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Instagram Stories Strategies


6 Strategies You Can Implement Today to Crush it on Instagram Stories

Bold & Pop : 6 Strategies You Can Implement Today to Crush it on Instagram Stories

There’s been a lot of conversation lately, and let’s be real straight panic, about changes at Instagram and fears of decreased reach. Hands up if you’ve seen people stressing out and throwing up posts about how organic reach is only 6 or 7% now?! 🙋🏼🙋🏼🙋🏼That’s what I thought. Well, one that’s not entirely true and two, even if it was you shouldn’t be freaking out. #Realtalk, social media is constantly evolving and if you want to have continued success then your strategy needs to too. Trust us, we’ve been working in the industry for the last decade! That’s right 10 whole years and you can bet our strategies for clients today are a heck of a lot different than they were back then.

Now we get it, changes can be scary and it can seem exceptionally scary when you notice a drop in your engagement on posts, but there is a lot more going on than Instagram just hiding your posts from people. So here’s a peek at some of the things that are impacting some people’s reach and engagement.

1.) Instagram has really put the hammer down on people using fake followers and fake engagement services. They haven’t been able to totally eradicate the problem yet but they’ve made some serious progress. This matters because a lot of these services were designed to comment or like posts using specific hashtags. So a lot of your likes on posts were actually being inflated by these services even though you weren’t using them. With more of those services being shut down, it’s likely you’ve seen less likes from those and those dang annoying spam comments!

2.) We’re using the platform differently than we used to a few years ago. Instagram Stories have really taken off and now there are a lot of users who are exclusively opening the app and watching stories instead of scrolling through the feed or spending a lot more time in Stories than they did before. This doesn’t mean the grid doesn’t matter anymore, it just means that Stories are even more important today than ever.

3.) Because of the algorithm, content is actually lasting longer which may adjust the rate of likes you get because people aren’t seeing them immediately. Overall they still may be down a little due to the above points, but go back and look at your posts from a few days or even a week ago. Chances are they ended up doing better than you may have thought because people are seeing them over a longer period of time. Which means you can post a little less in the grid than a few years ago and balance the time you spend on Stories or your engagement strategy.

So yes, there have been changes, but spoiler there’s always going to be changes. That doesn’t mean that you still can’t be wildly successful on the platform either, YOU CAN! Just what you were doing a few years ago or even 6-months ago might not cut it anymore. So today I’m dishing some actionable advice on how you can refresh your strategy specifically focusing on Instagram Stories because as you see from above, there is some serioussss opportunity there!

Focus on Engagement

I know you’ve probably heard this before but your follower numbers are WAY more of a vanity metric than a sign of success. And while the algorithm may have changed things a bit over the last few years, the truth is all of your followers were NEVER seeing all of your content. Here’s a little secret though, and NO algorithm change will ever affect this strategy…. If you want more people to see your posts then you NEED to focus on engaging with others. Seriously, there’s no better way to get people to take a look at your content than posting authentic and genuine comments on other people’s posts or replying to their stories. Social media is about building relationships so if you want people to give a hoot about what you’re posting then you have to put in some time! Quit posting, and running… That’s not going to get you where you want, especially in today’s landscape. Engagement is gold and this also goes for the content you’re creating.

If you want people to talk to you or engage with you then you need to give them the opportunity to do so! A few good ways to do this through Stories is:

  • Use the questions feature and host a Q&A

  • Ask for feedback at the end of your Stories

  • Share your latest grid post on Stories and ask a question and ask your followers to go to your grid and share with you

  • Create polls in your stories relating to your content — they don’t always have to be serious either you can have fun with these!

When you’re providing a balance of quality content and also giving people prompts to talk to you, you’re opening the door of communication. Social media should be social so make sure you’re making an effort to include your audience instead of always just talking at them.

Get Yo’ Face on Camera

If you haven’t already, it’s time to get your face on camera — especially if you’re a small business or brand. It’s a little different if you are (or are managing) a bigger brand’s presence, but for the sake of today’s post we’re going to focus on small biz owners. That being said, if you haven’t jumped on this train, now is the time. Even if it can be a little scary. Remember how we talked earlier about how social media is about building relationships?! Well, there’s no better way to showcase your expertise, highlight things you like and let your personality shine than showing up on Stories. This is even more important in the service industry. People want to hire people they vibe with and Instagram Stories allows you to connect with others without even having to set up a one-on-one and showing your face can really make an impact.

Think Ahead When it Comes to Your Message

Something we really love about Instagram Stories are they are a little more off the cuff than the grid and we think you should keep them that way! When we’re talking about planning on Stories we’re talking about being strategic and thinking ahead about your messaging. Not everything has to have a message — sometimes funny ish will just come up in the day that you want to share — but try and think ahead when it comes to the bigger picture. So what exactly does that mean? Well, one of the things we hear the most from people about why they aren’t using Stories, or aren’t using them regularly is because they don’t know what to post. We get it, it can be daunting and sometimes it feels like just “another thing you have to do”. So instead of always having to come up with something to post, have a brainstorming session — either weekly or monthly. What are 5 things that you are super passionate about? Or how about things you want to share your expertise on? What types of activities do you do regularly at your business? Just as we suggest having content categories for your planned posts, having a list of categories you can talk about will make the process much easier! Unlike content categories for your planned posts, you don’t have to be as rigid about them on Stories — remember we like that off the cuff vibe! But, having a list of things you are super passionate about or could talk about will make doing Stories so much easier when you’re drawing a blank.

Another aspect of planning is on the smaller scale and that’s making sure there’s a clear message or CTA or both in each series you post. Some days you might just have a segment or two but others when you do more elaborate posts, make sure your messaging is clear! Storyboarding your messaging can be a great way to think ahead and include your intro, your key points, and end with a CTA or clear action point you want to share. By thinking ahead and even writing some bullet points down before, you can go into your stories more focused. Especially now that Instagram has the ongoing video option because it’s a heck of a lot easier to ramble on and suddenly have a 15-part video now. 😱#GuiltyAsCharged So think ahead and get concise because the longer your video is and the more segments it has the less likely someone will make it to the end. Which btw, we like to suggest 5 parts or less on average 10 at max for longer series.

Integrate text into your posts

You’d be surprised by how many people scroll through Stories with their sound off. But Anna, you just told me to get my face on camera and start talking to the people! What gives if they aren’t listening?! I hear you. So it’s still super important because seeing your face will always be gold but here is another pro tip. When you add a new series of Instagram Stories, add a text summary or write out the key point on each segment. Not only will this allow people watching without the sound on to still get the point of what you’re talking about, but it will also nail in your key points to those actually listening. You don’t need to write a novel on these but a quick summary sentence or some bullets can be a great way to tie everything together.

Another idea is to integrate text graphics in between or at the end of yours series. For example, if you decide to do a mini series on 3 things you can do to make your homepage more appealing to visitors, you may want to talk about it in the first portion and then end it with a slide that has those 3 bullets summarized. Doing so, also allows people to screenshot your summary or send it to someone else if they want to apply or share your advice.

Take Advantage of Instagram’s Built-In Features

Instagram is constantly rolling out new features and there’s some really great options to make your Stories even more fun and engaging! Here are a few of our favorites and how you might want to use them:

  • Gifs: gifs always make Instagram Stories better IMO! There’s no real functionality or optimization perk here, just good ol’ fun.

  • Questions: If you’re looking for an easy way to ask your audience to engage with you, questions is the way to go! It’s a great way to ask people specifically if there’s something they’d like to ask you about, submit feedback or just answer simple questions right from your stories.

  • Poll: This is another really easy engagement tactic for your audience that can be used to see what people are more interested in or get their opinion on things.

  • Countdown: If you have something exciting coming up this is an awesomeee one. Not only is it a fun feature visually, but people who watch your story can actually turn on reminders about your timeline and share it in their stories. Score!

  • Location or Hashtag: Now you don’t have to go hashtag crazy here but adding a tag or location tag when it makes sense can really increase the reach of your posts. This has especially been helpful for us when Mallory is hosting a local workshop in Raleigh or if our clients are at a trade show or something location specific.

If you use one of these features just make sure they’re also more centrally located on your story. If you have them too far to the right or left, it may cause users to swipe to the next story which kind of defeats the point of what you’re after.

Be Consistent

Down to the last tip of the day, be consistent! You want people to keep seeing your Stories (and hopefully your pretty little face) pop up. Repetition is key and the more times you pop up in others’ feeds, the better the chance you’ll further connect with your followers and they’ll pay attention to your content. Plus, when people watch your Stories on a regular basis, your content will show up closer to the front of the line. There’s a reason you generally see your best friends or favorite brands at the beginning of your Stories line-up. That algorithm thing is in action here too!

The other part about being consistent is for straight practice! If putting your face in front of the camera is scary, do it more! The more you do it, likely the less scary it will get. Chances are you’re going to get a lot more comfortable with it and better at streamlining your messaging and presentation. Plus, the more you do it, the better you’ll get at brainstorming content as well as finding out what kind of content resonates best with your audience. And often it’s not what you think! True story, some of our most engaging Stories have been silly things I thought weren’t that important but decided to share anyways and spoilerrrrr, people ended up loving them. Like most things in social media, consistency is key and once it’s more of a habit it will feel much less like a chore.

I hope this post was helpful and can’t wait to see how you put this advice to good use! As always, drop any questions you have in the comments section or send us a note for how we can help further! Or bonus, connect with us on Instagram so we can see how you put these tips into action!

P.S. Exciting news! We launched the free #GoingBold Facebook Group and would love for you to join us! Come on over!



New Instagram Story Features: What are they and how to use them for your biz

Bold & Pop : New Instagram Story Features: What are they and how to use them for your biz

You know we love our Instagram Stories and last week we talked alllll about how they can be a serious game changer for your biz with 4 strategies to make the most of them. But it wouldn’t be Instagram if they weren’t constantly changing things up. By now you’ve likely heard the news or you’ve seen it on Instagram... Instagram Stories has a new polling feature! (Insert happy dance here! 💃🏼) But that’s not the only fun thing they launched! Don’t worry.. We got yo’ back and we’re spilling the details on all the new features and how they can help up your Insta Story game!

Interactive Poll

Alright, since everyone's talking about it let's jump in there... Instagram introduced their brand spankin’ new interactive polls for Instagram Stories and we are PUMPED for this! This allows you to ask your audience a question and they can simply tap on the response to easily tell you their thoughts in the two-option poll! To get your hands on this little baby:

  1. Open Instagram Stories and take a photo or video.

  2. Once you’ve taken your photo or video, go to the stickers tab and choose the poll sticker.

  3. Type in your question and the two responses you’d like you audience to choose from and voila, you’re done!

Once you’ve shared your poll, swipe up to open your views to see how people have voted. And if you're followers go back and re-watch, they can see the results of the poll too! 

Photos from Instagram

Photos from Instagram

Bold & Pop : New Instagram Story Features: What are they and how to use them for your biz
Bold & Pop : New Instagram Story Features: What are they and how to use them for your biz

Can you imagine all the possibilities you can use this for to connect with your audience? You know we’re all about creating authentic connections and a lot of that starts by listening to your audience’s feedback. This will allow you to ask specific questions and make it as easy as humanly possible for your audience to answer you. Plus, this allows your audience to feel more connected to the brand by sharing their input creating a more loyal following for you! Score!

A few ways you can use it:

  • Compare product features/design. Example: Share a photo and ask which color they prefer. Red or white.

  • Ask for advice. Example: Do you like this nail color? Yay or nay.

  • Ask for feedback. Example: What topic would you rather read about on the blog? Social media tips or website design tips.

  • Relate to others. Example: Anyone else have this problem? I do or no, I don’t.

While this makes it insanely easy for your audience to interact with you, don’t forget about adding more personal messages and touches in your stories too! This new feature should just be one piece of your overall strategy to encourage easy and fun interaction!

Alignment Tool

If you’re perfectionists like us then not knowing whether you have your text or stickers centered will drive you crazy. But low and behold, we now have alignment lines! Yayyy! This is only for iOS right now but when you go to move your text or stickers, you’ll now notice blue lines appear to help you center and/or avoid putting your text or sticker anywhere that may get cut off for someone else watching your stories.

Photos from Instagram

Photos from Instagram

Bold & Pop : New Instagram Story Features: What are they and how to use them for your biz

Color Match

Another tool for our fellow perfectionists! You’ll now notice that when you go to change the color of your text or the drawing tool there will be an eyedropper icon in the bottom left corner. You can use this to select any color FROM YOUR PHOTO! Yes, you read that right! So now instead of struggling to match a specific color, you can just use this tool to do it for you.

Can we just take a quick second to acknowledge the game changer this will be to keep branding consistent in your stories now?! Whoop! Whoop! This makes our little branding selves very happy. 

So what do you think? Will you be using these new features in your Instagram Stories?

P.S. Exciting news! We launched the free #GoingBold Facebook Group and would love for you to join us! Come on over!



Why Instagram Stories are a Game Changer for your Biz + 4 Strategies to Make the Most of Them

Bold & Pop :: Why Instagram Stories are a Game Changer for your Biz + 4 Strategies to Make the Most of Them

Raise your hand if all of the changes on Instagram have been throwing you for a loop lately! 🙋🏻🙋🏼🙋🏽🙋🏾🙋🏿 We hear you! With regular changes and an ever-changing algorithm, the platform has left a lot of people wondering, "is it even worth it anymore?" I mean, how do you make genuine connections with your audience if they keep changing everything?! Well, while we'll openly admit it has been a little frustrating, as social media professionals we've learned that nothing stays the same too long in the industry and adaptability is key! So instead of writing it off, it may be time to adjust your strategy and today we're sharing why Instagram Stories should be a big part of that plan.

Before we get there though, let's take a step back and really identify what you're really trying to do with your Instagram strategy. While it may be frustrating that your daily likes or follower growth has slowed down a bit, those aren't the numbers that are actually important when it comes to your bottom line. Having thousands of followers and posts with hundreds of likes is great, but if it's not actually helping you hit your marketing goals, then they really don't mean much. So let's get down to the basics. Generally, through your marketing you're ultimately trying to do accomplish the following:

  • Increase the visibility for your business and highlight your expertise
  • Build your community
  • Generate interest for your services and products.

You know what all of these things have in common? Relationships! For people to be interested in working with you or buying from your business, they want to feel some form of relationship or relatability to you. People want to feel some sense of connection with you whether it's your business story/journey, the way you talk to them, or just because they view you as a knowledgeable resource. Which is why your branding and how you represent your business is SO important! Working in crowded industries, there are a million other people doing similar work to you so what is it about you that you want to stand out. And I'm going to tell you why Instagram Stories can help you really develop those relationships even further than your perfectly curated feed.

The way people are consuming Instagram has changed and Stories continue to increase their reach for a few reasons. They're easily accessible right at the top of your feed and they're bite-sized content that is easy for people to click through. Plus, let's be honest, they have a little bit of a "realness" factor because they're (usually) taken right from people's phones and are done more on the fly. Don't get us wrong, we LOVE all of the perfectly styled photos that make up our newsfeed (I mean, have you seen our insta?!), but there is something about Instagram Stories that is a little more personal and raw. So let's break it down on how you can make the most of your Stories to have an impact on your bottom line.

Don't be afraid to get personal

The first lesson about social media is that it's all about building relationships -- no matter what platform you're using. So don't be afraid to get a little personal and also don't be afraid to show your face! Admittedly, this is something that has not always been easy for Mallory and I! Working in our industry, we're usually behind the scenes, so recording a video of us talking for all of our followers to see?! Totally scary! But guess what, we started doing it anyway and little by little we have gotten more comfortable. Sometimes we share business advice, or a dose of real talk and sometimes we just share random life moments, but guess what? Our audience has loved it! We've had so much feedback and engagement that has shown us just how important it is to give your brand a personal touch. At the end of the day when people are deciding who they want to follow, or who they want to work with eventually, your unique personality has a lot to do with it and Instagram Stories is the perfect way to highlight that.

Show your expertise with mini tutorials

Instagram Stories are great because they're short, informal, and don't require video editing. Which is great for people like us whose skills don't cross over into the video editing world. If we want to share a lesson or a mini-tutorial with our audience we're able to pop right into our Instagram Stories and get right down to business. We love that you really have to streamline your messaging since they're so short too. While of course you could do a 10 min tutorial, we like to stick to the key points and keep the full tutorial in 5-7 Stories. That way it's long enough to give some info, but not too long that you lose your audience. Mixing in video and text slides is another great way to fit in more info, plus it allows your audience to screenshot if they'd like to save for later. These have been really successful for us because we've been able to highlight our expertise right inside the platform for the part of our audience that may only follow us on the platform and not see our resources on our blog or in our Facebook Group.

Highlight your processes

When you think of Instagram Stories, behind-the-scenes posts are generally the top idea that comes to mind. Which we love! We like to take this one step further too by also sharing some of the why's and how's too. What do I mean? Well, while we like to do mini snaps of sneak peeks of projects, sometimes we'll also give a breakdown of specific features on websites or give insight to the process behind the projects. So instead of just sharing behind-the-scenes, you're also giving your audience a look at the thought-process behind your projects. The way you present this will be different depending on your business, but it's all about taking things one step further. This goes back to that personal touch. This works really well in service-based businesses too because it allows you to show what it's like to work with you and your processes in action. 

Direct your content

Now this is key! While engaging your audience is key through social media, the end goal is to always build your community directly. Why's this? Well, because as you've experienced first-hand social media platforms change overnight and while they aren't going anywhere anytime soon, having direct access is always best. A few examples of this is building your email list, subscribers to your blog, and also members to your community if you have one independly. This is why calls-to-action (CTA) and directly your content elsewhere is so important. Our suggestion is to provide enough information so that you peek their interest and then follow with your CTA. Generally your return will be greater if you give a little more info rather than just one post saying new blog post, link in bio. Give them a little meat of why they would be interested in your content, and overview, and then direct them to where they can find more info. Here are some examples of things you can do:

  • Direct users to your latest Instagram post. Screenshot your feed and use an emoji to cover your new post and tell users why they should go check it out. Because of the new algorithm, some people may not see your posts in their feeds so this is a great way to highlight new posts.
  • Do a mini tutorial followed by a post directing users to a longer blog post with more info.
  • Share insight on a topic and then ask for questions from your followers that you'll then answer on a blog post or other Instagram Stories.
  • Promote a new content upgrade or freebie and direct users to your opt-in where they can get the free download.
  • Highlight a conversation topic that is going on in your Facebook Group and link back to your group if followers want to chime in. 

There are so many options for things you can do in your Instagram Stories, the important part is just to get out there and give them a go! Or try something new that you haven't tried yet. Social media platforms will always change so we like to remind people that so should your strategy. What worked last year, might not work today but that just means it's time to try something new. Don't be afraid to experiment and see what works best for your audience. Have any other tips or questions about Stories? Drop us a line in our comments section.