5 Do’s and Don’ts To Up Your Instagram Stories Game

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Instagram is such a love-hate relationship, right??

As a blogger + influencer, it can be mentally tough to deal with the ups and the downs of the platform.

Especially when brands are putting a dollar sign on your follower count, engagement, reach, etc.

Since opening my own PR influencer firm where through Summer Camp, my signature program that has helped bloggers land over $50,000 in brand deals, I help bloggers everyday to pitch, negotiate, and land brand deals for them to monetize their influence – aka I talk about Instagram a LOT.

Like more than any other human should talk about Instagram, you know?

But Insta is a key platform for brands trying to reach their audience – so let’s talk some best practices on one of Instagram’s most popular features – Stories.

slightly savvy instagram stories dos donts

SO in the Snapchat vs Insta Stories debate, I’m Team Instagram. And according to my Twitter poll, 70% of you are all for Insta Stories vs. Snapchat, too.

I get that it’s not smart to put your eggs in 1 Instagram basket, but it’s just too easy and seamless to not keep your stories on Insta. I’ve watched a lot of bloggers ditch Snapchat, and I don’t blame them.

And with everyone moving over to Instagram stories, there’s a lot bloggers are doing RIGHT…and a lot people are doing WRONG.

We all have limited time. And I’m not going to waste my time watching bad stories and I know you’re not going to either. So, here are some tips for keeping your Insta Stories fun + engaging for your audience.

1. Sharing stuff that your readers can’t relate to or don’t get value from

I am all about sharing your personal life on your Instagram story because if you’re blogger, your Instagram is you.

not valuable

sharing that Sarasota got a diamond interchange to decrease traffic. Yes, it’s fun for me but literally, none of you care about that.

valuable

  • sharing an organic face oil I’m LOVING + that’s clearing up my acne scarring 
  • sharing some cute nonsense (aka gold foil angel wing print) going up in my blogger office in our first house
  • handing you guys some quick, easy branding tips

slightly savvy instagram stories dos donts

♡ what to do instead / / balancing value + personal

  • ask yourself WHO you’re posting this for? What segment of your audience does it make sense for? If you can’t find a segment of your audience who cares, then don’t post it.
  • try for 70/30 (value vs. your own promo) – share your puppy, then share a blogging topic, share a workout hack for getting to the gym more often, share a super great recipe you just made.

♡ a brief case study on @laurenkaysims

For sure, it is TRICKY to balance that line between sharing yourself as a brand and giving value to your readers. Lauren (below) does a GREAT job of this…

From following her blog for a while now, I know her readers care about her fashion tips, fitness tips, and her travels.

So, when she was on vacay, she shared a few snaps of her quick workout routine you can do in a hotel room (perfect balance – showing her ab routine is something her readers want to see…and she’s showing that you really can do these workouts anywhere)

THEN – she showed her outfit and pushed you to her blog (great balance – her readers want to see her vacay outfits and probs want to know where they can buy them, too. Plus, by her sharing this photo WHEN she’s on vacay, you feel like you’re there in the moment, not getting a curated recap 5 days later)

She’s sharing her personal life without being like, “Look at my cool vacation. Sucks not to be here.” And her readers are still getting value on topics they care about (fitness, fashion, travel). It all makes perfect sense within her brand.

slightly savvy instagram stories dos donts

2. Not adapting to the medium of Insta Stories 

Every single communication on your IG stories should be valuable and quick.

Think about yourself on IG stories. When someone is just talking about something for like 5 snaps, what do you do? Click next, next, next to get through it.

If you have something longer to say, maybe Insta Stories isn’t the place to do it. Test out YouTube, test Instagram 60 second video. Try something new with different content formats.

♡ what to do instead / / experiment with new content mediums

  • if you truly have something valuable to say for 60 seconds, publish an Instagram VIDEO
  • get used to creating + creating + creating more content – try out new formats (aka that quick Insta video). Get comfortable with expanding your brand wayyyy beyond your blog

♡ a brief case study on @theskinnyconfidential

Lauryn Evarts of The Skinny Confidential is QUEEN of extending her blog beyond her site…I engage with almost every single bit of content she puts out. But then, I started realizing I RARELY go to her actual website. But I’ve watched almost every single one of her Snapchats for like a year now, and I’ve listened to her hour-long podcast every week for over a year now.

And do you realize how much she has had my attention ?!? It honestly might be the equivalent of one full week.

Lauren launched a podcast when podcasts weren’t really a thing. And at first, it was rocky. They tried filming it as well on YouTube. And it didn’t go over super well. THEN, they finally figured it out and the podcast took off.

Lauryn launched a phone case line with caseify. I’ve never seen a more perfect branded product that also looks so NOT promo-y or sales-y. She has a Bombshell Body Guide, which is like a meal plan and fitness e-book. Do you know how many times a week I hear about her e-book?

MAYBE one time. And that’s when she’s giving it away to readers.

She could easily promote the heck out of that thing and sell way more copies.

The conclusion? Get comfortable with extending your blog BEYOND the website. Create different mediums for different platforms, go out on a limb and see if something works. If it doesn’t work, no one cares. Move on. 

slightly savvy instagram stories dos donts

slightly savvy instagram stories dos donts

3. Only blog promotion

If every single day, the only story you post is encouraging me to click the link in your bio and go see your latest blog post, I’m going to stop watching your story. That stuff is totally fine to include, I encourage you to include it.

Part of the allure of IG stories is to get to know the blogger behind the blog. I’m not getting to know you if you’re just sending me to your blog.

Take this scenario…

Blogger A posts once a day with a photo of her computer and says “newest blog post is up, link in bio”

Blogger B posts 5 to 6 times a day – a morning face oil she’s loving, what she got at Starbucks, some new tea she’s drinking at work, her new tank top for Pure Barre class, and then says…. “see this workout tank on my newest blog post, link in bio.” Then, later on that day, she shares her favorite Facebook group for bloggers and how to join it.

VALUABLE. Your blog promo is so seamlessly worked in AND I spent the whole day getting to know you, so yes, I want to click the link in your bio.

♡ what to do instead / / a brief case study on @leefromamerica

  • throughout the day, Lee shares workout tips, workout clothes, and SO. MANY. BEAUTIFUL. recipes
  • She follows her Instagram Stories with stunning recipe photos. All creating a cohesive, seamless experience
  • if YOU are your brand…I highly doubt the only thing you said that day was “click the link in my bio.”

slightly savvy instagram stories dos donts

PS: Episode 003 of Swipe Up: A Podcast for Influencers talks solely on strategy behind Instagram Stories – and it’s the most downloaded episode ever!

Listen here

4. Do brand your Insta

I really believe this next part needs to feel NATURAL and ORGANIC. Don’t force something that’s not there.

But what really takes an Instagram Stories game from Level 1 to Level 5 real quick is branding your Insta. 

Create a cute little segment that’s fun and fits with the brand. Give it an actual name.

♡ a brief case study on @besocialpr

  • create a simple + cute cover photo for the story series (see 1st image)
  • do it daily, every other day, or some kind of set-ish schedule
  • it lets your audience know you’re committed to your Insta. You’re not going to go dark for 2 weeks.
  • just be real…if you get different Starbucks every day, make your branded story “Hoarders: Starbucks Edition” and every day share a pic + the recipe/order of what you got
  • feeling uncreative? try just sharing your 5 fave Instagram accounts of the week on Fridays –> I’ve seen a few people doing this recently + I love it

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