I’ve been doing some testing of Instagram stories for you over the past week and a half to see what effect it has on my followers and reach.
I was told that if I created at least 10 Instagram stories a day I would see a massive difference in my stats. So never one to shy away from a challenge, I went for it!
Firstly let's talk about the difference between Instagram stories and posting on your Instagram feed.
Instagram stories are a little bit like snapchat. They disappear and burn after 24 hours (unless you add them to your highlights – we’ll go into that in a bit).
So whereas your Instagram feed should be on brand, well thought out and curated. Instagram stories can be a lot more spur of the moment, what’s happening now, an insight into your day – your way to craft a story of what you’re doing day to day.
How to create Instagram stories
You create stories in the newsfeed section by clicking the black camera icon to the left of the Instagram logo.
From here you can choose to go live and speak to your audience, create an image, boomerang, superzoom, rewind or go hands-free. You can also add in hashtags and @name other accounts in your stories. And I would do this as more people will see your stories.
Then you can either choose to add them to your story or send them in a message.
These stories can then be viewed by people for the next 24 hours.
Instagram stories become a habit.
Now I must say I found it hard to come up with 10 Instagram stories a day.
It’s a bit like smoking (in the 90’s!). You want to smoke cigarettes, but you also have to get on buses, work and be in people’s houses that don’t want you to smoke, so you’re trying to cram your habit in and around your everyday existence.
And yes it does feel like a habit. I felt a little like oh I’m really enjoying this moment, oh I could Instagram story this. So I effectively have to stop what I’m doing to grab my phone and capture the perfect moment, then think of some hashtags, make it look good and share it with the world. To cries of ‘stop it mummy’ from my daughter and ‘get off your phone’ from my partner.
Who since this past week has taken to sending me Guardian articles about the dangers of being addicted to social media!
What were the results of using Instagram stories?
Did it result in any more likes, follows, hits to my website and ultimately sales?
When I started my stories journey I had around 1981 followers and I now have 2060 – so that’s a good leap in a week and a half.
I got 168 profile visits in the last 7 days, which seems like a lot and 16 visits to my website in the past 7 days (it’s normally around 4-5). But when I look at my google analytics to see what these people did on my site, the truth is not a lot.
Likes and comments on my actual posts seem to have stayed the same.
So while using Instagram stories did generate some additional traffic and followers the jury is out on the effect it has had on creating sales.
Definitely having more followers makes my account look better and makes me feel more popular – but what we really want as business owners is money in the bank!
Creating highlights from Instagram stories.
Knowing that your Instagram stories burn after 24 hours, you also have the ability to save the best on your profile page.
You’ll see a + button that says new on your profile page. You can hit this and add your best stories to it. You can also create folders so you could have – ‘my life’, ‘my work’, ‘travels’ and create categories of your stories. Take a look at my profile @debbiedooodah for a feel of how it works!
Once you’ve created your initial highlight, click and hold until it says ‘edit highlight’ and then click archive to add other stories to it.
You could also create folder covers for this, lots of people do it with icons, but you’d have to create a story with the icon before you could add it as a highlight.
If all that sounded complicated there are lots of youtube videos out there with step by step instructions!
Was it all worth it?
I’m pleased that I’ve got to grips with using stories. It’s great to have a place to put the less curated stuff that is happening in my business and the highlights function adds an extra way to share them. However trying to make 10 was a little exhausting – I found myself awake a night wondering about what stories I could add the next day – not healthy!
Whether it will turn into sales, only time will tell – social media can be a slow burn of creating relationships and building credibility – so I’m prepared for the long haul!