Storytelling is the secret to increasing your Story views
Instagram Stories are an incredibly powerful way to improve your connection with (potential) clients and boost your sales.
They grab your audience's attention and if you do a good job get them to like you, follow you, share your content with friends, and buy your products or services. The reason that Instagram stories work so well is that they allow you to engage with your audience through video.
Video comes as close to a real-life experience as it gets. There’s a huge difference between reading a written message and watching a video. Your audience can see you, listen to you, get to know your voice, and see your body language. It helps them become familiar with you and hopefully start to trust you.
Getting people to trust you enough for them to spend their hard earned money on you is the biggest challenge small businesses face. They need to know they're not going to get screwed over.
Instagram Stories give an impression of who you are and help put people at ease. But in order to do that you need to make sure people actually watch your stories – not just click through them.
So today I'm going to share my tips on how to create good stories that engage your audience from start to finish and how storytelling can help you do this.
Ready? Let’s go!
People have used storytelling to pass on information to next generations for tens of thousands of years. That hasn’t changed. It’s something that makes us human. If you find out about a cool new brand or something interesting happens to you, you’re going to tell a story.
This might seem obvious but any good story consists of three parts:
- a beginning,
- a middle,
- and an end.
You need to draw people in, hold people’s attention and build up to a climax, and then bring the story to a close.
I see a lot of people post Stories showing them doing one thing and posting again a few hours later talking about something else completely. That doesn’t work. People forget separate bits of information. You have to tie it all together for them and bring things full circle.
That’s why it’s so difficult to stop binging a new Netflix show or go to sleep if you’re halfway through a movie. Once you’ve started, you need to know how the story ends. You can apply this to your Stories too.
You’re traveling to another country. Begin by posting a story packing your suitcase and asking people to guess where you’re going. Post your next story on your way to the airport or in the plane, building up excitement about where you're on your way to. Finally, you post a story showing the city or you opening the door of your Airbnb. You have arrived. That's your close.
Now let’s take a closer look at each part of your story.
Step #1: Open strongly to hook your audience
First of all, you need to make sure people actually watch your Stories. So it’s really important to grab people’s attention right away.
The easiest way to do this is by using moving images. So post videos on your story instead of pictures. You don’t necessarily have to be talking on video. But make sure there’s some kind of action.
One thing to avoid – even if you’re talking on camera – is selfie-style videos, where your head fills up the entire frame. People are sick of that. You want to make sure that there's more space in your shot – it can be as simple as placing your phone a bit further away or using a tripod.
If you can capture movement in the background, that’s even better. People will be interested in what's going on behind you and think: what’s happening there?
For example, I have never done a house tour on camera. But I’ll film when I walk through different parts of my house and people will be like: What’s the layout of her house? What does she have there in her living room? What color is her kitchen? People will pay attention because they want to know what’s going on in the wider frame.
So using moving images and creating more space in your frame can really draw people in. But don’t overthink things – your Stories don’t have to be perfect. We’re going for 80/20 here.
Start your story strongly to make sure people keep on watching the rest.
Step #2: Keep people engaged throughout your Stories
The middle is the key part of your content. That could be showing your journey, it could be talking about a recent experience with a customer, or it could be sharing your top three tips for content creation.
It’s where you provide value to your audience. This takes time and energy, so naturally you want to find out whether it’s worth it.
To see how your Stories are performing, you need to take a look at your engagement. Your engagement tells you how many people are viewing your Stories and whether you're holding your audience’s attention. You want to make sure that each of your Stories has high engagement to ensure people watch them from start to finish.
I’ve found that polls and question boxes are great for this – especially if you’re using static images instead of videos. My favorite is the Yes / No poll. If I’m creating stories about time management, I could ask:
- At the end of the day, do you sometimes feel overwhelmed? Yes.
- Do you feel like your to-do list is always growing and never ending? Yes.
- Do you feel like easy tasks take you way too much time? Yes.
If you get people to answer Yes to your questions three times, then it’s really easy to pitch something to them afterwards. Even if they’re clicking No, they’re still engaging with your Stories. The key is to make sure that your audience is invested.
Avoid question boxes with really complicated questions, because people will just zone out. You want to make it really easy for them to engage. So easy that they can't help but to tap on the Yes or No button or to reply to your Story.
Something else that works well is creating before and after shots. They could be pictures of you before and after getting ready, your house before and after renovating, or an event before and after your guests arrive. You’ll see your audience clicking back and forth over and over again to check out the transformation.
Other tips include highlighting certain words – using colors, putting words in bold, or underlining a part of a customer review – and working with subtitles. If you use subtitles, people are more likely to take in what you’re saying. It’s also more inclusive.
The great thing is that when your content performs well, Instagram also pushes it out to more people. So good engagement not only means that your current audience is watching your Stories but also helps your audience grow.
It's all about getting more eyeballs on what you do. And in the end, more sales.
Step #3: Close with a clear message
Don’t forget to end your Stories on a high note. Always make sure you have one core message to close with.
This is what I find most challenging. I’ve always got a ton of shit to talk about, but I sometimes need to remind myself that this needs to work towards something. If I’m focusing on sales that could be a clear call-to-action like register now, download my free e-book, or sign up to my mailing list.
What I always do to see if I did a good job is watch my Stories pretending I'm an outsider. And I’ll ask myself: Do I have a strong close? Is there a strong call-to-action at the end? Is there a good conclusion or a recap?
Because too often we just leave Stories open-ended. We all hate watching a movie and not finding out how it ended. So don't do that with your stories either. Always make sure you have a good close.
All of this will help increase your Story views. And when you increase your Story views, more people attend your calls, share your content, and buy your product or services. That’s what it’s all about.