Have you been putting up Instagram stories just for the sake of putting up a story? If yes, it’s time to change your strategy!

In 2021, the Instagram story is much more than the “Snapchat-like” feature that rolled out in 2016. It’s a way for a brand to show off new content from their store, for a traveller to share behind-the-scenes of their upcoming video and for an influencer to get feedback from their followers.

And while the posts on Instagram require quality and perfection, your Instagram stories allow you to show your followers the content that’s a little rough around the edges.

In this post, we have decided to tell you 14 different ways you can use Instagram stories to get more engagement and followers. So, without further ado, let’s revamp your Instagram Story strategy with these excellent ideas!

Tag Relevant People:

You have already been tagging people in your Instagram stories, but it’s time to do it strategically. Have you collaborated with an influential or well-known brand? Tag them! Are you talking about a product you used and found exceptional in your story? Tag the creators! Have you worked with a fellow influencer or a brand (doesn’t matter if they are bigger or smaller than you)? Tag them!

Think of tagging as a way to boost your reach and use it whenever appropriate.

When you tag someone in your IG story, they get a notification that you are talking about them. If the brand or influencer likes what you are saying, they might repost your story on theirs, putting your name in front of thousands of new potential followers.

So, tagging not only allows your followers to be excited about the same people/brands as you are but also gives you a chance to increase your exposure.

Add Captions to Your Videos:

Have you been posting videos of you talking on your stories but getting very little views?

While your video content might not be up to par, the problem can also be the lack of captions.

Most of the people are watching your story without turning on any sound which means many of them are going to miss important announcements, exciting news or product reveals that you wanted to share with them. It also means that some of them are not going to watch the series of stories till the end.

A quick and simple way to solve this problem is by adding captions to the videos before you post the story. These captions clarify what you are talking about, and even if somebody doesn’t turn on the sound, they can read what you are saying.

Tease New Content:

Pair up your new Instagram posts with a teaser on the Instagram story and see how well they perform!

The best thing about IG stories is that they appear on the top of the feed no matter what. People are bound to go through them, and that means that even if they don’t find your new content in their feed, they’ll find out about it through your stories.

Now a fun way to do that is by teasing up-coming or brand-new content through your stories. Here are a few ways to tease new content and products on the story:

  • Use a “New Post” sticker and hide what it is about.
  • Ask a question and direct people to your post for the answer.
  • Tell people to stay tuned for exciting news through your stories.
  • Take a poll about what your new post is going to be about.
  • Use the Eraser tool to hide/reveal new content

Sounds like a lot of work? Our Sales + Promotion Templates can cut it down to half!

Feature Your Products:

Instead of filling people’s feed about your products, you can feature them in your Instagram stories.

One way to do that is by posting a series of short clips showing your product in action.

You can use multiple stories to talk about a problem (through texts and images) and present your product as a solution.

You can also create a shop-able Instagram story and make your customer’s checkout easier, or you can offer freebies and discounts through your stories.

Your followers will then stay on a lookout for your stories to ensure they don’t miss your amazing deals and offers. Plus, this will push the people who are interested in the products/services you offer to follow you in order to keep up with your budget-friendly offers. And…you’ll be making sales. Everyone wins!

Get to Know Your Followers:

Nobody likes people who are too self-centred or if you are a brand, product-centred. That is why Instagram has Question stickers, DM Me stickers and much more!

Your followers need to know that you care about them. So it’s always good to ask them about themselves every once in a while.

You can do this by either asking them a direct question, for example, “Have you guys ever been to DisneyLand?” or by telling them your story and letting them in on it, for example, “Today, I had a lazy day. I just laid back, relaxed and let myself be. I think you ought to have such days to give yourself a breather from your ever hectic routine. What do you think? When was the last time you had a lazy day, and how did you spend it?”

You can ask for their opinions, suggestions, recommendations, ideas or anything really. Such posts will give your followers a chance to talk to you, and they’d be thrilled. It’s a perfect way to get more engagement!

Do Behind-The-Scenes IG Stories

If you’re an artist, you can post the making of a particular art piece. If you’re a videographer, you can use IG stories to show the work that was put into making your masterpiece.

As a brand, you can take people to your office or introduce them to your team.  You can tell short travel stories, interesting incidents or coincidences or anything related to your everyday life on Instagram stories to connect with your followers.

Once you show the people that you are no different from them, they’ll be more inclined to engage with you and your posts.

Do a Countdown

The count-down sticker allows your followers to know something big is coming up. You can either reveal what the announcement at the end of the countdown will be, or you can create an air of mystery to pique their curiosity.

Whatever you choose, it is going to engage them for sure!

Your followers can also choose to get notified about when the countdown ends or share it on their own story.

It is a fun and engaging way to introduce new products, offers, giveaways, important collaborations or for other big announcements.

Share Content from Your Followers/Clients

In order to make your Instagram more engaging, you need your followers in the loop.

You can do this by sharing the stories they post about you, their reviews, their posts that resonate with your Instagram strategy and other types of user-generated content that goes well with what you are doing.

For example, if you are a stationery store, you can share artwork or calligraphy pieces of your followers.

Featuring people on your stories makes the people engage with you more in the hopes of getting featured.

Make your followers a part of your Instagram story strategy, and you’ll see yourself getting big very quickly!

Tell a Story through Instagram Stories

Were you hiking through the mountains yesterday? Or exploring a historic landmark? Don’t let the pictures go to waste. Compile them together and create a story series.

Travellers, explorers, videographers and businesses can use Instagram stories to create a visual story sequence. Such stories retain viewers’ attention for longer periods, and they tend to engage with them more.

And you don’t need high-quality, well-rendered material to tell your story.

You can just put up some decent photos one after another, add a little bit of text and arrows on each to elaborate what you were doing and you’re good to go!

According to a few surveys, the optimal length of such stories is seven at a time. However, it all depends on your followers. If they are watching them till the end, you can experiment with shorter or longer ones to see what works best with your community.

Use Location Hashtags

Location hashtags are Instagrams’ gift for businesses, brands and influencers!

When you use a location hashtag, not only does your story pops at the beginning for your followers who are in the neighbourhood but it also has a chance of showing up on the Explore tab, giving your content a chance to appear in front of a much larger audience.

A quick trick is to use smaller, more specific location hashtags instead of broader ones. This gives you an opportunity to appear in the broader searches as well!

Do a Poll

Instagram knows what works best on Instagram, and that is why they have created their handy collection of stickers, and one of them is: the Poll Sticker!

With the Poll Sticker, there are tons of possibilities to explore. But first, you need to be able to distinguish it from the Quiz Sticker.

The Poll Sticker is the one that gives you two choices –Yes or No, Ice-cream or Milkshake, Heels or Flats, etc.

When you use a Poll Sticker, your friends and followers are able to see real-time results.

The Polls don’t always have to be related to your product. You can use it to ask your audience the perfect place for dinner, their favourite coffee-type, the class you should take, the place you should sight-see first and much more!

Post Screenshot-able Instagram Stories

For people to take interest in your content, you have to add value to it. And posting content that they can screenshot and use for free is an excellent way to do that.

Screenshot-able content includes wallpapers, lock screen images, social media covers, editable graphics, etc.

And if you create them related to your brand/ products, the people who use them are doing free advertising for you among their friends and family.

So, you not only get people’s interest by putting up screenshot-able Instagram stories, but you also get free advertisement in return!

Create Shareable Stories

Shareable stories are similar in concept to screenshot-able stories. However, they drive engagement as well as boost your reach within Instagram.

Stories that include music, inspirational quotes, motivational texts or content related to some movement usually resonate with the public. And even if five of your followers are reposting your story, it’s reaching at least five hundred people not present in your follower’s list.

Quality shareable stories do take some time to create. However, your hard work gets paid off in the form of new followers and enhanced engagement analytics.

If you are still not ready to put much effort into this, check out our Social Media Bundles that will make your work a lot easier.

Create a Regular Series

Give your followers something to look forward to by creating a regular Instagram story series.

Here are a few ideas you can use for your regular series:

  • Post a prompt
  • Post a word of the day
  • Post a puzzle of the day
  • Post fill in the blank of the day
  • Post question of the day
  • Post happy thought of the day
  • Post words of wisdom of the day

You can also create a weekly or monthly series. It will keep your audience engaged with your Instagram account, and they will wait for the story from your regular series.

So, let’s make the right use of those Instagram stories, shall we?

Now that you are aware of the many different ways you can use Instagram stories to increase the number of followers and get more engagement, it’s time you put use to this feature to take advantage of its so many lesser-known and lesser appreciated advantages.

Instagram is full of other mysterious ways to take advantage of this platform that still many people aren’t aware of. You can get to know more about Instagram, its algorithms and many other features by visiting our blog.