One thing to remember: your stories are just as important as your grid. Stories offer a way to engage with your followers and can also allow you to conduct a little target demographic research (when necessary!). Through the use of stickers, you can ask questions, influence Swipe Ups (you'll need to reach 10,000 followers to get that feature) to relevant pages, and also offer quizzes! Being consistent through story content ensures your followers will be back for more if they enjoyed it the first time! And, by asking them questions in regards to your brand, business, and Instagram page, you demonstrate the fact that you genuinely value and want their opinion, this is a big deal for someone who is invested in your company and what you do.
7 WAYS TO BOOST YOUR INSTAGRAM ENGAGEMENT
1. Talk to the camera
You knew it was coming. And we totally get it. The thought of talking on camera to your audience can be intimidating. But remember, it is on your terms… You are in control. Putting your face to the camera is something that will come easier with time and practice. If you are largely your brand then it's a great tool to get yourself in front of potential couples so they feel like they can get to know you before they even book you. ‘Just be yourself’ is so often more easily said than done. But you’re great! You know your brand inside and out and couples will love you so maybe give it a try. Remember how we talked through writing your elevator pitch? Why not add that to an ‘About’ story highlight and see how you get on. You can Always record your video before uploading… You don’t always have to record ‘live’ and straight into the Instagram App. So you can do as many takes as you like until you feel you’ve got it right for you. And hey, if the thought of it really turns your stomach then don't worry... we have 6 more things you can do to boost your engagement that don't involve you having to get your face on the camera.
2. Strategy and Schedule
It’s really important to have a plan when it comes to your Stories strategy. What are you trying to achieve? Is it that you want to drive traffic or you want to engage more with your audience? Your goal will impact your strategy so figure out what the end objective is and make a plan. And consistency is key. That's when scheduling your posts with an app such as Later will be key. Schedule in advance and you don’t have to worry about making sure you’re free at 7pm every night to push go on your stories. Remember, each time you post a story you get pushed the front of the story queue on your followers' feeds, so if you’re consistent they will know to expect you.
3. Add style
There are loads of cool Instagram story template apps around if you want to add a bit more style to your stories. Have fun with them and find something that suits your brand. Your audience will then instantly recognise your stories as well, yours. Which is great for your brand image. You can check these ones out as a starting point: Unfold, Canva, Storyluxe and Adobe Spark.
4. Use stickers
Stories come with a series of stickers that can be great to boost engagement. Some of the most useful and interactive stickers are:
The questions sticker. Ask your audience a question. It could be related to your business - perhaps a bit of market research or it could be about them. Your potential couples. We don’t always have to be taking from our audience… Sometimes it’s nice to offer them a platform to chat. They’re getting married and they love talking about it so here’s your chance to let them! Or flip the coin entirely and use the questions sticker to let them 'ask you anything'.
The poll sticker. We know our audience loves a poll. People like to have their say so here's a chance to let them. Your polls could be about anything ‘are you going ahead with a 15 person wedding? Yes / NO’, 'Who’s ready for the weekend ???? / ????♀️' 'This Vs That'. And so on. They’re really easy quick wins when it comes to engagement.
The Quiz sticker. You might have seen then every fortnight we run a Friday Quiz. It is one of our most highly engaged with stories series that we share. Who doesn't love a quiz?! Maybe you could do one about your business… when it started, did it used to have a different name? Etc. Or perhaps about your profession in general or maybe just a totally random general knowledge quiz with the odd wedding/love related element. You can also use the quiz sticker for gaining feedback… i.e. ‘How much have you budgeted for your photography: 1k, 2k, 3k. Etc.
DM me. If you want more meaningful and engaging conversations with your audience ask them to DM you instead of answering a question sticker. You're letting them know that it is ok for them to reach out to you in a more meaningful way.
Mention sticker: If you’re collaborating with others or sharing user-generated content then tagging that person is absolutely key. You can use the mention sticker for that instead of just @ing them in normal text. This will really pull ficus to the mention.
Hashtag sticker: Yep - you need to use hashtags on your stories. We’ll come on to that shortly but if you have one main hashtag you’re trying to push then you could reach for the hashtag sticker to really center its visibility.
Music sticker: Why not add appropriate music to your stories? You can select from a huge range of music and choose how long that plays for - from anywhere from a few seconds up to the full 15 second story. Music is so emotive so can really help you convey your messaging.
Gifs Sticker: Who doesn't love a gif? They can really boost interaction and encourage your audience to instantly reply to your stories with quick emojis. Which can lead to opportunities for further engagement.
When it comes to what hashtags (which are important for helping you get discovered by new audiences) to use it's important you get your strategy right because the right hashtags will reach the right people meaning that you will grow a more authentic and engaged audience.
5. Hashtags & Location tags
Location tags help boost engagement on your stories so make sure you let people know where you are in the world. You don't have to tell them you’re at Nell’s Cafe but you can tell them you're in Nottingham. And hashtags are as important on your stories as they are on your grid. You can add up to 10 per story. Sometimes hashtags can clutter up your stories but you can be clever with them. You can reduce the size - be careful not to go too small though and they can be hidden under gifs or stickers and you can make them the same colour as your background by using the colour picker tool. Write our hashtags and select the background colour with the colour picker and voila! Hashtags hidden.
Being inclusive is absolutely key when it comes to your comms. If you’re doing face to camera stories, make sure you caption them so that anyone following you who has a hearing impairment knows what you are saying. It’s also great for those watching your storites at night or somewhere where they need to have the volume down. There are apps you can find to transcribe your words but you can also do this really quickly yourself by using the microphone feature on your phone's keyboard . Quickly speak the words from your story again instead of having to type t all out.
7. Take overs
If you’re working with someone on a collaboration or you have mutual audiences and want to boost each others numbers and engagement, why not try a takeover? This is a great way of instantly accessing a brand new audience who already has a vested interest in someone similar to you. Its a win win situation all around.
Do you have any tips to add? And would you like us to drill down further into any aspects of Instagram? Maybe you want a user guide to Reels or Guides? Let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can share them on our Instagram (see what we did there) with all our other Recommended Suppliers.