7 Tips to Keep Users Swiping Through Your Instagram Stories

By Kate McCann
Kate is a creative content creator turned social media strategist. When she's not crafting tweets, she can be found adventuring, hiking and playing with goats at her cabin in the Catskills.
 

So you want to post Instagram Stories, but are feeling overwhelmed by all the fonts, GIFs, stickers and filters? Don’t fret, we’re here to help! Instagram Stories are a prime marketing tool fueling growth among huge brands. But like any social media platform, there are some best practices to follow. Here are a few to get you started:

1. Consistency is best

Stick to a color scheme, font and theme for your brand on Instagram. For example, Bon Appetit generally uses the traditional Instagram Stories font with a white background on all of its Stories. Now, whenever I’m tapping through and see an image of a delicious cheese board and see that font, I know it’s them. (Believe me, I have a lot of cheese images on my feed, so it could get confusing.) Another example of consistency across Stories is the brand Hobes, which uses pastel colors to match its light and airy aesthetic. Choose colors and fonts with a purpose – ones that match your brand aesthetic and keep it consistent!

   

Photo Courtesy: Bon Appetit

2. No one is going to watch 30 Stories a day

As is true with most things in life, Instagram Stories are all about quality over quantity. Instagram Insights show you when people swipe off your Stories, and you should take note of that number. Are people usually tuning out after three taps? Five taps? A good rule of thumb is not to post more than five to ten Stories a day to maintain an engaged audience. (And avoid your Stories being permanently muted.)

3. Don’t use hashtags on your Stories, but do use geotags

People browsing hashtags are likely looking for user-generated content, not your Instagram Story. It’s true that some reach may come from a hashtagged Story, but specific geotags are likely to get your Story many more eyes. Publishing from an up-and-coming neighborhood in Chicago? Instead of using the broader Chicago geotag, use the more local one. It’s going to be seen by people who care about that area, and less likely to get swept up in a sea of big-city Instagram spam.

4. Add stickers and GIFs

Your audience wants to see that you can relate to them and be fun! Use GIFs and stickers to animate your Stories so they aren’t just static images. Is it Bey Day? Cap off your Story that day with a Beyoncé GIF to show your brand is relevant and thinks outside of its internal marketing language.

    

5. Don’t use the drawing tool for writing words, unless you’re basically a calligrapher

This one is pretty self-explanatory. You may be tempted to use the freehand pen tool to write a cursive “Good Morning!” to your followers, but after two letters, your “Good Morning” looks more like “Goo Monday”. If someone on your staff (or your Instagram husband) has calligrapher-level penmanship, go for it! Otherwise, stick to the fonts already beautifully designed for you.

6. Drive engagement with poll stickers and emoji sliders

You’re sitting on the subway platform, tapping through Stories. What sticks out to you? Probably a Story that makes you answer a thought-provoking or maybe silly question. Make your audience stop in their tapping tracks and take a few seconds to answer a poll or drag that 🔥 emoji slider all the way up on your new product launch.

7. Stay true to yourself (and your brand!)

Your website, advertising and Instagram should feel like the same brand. Do you have different internal staff handling these outlets? That could mean a lack of consistency in language and imagery. Think about deploying brand guidelines or talking to agency pros for some help honing your voice and visual brand!

There are endless ways to personalize your Instagram Stories – and that’s what’s so exciting about them. They enable you to reach your target audience through a more creative lens than traditional social media posts. Take these tips, go forth and create!

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