How to Use Instagram Stories to Build Your Audience (2/2)

how to use Instagram stories

Keep reading to know more about how to use Instagram Stories to attract your audience.

How to add a location to your Instagram Stories

Like hashtags, including a location to your Story expands its potential reach beyond your follower list. Typically, businesses have a Location Page (which users can find by tapping a hashtag or looking in the Explore tab). If your Story ends up there, you can end up with much more views.

Meanwhile, if you have a brick-and-mortar business, your location page is where your happy customers can show their experience with you, and potential customers can check you out. (To set up a location page for your business, you’ll need an Instagram business account.)

To make use of a location sticker on an Instagram Story:

  1. Click to the sticker icon at the top of your display
  2. Choose the location sticker
  3. Select your preferred location from the list (could be a store, a street, a city, get as broad or as specific as you want)
  4. Adjust the sticker’s color and size and location so it complements the vibe of your Stories

You’ll be able to change the look of your location tag by tapping it.

Instagram stories location tag in two different colors (purple and grey)

How to use Instagram Stories highlights

Stories don’t need to disappear after 24 hours. Highlighting them to your profile keeps them pinned front and center for your viewers. This is an excellent spot for your best, brand-defining content.

Each highlight can contain as many Stories as you want, and you can keep adding to them as you post new content.

How to create an Instagram Stories highlight:

  1. Open the Story you’d like to highlight
  2. In the lower right corner, tap the highlight icon.
  3. Select the highlight to which you’d like to add the Story, or
  4. Create a new highlight

Creating a highlight out of an Instagram Story of a dog in a wintery landscape

How to get your Instagram Stories on Explore

The Instagram Explore page is the endless cascade of algorithm-selected posts and Stories that appears if you click the magnifying glass icon. For brands, getting on the Explore page often means a boost in reach and engagement, because the algorithm is showing your content to fresh, eyes.

So how do you improve your Stories’ chance of getting posted there? Instagram says that the biggest ranking signal is interesting: a user is more likely to see Stories similar to ones from accounts they already follow. However, things you can do to help your chances include:

  • Posting video (they get more attention as a result of they auto-play in Explore, however, a great photo will do better than a mediocre video)
  • Publishing highly visual Stories that don’t have too much text
  • Posting stories that show your brand’s visual identity (for more on this, see Tip #1, below)

However, Instagram has also said that Stories that you repost from other users (not a bad trick for plumping up your post volume as well as building relationships—see Tip #11) are much less likely to be featured on Explore.

How to use Instagram Stories polls

Often, Stories have two modes of engagement: passive views, or active replies. Adding a poll to your Story lets your viewers participate without requiring a big effort. Also, they’re fun.

For example, Harvard Business Review makes use of polls in their Case Study Stories to interact with audiences by having them weigh indirectly, instead of just reading what the experts advise. For the added value, the poll’s outcomes stay visible to the wider viewers even after the poll has closed.

Instagram story poll by Harvard Business Review: left option is "Fire James" and right option is "Give him a break"

Source: @harvard_business_review

To create an Instagram Story poll:

  1. Share a photo or video to your Story, or you should use Create mode to work with a blank background
  2. Tap the sticker icon at the top of your display—it’s the square that’s smiling and has a folded corner
  3. Select the Poll sticker
  4. Enter your question
  5. Enter your two potential responses (the default is Yes/No, but you’ll be able to type a response that’s up to 24 characters, including emojis)
  6. Let your poll run for 24 hours
  7. Don’t forget to share the outcomes: the people want to know!

Pro Tip: There are a variety of stickers that use polls or questions to interact with viewers: the emoji slider, quiz, and question stickers. Depending on your goals, each one might be useful at completely different times.

stickers menu highlights polls, questions, and quizzes

How to use Instagram Stories Create mode

This camera alternative is useful when you want to publish a Story however you don’t have a photo or video to act as the background.

It’s also the place where some of Instagram’s hottest unique features live, as detailed below:

  1. At the bottom of the Stories composer screen, swipe left to seek out Create
  2. Starting with a plain background, add as many features as you like:
  3. Stickers, including countdowns, polls, and quizzes
  4. Gifs from the gif library
  5. @ mentions (this can show you active Stories that mention you so you’ll be able to share them with your own audience)
  6. On this Day allows you to share throwback posts from your own Instagram feed, whether from one year ago or 9 years in the past

create mode

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