How to Grow Your Instagram Following with Stories

You want more followers on Instagram, right?

It’s ok, everyone does.

Whether you have a business or personal profile, the more followers you have the easier it is to engage with people directly, tailor your content and marketing to your audience, and so on.

If you use Instagram I’m sure you’ve seen or heard about their Storie format. It’s a feature that allows you to clip together some images or videos, add music, stickers, tags, and basically bundle up your content into an easier to digest and more attractive post.

Instagram has released some interesting statistics that highlight the reach and impact Stories are having on their user base. For example, did you know:

  • More than 400 million accounts are posting Stories every day.
  • 50% of businesses are posting Stories.
  • One third of the most viewed Stories are posted by businesses.

While we don’t have the stats around how many people view Stories and how engaging they are, there is no doubt surrounding how popular and powerful a good Storie is for brand exposure.

So, if you know how to make a good Storie and promote it there is almost no limit to how new people you can reach, from there you just need to know a few key things to help convince the viewer they need to hit follow.

Here are some of our top tips to increase your follower count using Stories:

#1 – Give the User a Reason to Want to Follow

Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? Well, it is. But it’s easier said than done. Simply posting good, or even great content often isn’t enough to make someone hit that follow button.

You need to put something in front of them that leaves them wanting more. There are few incentives beyond wanting to see future content from a user that’ll give someone the nudge to hit follow.

The best ways to convert people watching your Storie into following include:

  • Adding a call to action in the Storie to encourage some interaction.
  • Leaving them on a ‘cliffhanger’ or promising a follow up Storie.
  • Completely ‘wowing’ them with content that leaves the user wanting more.
  • Redirecting the user to your profile with some kind of incentive.

As you can see, most of the ways to convert someone consuming your content into a follower revolve around giving incentives, follow-ups, promotions, and other added-value that requires them to keep in touch.

Think about what value or hook you can offer from a business perspective. Put yourself in the shoes of a consumer and ask yourself what you’d want.

#2 – Be Strategic with Hashtags

Using hashtags within the Instagram algorithm are absolutely vital if you want to capitalize on organic growth and cast a wider net to pull in new followers.

It’s as simple as typing a hashtag (#) and adding a word relevant to your content into your Storie. Your Storie then goes into the feeds for all the hashtags you’ve used, just as an image does.

You can use hashtags for anything from general to more specific terms, brands, locations…. just about any keyword that people are using to search out all related posts.

A tip here is to always add your own brand hashtag to all of your posts. People will eventually start picking up the same hashtag and start generating content in your hashtag feed.

The best way to find hashtags that aren’t super competitive is to take a look at what tags your competitors and industry leaders are using.

Nothing wrong with that, let other people do the hard work for you, research the tags to make sure they have an audience and then join the feed with relevant content.

If you need further convincing of how important hashtags are, a study published by Simply Measured found that posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement, and 91% of posts by top brands have seven or fewer hashtags.

So, as a ballpark figure, you should be aiming for 7-10 carefully thought out hashtags. Doing this will increase your engagement by at least 12% which is huge.

#3 – Run a Poll to Find out What Your Audience Want

What better way to find out exactly what people want to see on your Instagram profile than to ask them?

Instagram has a feature that allows you to use interactive poll stickers and so you can start a poll or ask questions that require the user to take action and answer.

There is a really strong connection between mobile users and a willingness to answer questions via a few clicks and swipes as many large brands have found.

So, don’t be shy about sending out a poll, even if your follower base is small at the moment. They are great for engagement, there is a chance they will be shared, and it’s directly asking for users to engage with your Storie.

Just make sure that your questions are short and direct. Offer some kind of incentive or freebie giveaway if you can, and take action based on the results.

#4 – Analyze Your Analytics (Insights)

Instagram provides some pretty good analytics – as long as you’re set up as a business profile. If you’re not set up as a business, don’t worry, this post explains how to change over to a business account.

Then, by clicking ‘View Insights’ you can see lots of information about your followers, how many impressions and views your Stories are getting, profile visits, where and how your visitors are coming from, and lots more.

By finding out which of your Stories are performing best, the demographics you’re resonating with, and so on, you will have a better idea of the kind of content to produce going forward.

Understanding Insights in detail is a topic of its own, and one I will probably cover in the future. But you can get started by following trends and doubling down on what’s working.