Instagram Stories were launched several years ago and quickly managed to make a boom on the famous social media channel. With millions of daily users, it would be a sin not to take advantage of this powerful feature of Instagram. And no, it is not reserved for influencers only. You may be an artist wanting to show your creativity to the world or you may have just started a small business. No matter what your own story is, Instagram Stories in 2021 have the power to give you an exposure you never imagined possible.
In today’s article, we will talk about how to leverage this tool and we will share ideas and tips on how to make Instagram Stories in 2021. Let’s begin!
1. Why and when to use Instagram Stories
The first step to being successful with Instagram Stories is to get the psychology behind them. When posted, Instagram Stories have a short lifespan – only 24 hours. They vanish quickly and that’s what makes them special. When you think about it, they even bring a sense of exclusivity. You post something and if people don’t see it today, they won’t be able to see it tomorrow. And nobody likes to miss out. People feel tempted to open that shiny colorful circle around your profile photo and this gives you a strong reason of why you should use Instagram Stories.
And when it comes to the question when, the answer is pretty simple – when you have something new to share and when you don’t have anything new to share (umm, what?). Yep, a huge part of the success behind Instagram Stories is to be regular. In this post, we will talk a lot about what to post when you are completely out of ideas, so just keep scrolling down.
2. How to make quality content for your Instagram Stories
Quality content is considered the type of content that engages your followers the most. It could be, and in most cases is, different for different auditories. So, it may take you time to figure out what type of content sparks your own auditory in particular.
Let’s say you are an illustrator. People would probably love to watch your artwork, sketches, professional tips, working process… rather than your selfies. If you are a marketer, people will most likely be interested in learning valuable insight from your experience and career which they will be able to apply themselves. If you are maintaining an online store, chances are that people will appreciate it if you inform them about ongoing promotions, new collections, exclusive offers. You get the idea.
2.1. Universal ideas for Instagram Stories
No matter of the purpose that made you start an Instagram profile, chances are – you want to develop it and grow your audience, and probably even get benefits in the long term. The huge success is possible but it starts with small steps first. Regardless of your status quo, there are universal ideas for content on Instagram Stories that people love and engage with. In this section, we share exactly such type of content – read on.
#Create unique content
The first universal tip everyone can use is to simply be unique. If you are copying someone else’s strategy or story content, people won’t have a reason to follow you. Think of the content that resonates with your personality and would be interesting for people to watch. Below, we’ve shared some ideas you can use.
Also, it’s important to keep your content diverse, so people are eager to click on your story every time.
There are Instagrammers that are real gurus at Instagram stories, so you can really use them as a source of inspiration of how to post unique content. Here are a few to check: Gary Vay-Ner-Chuk, casetify, tattly.
#Share your new feed posts
A practice that actually works and helps you reach more of your followers. How? Stories are live 24 hours and your followers will see that you have a new story whenever they log in within these 24 hours. In comparison, they may miss your new feed post if it was posted several hours ago. So, sharing on Stories the news about your latest feed post actually helps you get more reach.
Creating contests via Instagram Stories is a great way to generate fresh content and engage your followers. The contest may be a challenge or something else that makes followers create stories themselves and tag you. Then, you can re-share their stories – this will strengthen your relationship with them and make them feel significant. In the end, of course, there should be a prize.
#Create polls and quizzes
Instagram Stories allow you not only to engage customers more but to gather feedback, as well. How can you do that? Easily – by creating polls.
Creating polls changes your followers’ status from static viewers to active participants. It demonstrates that their opinion matters and strengthens your relationship with them. Simply type your question and let the poll begin.
Another option is to create a quiz, which also stimulates your followers’ activity. In the quiz, you manually type the options from which the viewers will choose their preferred one.
#Share other people stories
Sharing your followers’ stories is a step further in building a stronger relationship with them. The occasion may be different – them participating in your contest, using your products, mentioning you or any other type of content that is related to you.
#Ask followers to ask questions
When you are out of ideas, try this. By using Instagram stories, ask your followers to ask you questions. This is an easy way to generate content that will be exciting for your audience. You can create a series of stories with your answers. Or have one day of the week when you post stories answering all questions from the previous week.
2.2. Content for Business
Believe it or not, Instagram Stories is a great tool that will help you boost your business. The vanishing posts are the perfect place to spread the word about your new products, promotions, etc. that may otherwise irritate the viewer if posted on your feed too often. We’ve gathered several great ideas for posting on Instagram Stories that your business will only benefit from.
#Share your new blog articles
Maintaining a blog? Awesome! Your followers probably know that but it’s highly unlikely that they follow it on a daily basis.
Instagram Stories is a great place to shout out about your new blog post, even share a sneak peek, and why not ask a provocative question along with a poll or a quiz? The idea is to provoke your auditory to go check out your newest blog post.
#Share your new products
It may be annoying for your followers if you fill their feed with promotional content every time you launch a new product. The solution? Instagram Stories.
Post the news about your new product in a story allowing your followers to get a glimpse at what you have to say and quickly skip if they are not interested.
#Announce online sales and offers
When you are organizing a giveaway or a special sale, surely – you have to spread the word. How to make it effective and less annoying? You know it – Instagram Stories. Via the story, your sale will easily reach most of your followers within 24 hours, and you can even add a link for those who want to get more info.
#Share people reviews of your product or service
Positive feedback from real customers is a powerful tool that can convince other users to become your customers, as well. Use this to your advantage and share positive client reviews on your Instagram Stories. Simply make screenshots of user comments, direct messages, etc. and post them as stories (with approval from the author).
#Go behind the scenes
When you are running a business on Instagram or any other social media platform, for that matter, there is always this distance between your followers and you as if you are an inanimate object.
Don’t be afraid to show the face behind the business – it will only bring you closer to your audience and help you create a special stronger customer-brand relationship.
You could share shots from the office, pictures and videos from team buildings, sneak peeks of the working process, and so on.
2.3. Content for Influencers
Planning to become the next huge influencer on Instagram? There are certain types of content that influencers share on social media which people find interesting, such as fun videos, Q&A sessions, photoshoots, and more. When it comes to Instagram Stories in particular, we’ve gathered several ideas you can use along with the universal and business ideas we already covered.
#Share highlights from your day
People perceive influencers as celebrities. This is what makes followers particularly curious of how such a person spends their day. Instagram Stories is a great place to share highlights and interesting things from your day that people will love to see.
Sometimes, even share the ordinary things to show followers that your life is not so much more different than theirs. This will make you look more down-to-earth and will boost your followers’ affection.
#Go to trending places and share pictures and videos
Visiting a new interesting place is a great occasion to freshen up your Instagram profile with a new story, or why not – a series of stories. People are following you because they want to bring more excitement into their lives. Some of them may feel the emotions as if they are at this place themselves which will again, strengthen their bond with you.
But don’t make such posts just to brag – sooner or later, this will annoy people or make them feel bad for themselves. Make it as a recommendation, instead. Bring value and share tips on how they can live a more exciting, more satisfactory, and happier life.
#Use trending Instagram filters and effects
When thinking of filters and effects on Instagram, what pops in your head? Dog ears and muzzles, perhaps? Cat’s whiskers and enlarged sparkling eyes? As silly as these may seem, they are funny and somehow manage to become viral among users. Often, influencers are not those who catch the wave but those who start the trend. So, be on the watch for new funny filters and effects that have the potential to become viral.
But usually, funny filters and effects are not the only customization tools influencers use. Most commonly, influencers have an arsenal of tools to make their content more attractive. We’ve reviewed some of these tools in our article 16 Cool Apps or Instagram. Check it out.
#Share what people are saying about you
This tip is similar to the one we gave for business profiles on Instagram. When you think about it, being an influencer these days is kind of a business. So sharing other people’s feedback, opinion, recommendation, and why not even critics, is definitely a content that raises the interest of your followers. Maybe even content that will provoke more responses from your fan base.
Besides sharing followers’ feedback, re-share other people’s stories and posts when they mention you.
3. Stylize your Stories
On Instagram and on other social media channels, for that matter, it is important to create your own style. What do we mean? If you maintain a unique visual identity, this will make your content recognizable, i.e. the viewer will be able to guess who posted the content before they see your name above it. In this section, we’ve gathered ideas on how to personalize your Instagram, and more specifically – the content you post on Instagram Stories.
Using a consistent filter on your Instagram content helps you create a strong identity that will make you instantly recognizable. This applies to Instagram Stories, as well.
Although the different type of content on the Stories (sometimes you will share videos, sometimes – screenshots, etc.) may not allow you to really always apply the same filter, do it whenever you can.
#Add a background
For the type of stories that come with a black background behind, e.g. when you share a screenshot or someone else’s story, don’t leave it out black. Customize it, instead.
It’s a good practice to keep this background consistent and with harmony with the overall identity you maintain on your profile and stories.
Instagram Stories is definitely a place where you can be playful, easy-going, and simply not too serious. Stickers are cute and fun and since your followers are on Instagram to have something brighten their day, don’t be afraid to put a sticker or two on your story.
The library of stickers on Instagram Stories is huge – you can choose from all familiar emojis, custom stickers, labels, popular hashtags, and more.
If you lack the time to create an unique, attractive, and consistent look for your Instagram Stories, it’s always a good option to use templates.
Templates for Instagram Stories usually come in bundles with different types of layouts made in the same style. Whether you want to share quotes, pictures with quotes, a couple of pictures together, promote your new posts and products plus a call-to-action button, well-crafted templates for Instagram Stories will always have your back.
If you are considering templates for your Instagram Stories, we’d recommend you to check out our Boutique Collection of Instagram Templates.
#Play with the fonts and colors
The most basic customization you will always have time for is to simply change the fonts and colors of your stories. Choose an attractive font (or a pair of fonts) and a color scheme that resonates with your identity. This is the simplest way to keep your profile consistent, along with the content you upload on Instagram Stories.
You may also be interested in this related article 270+ Free Instagram Story Templates to Grab the Attention in 2020.
4. Get popular – Tips and Tricks
Getting popular on Instagram is, in fact, what could be considered success for every influencer or business profile. In this section, we share general tips and tricks, which if you apply, will get you a step closer to being the next huge star on Instagram.
Be active every day
Stories vanish after 24 hours, so to maintain the spark, post at least one story every day. It doesn’t have to be the same type of content every day – try to jazz it up a little bit. Even if you are out of ideas, you can always post a favorite quote or start a discussion by asking your fan base a provocative question.
Let viewers share your stories
Allowing your followers to share your content with their friends will help you reach a wider audience. There are options on Instagram that let viewers re-share your stories and feed posts either to their stories or via direct messages. Go to your profile, tap “Settings”, then “Privacy”, then “Story” and make sure the options “Allow Resharing to Stories” and “Allow Sharing” are enabled.
Hashtags are universal additions to any post – they can make it discoverable by a really huge audience. Luckily, you can also add hashtags to your Instagram Stories. It’s always a good practice to catch the wave with trendy hashtags, so your content reaches more people. In result, you can easily grow your fan base.
Add a location
There is a cool feature on Instagram you probably already know about – locations. Instagram Story allows you to add a geotag and besides being cool, this feature is also very useful. It helps you get more exposure to locals. Plus, it works similarly to hashtags – people can use geotags to search for local businesses, offers, etc.
Mention other profiles
We already mentioned how important mentions are. They tighten the bond between your followers and you. Sharing other people’s content along with mentioning them makes them feel more significant and makes you look more down-to-earth and approachable.
Plan a schedule
The quantity of Instagram Stories you post per day may vary but keeping a schedule will really help you be more organized with your content. There are apps that provide insight on which time of the day your followers are active the most and allow you to plan your schedule even better. For sure, there will be unexpected and unplanned Stories that you post from time to time but pretty much, planning ahead will help you keep your content regular and your followers engaged.
Be active on other people stories
“Don’t expect to receive if you are not willing to give.” – The famous quote is the absolute truth in many areas of life. In our case, it’s also true when it comes to being effective with your Instagram marketing. Don’t just sit and wait for people to be active – be active yourself. If someone you follow has a poll, give your answer. If they organize a Q&A session – ask a question, and so on.
Promote your stories
A tip that business profiles can benefit from. Instagram Stories give you the option to promote your stories. It has probably happened to you to run into a promoted story while going through your daily roll of stories. Story promotions work in similar way to regular post promotions with the difference that they only appear in-between the stories of people you are already following.
Hide your own Instagram Stories
Yes, Instagram allows you to do that, as well. For some reason, you may want to hide your stories from particular users, such as your competitors. To do so, open Instagram and go to your profile. Tap on “Settings”, then “Privacy”, then “Story” and use the option “Hide Story From” to select the people you want out of your Story audience.
Use highlights to showcase your business
Stories that permanently appear on your profile are called highlights. Highlights allow you to keep stories forever and even group them by theme (up to 100 stories per highlight) in order to show different areas of your life. Think of highlights as different albums where you keep memories.
From a business perspective, highlights are very useful, as well. They allow you to present your business in a more effective way – you can show different areas of your business, events and causes you’ve participated in, and so on.
Track and measure the performance of your Instagram Stories
No matter what tactics you apply for your Instagram Stories, keeping up with how your content performs is crucial. By understanding what type of content performs best and which days of the week your audience is the most active, you will be able to plan your strategy better and in result, boost the total engagement of your followers even more.
Instagram’s business profiles have this feature “Insights” where you can track the performance of your regular posts and your Instagram Story posts. In addition, there are many third-party tools such as Later, Socialinsider, Iconosquare, Quintly, Sprout Social, etc. that will provide brilliant insight on your followers’ activity and your content’s effectivity.
To wrap up,
Instagram Stories is definitely a powerful tool that can bring you many benefits in the long term. During the course of the last few years, Instagram Stories has become a real phenomenon that steal the attention of the user and as such, it should gain yours, too.
We hope this article was useful to you. If you’ve discovered more techniques that make Instagram Stories even more effective, we will be happy to see your tips in the comments below.
Meanwhile, steal some time to check out these related articles, as well. They will be surely useful: