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.