5 Ways To Increase Engagement Using Instagram Stories

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We all know engagement is the name of the game when it comes to Instagram. It takes more than just uploading photos onto your feed. In 2018 Instagram has evolved tremendously. With the constant changes to the algorithm Instagram Stories is the perfect way to connect with your audience and increase your chances of your content being seen. Using stories adds more dimension to your content by showing different aspects of your life. What I love about Instagram stories is that you can let your hair down and have fun! You can be creative as you want the sky is the limit! It also increases brand awareness, communication and can drive traffic to your website. Overall stories are the way to go, when you want to engage your followers. Here are 5 tips you can use Instagram stories to increase engagement. 

1.     Using the Instagram Polls

Last October Instagram came out with a cool feature that allows you to add interactive polls to your story and it is still popular. This feature is a  great way for you to get to know your audience and to keep them engaged with your content.  When you utilize the poll feature you are able to see how your  audience voted on a certain topic. I love that with polls you can be as creative as you want with what you ask, and people really do care to answer! You can also use polls to do research. You can ask your audience what they are interested in or what they think of a certain product. This can save your brand time and energy by knowing and providing what your followers want to see. If you utilize this feature for your brand it can save you time and energy.

How to use: To use the poll feature start your Instagram Story and tap on the smile icon on the top right corner of your screen. Then hit the poll option to type in your question and customize the type of answers. You can do a simple yes or no or something that is more fitting for you. Have fun with it! 

2.     Share your Feed Posts to Instagram Stories

What am I talking about? This is a new feature that just rolled out last month where you can now  easily share your posts that is in your Instagram feed and cross promote it to your stories. Due to the Instagram algorithmwhen you post a photo to your feed only a small amount of followers will see that post. By using Instagram stories to share your posts you are easily increasing visibility which can drive more engagement, and by driving engagement you are allowing the algorithm to work in your favor. What is great about this as well is that you can share other users’ posts to your Instagram stories too. So if you are collaborating or just want to bring attention to a fellow user then this is the way to go! 

How to use: Open the post that you would like to re-share as a story and tap on the icon that looks like a plane at the bottom. Tap “add the post to your story.” It adds the post to your Instagram story and you can edit it how you would any other story. Enjoy! 

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3.     Hashtags

You can now add hashtags to your Instagram stories. Hashtags are key when it comes to creating an effective Instagram strategy because it is one of the most common ways users search for new content. Using hashtags is one of the best ways to increase brand visibility and engagement. Just like posts when you add hashtags to your stories, your story becomes searchable. Therefore you are increasing the reach of your content and attracting new and potential followers.  If somebody searches for a certain hashtag you are using you will not only see the posts in that hashtag feed but also the stories within the last 24 hours. The more people that engage with your stories the more likely it will be featured on the hashtag story. Remember to use only 1-2 hashtags per story post so that you do not over clutter your story .

How to use: Start your Instagram Story. Tap the smile icon at the top right corner of your screen. Choose the hashtag sticker. You can then type in the hashtag you would like to use. You can also add your hashtag as a text instead of a sticker. To do that just tap the text icon and type your desired hashtag. 

4.     Tag Your Location

Another great way is to tag your location in your story. This is a fun way to connect locally with people especially if you are travelling or exploring new areas in your community. Adding your location to your Instagram Stories will help you show up in more searchers and again expand the reach of your content. This increases engagement because it is a conversation starter with your followers who are interested in your destination. Just like hashtags tagging your location increases visibility and can bring in new potential followers. 

How to use: Start your Instagram Story. Tap the smile icon on the top right corner of your screen. Select  the Location sticker. If you have allowed Instagram to see your location it will generate where you are at automatically. This will make it super easy for you to share you location! 

5.     Just Show Up!  

For some of us it is easy to show up in our feed but not in our stories. It can be scary to share more personal aspects of our everyday life. I was definitely one of them. What I have learned from being more intentional with my Instagram stories is that people were more engaged with me when I shared authentic moments in my life. Things that were happening in real time. This showcased who I was beyond my business and I appeared more human (Because I am!). People were able to see me behind my pretty feed. Starting out can be hard and awkward but I want to encourage you to just show up and give it a try. The right people will want to connect with you. So step out of your comfort zone and post a story! People want to see you and all of your goodness! 

How to use: Sorry there’s no instructions, just show up and do you boo. ;-)

The Updated Instagram Algorithm 2018

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Summer is finally here and Instagram decided to bless us with a new algorithm. A couple of months ago Instagram had announced that they would be updating their algorithm. Rumors began circulating as to what some of these updates could be. One of them being that Instagram will be going back to a chronological feed. I for one was definitely on that bandwagon. Those were the days! Well the wait is finally over and Instagram decided to address everything earlier this month with the new algorithm changes and a better understanding of how it works.  Thanks to TechCrunch for giving us this piping hot tea because I am here for it. So let’s break it down!

 

The Foundation of the Algorithm

            Let’s review again how the algorithm actually works. The algorithm organizes the posts in your feed based on how often you interact with them. So it really doesn’t matter who you follow, what matters is who you are interacting with. Whatever images you are liking and commenting on, the algorithm is going to drive similar content to the top of your feed. How does the algorithm determine this? According to TechCrunch Instagram relies on a machine that tracks your past behavior to create a more personalized feed for the user. Even if you are following the same accounts as somebody else your feed is going to be totally different from theirs because the post’s you are engaging with is different from what they are engaging with. So again, it is all about making true connections with your audience. 

There are 3 core factors the algorithm uses to determine you Instagram Feed. 

1.    Interest

·     Based on the Instagram machine that tracks your behavior, Instagram will bring up the posts a person is most likely to care about based on the individual’s past behavior.  The more you like or comment on a post, Instagram will show similar content on the top of your feed. For example, if you on a post of dogs, based on that behavior the algorithm will then place similar content so other pictures of dogs at the top of your feed and in your explore page will pop up. This gives Instagram a more personalized feeling. 

2.    Timeliness

·     How recently the post was shared. Instagram will show posts that are more recent and fewer posts that were posted over a week ago. This shows that timing is still important when it comes to posting on Instagram. 

3.    Relationship

·     If you interact with a certain person’s account often such as commenting on their photos or being tagged in their posts, you will then see their posts more often. Instagram provides higher ranking for the people you have interacted with. 

Besides these core factors there are still other factors that influence the algorithm. 

4.    Following

·      The more accounts you follow, the more options Instagram has to diversify the posts you see. So if you are following a lot of people this gives Instagram more options to choose from when providing what content they would like to show you. 

5.    Frequency

·      How often you open the app plays a factor in what posts you will see as well. Every time you open the Instagram app it will refresh your feed and provide  you with new, and relevant content since your last visit. 

6.    Usage

·      How much time are you spending on Instagram? If you are spending a short amount of time on the app you are going to see the most relevant posts during that short period of time. If you are on the app for longer periods of time you will see a wider variety of posts. Instagram does not hide posts in the feed, the more you scroll you will be able to see posts from everyone. 

Not only did Instagram provide us with information about the algorithm they also addressed some rumors and common questions that we have all been wanting to know. 

Is the chronological feed coming back?

·     Instagram officially confirmed that the chronological feed will not be coming back because they do not want to over complicate things for their users as they may forget what feed they are set to. *Sigh*

Videos vs. Photos which is better?

·     Doesn’t matter it is all based on what you interact with.  According to Instagram if you tend to look at photos more often instead of videos you will see more photos and fewer videos and vice versa. Again, Instagram is all about providing a unique user experience by providing the content they think you are more likely to care about. 

If I take advantage of all of Instagram’s features will it help the algorithm to work in my favor?

·     No, Instagram does not favor users who utilize all the features the app has to offer. The only way for the algorithm to work in your favor is to post content that truly connects with your audience. 

Will I be penalized for posting too much on Instagram?

·     Nope, If you post quite a bit on Instagram such as multiple times a day Instagram will break the times in between your posts by putting other people’s content in between. They do not “down-rank” users who chose to post multiple times a day. 

What can I do to prevent being Shadow-banned?

·     According to Instagram shadow banning is not a real thing. If you don’t remember Shadow banning is when your hashtags are not found and therefore you will not show up in the hashtags feed of people who are not following you. This decreases your engagement and makes it difficult to reach new people. However, Instagram explained that they do not hide people’s content for posting too many hashtags or using any other specific actions. Since Instagram has confirmed this, it would be a great idea to update your hashtag strategy. 

 

There you have it! No matter what, Instagram along with other Social Media platforms will always change. It is awesome to keep ourselves informed but don’t let these changes freak you out or consume you. Use these changes to your advantage and have fun. I always like to remind people to remember why they wanted to be on Instagram in the first place. To feel a sense of belonging and community. So don’t let these changes hinder you! Continue being the bad ass that you are by being your true self. The right people will want to connect!