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December 14, 2021

133 | How To Create Engaging Instagram Stories

how to create more engaging instagram stories with Annie Miller

How to create more engaging Instagram stories!

It’s no secret that building an audience is important, and that getting that audience to interact with your content is even more important. But what happens when you feel like you’re doing all of the things, and people are still not taking the bait?

  • You’re putting the question box up but no Q’s roll in.
  • You’re using call to actions, but it’s crickets. Or worse, only bots respond.
  • You tell people to DM you, but you only get reactions.

We need to go deeper. That’s what this episode is about.

If it wasn’t made clear yet, this episode is about Instagram stories specifically. I have gone over captions and call to actions in past episodes. Let me just reiterate some key points there:

Look at your HOOK – it’s possible people aren’t even getting to your call to action because your hook didn’t get them to actually read the caption

Give specific options vs open ended, at least until your audience gets used to consistently interacting with your content. Make it easy for them.

Now, today is all about stories.

Where new humans may see your posts (through reach and exposure), your Instagram stories are for your ride or dies. For your humans who follow you, and see you daily. That context is important. Story content can be more intimate, a bit more raw than posts. They serve a different purpose.

To an extent, you need to train your audience.  Not as though they are animals. But the more your audience sees others interacting with your content, the more “normal” or “expected” it feels. The ask via a question box is one thing. But the content of the question box is another.

Just like broad call to actions in captions, it’s not going to work in stories either. Thus, lower the barrier to entry for your humans.

MAKE IT FUN. MAKE IT EASY. Or mix fun and easy with intermediate level content. Leverage people wanting to talk about themselves.

Instead of a question box about health and nutrition, try a fun poll series – mountains or beaches, waffles or pancakes, tea or coffee, breakfast or dinner, hotel or airbnb – literally nothing to do with fitness or health. Sure you can mix in some health and fitness ones if you like, but I hope you can see how this is easier and likely more enjoyable for your audience than trying to come up with a question in the midst of scrolling through IG stories, yeah? This particular example is a playful poll.

You can then graduate from a non-health related playful poll to a health and fitness related playful poll – Still play this or that, but use exercises and food or drink options – squats or deadlift, bench or overhead press, conventional deadlift or sumo deadlift, back or front squat, pull ups or rows etc, stairclimber or treadmill, morning or evening exercise etc.

Honestly I encourage you to just think about how you can bring polls or quizzes into your daily Instagram stories content organically. For instance, I was in a coffee shop a while back that didn’t have a bathroom. It was funny to me for obvious reasons – you’re going to serve people coffee and have work space but no bathroom…come on. So I shared that in my stories and put up a poll “shit yourself” “walk elsewhere” – the poll does nothing, and was not even realistic. It was just funny and people like to respond to entertaining content. Not everything has to be for market research or rooted in you ACTUALLY needing feedback.

This gives your audience ways to interact without weight or expectations.

So, there are some light hearted ideas for polls to drive up engagement. Now let’s look at your new and improved question box.

Another approach you can take is to ask what a goal is for their week or a win from last week. This would be question box form but it’s about THEM. An anonymous way for them to state their focus, or celebrate themselves! Give them space to do that on your platform. Share them to your stories to celebrate them as well!

Again – I want you to think from a consumer point of view and be a student of the gram. What type of stories do you interact with or see others interact with? And what makes sense for you? Be open to trying a few things and seeing what sticks.

Be a human. You’re not a robot. Ask them about an experience. Again, people love taking quizzes, talking about themselves and giving advice. Give them opportunities to do that! And it’s hilarious because people often say they hate talking about themselves. But more often than not, they will, if given the chance. And it’s not a bad thing, I think context matters.

Ask for advice or an opinion on something – ask for people to describe themselves in 3 words. Ask them to list their favorite trip or location they’ve ever taken. The limit here is really just your creativity. You can ask your audience ENDLESS things. It can be easy to constrict our thoughts, especially when trying to be strategic with our content. But sometimes we need to take a step back and be organic to the platform. It’s a SOCIAL platform. Be social – be human.

Come to think of it, people also love complaining – so have it and ask what a gym or life pet peeve is. Have a laugh and share them to your story  – I bet you’ll also get DM responses from the peeves you share to your story. It might be a fun little experiment.

Once you’ve implemented a few of the things I’ve covered here, then start opening up the more aligned interaction asks – general Q&A’s, market research based quizzes and such. It might still be quiet the first few times you do it. But you can also have a few questions set aside that you can answer yourself – use questions from clients or just things you know people like want to know but maybe don’t know how to ask yet.

Keep at it, and I also suggest doing this, if at all possible, during a busy day/time for story views. We want to maximize that if we can. Especially when starting out.

If you want, you can announce that a certain day of the week is going to be Q&A day – many many many people do this. It’s not unique to me or my idea. It just helps set an expectation with your audience. They know it’s coming, and they, hopefully, will be more likely to partake.

Even with these, you can narrow it down, or make it fun. Macro only, cardio and lifting, etc. Give it a topic to help narrow it down. OR list some options and then post the box. Be shameless. If no one is responding, you can totally get in your stories and call out your audience a bit – like “yo! I am doing this for you, meet me half way! Or not but I mean also don’t leave me hanging.”

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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.

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