Getting more followers on Instagram can help you reach a larger audience and even make more sales from the platform. And while it’s not always easy to grow your following authentically, Instagram is constantly offering up new and fun ways that we can use to reach more people.
Using Instagram stories is a fun and creative way to get more followers on Instagram! Stories have shorter lifespans than posts (only 24 hours), but they give your audience bite-sized content to engage with, and with over 250 million DAILY users on Instagram stories you will want to make sure you have a plan in place to use stories in a way your audience will love – and that will attract a brand new audience.
Over the last year, Instagram has introduced to us a variety of different formats we can use with our stories. We can choose from:
- Still photos
- Video (hands-free, too!)
- Stop Motion
With all the choices available, the possibilities to use stories creatively, and the ability to choose a format that feels right to you – we can all make stories work!
Create Stories Your Audience Will Love
Creating stories that your audience will love isn’t hard and you certainly don’t need to be a graphic designer to create visuals to engage your audience. Instagram’s own native story editing has lots of options for those who are looking to add filters to media, overlay text and emojis, add stickers and even draw.
You don’t need any fancy software to create stories, either. Both Canva and Adobe Spark have free plans and are easy for beginners to use. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your stories through animation and custom text!
Instagram story templates are also available to purchase from places like Etsy and Creative Market, so if you like the idea of branded stories but aren’t sure how to create them yourself, find some customizable templates.
How to Make Engaging Instagram Stories
Although you only have a 15-second time limit with a single video to engage your audience (and even less time with images), there are different ways you can get your viewers to stay on your stories for longer.
Split Videos Up
If 15 seconds isn’t long enough for your videos, apps like CutStory will be able to help you turn a longer video into shorter 15-second segments.
Creating multiple segments from one video will keep your viewers clicking through your story so they can watch the entire video.
Ask a Question
Speak directly to your audience and ask a question, encouraging them to direct message you with their answers! Opening up a conversation with your followers can help you get to know them better (and to help them know YOU better) so you can always create content they will love.
Create an Instagram Story Poll
Polls are another unique way to grow your account, engage your audience, and conduct some market research! When you create a poll, ask your followers on other social media platforms to watch your Instagram story and vote for their answer. This will bring your followers from different platforms to your Instagram account! We have created a full post detailing how you can use Instagram Polls for fun engagement.
Go Live on Instagram
Going live lets your audience to see what you are up to in real-time, is cost-effective (no need to edit any of your videos), and offers your viewers the ability to drop comments and likes on your live videos.
While going live is still a relatively new way to use video, live video is expected to grow 15-fold from 2016-2021.
If you go live on Instagram, some of your followers will receive a push notification alerting them that you are live. Your live video can also appear at the front of other stories which helps increase your brand awareness.
And just like regular Instagram stories, your live video may appear in the “top live” section of the explore page, helping you grow your account and get more followers!
Drive Visitors from Instagram Stories to Your Profile and Posts
After you’ve created engaging stories, your next task is trying to figure out how to get those viewers to click over to your profile and hit the follow button. Driving traffic from your Instagram stories to your profile is key to getting more followers on Instagram through your stories.
So how do you get all of those viewers to get onto your profile?
You can use your latest post on Instagram to your advantage and pique your viewer’s curiosity by hinting at your last post in your story.
To make it easier for your viewers to click over to your profile, tag your account! They can always click on the link to your profile in the top left corner, but sometimes it’s difficult to click that tiny icon. Tagging your account in a story is the easiest way to ensure your viewers will get from your story to your profile.
Include a Call-to-Action (CTA)
Another simple way to get viewers from your story to your profile where they can hit the follow button is by including a CTA such as “visit the link in our bio!”, or “leave your comments on our latest post”.
Using a CTA that makes viewers head from your stories to your account will help turn non-followers into followers.
Influencer Story Takeover
Participating in an Instagram account takeover is a really fun way to bring new people to your account.
There are two ways you can do an account takeover:
- You takeover someone’s account
- Someone takes over your account
In the first option, you get in front of a new audience directly. In option two, whoever is taking over your stories will likely bring some of their followers along for the ride.
Drive Traffic From Your Post to Your Story
Because of the Instagram algorithm, all of your followers won’t see all of your stories.
So why not cross promote between your stories and your posts to ensure they are both being seen by as many people as possible? You can use your Instagram posts to direct your audience to watch your latest story series! Higher engagement on either your posts or your stories can increase your reach.
Get Your Stories Seen by More People
If your goal is to get more followers, you’ll start with maximizing the reach of your stories. While many of your story viewers will be your current followers, reaching people who aren’t following you is the key to growing your account. And it’s not hard to do!
Hashtags in Stories
Hashtags aren’t just for regular Instagram posts. When someone searches for a hashtag, they can either view the posts within that hashtag or the stories! Including hashtags in your stories increases the chance that it will be featured on that hashtag’s search page.
Currently, Instagram allows users to add up to 10 hashtags per story, which is significantly less than the 30 allowed for posts, so you’ll want to make sure you are finding great hashtags to use!
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Tag Locations in Stories
You can tag your location in an Instagram story, just like you can in a post. Adding a location may get your story featured on that location’s explore page, which is an easy way to increase your reach!
Your business doesn’t need to have a brick-and-mortar store to benefit from using locations, either. You can tag:
Depending on the popularity of your chosen location, you could be featured, which will introduce your account to a larger audience and can help you get more followers.
Tag Other Brands in Your Stories
Instagram is meant to be a social place! Everyone loves a little shout-out once in a while (and they may even return the favor).
When you mention someone on Instagram, they will receive a notification and be given the option to re-post your story to their own account. If they repost your story from Instagram, your account is tagged automatically, making it easy for their audience to be directed to your profile.
Repurpose Your Stories
As a small business owner, it can be hard to find the time to create new content constantly, so why not repurpose it? Instagram stories may only have a 24-hour lifespan, but they can live on forever if you repurpose them the right way!
Repurposing your content for different mediums and even different platforms will help you cut down on the time you are spending creating new content, so let’s talk about some creative ways you can repurpose your Instagram stories.
Utilize Instagram Highlights
With Instagram Stories Highlights, you are able to curate your stories and feature your favorites. Adding a story to your highlights will put it on your profile indefinitely – even after 24 hours your followers will still be able to view it.
Luckily, you don’t need to remember to save each and every story. By turning on Instagram Stories Archive feature your stories will all be automatically saved (just in case you forget to save them before their 24-hour time limit is up!).
When someone new comes to your profile, your story highlights offer them a way to quickly see what your brand is all about. By creating highlights, you can entice profile visitors to hit that follow button.
If you need ideas on how to group your highlights, try some of the ones below:
- Featured products
- Personal (such as family or travel)
- Featured blog posts
- Best of _____
Lastly, adding Instagram covers to your highlights makes branding your profile a breeze!
Repurpose Instagram Stories for Facebook and YouTube
If you share lots of videos on your stories (either pre-filmed or live), download your videos and turn them into something you can upload to either Facebook, YouTube or both!
Your audience on various social media platforms is likely full of new people, so even if you are posting the same video, chances are many of them haven’t seen it yet.
To drive traffic back to your Instagram profile, include your Instagram handle within the video with a CTA directing people to follow you on Instagram. If you are repurposing live videos, following you on Instagram can be used as an incentive to see the video live before it gets published to any other social platforms.
In Conclusion: Getting More Followers on Instagram With Stories
Using your Instagram stories is a creative way to increase the reach of your account and get more followers.
With all the different formats to choose from, it’s easy to create interactive stories that can attract new followers and keep your audience engaged.
Using hashtags, tagging your location or giving a shout-out to other brands can you help increase your reach. Give them a reason to click over to your profile either by piquing their curiosity or providing them with a CTA that directs them over and gets them closer to following you!
And once your story has reached its 24-hour lifespan, make sure you are repurposing it for other mediums and platforms.
What creative ways have you used stories to help grow your account? Let us know in the comments below!
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Dana is a self-taught graphic and web designer who now lives in a small town in Denmark and works with clients from all over the world. She helps clients define their brand in order to attract and retain their ideal customers and also teaches businesses how to grow their presence through online marketing and SEO.