I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again (and again, and again, and again)… The higher your engagement on your social media posts, the better your posts and account will perform in the algorithm. That’s why creating engaging content is so important. The more you’re able to captivate your viewers, the more interaction your content will get. These Facebook and Instagram hacks will help you receive more interactions on your content.
When Facebook and Instagram see interaction on your posts, they’re going to associate your account with viewer retention. This means you’re helping them keep social media users on their platform. When the social media algorithm recognizes this, it’ll be showing your content to more and more viewers, existing and new.
How do we get more people to engage with our content? Give them a direct reason to engage of course!
I love a good cat video, and I can enjoy a viral dance Reel. But truly my FAVORITE thing to see on social media is a small business using all the features available to create a terrific Instagram Story. Unfortunately, I rarely see businesses jazzing up their Story content. And usually this is because of the lack of time in a day for busy retailers.
That’s why I’m here, your Story Engagement Expert, ready to share 15 ways to create an awesome IG & FB Story. A story using these Instagram hacks is sure to get your viewers replying, reacting, and participating in growing your engaged community.
Quick Note: Not sure what an IG “Story” is? An IG or FB Story is the full-screen content that appears around the ring of an account’s profile photo on both Facebook and Instagram. This content is only available to view for 24 hours, unless saved to profile highlight (where it can be viewed until the account owner decides to remove it).
Most of the tools I’ll be using can be found on the top right features bar, on the editing screen of a Story. This is the step between capturing the content and posting the content:
Grab your pen and paper because here we go!
This relatively new feature on Stories allows you to add captions to your Story videos that include a person talking. To use this feature, create a video of yourself talking. Then hit the sticker icon on the top right features bar while editing your Story. Search for “Captions” and Instagram will auto-generate your captions for you. You can then edit the copy as needed. We made a quick training video about Instagram captions if you’d like to see how they work.
The Questions sticker is found in the sticker icon in the features bar. You can use this Questions feature to directly get in contact with your viewers. You can ask if THEY have any questions for you, about your products, or use it to simply get more familiar with your audience.
TIP: If you use the Roller Dice icon on the bottom of the Questions sticker, IG will auto- generate questions for you. Many of these questions help your audience get to know you!
GIFS are a great way to add movement and accents that complement your image. I recommend searching for GIFS that complement your store, your location, and your brand.
Retailers often use the Poll feature to invite viewers to quickly interact with their Stories. Some popular Poll options are: “Love It or Leave It”, “This or That”, “Yes or No”.
TIP: If you’re including an answer on your Poll that you would prefer to “win” more votes, consider adding the preferred answer on the right side of your Poll. It’s inevitable that a few votes will be accidental from people tapping through their stories, so they might as well vote for the preferred answer!
The Scale icon is the feature that includes an emoji on a sliding bar. Use this icon to ask your viewers to rate the featured image/product from 1-10, where on the scale they’re loving the featured item or, get personal, and ask them questions that they can slide to answer.
The Quiz feature is a great way to get to know your audience better, or to allow them to get to know you better. Include a question with up to 4 answers that the viewer can vote on. You set which answer is the correct one!
Use the Countdown feature when sharing an event or product launch with your viewers. You can create a Countdown with a date and time and, when a viewer taps on the Countdown button, they’ll receive a reminder when the timer is up!
TIP: You can change the color of your Countdown box by clicking the color wheel at the top of the screen while editing the details of your Countdown. We recommend choosing a color that contrasts with the background of your Story, while also matching your brand!
8) Pictures of People/Pets
People love buying from people. Try to show up far more in your Stories—from photos to videos, team images to pet clips! Humanize your brand by showing the people behind it!
9) BTS Video/Real Life video
Due to the short-life nature of a 24 hour Story, you have the chance to be more candid and real than you would on a curated Instagram or Facebook feed. I encourage you to use this platform to get silly and show the daily life of a small business owner!
Adding hashtags to your Story can help it get discovered by a community of new people. If someone is searching for a hashtag on Instagram, and your Story has that hashtag included in it, your content will appear to an audience that is directly looking into that topic!
TIP: You can disguise hashtags in your Story by hiding them behind images, or changing the color of the hashtag to match the background. If you’d like to check out a quick video on how to do this, I’ve got you covered with this 25 second tutorial.
Adding a location to your Story can help get viewers to click on your screen and see where the Story had taken place. If you have a retail location, this Instagram hack is especially helpful for viewers to find you and open up directions in their map app!
Mentions are like tagging accounts in posts, but for your Stories. You can consider mentioning your own account on your Story to give viewers a chance to easily click over to your profile to view more content. Another way retailers use the Mentions sticker is by uploading UGC (user generated content) to their Stories, and tagging the customer in the photo. Be sure to always ask for permission and the customer’s social media handle (to make sure you tag the right person)!
TIP: Avoid mentioning/tagging the manufacturer of products in your Stories to avoid viewers clicking off the Story and potentially making a purchase elsewhere!
Using the Text tool on your content helps stop the viewer from tapping along, and invites them to spend a moment reading what you have to say. Plus, using the Text tool helps to show the social media app that you’re using their features! The text tool can be located on the top right features bar, and looks like this “Aa”.
14) IG Effects
Effects are filters that can help enhance your Story by adding augmented reality to your images and videos. Popular Effects include beauty filters, quiz filters, and icon filters where small graphics appear on the user’s face. You can search for Effects that relate to your business by scrolling to the right side of the filming button on your IG Story until you find the “Browse Effects” option.
TIP: We created a helpful video showcasing content ideas to go along with one of our favorite filters for retailers, the Green Screen by Instagram.
15) Swipe Up
The Swipe Up feature is only available to accounts that have 10K followers or more, but there is a way to access the Swipe Up feature from smaller accounts as well. If you have a published IGTV or a published Instagram Effect, you can click on the link icon (found on the features bar) and add the Swipe Up action to help your viewers easily access the IGTV video or Effect.
TIP: Be sure to add in text or a GIF that says “Swipe Up” so your viewers don’t miss the opportunity to view more from your Story!
All 15 of these tips are free to use, and mostly involve just a few extra steps in the creation process, to make your Story significantly more engaging for your audience.
What I want you to take away from this blog:
- Adding an action to your Stories helps get more responses and reactions from your audience
- The more responses, engagement and reactions you have, the better your account can perform in the algorithm
- Adding engagement stickers has the potential to raise the amount of views you receive on your content
- An engaged community is a warm audience for buying
Ok, over to you! I want to know…
Which are your favorite engagement tools to use on your Instagram Stories? If you use any of these tips above, be sure to DM us your Story. We’d love to see what you create and engage with it!
Want another great Instagram and Facebook Story tip? Check out the training video we made about how to brand your Stories to make them recognizable. You’ll be shocked how easy this tip is to use!