How to Use Instagram Stories to Build Your Audience

Social media

According to Instagram themselves, over 500 million users check Instagram Stories every single day. 

With so many stories for followers to sift through, if your brand isn't smashing the stories game, you could be left in the dust by your competitors.

Fortunately, there are a number of techniques you can use to improve the impact of your stories and impress your followers. 


Ready to stand out on Instagram stories and grow your audience? Follow along to discover the tips and tricks you need to up your Instagram marketing strategy and leverage this fantastic platform feature. 

Benefits of Instagram Stories

The most obvious difference between Instagram Stories and regular posts is the limited viewing time tied to your stories. While many brands do not put as much effort into their stories, the limited window is actually incredibly beneficial to your growth. 

 

With such short snippets, your brand will have the opportunity to engage even more with your audience. The best part is that you can do so without becoming an overwhelming presence in their feed.

This means viewers can get more of what they love without getting 'tired' of you. In the end, this results in higher buy-in from your customer. Of course, this is only true when stories are utilized effectively.

How to Maximize Instagram Stories

If you're on a mission to grow your audience with Instagram Stories (which you should be) there are a few key tips and tricks you'll need to succeed. 

Humanize Your Brand

One of the best parts about Instagram stories is that your posts don't need to be nearly as polished as professional as they do on your feed. In fact, your audience will love getting to know your brand on a more personal level. 

Leverage this platform by letting your followers in on who's behind your brand and what that looks like. This will help you come across as genuine and give your business a sense of reliability. 

Consider bringing your followers along behind the scenes or sharing more 'raw' style videos in amongst your well-presented posts. 

Focus on Engagement

The Instagram Stories create mode is packed with easy-to-use features that make engagement easier than ever. Do your brand and your audience a favor by incorporating them regularly. 

Instagram Stories stickers such as questions, polls, and even quizzes are great for encouraging interactions. In fact, the engagement from these is much more valuable than a like or comment on your post. Not only does this give you a chance to capture their attention but it also keeps them coming back more frequently. 

Whether they want to see what questions have been answered or if their vote swayed your big decision, your followers will be more interested in what you have going on. This will encourage more people to hit that follow button to make sure they don't miss out. 

Add Value

Let's be honest, your audience is tired of seeing promos and spammy ads. Instead of filling your Instagram Stories with sales-driven posts, utilize this platform to add value to your brand. 

Film fun how-to videos or post tutorials that relate to your product or service. The more free information you are willing to offer, the more interested people are going to be in giving you a follow. 

While it's okay to mix in a sales post here and there, be sure your followers are always getting more out of your posts than you are taking. 

Show Social Proof

Human psychology tells us that people like to go where other people are. This is called social proof and it is incredibly valuable in your Instagram marketing strategy. 

Show your followers that your product and brand is gaining attention from the masses with user-generated content. Repost reviews, share product shots from customers, or even use the questions feature to answer FAQs from real people online.

Not only will people be more inclined to hop on the bandwagon, but any followers who gained a feature spot in your stories will also be more likely to share it with their audience. This could land you in front of another captive audience that's interested, engaged, and ready to buy. 

Draw Attention to Your Feed

While stories can sometimes feel like a different platform altogether, it's important to tie your Instagram marketing strategy together by using your stories to draw interest to the rest of your page. 

A subtle but effective way to do this is to feature your own posts in your stories. 

Whether you show the entire image or blur out certain aspects to peak interest, you'll be able to see this technique working in your analytics. 

As people watch your stories, notice how many click on the post or navigate to your profile from the story itself. Because this is so simple and quick for users, you'll notice an impressive difference in your profile views and subsequently, your followers. 

Good content is the key, and quality content should always be visually appealing. Never underestimate the importance of good design. People pay attention to things that look nice and catch their attention. Take advantage of some Instagram feed planning tools, like the Instagram Feed feature we have in ZoomSphere. 

Feature Time-Sensitive Content

We already know that your story will only be up for 24 hours, so take advantage of the short window by placing your most time-sensitive information here.

This is great for promoting a sale or opening up a short-term contest. 

Not only will it keep your feed uncluttered, but your followers will have to come back more often to check to see what you have going on. The more often you make announcements or leak sales in your stories, the more your followers will learn to pay you frequent visits. 

And of course, when your followers are constantly coming around, the algorithm will see you as an authority and promote your posts higher up on the feed!

Leverage Highlights

Want your followers to see your posts for longer? Leverage the highlight feature to keep important or high-performing stories on your feed for as long as you like.

Of course, you'll need to use this feature responsibly to maintain interest and draw more followers. 

To do this, consider only featuring stories that turned over great results. Couple this with what you already know about what your followers like to see by creating highlight reels for user-created content or well-received behind-the-scenes footage. 

This will give your new followers a chance to catch up and get to know your brand. As a bonus, you'll get to keep your quality content around to make an even larger impact

Utilize Hashtags

Another clever way to outsmart the algorithm and get your brand in front of a larger audience is to utilize all the story features, especially hashtags. 

Each hashtag you use on your post will give you a chance to feature in the discover feed. Of course, the more engagement your post generates, the higher you'll rank for that hashtag, and the more likely it is that you'll land a spot. 

By choosing tailored hashtags that appeal to your audience, you can get in front of a highly interested audience. Ultimately, these are the users that are more likely to give you a follow. To find the best hashtags, take advantage of our new hashtags suggestions feature. These suggestions make it easier to rank for relevant tags and gain valuable followers. 

Just remember not to overstuff hashtags or use any banned hashtags that could harm your rank. For bonus points, pair your best-performing hashtags with location tags and double up on your results. Check out other tips for using hashtags.

Create Better CTAs

A CTA or Call To Action is what converts your Instagram Story views into website hits or sales. Just like any social platform, a strong CTA is a key to good conversion, but Instagram Stories has a handy built-in feature to help you out. 

CTA zs

While Instagram does add a subtle 'swipe up' or 'learn more' to the bottom of Stories with a link, marketers have found significantly better click-through rates with a little extra promo. To do this, create your own custom CTA that stands out and clearly directs your customers. 

You'll need to make it fun, branded, and creative to make swiping that link irresistible. 

Study Your Analytics

Analytics are important on every post, but with so many stories to gather information, the engagement you receive on your stories can play a large part in guiding your strategy. 

Improve your marketing on Instagram by paying special attention to what your viewers are interacting with the most and leverage this information to produce more of what they want. We have a whole blog post about the most important Instagram metrics here, and our Analytics app can provide you with various metrics to keep moving forward. 

It's also a great idea to compare the engagement you gain on your stories with the engagement you receive on your profile. As we mentioned above, your stories should be directing more people to your page. If this isn't the case, you'll see it in your numbers and can create a plan of action to improve your approach. 

And of course, one of the most impactful measures is the efficiency of your post timing. 

Post Timing and Frequency

Perhaps the most important Instagram Stories rule for success is omnipresence. Your stories should be frequent and timed in alignment with your follower's schedules for the best results.

Just like your posts, when you appear in your audience's feed is crucial. Of course, this can be difficult if your audience is most active right in the middle of an important meeting or big event. 

Fortunately, we've got the perfect platform to help you stay on track and ahead of your Stories. 

ZoomSphere is the best tool for Instagram Scheduling and makes stories, posts, reels and IGTV easy to plan ahead and drop at the perfect moment. The app is simple to navigate and allows you to finish up any manual posts in Instagram's creator for full integration of stickers and links. 

Ensure you never miss out on the perfect window with ultimate planning and posting for all of your Instagram needs. 

Marketing With Instagram

Now that you know how to use Instagram Stories to grow your audience, it's time to set to work. From utilizing algorithm-busting techniques to perfectly timing your posts, we're confident you'll love the results you see with these key tips and tricks. 

Want to get started with the best scheduling app for Instagram? Start your free trial today and experience a whole new world of stories, reels, and posts for your most impressive social strategy to date.