3 Things Killing Your Instagram Story Engagement and How to Fix Them

Every day, half a billion people tap into Instagram Stories, and 200 million of those Instagram users are visiting at least one business profile every day.

Considering the average person is on Instagram for a whopping 28 minutes per day, you have to make sure your fans are spending that time wisely—viewing, sharing, and engaging with your Stories.

If you’re posting too many Stories, ignoring all the features, or only posting about your products or services all day every day, you’re probably not feeling the love from your fans and followers. Here’s how you can fix these engagement-killing practices:

1. You’re Posting Too Many Stories

People don’t want to click through 20 Stories without any context, whether they’re following a Kardashian or their favorite car company. We’re all busy, distracted, and the amount of things vying for our attention has us constantly tapping forward and swiping away. If you’re posting too many stories, you may be asking your fans to swipe forward to the next brand or, worse yet, to unfollow you entirely.

How to Fix It

According to a SocialInsider analysis of more than 135,976 Instagram Stories, the ideal number of Stories to post in a single day is up to six. Why is the number of Stories so important? Because the number of stories directly impacts your retention rates. The more your brand’s Stories are viewed, the greater the chance that they’ll engage and connect with you. So, to keep your viewers watching, limit the number of Stories you post, and make them count.

2. You’ve Forgotten About the Features

Instagram users love all the features, from GIFs and stickers to polls and filters. Stories have to come alive to get users to engage with the content, so don’t short-change viewers with a solo photo or video. On the other hand, you can overdo it on the features. How do you strike a balance?

How to Fix It

Use fun and relevant stickers (the overarching term for location tagging, hashtags, @ mentions, and more), which can actually increase the discoverability of your Stories. According to Hootsuite, when your Stories get stickered, they have the potential of getting curated into a larger collection of Instagram Stories.

Also, make sure you’re choosing hashtags that aren’t broad or incredibly popular. On your feed you can use dozens of hashtags, but you only get one hashtag per Story. Embrace branded and long-tail targeted keywords, and make sure they’re customized to your content, too (goodbye #tacotuesday, hello #TedsTacoTruckRocks).

Lastly, boost engagement numbers with polls and quizzes or ask your viewers to answer or submit questions about anything and everything—you can even use a bit of reverse psychology and poll your fans whether they even want to keep watching.

3. You’re Posting About Yourself 24/7/365

Stories can be a slippery marketing slope. If you’re only posting self-promotional content, you’re going to lose fans quickly and your engagement will disappear, if it was ever there at all. After all, Stories are about creating connections and showing your followers the human side of your faceless brand.

How to Fix It

Focus on posting impactful video Stories, which convey authenticity and build retention because people spend more time watching video Stories and generate higher tap-forward rates and exit rates. And, if you work with influencers or people are posting about your company and tagging you, share those Stories to your own feed—especially if they’re videos!

Also, you can continue posting about your brand on the regular, you just have to post Stories that aren’t all about self promotion or product placements. Leverage the retention stats behind video and post clips of your manufacturing process and the people who make it happen or schedule a live video Q&A with team members or create a countdown timer to build hype for a special announcement.

And if you do need to go product heavy, ask your fans to help name a new product or where your team should go for the company offsite (bowling or beach?).

Bring Your Stories Back to Life

Your Instagram feed is meant to be polished and highly curated—it’s there forever so people have come to expect perfection—but Instagram users have come to expect Stories to deliver authenticity along with a heavy dose of imperfection.

Stories are what help turn your company into a living, breathing person that any fan would want to snap a selfie with.

Action Items:

1. Review your Instagram Story habits. If you find that you’re committing one of the engagement-killing practices mentioned above, now’s the time to…
2. Make some changes. For example, if you’re in the habit of posting too many Stories, prioritize implementing the ‘Fix’ mentioned above.
3. Keep up with these changes. Once you prioritize the ‘Fix,’ make sure to check in regularly to ensure that you’re keeping up & not falling into old habits.
4. Set aside time each day to engage meaningfully – both on your own Stories & the Stories you follow.

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