How to use Instagram Stories to get more followers

How to use Instagram Stories to get more followers

Updated February 3, 2021

Time flies for content marketers who spend their days mapping out Instagram strategies, researching hashtags, and planning content. New features roll out almost every month, and the trends clear are challenging. Catch up Story , Guide and the Shop Tab can totally turn you around. However, your good stories remain a constant on Instagram that (thankfully) never changes.

Released in 2016, Stories are now Instagram’s most popular feature. (The stories are also an example of successful decoupling (sorry, Snap!), but that’s a story for another time.)

One half a billion people use Instagram Stories every day, with businesses generating a third of the most viewed Stories. Naturally, Stories should not only stay on, but should be an important part of your overall Instagram strategy. In other words, you can’t skip Stories.

Half a billion people use @Instagram #Stories every day. @OlgaRabo says your brand can’t ignore them via @CMIContent. Click to Tweet What should you post on Instagram Stories in 2021?

Consider these seven new ideas to spice up your Story and use them in a way your competition hasn’t yet conceived.

first . Use Featured Items to Drive Traffic (even if you have less than 10,000 followers)

When new users visit your Instagram profile, they may not know who you are yet. You’ve probably heard a million times before how important it is to have a great Insta bio that grabs attention, quickly explains what your business does, and convinces new visitors to click that follow button. .

With Featured, the bio is not only where you tell your brand story, it’s where convert visitor.

With Highlights, the bio is a @OlgaRabo that says not only is your place to tell your brand story, but it’s also the place to convert visitors, @OlgaRabo via @CMIContent said. Click to Tweet Think of the Featured Section as a short promotional trailer for your business, and it becomes the perfect opportunity to showcase your brand, show what your product offers, and generate traffic. Direct access to your sales Landing page.

Even if you have a small Instagram account with less than 10,000 followers, you can still generate traffic through Highlights.

Need an example? Here is a message from my master, Cooler Future , a financial Instagram account (an area considered difficult to grow on the platform). To promote their referral campaign, they featured the offer in their Featured Section. Since they don’t have 10,000 followers to enable swipe up, they encourage viewers to react with a simple clapping emoji. In return, their social media manager sends the campaign link to the supporter’s DM.

An image of Cooler Future's Instagram account showing their referral campaign asking viewers to react with a simple clap emoji.  In turn, their social media manager would send the campaign link to the clapper's DM.

2 . Request takeover

Collaborating with influential people is a growing trend on Instagram. However, many brands do it by paying for some sponsored posts on an influencer’s feed, folding their arms and praying for some new followers via tag mentions.

During a Story takeover, a selected influencer takes over a brand account, such as a day, to produce exclusive content. It used to be very popular but somehow it just isn’t trendy anymore. That’s unfortunate because there are so many benefits to doing a Stories takeover: redirecting followers cross-following, creating exclusive content for your followers, connecting with influencers relevant, etc.

Ask the influencer to do a @Instagram Takeover. Benefit? @OlgaRabo indicates constant followers, #content exclusively for your followers, etc. @OlgaRabo indicates via @CMIContent. Click to Tweet In addition, the motivations for influencer followers are also different. Influencers don’t urge their followers to follow the brand, but just show what they’re doing on the brand’s account. It’s less egotistical and more authentic. Subtle ads are more effective at increasing your reach and driving traffic from Instagram Stories to your website or special offers.

If you notice competitors have taken over, do the opposite – after all, this is your opportunity gap.

TIP: If you’re not using Instagram Live yet, upgrade. Host a Q&A with an influencer in your niche – your account will appear on the influencer Live icon in Stories (usually on the first line, this make it easier to see). Then the influencer followers can visit your profile and follow you.

3. Take polls and quizzes

While polls are a great tool to engage your audience, you can also use them for object study . Instead of asking for something just for fun, find out what kind of content your followers want to see on your account.

Use @Instagram poll to create # better content @OlgaRabo speaking via @CMIContent said will resonate with your followers. Click to post a Tweet For example, if your account is focused on travel , ask about the destinations your audience wants to see. Their answers may surprise you. But either way, you’ll know if you should share more about that destination.

An image showing an Instagram poll.

Image source

When you’re missing idea , your audience can be a great source of content creation inspiration. You just need to ask their opinion.

4. Create GIFs, fonts, stickers

The world cheered when Instagram introduced GIFs in Stories, but the fun didn’t last long. After five weeks, Instagram stopped integrating Giphy after a Racist images included in the Story. However, Giphy has cleaned up its content and has returned to the Story scene.

Now, if you want to be a trendsetter, follow the steps of Gary Vaynerchuk who constantly makes GIFs (with his face, of course – personal branding alert!) that no one else has:

Also, don’t miss fonts and stickers. While Instagram offers stickers, it doesn’t update them often. To stand out, turn to apps like Design set from Color Story offers 30 – plus modern fonts, 120 – plus designs and lots of stickers to make your brand unique and, ultimately, attract more followers.

Featured on @Instagram. Make your own GIFs, fonts and stickers, @OlgaRabo said via @CMIContent. Click to Tweet

5. Inciting competitors

“Who is the competitor? On Instagram, everyone is friends. ”

Highly competitive and the fastest growing platform, Instagram is billed as “all for the community,” but the harsh reality is that very few people actually want to help anyone. Brands that want to stand out often need to pay per mention, per referral.

That’s exactly why helping each other can be such a helpful mindset shift (from competitor to friend).

Giving thanks for a Story to another user or urging your followers to follow someone else can feel like suicide. However, it does build relationships on social media – you yell at someone, hoping for a response. Plus, it gives you free content for Stories – all it takes is a screenshot and a few words:

An image of an Instagram account showing a shoutout.

Image source:

Send thanks for @Instagram Stories to other users. It helps build relationships, @OlgaRabo said via @CMIContent. Click to Tweet

6. Reuse your Stories

One of my favorite Stories trends is a sequence of videos that are seamlessly cut together presenting a longer film that would otherwise be impossible to post on Stories due to 15 – the second restriction.

You can use Storeo , a free iOS app. Upload your long video and cut it into smaller pieces, keeping the flow and transitions as smooth as possible.

Try the free @storeo_world app to upload your long video and cut it into smaller pieces for @Instagram Stories longer than 15 seconds, say @OlgaRabo via @CMIContent. Click to Tweet Of course, another trend that is hard to miss this year is TikTok content take over Instagram.

In very Instagram style (remember to refer to the Snap earlier), Instagram has now created Reels: 15 – the second video that brands use for quick tutorials, campaigns, and no. But Reels is placed in a tab next to IGTV; that’s why original Tik Tok content is perfect for Stories. Yes, you can repost your Tik Tok content on Instagram and no, your Instagram community won’t kill you. This 2020 trend is too big to ignore.

7. Use unique patterns

Last but not least: Use questionnaire templates. They stand out, engage your audience, and are great for engaging your followers with cool freebies. It’s easy to create them online (see Example: Easil ). Better yet, create custom templates – and let your followers screenshot them.

Use @teameasil to create custom questionnaire templates for Stories on @Instagram, @OlgaRabo said via @CMIContent. Click to Tweet This is a custom template created by Image source For inspiration:

An image of a custom questionnaire template on Instagram.

Quizzes and questionnaires are great to entertain your followers, but if you give them a free template to use, that’s even better.

RELATED CONTENT TO BE CLICKED: 9 must-use apps to power up your Instagram

Tell Instagram stories

As Instagram is constantly tweaking its algorithm, growing your followers remains a challenge for established brands and newcomers to the platform. If you’re looking to expand your reach, Stories are an absolute must – Instagram won’t let them down.


All tools in the article belong to the author. If you have a tool to recommend, please leave it in the comments.

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Cover photo by Joseph Kalinowski / Content Marketing Institute

By Nguyen Manh Cuong

Nguyen Manh Cuong is the author and founder of the nguyendiep blog. With over 14 years of experience in Online Marketing, he now runs a number of successful websites, and occasionally shares his experience & knowledge on this blog.

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