From the billions of users on Instagram, 500 million are on stories every day. Crazy, right? If you’re not on stories connecting with your audience you are missing out. But we get it, things can be a little mysterious sometimes regarding what does and doesn’t work. So today, we have your back with some practical tips you can apply to make Instagram stories to boost your business and that people love to engage with.

1. Lead With the Big Picture

The goal of every social platform is getting and retaining people’s attention for as long as possible. Rather than starting a story talking about nitty gritty details, give people the big picture. What are they going to be getting out of this story if they keep watching? If you’re going to be teaching something, you could tell people to stick around to learn about the topic you’re covering. You could even lead with some of their pain points such as “if you’re having trouble with X, Y, Z then the next couple stories will give you some practical advice to conquer these things”. Your goal is always to make it as clear and easy as possible for people to make decisions.

2. Add Subtitles to Your Instagram Story Videos

Let’s be honest. If you’re working a 9 to 5, you’re probably pulling out your phone and catching up on social media. But you keep the sound off because you don’t want the whole office to hear you binging cute dog videos or watching a tutorial. So what happens when you tap on a story that doesn’t have subtitles or doesn’t add text to the video? You skip it because you can’t hear or read what they’re talking about.

Making Instagram stories accessible by adding subtitles or text on the video is a must in 2020. Adding subtitles to videos just like Gary Vee is super simple with tools like VEED that have an auto-transcription feature. Not only are there people in corporate jobs who would benefit but also mothers nursing their children or even those with a hearing disability. It takes just a few more moments to make your stories more engaging and user-friendly. Everybody wins.

3. Build a Brand Kit

Stories are pretty casual but that doesn’t mean you can’t stay visually on brand. We get it though, it’s a pain to drag the color selection tool in stories until you have the closest possible match to your brand colors. If this is how you currently do it and it makes you want to throw your phone into a wall, we have two different ways to approach this to make your life so much easier.

Make an album on your phone
Use  screenshots of your color palette, transparent (.PNG) files of your logo, backgrounds, patterns, and any other brand graphic you would like to use. All you have to do is use your phone’s copy/paste function and tap to paste within the IG app. To use your brand colors, you just paste the color palette and use the eyedropper tool to modify the text box color.

Use a Tool with a Brand Kit
VEED now has a brand kit that allows you to save brand fonts and colors for easy access. This makes the process of making Instagram stories more unified so the entire design phase happens in one spot and all that’s left is to hit the download button so you can then upload the story to Instagram.

Want a little bonus hack to make it easier? Shoot stories for 1-minute at a time and edit in 1-minute segments. This way, Instagram automatically will slice it up for you into 15-second clips when you upload and you avoid having to edit and download tons of clips.

4. Use Instagram Story Poll and Question Stickers

Have a question for your audience? Ask them with a poll sticker rather than just saying it and hoping for a DM. Remember that one boring teacher in high school or college that had a really boring monotone style of teaching? You want to avoid that in your content. Sprinkling in questions as checkpoints creates an interruption in the pattern of your storytelling sequence which keeps people awake and aware of what you want them to do. Once your feedback starts rolling in, respond to every voter with a thank you and with a follow-up question to start building a relationship.

Need a pro tip?

If you use the question sticker, make sure to tell people before it actually shows up on the screen. The question sticker requires people to stop, read, think of a question, and then type it up for you. That’s too much work for your viewers! So to make it easier, tell them ahead of time what you will be taking questions in one of the next stories so they can listen and already start thinking what they want to ask. This way, when the question sticker pops up, all they have to do is stop and type. Bonus points if you follow up with a voice message to further give your brand's presence a personal touch.

5. Host Events on Your Stories

Having a hard time getting people to keep coming back to your page? Let’s give them a reason. Hosting events on your stories can be anything from holding a quick tutorial to sharing a process video of your design process on a specific day of the week.

Don’t be discouraged if your views don’t improve right away. Sometimes you have to train your audience on what to expect from you before the numbers begin to improve. So pick a theme for what you want to do, set a date, talk about it on stories, and add in a countdown sticker so people can set an alert to be notified on the day of the story event.

6. Use Hashtags and Geo-Location Tags

Tags aren’t just for posts on the feed. They work nicely on stories as well. You can use up to 10 hashtags in a story and one location tag. Just make sure you pick a tag that is actually relevant to the context of the story to boost your chances of being featured on the stories for that tag. After a few hours, you can check to see your individual story insights and if you’ve made it on the stories for the tag.

7. Shout Out The Community You Love

What’s really cool about Instagram is you can slide into the DMs of anybody. Want to tell Shakira and J.LO you loved their performance at the Superbowl? You can DM them. They probably won’t see it since they’re so famous. But the fact you can even send a message to public figures and have a chance, no matter how small, of being seen is insane! Take advantage of this rare access to people whether it’s a celebrity or a local business owner you want to get a hold of.

People and brands love recognition. Do you have a favorite local family-owned coffee shop you absolutely adore and want to help them with some fresh brand design work? Start planting the seeds of building a relationship by shouting them out and tagging next time you’re sipping on your espresso. Follow it up with a voice DM telling them how much you love them (because you do) and take the conversation from there.

8. Make an Instagram Story AR Filter

Everybody is starting to get their own AR filters. It’s a fun way to polish up your stories while also making your brand more interaction-worthy on social media. If you’re up for the challenge, you could learn how to make a filter yourself using Facebook’s Spark AR studio.

But if you prefer to have someone do it for you, you could hire help on sites like Upwork or find an expert right on Instagram. Talented creators like @neilathayde are producing top-notch AR filters that breathe life into an account’s Instagram stories. Not only does it boost the story engagement but it drives more attention to your account as a whole if you encourage people to tag you for a story reshare when they use your filter.

9. Invite Guests for Story Takeovers

Want to tap into someone’s audience who fits your target market? Host a story take over and get invited to do one on other people’s pages as well!

A story takeover is when two accounts collaborate to share something on each others accounts. Usually, the stories are pre-recorded and then sent to the account owner to post and tag you. You could teach something, entertain, or inspire the other account’s audience. By doing this type of collaboration, you’re increasing each other’s Instagram profile reach to be seen by new faces.

So there you have it, 9 powerful tips to make instagram stories like a pro. Being in front of the camera can be scary for some people and brands but don’t let it stop you. Focus on all the great things that can happen when you take action. And if you need someone to cheer you on, just tag us on Instagram @veedstudio!