Instagram stories can be intimidating — especially when it’s new to you. You might be worried about what people are thinking and wondering if you’re doing it “right”. Showing up well on Instagram stories is incredibly important in your business. In fact, 80% of all daily active Instagram users are watching stories just as often as they’re checking their feed. This is a great opportunity to connect with your audience.
Whether you use stories right now and want some tips or if you’re brand new to Instagram, this episode will help you get clarity on how to show up for your audience better on Instagram stories. Today we are talking about things like how many stories you should be posting at once, how to do face to camera stories well, how to keep people engaged and watching, a bunch of random tips, and so much more!
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Let’s Create Your Best Instagram stories EVER
I want to share some stats with you to establish WHY showing up on Instagram stories is so important. 46% of all content on Instagram is coming from stories, falling only slightly behind the 54% of organic posts. That means that almost HALF of the content created now is stories. 80% of all daily active Instagram users are watching stories just as often as they’re checking their feed, so you need to be posting to connect with them. 80% of users are watching stories! So, with those stats in mind… are you creating stories for your brand? Are you putting emphasis here? If not, you could be missing out terribly on an area people really want to consume content. We can also look at our own habits to see this. Where do YOU click when you open the Instagram app? It’s likely stories, not scrolling your feed. However, you don’t want to ditch posts just because stories are more popular. Keep posting, but it’s also time to start focusing on stories more.
Common questions about Instagram stories
1. Do I have to show my face on Instagram stories?
YES, YOU DO. I know that’s the hardest part for some people. You feel nervous showing up on there. You’re wondering what everyone will think of you. You may be worried you’ll make a bad impression. You’re likely thinking about those people you know in real life thinking they might make fun of you for going on there and showing a behind the scenes of your workday. You’ve got to let this go!
You’re never going to feel confident on there until you start trying it. And, people who aren’t doing bold things are always going to judge people who are. The truth is, people might talk about you but you’ve got to do it anyway. What do you want more; a successful business or to hide from the mean girl from college?
I want to encourage you and challenge you to stop worrying about what other people (who aren’t even going to be your client) think. Show up for the people who are watching and who DO want to see you and know your brand. And, if you’re still hesitant for certain people to watch your Instagram stories, you can actually set them to be automatically hidden from certain people. If you need to, then set it to hide from them and then DO YOUR THING!
I speak from experience of this. When I first started my Business Instagram, Instagram stories was fairly new, and I was afraid to show up there. I hid behind my company name. I didn’t show my face and I stuck to cute little quotes and pictures of my design work on my stories. It took me a little bit of time to start consistently showing up on stories. But, when I did, I realized I was connecting with people in a whole new and amazing way! And I stopped caring what people I knew in real life thought about it.
2. What if I’m not the face of my company? Can I hire someone to do the stories for me?
There may be situations where you feel like you're not the person that should be showing up on stories. Maybe you aren’t the “face” of your company. Maybe you’re 100% product-based and there’s no reason for anyone to see YOU personally on there. Most of you reading are service-based businesses or you’re a course creator, blogger, coach or something similar! And for all of you, you should be building a personal brand. Not hiding. People want to know who you are, what you sound like, what you act like, all of it!
People work with people that they know, like and trust. They can’t know you if you don’t show up for them. They can’t even like you if they don’t know you, and there truly is an element of missing trust when service businesses don’t ever show themselves online. When you never show yourself or who you are, there is an actual LACK OF TRUST. So, if that’s how you’re choosing to run your social media, just know that people want to see your face. This goes for your stories and your feed. You need to be on it! I also think that in most cases stories and images with you on it will lead to more engagement. It does for me and I think it can for you too.
For those of you who are product based, the person on your feed and stories should still be you. I also think in most cases you shouldn’t be hiring an outside company to manage your Instagram stories, because you need someone internally to be the face of your company on there. And in most cases - this person should be YOU.
So, now let’s get into tips to make your best Instagram stories ever and to show up confidently:
1. Do a mix of different types of stories.
By different types I mean boomerangs, videos of you talking, videos of you filming something else, still images, and words you’ve simply typed on the screen. A million stories of you talking to camera with no interrupters isn’t fun to watch, so it’s best to try to limit this. The same goes for a million stories of ANYTHING. You’ve got to mix it up to keep people engaged with what you’re sharing.
2. Just say what you’re going to say without all the fluff and lead up.
I’ve been guilty of this. You’ve probably been guilty of this. But, think about a story that starts like this “Hey guys! Happy Tuesday! So, I haven’t been on here in a week or so. But, I really wanted to pop up on here to tell you guys something new that’s happening in the business. Today on my podcast, the breakthrough brand podcast, there’s a new episode. It’s about Instagram stories and how to do a good job on Instagram stories.”
You’ve already lost them. Most of the time, skip the fluff and get to the point.
This is similar to my advice about your website words, you want to say the least amount of words possible to get the point across. You’re doing stories in 15-second clips, so you want to be able to get across what you’re saying well so that people actually watch and stay engaged throughout the whole clip. So, instead of that example I gave, what if instead, I said “Hey guys! Today there’s a new podcast episode that you need to hear. I’m teaching you how to literally do what I’m doing right now! It’s all about how to show up well on Instagram stories. Here are some things you’ll learn... ”
That’s so much better than all the “Happy Tuesday” fluff! Additionally, when you haven’t been on stories lately, you don’t need to announce that unless it’s actually relevant to what you’re about to say next. Please, for the love of Instagram, stop starting your stories with an explanation for how often you’re doing stories.
3. Caption what you’re sharing.
I feel really strongly about this, but when you’re talking to the camera you want to semi-caption your videos. Don’t write out word for word what you’re saying, but write pieces of it to give context. People are more likely to watch it all the way through if there is captioning. And, I’m not talking about those apps that caption it as you speak it, I don’t think those are effective because the whole goal is that what you’re saying makes them want to listen. Not even because people are watching on silent necessarily but because the captions help them decide if they want to keep watching.
Again, if there are multiple videos of you sitting in your office talking to the camera and I don’t have any idea what all the videos are about, I’m going to swipe to the next story unless I’m just die-hard wanting to hear from you. So, semi-caption it! If you need an example of this, watch my Instagram stories. I always do this anytime it’s a video of me talking.
4. Fast tips for looking and feeling confident when talking face to camera:
- Hold the phone away from your face. Not super up close and personal, for me, I like to typically be an arm’s length away, and I have a pop socket that helps me hold up my heavy phone!
- Get in good lighting. You will feel more comfortable when you look good. I prefer to be facing a window. In my new house we have SO MUCH natural lighting, that I can’t stand in front of a window, and usually for me one of the corners in my office is the best lighting.
- Be casual. I don’t like to rehearse what I’ll say, but I do like to know what I’m generally trying to say before recording. You want to feel like you’re talking to a friend, not that you’re doing some kind of stiff presentation. That’s not what works on stories!
- Smile while you talk! You will look happier.
- Be a human! Be transparent, be real. I know this may not come naturally at first on stories because you’re nervous, but it can start to feel more natural with practice. For me, this is always the goal and it does come more naturally to me now.
Bonus ideas for what to share on Instagram stories:
- Take people through your day, and show them the behind the scenes.
- Share a tip or strategy that is helpful to your ideal client.
- Share details on a project you’re working on.
- Post screenshots of testimonials you’ve received - either direct screenshots from emails or graphics you’ve made to be shared.
- Share stuff from your personal life - family life, books you’re reading, what you’re cooking, etc.
- Share someone else’s post to your stories - inspiring quotes, funny stuff, helpful graphics, memes, etc.
- Talk about your offers - what you’re selling or freebies, or anything you’re promoting. This should be a huge part of your content!
- Ask your audience questions - share polls, quizzes, question box. This will help increase your engagement!
“Be genuine. Be remarkable. Be worth connecting with.”
- Seth Godin
I hope you loved this Instagram stories strategy!
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