9 Instagram Story Tips to Boost Traffic and Engagement

instagram on smartphone

Instagram Stories: We can’t get enough. In fact, according to TechCrunch, as of January this year, roughly 500 million users were posting Stories each and every day. (And it’s safe to assume that number has gone up.) This feature isn’t just for personal profiles. Your brand stands to gain a lot from them, too. If you want to find success here, keep scrolling for nine Instagram Story tips that’ll help you crush it on IG.

Perhaps taking a page out of Snapchat’s book (and giving Snapchat a real run for its money), IG created Stories to last 24 hours. After that point, they disappear from your page. This is unless, of course, you save them to your Highlights. More on that later, though.

As is the case across social media in general, Stories have become more savvy and powerful over the months. Today, they can be an incredible tool to grow your brand on Instagram. Like everything else online, though, this takes careful strategy.

Here are nine Instagram Story tips you should implement in your digital marketing planning.

9 Instagram Story Tips for IG Success

1. Use Hashtags and Location Tags to Expand Your Reach

Hashtags

You’ve likely already seen how in your regular Instagram posts, adding hashtags often brings you more likes, comments, and views.

This is because it makes your post more visible and easily accessible to people who aren’t yet following you, but instead found you when they searched that hashtag.

The same rule applies with Instagram Stories.

One of the best Instagram Story tips we can give you is to add one or two hashtags to your Stories. Don’t go crazy and add 10. You can easily get away with this in a regular post. In Stories, your real estate is much more limited.

If you don’t like the way hashtags look on your Story, try hiding them under a sticker!

There are two ways you can add hashtags. There’s an actual hashtag feature under the sticker selection (top row, on the right). IG only lets you use this once.

instagram story stickers

After that, you’ll need to type the hashtag in, using the regular text typing tool.

Location Tags

Did you know that when you add your location to your regular Instagram posts, it improves performance?

You might very well experience the same thing when you add a location to your IG Stories. This is also available under the stickers (top row, left side).

This is such a simple way to boost your visibility.

2. Save Important Stories to Your Highlights

Like we said earlier, Instagram Stories stay up for just 24 hours. The only way to avoid this is to save them to your Highlights. We’re talking about these guys right here:

instagram story highlights

When you do this, the Story will stay there until you decide to take it down, if you ever do.

Don’t stop there, though. Create some consistency with your Highlights by giving them a “cover” that goes with your brand.

You can do this by tapping on one of your Highlights, tapping on the three dots in the bottom right corner, tapping Edit Highlights, and tapping Edit Cover.

Highlights make it so you get the best of both worlds. You can tap into the power of Instagram Stories and hang on to those Stories for more than 24 hours. Win!

Organize your Highlights by topic, so they’re easy for your followers to navigate.

3. Post at Least Once a Day So That You Stay at the Top of People’s News Feeds

One of the reasons Stories are so powerful is that they put you at the very top of people’s news feeds. Your brand is so much more visible here. It’s very different from a regular post, which might be buried in someone’s feed. Even if it doesn’t, they could easily scroll past it without a second look.

But — and this is important — to reiterate, your Stories will disappear from the top of the page after 24 hours, even if you save them to your Highlights. This means if you want to stay up there, you need to be posting a new Story at least once every 24 hours.

You already know that consistency is key when it comes to your social media. Your Instagram Stories are no exception. Using the feature once a week isn’t going to produce many results. Make it a regular habit, and you’ll reap the rewards.

4. Increase Engagement by Asking Questions and Running Polls

People love an opportunity to chime in on the conversation. This is why inviting them to share their thoughts with you can be so helpful. Thankfully, IG Stories make this easy.

Under your stickers, there are five options you should check out:

  1. Poll
  2. Questions
  3. Quiz
  4. Chat
  5. The slider

All five of these invite the user to participate and engage with you in some capacity. They give people a reason to stop and take a closer look.

IG Stories are a dynamic tool that you can use to really connect with your audience. Use these five features to get people communicating with your brand.

5. Use Stories to Send Traffic Back to Your Site

We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. Social media is a tool to send people back to your website. That’s where the magic usually happens.

The easiest way to do this with Stories is by using the “swipe up” feature. This is where you can add a link, and when people swipe up, IG will send them to that page.

However, you need at least 10,000 followers to have access to this feature. Most of us don’t have 10,000+ followers. Then what?

Answer: The link you use in your bio becomes even more crucial.

In your Stories (and your regular posts, for that matter), you should always direct people’s attention to the link in your bio, when applicable. But take note: IG only gives you that one link. That’s the only clickable link you get on your page. Even if you type a URL out in full in a post or Story, it will not be clickable!

Thankfully, there are third-party services you can use that will give you one “master” link to put in your bio. When people click that, they’ll be taken to a page with a list of links you can provide. In other words, you won’t be limited to just one. Crisis averted.

Takeaway: Mention “link in bio” in your Stories.

6. Plan Several Stories at a Time to Maintain Your Brand Voice and Aesthetics

Because Stories are more casual than regular posts and almost made to be done spur-of-the-moment, it’s easy to share them without much thought.

To be clear, Stories are indeed much more casual than regular posts. They don’t really require the same attention to detail and editing. That’s just not their nature.

However, that doesn’t mean you should post them without a care in the world.

It helps to create or at least plan out several at a time. This way, you can make sure your branding and messaging are consistent and cohesive across numerous Stories.

Pay attention to the fonts, colors, backgrounds, stickers, and music you use. Do they go together from one Story to the next? Remember: You want Instagrammers to watch your Stories and know that they belong to your brand.

7. Share Other People’s Posts to Your Stories

Don’t only post all of your own content. There’s actually something called “brand fatigue,” and it’s exactly what it sounds like. People eventually get tired of seeing posts that exist solely to promote your own brand.

Sharing other people’s posts is an excellent way to network, build new relationships, and grow your traffic and engagement over time.

To share someone’s post, simply tap on the icon on the right under their photo. This will open up a new window, where you’ll see the option, “Add post to your story.”

share to story icon

Although that person will get a notification that you shared their post to your Story, go the extra mile and tag them again in it. This gives them a little extra exposure and makes it clear where you got the content from.

Side note: This is the perfect opportunity to share user-generated content (UGC). Let’s say you have a clothing brand, and a shopper posts a selfie in your apparel and tags you or uses a branded hashtag (or both). This is UGC, and it’s basically free advertising.

Take advantage of this moment! Share that person’s image to your Story. People love being featured and will appreciate the recognition. And, you get to show your followers that you have loyal shoppers who love your brand.

It’s a win-win situation.

Be sure to add a quick thank-you note to the Story, expressing gratitude for the kind words.

8. Try Using Your Phone’s Camera Instead of Instagram’s

True, recording right in Instagram saves you a little time, but you might very well find that your phone’s camera produces a better quality and higher resolution. Plus, you’ll have a little more freedom to edit the content before posting to Instagram, especially if you use any additional third-party apps.

Remember to record vertically, since that’s how IG Stories are situated. It’s more pleasing to the eye.

9. Go Live on Instagram

We know that going live can be super intimidating. What if you mess up? What if you trip on your words? What if you accidentally spit when you talk?

Worry not, because nobody is expecting you to be perfect. In fact, one of the reasons live videos are so powerful is because they’re authentic and organic. Your followers want to see the real people behind your brand.

As an added bonus, when you go live, Instagram sends a notification to your followers letting them know that they should tune in.

Live Stories are a smart way to connect with your audience and engage in an entirely different way.

You can do behind-the-scenes videos, interviews, Q&As, demos or tutorials, and anything else you can think of that would be of value and importance to your target audience.

There might be a slight learning curve, but it’s totally manageable — and completely worth it. Start spending more time on the platform using these Instagram Story tips, and leave us a comment to let us know how it goes!