What Are Instagram Stories?
Instagram stories can increase your reach on Instagram.
Last year I gave a class on Instagram for Beginners. This Instagram class was geared toward real estate agents. Although a few were active on Instagram, many merely had an inactive account or never used the photo-sharing app at all.
This Instagram class, like the other social media classes I offer for realtors in Rhode Island, gives them CE, or continuing education credits.
These credits are required to maintain their licenses and fulfill a “non-core” course requirement. The great thing is social media for realtors translates to sales!
I taught this class a few times at different real estate offices, but this was my largest class so far. Instagram, you see, is a perfect social network for real estate agents as the audience is young and skewed female, an audience of eager home buyers.
Going through the various ways to set-up your Instagram account and why you need a business Instagram account, the class remained quiet.
But as we progressed questions started popping up. I became relaxed because I could tell people were starting to understand some things about Instagram and how it works.
Oftentimes, the questions led right to the next slide I was going to cover.But as we progressed questions started popping up. I became relaxed because I could tell people were starting to understand some things about Instagram and how it works. #instagramtips Click To Tweet
How Instagram Stories Differ From Posts
When I started talking about Instagram stories, I noticed many puzzled faces throughout the room. Seems they were not grasping the difference from actual posts on Instagram.
How I wished I had a slide showing the difference. (And, yes, it will be there for future classes!)
Then, we talked about Facebook stories and many admitted they’ve seen them but had not tried them or used them.
So if you are unsure about what Instagram stories are here is a screenshot below from my own Instagram feed:
Notice how they are front and center in the feed and that you can view 3 Instagram stories at a time. If you click on the one you can read them individually and sometimes respond if there is a poll or give them love, like, etc.
You see Ted Rubin’s having something to drink from Trader Joe’s. Ted often talks about employee-generated content on his blog.
Then, there’s Mike Allton from Blogging Brute sharing a watercolor picture of a child. And lastly, you can see what Bryan Robert is eating.
I explained to the class how Facebook wanted to purchase Snapchat years ago and since Snapchat would not accept their offer, so they came up with Instagram Stories to compete. And now, Instagram stories have more traffic than Snapchat!Notice how they are front and center in the feed and that you can view 3 Instagram stories at a time. #Instagramstories Click To Tweet
Fear of Missing Out on Social Media
Fear of Missing Out or FOMO drives stories. People using social media don’t want to miss out on their friends’ lives but stories disappear within 24 hours so they grab attention! Yes, Instagram stories disappear in 24 hours. If you don’t look when you see a story in your feed it may be lost forever 🙁
These stories are not like posts on Instagram or Facebook that stay forever unless you delete them. However, you can archive stories for yourself or add put them to “highlights” to keep them even longer.
See the circles underneath my profile in the image below with a word in them? You can use images, etc. for your highlights. I used the logo color of Inspire To Thrive for most of my highlights as you can see from the image.
The younger generation on Snapchat and Instagram don’t like waiting so the disappearing stories features are perfect for them! Not only do stories disappear in 24 hours but they appear in the feed initially, front and center.
Stories are teasing everyone to click and look at them today. You may even do a story ad now on both Instagram and Facebook.Not only do they disappear in 24 hours but they appear in the feed now, front and center. #Instagramstories Click To Tweet
So, What Exactly Are Instagram Stories?
Stories are a vertical feature where you can insert an image or video. For example, a story may be a “behind the scenes” look at your business. You can use the same image as an Instagram post for the story, though I prefer to mix them up.
Finally, you can add stickers, gifs, polls, locations, and hashtags to these vertical images to make them more fun and engaging.
The more you add, the more engaging these stories will be. The idea is to make a short story – showing what’s happening in your world. What is new in your business that would interest your customers? This helps you get people more interested in what YOU do.
With Instagram stories, people can respond via an Instagram message. It’s a great way to engage your customers with your business! You can give a FREE offer or offer a special within the story itself.With Instagram stories, people can respond via an Instagram message. It’s a great way to engage your customers with your business! #Instagramtips Click To Tweet
What Else Can You Do With Your Stories?
Polls – Even making a simple poll helps your business to better serve your customers along the way. You can add polls on your story – So, these stories are great to see what your followers are interested in or not. You get responses from people via an Instagram message (similar to the Facebook messenger).
Add fun GIF images – Because GIF images pop out off the screen. They make your stories stand out from others especially in the 3 screen image view shown that appears in your Instagram stream.
Geotags in your story – Allows people to know where you are or have been. This works well for open houses, restaurants, retail stores, etc. If you don’t want to pinpoint your exact location you can use a city or state and not be as specific. It also helps others know where you are from and often gives your account more visibility.
Share a short video on Instagram – Videos can be used in stories for up to 15 seconds but not one second longer!
Expand Your Reach – Become an influencer and make money with Instagram.Add polls, fun GIF images, geotags and even video in your #Instagramstory to make them more engaging. Click To Tweet
Tracking Your Instagram Stories
On your Instagram insights tab, you can see how many people view your Instagram stories. If they view it more than one time you will not know but you do get a count of how many people actually view them.
After you do many of these Instagram stories you may notice a pattern of which ones perform the best. And then, of course, do more of those! Just be aware, you can only view the past 14 days of stories.On your Instagram insights tab you can see how many people view your Instagram stories. #Instagramtips Click To Tweet
What Makes Stories Different Than Posts?
Posts are not as interactive as stories are. You can interact more with your audience via the story feature. Instagram users find stories fun, appealing, and oftentimes will engage with them. You can publish stories more often than posts and not annoy your audience.
If you want help with designing your Instagram stories do try out Canva – they have templates all ready for you to use and customize! Plus, Canva offers a FREE 30 day trial on the premium version which I use here for most of my images.
How Often Should You Post Stories on Instagram?
The answer to this one may surprise you. There was a recent study that shows 5 stories per day are necessary to be seen and grow your Instagram account!
When posting 5 stories per day on Instagram the retention rate went to 70%! They show that most exits from stories happen within the first 3 posts.
Small brands with fewer than 5,000 followers post on average 3 stories per month. However, posting several stories per day drives better results on Instagram. And like most other social media networks, videos do best!
Keep in mind, using stories may also help with the Instagram algorithm and increase your visibility at the same time. Why not try them today?
You can use the new Reel feature as well for your stories and messages.How Often Should You Post Stories on Instagram? The answer to this one may surprise you. #Instagram Click To Tweet
Have you started using stories on Instagram for your account? I’d love to know more in the comments below. If you are interested in more hands-on training for Instagram in the Rhode Island area contact me today! I can teach you with a one-on-one session.
Or you can take my NEW online Udemy class below! (Updated often with new features like reels and much more.)