Increase Instagram Stories reach in 5 simple steps
Not only did my main feed posts start to struggle a few months back, I also noticed a drop in views on my Instagram Stories.
The number of accounts that see your Stories is determined by the algorithm. It aims to identify the best, newest, most relevant, and engaging content. So if people are interested, holding the screen to read, commenting, sticking with a Story until the end rather than skipping past it, chances are you are on to a winner. Your little Stories circle will appear closer to the front of your followers feed.
So I have upped my game a little. By making small adjustments to my Stories strategy I’ve seen a 50-80% increase in the number of views. Here’s how.
Post when people are watching
Yes, the whole point of Stories is that they are current, spontaneous babe, and of the moment. Yes yes yes. But.
I find that when I post to Stories influences how much they are viewed.
As with my main feed posts, if I post to Stories either at breakfast time or in the evening, they are seen by more people. If I start Storeying at 11am – it falls flat.
So as a rule (and rules are made to be broken 😉) I now post in the evening. It’s my best time. Work out your best time by using Insights, common sense and trial and error.
I don’t advocate getting too hung up on posting times, we can only do what we can do. But if we are going to be on Instagram (which is time-consuming, right?) for me, it makes sense to do it when you are most likely to get the best results.
There is an avalanche of evidence that people are more engaged by moving images than still ones yet I still have to remind myself to think in video-first for Stories.
Our brains love video – read why here.
Using all the video tools available in the app and on your phone (Boomerang, stop-motion, time-lapse, filters) keeps people watching.
Research by Social Insider into how Stories perform (for brands) found that we tend to drop off more on photos than video posts. Read the whole report here there’s some other useful stuff in there around the number of Stories to post (suggesting up to 6 a day is ideal).
Talk to Stories
While we are talking video, are you talking to camera enough? It can be tempting to think that no-one will be interested in seeing us chat away. Yet blow me down they are among the best performing Stories I post.
Earlier this week I talked about an event I have coming up – essentially a sales post – and it reached 50% more people than my average Story. And almost 80% of those who started watching completed the post of 9 Stories.
Try it, it’s a great way to increase your Instagram Stories reach!
Nervous about appearing on camera? Read this post about video confidence it features advice from some brilliant video pros!
My video top tip: use subtitles.
Think like a storyteller
Stories are a big part of Instagram. They could be seen as more important than feeds posts, they are certainly growing 15x faster. So give them as much thought.
Is what you are saying clear (really clear – you’ve got a nano-second to get people’s attention) or a bit of a mad jumble? Are you telling a good story?
When I plan my Stories I think about the photos, video, and words I will need to make it successful. It’s no surprise that they perform better than unplanned ones.
Encourage people to stay
We are all Stories viewers – so think for a second about how you watch them. We’re merciless, tapping and swiping past anything that is remotely uninteresting.
So the first image or video you post should be a knockout that convinces us to keep watching.
Then, tempt your follower to watch the next slide. Tease what is coming yet – ask a question, then answer it on the next slide. Promise a reveal.
I try and think about these things when I am structuring a Story, never assume people know what’s coming next.
And a little of what I am doing less of
Re-posting mentions and shoutouts. While it is always nice to be nice and say thank you. Reposting every time you are mentioned in someone else’s Story can be a little bit dull.
Click and listen to the first 15 minutes of this episode of A Drink with James, a podcast from influencer marketer James Nord. In it, he talks about the problem with reposts and their limited value to the viewer.
New post alerts. It can be helpful to nudge people on Stories towards your new grid post, but again, they can be a bit of a turn-off. I’m trying to use them sparingly or be a little more inventive when I do.
And what I can’t help but do
Some of my posts don’t perform well but I do them anyway because they are important. New blog post alerts, an important shoutout, talking about upcoming events, reminding people that I have a newsletter (it’s great 😀 social media news and comment, sign up in the subscriber’s box while you are here!). Generally, these posts don’t do brilliantly, but hey.
While it’s super satisfying to see an increase in your Instagram Stories reach, it’s equally important to know when to liberate yourself from the numbers.
A little bit of short term lower engagement can be worth it for long term gain.
Let me know what works for you on Stories – join the conversation in the comments box below.