Instagram stories are arguably the most powerful and engaging form of social media content in 2019. As of today (October 2019) there are one billion active monthly users on Instagram and over 500 million who use Instagram stories every single day!
How Do You Take Advantage of Stories To Grow Your Wellness Business?
Instagram Stories: The Basics
If you’re active on Instagram, chances are you’ve used stories or at least have been a spectator. Incase you don’t know, Instagram stories are the 15 second videos that play in Instagram at the top of your Instagram page that stay active for 24 hours and then disappear. They play as videos but can consist of video, a photo, or series of photos. If you want to save your story, you have the option to add it to your highlights, where viewers can watch them long after the 24 hours have expired.
Stories remain at the top of your page all the time. You’ll see your followers stories and they will see yours, however, stories appear in the order they are posted, so the newest stories will always appear furthest to the left. When you have an active story, a ring appears around your profile picture. You’ll see a ring around your follower’s profile pictures as well, until you view their story.
Getting More Views
Of course, the more often you post stories, the higher the likelihood that your followers will see them. However, you don’t need to post 20 times a day to be successful in attracting more ideal leads. Many people “binge watch” stories. Once you begin watching one, the next will automatically play, and so on. It’s very easy to consume stories! You have to physically close out of stories to stop them from playing. A good amount of your followers will actually see your story, even if they don’t initially click on it.
Another great feature are Instagram insights. When you have a business account, you can go into your insights and view graphs showing where your followers are from, demographic information such as age range and gender, and what days and times they are most active on Instagram. This information will allow you to post stories and other content at those times for maximum viewership.
If you begin using Instagram stories every day you’ll find that they help you to grow your audience and build your business. Stories are where everyone’s attention is right now. Since they remain static at the top of your page, they are very prominent and hard to miss. Also, people don’t get annoyed if you post TOO many stories, as long as it’s high quality content. Think about it. Every time you post your post shows up in other people’s feeds. If you do it too often it can feel like too much for some of your followers. Stories don’t tend to trigger that response.
Getting More Targeted Followers
It’s important thing to note that you will only see your stories of people you follow. This means only people who follow you will be able to see your stories.
If you don’t have a lot of followers you need a plan to consistently grow your following. Utilizing the entire platform – stories, lives, IGTV, and posts, can help you do that, as well as following the accounts of those in your niche and engaging with them.
Set a goal as to the number of new followers you want each week and put together a content and messaging strategy to support that goal.
Set aside some time on your calendar each week to follow a certain number of new people who are in your target market and engage with their content.
Benefit of Using Stories
The main benefit or goal is to help humanize your brand, help show you off as a real human, not just a business owner, and build trust and rapport. People who consume your stories after a few weeks will start to feel a connection or bond. They will start to pick up on things you’re going to do or say before they happen. They will know that you go to Target every Tuesday for dog food, or you grow amazing vegetables in your garden, or you love mocha lattes. What you want is allow people to get an inside peak into your world so they feel like they know you. It doesn’t all have to be business related. Think behind the scenes. Real life.
It’s also beneficial for you to not only post stories but to also react and comment on other people’s stories. Your comment will go straight to that person’s direct messages, helping you to stand out.
Story Hacks and Timesavers
Although you can only post photos and videos from your phone that were taken in the last 24 hours there are a couple of workarounds. Some people alter the date the photo was taken or video was shot to the current date. Another option is to use a scheduler like Tailwind or Planoly to schedule your stories. When they are ready to post you’ll receive a notification on your phone. You can easily post it and share it to Facebook stories as well.
Did you know you can use hashtags in your stories? I use an app called Planoly, a visual content planning tool for Instagram (and Pinterest). After researching relevant hashtags for my target market, I created several groupings and saved them in Planoly. When I schedule my stories, I add the hashtag grouping that makes the most sense for that post.
You can also “hide” hashtags in your stories. For example, if you wanted to post your location but didn’t necessarily want every single person viewing your story to know your whereabouts, you can shrink down the hashtag ultra small and hide it behind a sticker or emoji.
Ninja tip! Using location hashtags helps get you more visible locally.
You can have up to 30 hashtags in your story! Make sure you’re changing them up a bit. Everything is a test to see what action generates the best result. Your goal is to find searchable, yet not overused, hash tags to get featured on the general public’s stories.
Another great hack – Use the CutStory app to make videos longer that are longer than 15 seconds into multiple segments.
Intentionally Planning Your Weekly Stories
A really effective strategy is to have a mix of business and personal themes throughout the week.
Weekends – Gym, Family Fun, Nature/Outdoors, Road Trips, Friends Gathering, Quotes
Intention: Showing your personal side. Think about what you would like your clients to know about you or feel about you. (Calm/soothing energy or high voltage energy; family oriented; world traveler; health-focused, etc.)
Monday – Behind the Scenes At Work (Your office, screen shot, journal, desk, post its, en route somewhere)
Intention: Peak curiosity about what you’re working on. Also to inspire and motivate others to get focused and productive, set new goals for the week, and go after them. To lead by example.
Tuesday – Create a graphic in Canva with a specific call to action (see below)
Intention: Are you focused on building your group, growing your email list, or getting more consults? Create some graphics around your calls to action and intersperse them throughout the week in your stories. (Canva has a an Instagram Stories template)!
Wednesday – Try a video tip! Video is amazing for building personal connection and authority.
Intention: Build authority and be more personal. Calls to action go over great in video so be sure to add one at the end of yours!
Thursday – Grab a screen shot of a testimonial, comment, or result from one of your clients.
Intention: Social Proof. This is how you promote how awesome you are without being salesy. If your clients or group members are throwing out compliments, be sure to publicize them for the rest of your followers to see.
Friday – Use a poll or ask a question.
Intention: Market Research and Sparking Engagement. Ask a simple question with 2 or 3 options max. It can be related to your business so you can get to know your followers better or light and fun which will get them used to engaging with your content.
Calls To Action
The number one mistake you can make is creating tons of great content but not having any calls to action. Calls to action are essentially the next step you want people to take after they view your story, watch your video, or read your post.
Tip: Create a batch of 5-10 story posts in Canva for each CTA you have in your business. Create them once and then rotate through them so your audience isn’t seeing the exact same stories from you all the time. (Yes, you can recycle stories!)
Here Is A List of Calls To Action To Consider:
- Watch my IGTV episode
- Join my Facebook Group for an event happening inside my group
- Download my free report/cheat sheet (which builds your email list)
- Book your Free Consult Call/Strategy Session
- Sign up for my Free Training (Webinar)
- Private Message me to find out more
- Private Message me for this freebie
- Click on this link to sign up for your program
- Read my latest Blog Post
- Answer my Poll
- Which do you prefer A or B?
You don’t want to have promotional stories every day because people will soon tune out if they know that all you do is promote. A good rule of thumb is to promote 2-3 times a week and let your other stories serve as value without strings attached. Being consistent is key to your success!
A great strategy is to use your stories to point back to content that you’ve already created so you don’t have to create anything new, and also to help you direct the attention of your followers to where you want it to go.
AVOID THESE BIG MISTAKES
1. Not using calls to action. Let people know their next steps so they are one step closer to working with you.
2. Using too much text in your stories. Stories are short and visual. If you want them to read more, add a link in your bio and let them know to click on it for more information.
3. Being too obsessed with making your stories look perfect. People are over the perfect image and selfies with filters and Photoshop. Capture yourself or what you’re doing in the moment and aim to give an insider glimpse into your life. People will relate to this more than the air of perfection that so many others try to create.
Getting started with stories will help you establish deeper connections with your following, as well as grow your audience and generate potential leads. Don’t post stories just for the sake of posting – use the strategy we discussed:
Aim to post a story each day to start.
Create a content plan around your stories. Lay out the intention of each day (see above example).
Create “call-to-action” stories for each of the actions you’d like your ideal client to take. Post 2-3 per week.
Schedule most of your stories if possible. This is easy to do for your “call-to-action” stories, quotes, and previous photos. Use a planning tool to automate the process, such as Planoly or Tailwind.
Use up to 30 hashtags per story to maximize your reach. Be sure to use location specific hashtags as well.
Be sure to interact with your follower’s stories as well!