It's no secret that video content on the Internet is on the rise in a major way. Youtube is one of the largest search engines in the world, and video capabilities have been added to almost every major social media platform.
And it can be a little overwhelming!
Is video just ONE MORE THING to add to your business? Absolutely no.
Video is here to stay and Instagram Stories is one of the best places to get started.
Videos disappear within 24 hours (but you can still save them and repurpose them if you want) and you likely already have an audience if you're already using Instagram either for personal or business use.
Are you already using Instagram Stories in your business? Let me know in the comments!
Whether you are or are not already using Stories, I have compiled NINE of my BEST tips for using Stories below so that you don't have to be overwhelmed and it can actually become one of the MOST FUN pieces of your biz and life on Instagram!
1. Look at the camera, not at the screen.
This can be an incredibly difficult thing to do because the screen is like a mirror. You can check yourself out and fix your hair. If you think you'll be prone to looking at yourself, give yourself a second to look at yourself, grab the angle you like, fix any wispy hairs and then look directly into the camera above the screen. On iPhones, this is the little circle right near the top of your phone.
By looking at the camera and not at the screen, your video will actually look like you are looking right at your viewer. It is very obvious when you see someone is looking at the screen instead of the camera. This eye contact creates a deeper connection with your viewer and potential customer.
Whatever you do, don't let what you see in the screen stop you from doing Stories. They are meant to be more authentic and real. Trust me when I tell you that no one cares if your makeup is perfect except for you.
2. Go slower than you think you need to.
Sloooow down. Take it from me, the fastest talker of all the talkers. You've gotta slow down or no one will be able to understand you. Even if you feel like you are talking extremely slow, it probably isn't slow enough. When your viewers can understand you, you make a better connection. And, slowing down gives you the chance to think through your words a bit more and give emphasis to pieces of information that are important.
3. Use a tripod if you need your hands.
Do you talk with your hands? Me too. If you feel uncomfortable speaking and holding your camera at the same time, use the Hands-free feature on Instagram Stories with a tripod.
You might also like to use a tripod if you want to demonstrate something or show some behind the scenes work where you're using your hands.
This tripod is a very lightweight "regular" tripod. You can mount any camera on this tripod, including your iPhone.
And this tripod is very small - it actually folds into a keychain (and bottle opener!) and can hold your phone either vertically or horizontally.
4. Post a combination of types of media.
Video of yourself, video of your surroundings, still photos, graphics, and boomerangs are all great ways to communicate your messages on Instagram Stories. In order to create more interest in your Stories, use several different forms within one story. In addition, make sure to take advantage of the many text, drawing tools, and stickers that Instagram has to offer. These can be a fun way to show your creativity and just have some fun with it.
5. Create a weekly or daily feature or series.
By creating a regular series or feature for your Instagram Stories, you are letting your audience know that you care about them, and are sticking around. This tells them, oh hey, I *WILL* be back and you should make sure to come back to watch. It gives them something to look forward to. For example, on my Instagram Stories, I have a few daily features, including "Tip Tuesday," where I share one of my social media or business tips, "Thursday Throwdown," where I do a quick and dirty review of someone's Instagram profile, and my favorite "Follow Friday," where I share some of my favorite accounts to follow that week.
To create graphics for your Instagram Stories, you will want to use the dimensions of 1080 pixels Wide x 1920 pixels tall. If you try to upload something smaller, your photo or graphic will look blurry upon upload. You don't want that!
This ability to plan ahead a bit is really helpful because we already have so much going on in our lives and businesses. Having a feature like this guarantees you'll have some sort of content to put up on IG Stories without thinking about it too much.
6. Give, give, give!
Instagram Stories is a great place to get to know who is watching you and who is interested in you. You want those people to really stick around! How do you do that? By giving them reasons to! By constantly selling to people or asking them to do something, they won't stick around. Instagram Stories is a great low-commitment place for people to get to know you and your brand. If you peak enough interest, they WILL click over to your website.
7. Play and have fun!
Even though you definitely should try to be intentional and strategic about your Stories, it's totally okay to just play and have fun. This can be a great medium for getting comfortable on video, experimenting creatively, and getting to know new people.
Don't let the stress of a new medium get to you. Just have fun with it and be okay with the fact that you might not be perfect. People love other imperfect people because we all are imperfect! Oh yup, getting deep there, friends!
8. Ask people to DM you!
Instagram Stories is the PERFECT place to ask for feedback, get answers from your followers, and honestly, just plain chat with them. It doesn't have to be ALL about business. Make sure that you have DMs turned on so that people can message you. Ask questions, do a poll - any way to get people TALKING (especially if you've noticed a drop in engagement on your main Instagram feed).
9. Tag, tag, tag!
Something really cool about Instagram Stories is that you can use several types of tags - user tags, hashtags and location tags. When it makes sense, make sure to use them!
User tags - use them to shout out members of your community, people you admire, or brands you recommend.
Hashtags - these can be a great way to just be silly or to reach a whole new audience.
Location tags - use location tags to connect with a local audience or to show people where you are/were.
And there you have it! My favorite nine tips for being STELLAR on Instagram Stories.