Interested in using Instagram to grow your following? Check out these 5 simple ways you can grow your blog audience with Instagram Stories!
Guest post by Candace of MercyIsNew.com
Can I make a confession? Even though I’ve been blogging for over 13 years, I’m still a total introvert who was SO scared to show my face on video until just a couple years ago!
I’ve followed Crystal for years, and when I saw how successful Instagram Stories was for her, it gave me the confidence to step out and try something new!
And I am SO glad I did, because now I use it nearly every single day to grow my blog audience and truly connect with my readers in an authentic way!
Who would have thought I’d learn to LOVE showing my face on video?!
You see — when you show up on video and give people a glimpse into your life, your home, and who you really are…your audience gets to know the real you! And that opens up so many doors for amazing conversation with your readers, because people are more likely to comment when they feel like they have a relationship with you!
I love talking with my audience on private message, through email, my blog comments, Facebook comments, and more.
And it’s a win-win! While you’re building authentic community and relationships, you start growing your blog following because people are much more active!
Do you want to use Instagram Stories to build community and grow your blog following? Here are the top five ways I’ve used Instagram Stories to grow my audience:
1. Show your face.
Your readers follow you for a reason and connecting with them is so vital to your growth! Not to mention it’s just fun to get to know your community in this way!
Showing your face on stories is a GREAT way to make connection and help people see the real you! With that said, I recommend following your heart in this. You can get on with the blessed hair like Crystal does or use the focus filter like I often do. 😉
Just BE YOU! Personally, I love the fact that Crystal gets on Instagram Stories with no makeup and is just herself. But your personality may be different and that may not work for you.
The bottom line: you do you better than anyone else and THAT is what you want to give your audience!
2. Do regular series on your stories.
I have grown to love doing 30-Day Series on my Stories, and my community seems to really enjoy it also! I’ve done different series over the last few months including topics on mindset and gratitude, an Advent season series, and even a book club. There are tons of possibilities with this!
If you want to try this idea, consider what you already write and share about. What is your niche? Find a topic that fits who you are online and is hopefully something you’re passionate about and will enjoy chatting with your audience about on Instagram Stories!
Here’s how a 30-day series works for me:
- I choose a topic and announce it about a week before the new month begins. (I like to start new series on the first of the month.)
- I make sure to announce it not only on Instagram Stories, but also in a blog post and on my Facebook page.
- The blog post includes the schedule of daily readings, verses, or topics for each day.
- I have a graphic made for each day of the series. I talk about the series on my Stories to get people excited.
- I point them to the link in my profile where they can go to save or print the daily schedule of reading for the month.
- I save each series in a highlight on my Instagram profile and remind people in my stories that they can always refer to my highlights section if they missed a day!
- Every morning I typically share the graphic for that day and then I get on and TALK about that topic. This is SHORT. I will read the verse or reading for the day, maybe with a little commentary of 1-2 slides.
- I continue to remind people throughout the month that it’s never too late to join me and they can print and view the 30 day series at the link in my profile.
- I will often make a printable to go along with a series and ask them to subscribe to my email newsletter to receive the printable! This is a great way to build your email list.
I’ve found series to be one of the easiest ways to grow your audience with Instagram Stories!
3. Use LinkTree to leave blog links in your profile (and mention them regularly).
LinkTree has a great free version for leaving links in your profile! This is especially helpful for those of us who don’t have 10K followers to get that swipe up feature.
On your LinkTree page, you can leave multiple links and also change up the coloring to make it match your own branding a little bit better.
I recommend leaving links there to things that you often get asked about! I always have a link to my current 30 day series or any books I am talking about. I also have a link there for people to subscribe to my blog.
To take full advantage of the links available in your profile, you need to be sure to mention them in your stories regularly! Remind people that you have links in your profile.
Mention the specific links and also just mention generally speaking that they can always find more info at the link in your profile! For example, I will often say, “It’s not too late to join us on this 30 day series. You can find the reading schedule at the link in my profile!”
4. Use eye-catching graphics paired with casual daily talking.
I love having matching, pretty graphics to go along with a series I am doing. I have also had comments from a lot of my readers who save the graphics or quotes I share. So I know my audience really appreciates this kind of thing.
At the same time, don’t let pretty graphics keep you from sharing on stories! It’s definitely not a necessity! You can very easily share a picture (even a stock photo if you wish!) and put your own wording over it right in the Instagram app — which makes it super easy to share eye catching graphics in your stories!
Instagram Stories do not have to be curated and beautiful, but just find a way to make your Stories eye-catching! Above all, remember to be yourself and know your audience.
5. Offer consistent value to your audience.
Give people a reason to follow you! What are they coming to your Stories to gain? Are you offering encouragement? Recipes? Tips? Practical help in your niche area? Whatever you and your blog are about, be generous with what you offer on Instagram Stories!
Give people a a reason to come back for more! When people realize that you are sharing truly helpful information that is useful for their lives, they will come back and listen/watch your Stories day after day!
By offering value to your audience, you are building trust and community! And in my experience, building that trust and community is the BEST way to grow your blog audience!
If you’re new to sharing stories on Instagram, I encourage you to just give it a try! You really have nothing to lose, and you may just end up falling in love with it the way I have!
Do you have any other suggestions for how to grow your audience with Instagram Stories? I’d love to hear in the comments!
Candace Crabtree is a wife, mama of three teenagers, and an enneagram 4 who has enough feelings for all of us. #allthefeels #allthetime Candace finds herself as shocked as anyone with the path the Lord has taken her down these last few years but is finding so much joy on the journey — which is a huge feat in itself. She has a heart to encourage women in all areas of life including depression, anxiety, faith, praying God’s Word, and weight loss on her blog MercyIsNew.com. She’s been mostly part-time blogging for over 13 years now. Follow her on Instagram here.