10 Ways to Captivate Your Audience with Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories

Instagram is broadening its appeal to Snapchat lovers with its installment of Instagram Stories.

The Wall Street Journal reported recently that a live video feature soon will reach all of Instagram’s half-billion users.

The new feature is great for bloggers, Insta-celebs and media alike — allowing for additional ways to push out content.

If you’re looking for ways to further engage your audience, consider the following to grow your brand and audience through Instagram Stories.

Instagram Stories 

When you post an Instagram story, you add content for your audience to view over 24 hours.

To post, simply go to your Instagram home page and click your profile image that reads “Your Story.” It’s on the top left of the screen.  

If you are listed as private, the story only will be able to be seen by your followers. If your Instagram profile is public, your story will then populate on Instagram’s explore page, geared toward accounts with similar interests.

The feature allows the user to engage their audience and help them stay on your page longer. It also can help you determine what your followers like about your content and what they don’t.

Here are 10 ways to regularly captivate and inform your Instagram audience.

1. Do a giveaway.

Fans love contests and free giveaways. Announce a giveaway via an Instagram Story, and be sure to include the details on how followers can submit their interest and when and how you’ll pick a winner. Followers will be sure to come back to you to see who won and are likely to keep checking for updates in between. These activities allow followers to stay connected and loyal to your brand. They’ll want to help you succeed, so that you can keep up the fun.

2. Host a poll or quiz.

Many social media influencers like to engage audience by taking quick polls or hosting quizzes. You’ll notice many fashion bloggers, for example, tend to post pictures in their Instagram Stories, asking followers to screenshot their favorite item in the series. This helps the host get a feel for what their followers like and allows followers to contribute to their favorite influencer’s tastemaking.

Travel & Leisure Magazine Instagram

Travel & Leisure asks readers if they recognize spots in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

3. Share Q&As. 

A Q&A series is a great way to show your followers what you’re working on and who you’re talking with — whether it’s for a big news story or a feature piece. To add some variety to these sessions, turn it back to your audience. Show authenticity and let your audience to get to know the “real you” better. Ask your followers to direct message their burning questions for you. This ideally provides you a variety of interesting questions to pick from and answer via a story or series. 

The New York Times goes to Standing Rock and shares interviews with campers on-site.

The New York Times goes to Standing Rock and shares interviews with campers on-site.

4. Go behind-the-scenes.

Followers love to see what you are up to on a daily basis. Instagram Stories allow Insta-users to show their followers a glimpse inside their day-to-day activities. Many social media influencers and publications show their followers what they’re working on that day, what their events are like, or even what they are eating. Don’t be afraid to give your followers a little peek into your personal life, in addition to your professional one.

The Skimm shows a behind-the-scenes look of their segment on The TODAY Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda.

The Skimm shows a behind-the-scenes look of its segment on The Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda.

5. Plug a promo.

If you have something big coming up, an Instagram Story is a great way to plug it. Make sure your followers have the information they need to know in order to tune in or follow along. Whether it’s a book signing or an upcoming panel discussion, let your followers know where and when they can find you in a city near them.

6. Host an Instagram takeover.

Invite someone who influences you (or your audience), or a person with whom you work closely, to run your account for a day. The host could be anyone from a celebrity to a brand ambassador. Takeovers can expose your audience to new content, expand your reach, and help grow your community. It also can help add some additional personalization to your account — and even give you some fresh, new ideas for you going forward.

WWD Instagram

Nicholas Kirkwood takes over WWD’s Instagram Story for the 2016 #FashionAwards.


Gigi of It’s Beautiful Here takes over Travel and Leisure’s Instagram story to share her visit to Pumphouse Point in Tasmania.

7. Get artsy. 

Now that Snapchat has competition with Instagram, many followers are paying attention to both areas. Make sure your Stories are unforgettable, no matter the platform. Get creative with filters and the drawing tool. Don’t be afraid to show your witty side, too. Followers love to see personality and it’s easier to show yours with Instagram Stories versus simply posting photos.

8. Share a consistent feature. 

Give your audience something to depend on. A quick daily or weekly segment under a hot topic for your brand can help keep your audience tuned in. Review some of your favorite products or cover the biggest news of the day. Your faithful viewers will keep coming back to see what you have to say. 

Brit + Co on Instagram

Brit + Co’s “Newsies at Noon” series: 5 stories you need to know

9. Show live product demos.

Testing a product for your blog, or covering a new release for a story? You are likely to capture your followers’ attention by showing live product demos, rather than just relying on your writing to tell the story. This way, your audience can see the action of you testing the item and see for themselves how it works. The action keeps you trustworthy to followers — they know you’re actually testing what you promote — and could help show the item you’re covering as more user-friendly. 

10. Give “top secret” tips.

Social media addicts love to stay up-to-date on the hottest tips, particularly in areas like beauty, fitness, dating, etc. It’s important to let them in on fresh tips that keep them feeling tuned in and always learning. There are so many secret tips out there that only insiders know. Be willing to share these with your followers, and they will remain devoted.

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Marley Glabman is a Client Support Executive at Cision. Follow her on Twitter at @marleyglabman. 

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