you can do that. This way you will be able to schedule your photos and videos to be posted as stories right from your Facebook profile!
- Scheduling Instagram stories through a third-party website
If you want to make things easier for yourself, there are websites that allow you to schedule your Instagram stories. But as I said you risk violating Instagram’s policies and you can get shadowbanned.
How to analyze Instagram stories?
Instagram stories do have analytics that you can look into. They include the following:
- The number of times your post has been viewed;
- How many people have watched your story (the number of views);
- The number of interactions that your Instagram story has received. This includes likes, comments, and even screenshots.
- The average time people spend watching your stories (this includes both the initial one as well as the replays).
I guess these charts are pretty self-explanatory so I won’t go into much detail here.
These analytics give you great insight into how many people are engaging with your Instagram story, so this is something you should definitely keep an eye on.
There are other tools that allow you to see more analytical data but I wouldn’t recommend using them. They might put you at risk of being shadowbanned.
Tips and tricks for Instagram
Let’s finish this article with a few tips and tricks that you can use to make your Instagram stories even better.
- If you want to ask people to do something, use the words “in today’s story” when you write your caption because it will encourage them to watch your story right away.
- When you post a photo or a video, try to use the optimal duration of 15 seconds. With that said, if it is longer than 15 seconds, it will still be visible but only for that amount of time.
- If you want your post to get more likes, put it at the top of your profile. This is a great way to make it more visible and people will engage with it!
- Reposting content from other accounts can also increase the number of views that you get for this post/story. This is because the view ratio of your page will grow and so will the number of people who follow you.
- Schedule your posts at different times of the day to see what time gets you the most engagement.
I really hope that this basic tutorial on Instagram stories was useful for you and you managed to get some ideas on how to use Instagram stories better!
I will see you in the next article!