Why You Need to Start Doing Instagram Stories More Often

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.

Lisa Sicard teaching an Instagram Class for beginners

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.

What are Instagram stories?

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.

 

Highlights

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.

Instagram stories

 

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
instagram course
Sign up for this Instagram class with a money-back guarantee!

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

In Conclusion

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.)

instagram course
Sign up for this Instagram class for beginners with a money-back guarantee!

 

Lisa loves helping others to thrive online through Social Media, Blogging, and SEO. What good is knowledge if you cannot share it with others? She has 30+ years of experience in marketing/advertising with 10 years of experience in content marketing, social media, blogging, and SEO. Check out her latest eBook "How to Tweet and Thrive on Twitter" now on Amazon.

  • Hi Lisa,
    Thank you for sharing these tips. I’m new to Instagram, and I even signed up for the business account yet I never knew I could do so much with it. I have been struggling to grow my page but will definitely apply what you’ve mentioned here. Thanks once again.

  • Hey Lisa,

    Truly awesome. Very well said and completely agree with you lisa, Instagram stories has number of benefits – it is one of the best place to build strong network, and helps in increasing traffic and sales.

    Instagram stories are definitely an incredible marketing tool that provides you number of benefits.

    Thanks for sharing this informative piece of article. Keep sharing more similar and useful post.

    Have a nice weekend.

    Thanks & Regards,
    -Rijhu.

    • Thank you Rijhu 🙂 Do you use them and how often? I try to but it’s hard to be consistent with them with all else that I do. I’m working on finding more ways to make it quick so stay tuned! I hope you have a great day and weekend ahead!

  • Thanks lisa for the article, i am not much into instagram stories, your article is such an eye opener, Am gonna try out from insta stories with polls to get an audience feedback about my product. keep up the good work

    • Hi Jones, you are most welcome. I believe many are not aware of the impact of stories unless they are “in” social media. Good luck with yours and love to hear how you make out with them. Have a great day!

  • I’m using Instagram stories, got only 15k viewers on each one. My Instagram profile is about photography and I think is not so popular like other.

    • Hi Daniel, Welcome to Inspire To Thrive. That’s good compared to smaller accounts. Photography can do well on that network. How long have you been on it? Thanks for coming by and have a great day!

  • Thanks for this post. I am struggling to utilise my Instagram effectively at the moment. I watch other people get mountains of interaction etc. Do you know how regular business accounts should be posting? I’ve seen some people say don’t post images on your story, only videos with your own closed captioning, but it just seems like such a random statistic. Sorry if thats a random question, I am interested to know what the ‘ideal’ is. Thanks again.
    Keiran

    • Hi Keiran, welcome to Inspire To Thrive. You can post a few times a week and then do stories more often, even daily. You can use images and images that tell a story. Many do behind the scenes of their business or something relateable. Videos work well too. Try to make several images/videos into a story, each one a different chapter per say. Some different types of business do better than others there as well. Thanks for coming by and good luck! Let me know how it goes for you after a month of implementing it.

  • Hi Lisa,
    Thanks for sharing this amazing piece fo content. Social Media really helps to grow a business and its visibility to people. Instagram and Facebook are the best sources to grow a business and build relatioship with peoples.

    • Hi Hamza, welcome to Inspire To Thrive. You are most welcome. Even though I generate more from Instagram today than ever before Twitter is still my #1 source of traffic. Are you on that platform as well? It’s amazing how things change quickly with each of the big social networks. Thanks for coming and have yourself a great day and new week!

  • Hi Lisa,

    I am a hardly user of Instagram, didn’t know the true value of Instagram, reading your blog it really help me to know the real value of Instagram, Right now there’s no doubt that Instagram Stories are incredible marketing tools that i can use.
    Thanks for such a sharing.

    will be following you..

    • Hi Mohammed, If you have a website or are selling something Instagram may be for you. The target audience there is younger and more female. So it does depend if that is your audience or NOT. You are welcome. Do have a great day and I appreciate your coming by.

  • Instagram is one of the best place an generating traffic and sales to my website. I had once tried my hands on the Instagram stories but it didn’t work the way I planned.

    After reading your posts , am having a rethink now.

    Thanks madam

    • Hi Joseph, welcome to Inspire To Thrive. Instagram has started to generate more traffic here this year than ever before. It has not caught up to my Twitter yet though 🙂 Stories have really helped, they keep you out there and visible on the Instagram network. You have to do them daily for a few weeks to notice a difference. I’d love to know if you try how you make out with that. Thanks for coming by and have a great day!

  • Hi Lisa,

    Indeed, Instagram stories are so good and more people are switching to Instagram whether it is for business purpose or personal.

    Personally, I love using Instagram than any other social media platforms. It is easy and could engage more people whom we like.

    Instagram even have three options, business, private and public account, which is really helpful for every kind of users.

    I hope many people will learn about the benefits of Instagram from you.

    Thanks,
    Jeangam Kahmei

    • Hi Jeangam, Yes, more people are using and spending more time on Instagram than ever before. I don’t understand in some cases why some use private accounts if they are in business. I’ll have to do more research on that and maybe do another post 🙂 Thanks for inspiring me! Are you using stories often yourself there? Thanks for coming by and for your input Jeangam.

  • Hi Lisa,

    There’s no doubt that Instagram Stories are incredible marketing tools that marketers should be using. And since I’ve not been paying much attention to the site, your article is a reminder that I should. Thanks a lot for the insights. However, I didn’t know you’re a fantastic speaker as well.
    Good job!!!

    • Hi Moss, Yes, indeed. They are another tool for marketers on Instagram that works well. You are most welcome. I’m not sure if I’m a great speaker but I can teach in front of many 🙂 Thanks and have a great day.

  • Hi Lisa!

    It’s been a pleasure watching your Instagram stories these past few weeks and also watching you carry out the class.

    I have been looking for opportunities to utilize them more and more, so I’ve been doing a lot of analysis on how some of the big brands and influencers in my markets are utilizing them.

    Often times I find that the stories don’t seem that large or thought-out at all. Many of them are simple, spontaneous, and aren’t all that glamorous, for lack of a better word. Even something as simple as showing people what you’re up to, or sharing a thought that popped into your head can be enough.

    One thing’s for certain – the power stories can have to keep you top-of-mind and build a deeper connection with your following is very powerful!

    – James McAllister

    • Hi James, thank you 🙂 You are correct about some not being thought-out and uninteresting. I try not to do them for the sake of just doing them. Sharing about your day in a creative way is a great way to use them. It does keep folks top of mind as they are seen more in the Instagram stream. Thanks for coming by on this one Janes and have a wonderful day!

  • Hello Lisa,

    I have recently started using Instagram especially after the shut down of Google+. However, I have used Instagram Stories until now as I am playing with its features. Thanks for updating us with these great practices. Will definitely try them.

    Regards,
    Vishwajeet

    • Hi Vishwajeet, glad to hear you are using Instagram now. There are so many features, I just found one today for new blog posts, It’s a GIF and looks cool. You can also share others stories quite easily. So much to them I may need to update this post or do a follow up for advances. Thank you for coming by and cmmenting. Have a nice day Vishwajeet.

  • Hi Lisa,
    Thank you for giving me that “push” to do Instagram stories. It is on my to do list, but it’s time I jump on it. I used to think that after 24 hours it will be gone so what’s the use? But now, through better understanding with this article, I can see how interactive it is and that’s what I love. A short video would work hugh?
    -Donna

    • Hi Donna, You are welcome for the “push”. Oh yes, they are valuable indeed. I’ve been noticing in the insights more views from the stories vs. some posts! And the profile visits are picking up too. You can do up to 15 seconds for video. I’d stop at 14 just to be safe before uploading it. You can also do these on Facebook as well. They do give you more visibility there but I don’t believe as much as Instagram at the moment 🙂 Thanks for coming by and have a great day Donna.

    • Hi Ryan, yes, indeed. The Instagram stories are a gem! I just found a new GIF today showcasing a new blog post 🙂 How cool is that? Thank you. It was a fun class to teach. Hope to be doing more of them. Thanks for coming by on this and have a great day Ryan!

  • This is fabulous, Lisa. And look at you! All professional and stuff! LOL I don’t use Instagram stories but I do look at others. I can definitely see the benefits in it. Thank you for sharing this!

    • Hi Bren, thank you. Yes, stories are quite amazing and can do a lot. The more I teach, the more I learn and the more I teach. There is so much to stories but I don’t want to overwhelm people at the same time with everything.
      The way in which they are done also depends on which mobile device you have though more tools like Agorapulse are allowing posting from the app vs. Instagram itself which is nice! Did you see my story yesterday with the butterfly on the sunflower? It was a video.
      Thanks for coming by on this post and have a great day Bren 🙂

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