Keeping track of your social posts can be difficult, particularly around busy times. In this post we’re going to focus on Instagram, more specifically Instagram stories, and how you can get the engagement your posts deserve.
It’s all about the planning. Creating a content plan is key for any marketing strategy, but planning goes further than just what you’re going to post and when.
For example, you can plan to do a post about Christmas decorations and plan to post this on the third Monday of December. But planning what kind of post you are going to release is a key way to maximise content. Is it going to be a grid post, video or interactive post? Are you going to be advertising, informing or simply trying to entertain?
We’re looking at stories here, so you need to decide whether your idea is going to be carried out using one story post, or over multiple story posts. Use a storyboard to plan out more complex ideas, as well as noting down when it’s going to be posted. When you watch others’ Instagram stories, particularly well-known influencers, they might give off a carefree, off-the-cuff vibe, but you can bet their videos are nearly always carefully planned beforehand, and designed to look that way. Planning like this can also really help to highlight any problems like missing information that your audience will need in order to understand your stories.
Once upon a time, it wasn’t possible to schedule Instagram stories, but the internet is a magical place, and it’s now possible to schedule stories using scheduling tools including Facebook Business Suite. If you’ve read our post on making the most of the Boxing Day rush to look at properties, then you’ll know we advocate pushing property in the week between Christmas and New Year.
If you have already made video tours, you could clip these into short videos and add them to your stories with a link button that takes the user straight to the property. Or, you could post whole property tours on there in multiple stories, and add a lovely voice over. That way, while you’re in your dressing gown eating cold pigs in blankets straight from the fridge, your scheduled stories will post automatically and be doing the hard work for you!
Being predictable doesn’t have to mean you’re boring. The tip that holds the key to great engagement, not only on Instagram stories but on all socials, is being consistent. The more regularly you post, the more the algorithms will love you, the more you will be seen. Although you won’t have a queue of people waiting for you to post each week, people will subconsciously get to know when you post your content, and if it interests them they’ll be keeping an eye out for it.
Choose your content with intent
Going back to where we talked about planning, choosing how you deliver your message based on the type of content you have. Instagram stories are a great way to do this because there are multiple built-in features that can help.
Gone are the days where stickers are just treats teachers give you for being good. Instagram stories use stickers to get more from the content you post. For example, one of the best stickers on Instagram stories right now is the “poll” sticker. One way this can be used is for entertainment. Use a tool such as Canva to create perfectly-sized side-by-side images. When adding to your Instagram story, use the poll sticker to get your readers to choose between this or that. It’s quick, easy and interactive. Polls aren’t just great entertainment. Getting your audience to choose between this or that is an easy but direct way to find out what your audience’s preferences are. Other stickers include gifs, questions, quiz music and more recently added ‘add yours’. They are all great ways to get your followers involved and interacting with you.
The last possibly most useful sticker is the link function. Previously only accounts with a certain number of followers could add links to their stories using the swipe up function. Now, you can add a link sticker regardless of how many followers you have. For estate agents, this is particularly useful. It means any houses posted to your stories can have links that direct people straight back to the property information on your website.
Instagram is a largely visual platform. On stories, there are multiple ways you can add a video that could attract an audience. For example, boomerangs are a fun way to show a sneak peek of a new property, offer or competition prize. These are just short videos played on a loop with no sound, and would be great for something like opening a front door into a stunning hallway.
Move over Crystal Ball, hello Insights!
A lot of digital marketing can feel like trying to pin the tail on the donkey. It’s unpredictable, involves a pinch of luck and can make you dizzy. However, Instagram has given us an easy way to make sure we are on track with our content. ‘Insights’ is a tool that will help us better learn and plan, using data analysis from our posts. This means no more guessing if something has been a flop. Insights let you view replies, clicks and the reach that your posts get. It can also tell you when the best time to post is.
Tips and tricks for boosting engagement
Other ways you can make the most of your Instagram stories are:
- Add location tags so that people searching for that location on Instagram can see your posts.
- Using hashtags helps to spread your content to relevant people.
- Use a countdown to draw people back daily. For example, countdown to your Christmas competition, or an exciting mystery property in a desirable area coming to market.
- Reply to your DM’s. Although this isn’t strictly related to stories alone, replying to your DM’s can see you appear on feeds more regularly. This will boost your engagement as more people see more of your content.
There you have it, lots of ways to boost engagement on your stories. They’re not just a ‘nice-to-have’ feature, they’re a fantastic way of engaging directly with your audience