...Ah. The Instagram Story. One of our favorite topics.

When Instagram Stories first launched in 2016, people were quick to write it off as a copycat in a Snapchat-dominated universe. Flash forward two years, and those people were really, really wrong. Instagram Stories now have twice as many users as Snapchat, and almost half of all Instagram users also use Stories. So, you may be asking, what exactly is an Instagram Story?

Similar to Snapchat, Instagram Stories are a “story” of videos and photos that disappear after 24 hours. You can access a person’s Instagram Story by clicking on their profile picture. For some of you, Instagram Stories might be a vital part of your business and marketing strategies, as they should be. For others, the Instagram Story may simply be the friendly purple ombre circle that inhabits the top of your Instagram feed. Whether you're an Instagram pro or someone looking to sharpen their skills, here are four easy ways to step up your Instagram Story game.

Use what’s available

Instagram Stories have come a long way since their initial launch two years ago. In addition to the Snapchat-esque filters users have come to know, love, and devotedly add to their photos, Instagram has added a plethora of sticker options, allowing you to truly customize your slides. The key to a good Story is to keep it entertaining and engaging. Integrations with GIPHY allow you to add clever GIFs to Stories, while Apple Music and Spotify integrations let users share songs from class playlists or play music directly on the Story itself. Use the Polls feature to ask your clients questions about workout techniques or what they’d like to see at your studio. Use Stories as another opportunity to create a dialogue with your clients. 

Pro tip: Always use the location sticker, especially on videos. This will automatically upload your Story to the ‘local Story’ for whatever city you’re in, thereby bringing you more page views and, potentially, followers.

Keep it branded

You’ve spent lots of time, and money, building your brand - don’t let it fall to the waist side when it comes to any of your social media, let alone Instagram Stories. Incorporate your studio’s colors, logos, taglines, and so on. This will not only keep your marketing consistent across channels, but it will also help your Stories look more polished, professional and aesthetically pleasing. Show off your studio and staff, and if you haven't signed up to takeover our Instagram Story, let our Content Marketing Strategist know, and she'll set you up! 

Be consistent

If you have a Business profile on Instagram, you have access to analytics about your content, audience and overall page activity - take advantage of that. Instagram Stories have their own metrics (located under “Content”) and not only can they attract new viewers to your page, but they can also engage followers you already have. The key? Be consistent. Stories are “ranked” on a user’s feed by how often they engage with your page. If you only post a story once every six months, your Story is going to get bumped to the back of the line, and fewer people will see it.

Make it look nice!

This may seem a little obvious, but it’s worth saying. Like the photos on your Instagram feed, make sure the photos and videos in your Instagram Stories aren’t blurry or super dark. Fortunately, smartphones can take some amazing photos if done right. Be sure to check out some of our favorite tips for doing so here.

Pro tip: Instagram Stories are vertical, so make sure all content is also vertical for best viewing.

It may seem daunting at first, but Instagram Stories are an easy way to engage your audience outside of the studio while introducing it to newcomers at the same time. Find some other accounts you like, take notes, and have some fun!

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