How to create Instagram Stories with high engagement and reach, according to an influencer coach and an analytics company

  • Instagram Stories have become a central component in how influencers interact with their followers and make money, especially during the pandemic.
  • A growth in reach and engagement on Instagram Stories and Instagram Live posts has been recorded by several industry reports and insiders during the pandemic. 
  • Britney Turner, a micro influencer and content creation coach, broke down these trends and shared the advice she gives her clients for the best Instagram Stories practices. 
  • For instance, Turner said she encourages her clients to share five to eight slides on their Instagram Stories a day. 
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Instagram Stories have become a central component in how influencers interact with their followers and make money, especially during the pandemic, which has increased the usage of both stories and Instagram Live.

Daily views on stories jumped 21% in the middle of March, according to a survey of over 1,000 Instagram creators by the influencer-marketing platform Klear.

“With everyone being at home during this time, influencers and brands have really made it a priority to create more of a conversation in Instagram Stories to further connect with their audience,” said Britney Turner, a lifestyle influencer with 27,000 followers on Instagram and content creator coach.

As a “micro influencer” herself with a background of four years in social media and influencer marketing, Turner coaches other creators on how to land brand deals and pitch themselves.

One thing she has seen in the past few months is that brands want to incorporate more Instagram Stories into their agreements with creators, she said.

“Interaction and driving engagement has been vital,” she added.

Britney Turner IG Influencer Coach
Britney Turner (@itsbritneynicole_) runs an influencer coaching business, The Boss Up.
Angelene Coronel

Stories with 8 frames (or more) seem to be a sweet spot

In a recent report on Instagram Stories, the analytics company Conviva found that eight frames or more led to higher reach rates on posts. The more frames, the higher the reach — which peaked at 20 frames per story with about a 3.5% reach rate.

For the first 20 frames of a story, completion rates remained steady at 70%, Conviva reported. 

“I advise five to eight story slides filled with impactful content,” Turner said. “If you want to share longer-form content (i.e. a day in the life, clothing haul, a routine, etc.), I’d say limit your stories to 15 to 20 slides. Anything past this will cause drop off unless you’re adding value.”

Regularly posting stories is also important, according to Turner.

Starting the day off with a video addressing your audience is a good way to grab viewers’ attention and keep them engaged, she said. She encourages her clients to share story posts every day, especially if they aren’t posting static posts in their feed each day of the week.

Content is changing and adapting

As influencers faced canceled events and campaigns with brands due to the pandemic, many pivoted their content to sharing their at-home lifestyle.

Klear said that “talk shows,” “fitness sessions,” “cooking lessons,” and “virtual parties” had all become trending topics.

“With everyone being at home during this time, influencers and brands have really made it a priority to create more of a conversation in Instagram Stories to further connect with their audience,” Turner said. “Whether it’s sharing your work from home routine, Zoom makeup routine, or cozy loungewear.”

In an April survey conducted by the marketing firm Influence Central, 73% of 389 influencer respondents said they had “addressed COVID-19 and the new ‘stay-home’ economy” in their content and invested less time in “normal” posts.

“I’ve been using stories more in the last few months than I ever have,” said Ava Jules, a YouTube creator with 1.3 million subscribers and an Instagram following of over 600,000. “I started posting more stories about random things I was doing at home, what I was eating, and how I was staying sane.”

Instagram also said that usage of its Instagram Live feature jumped 70% in March. That presented an opportunity for brands.

“People are more apt to spend 30, 60, or 90 minutes on an influencer’s or branded livestream, whereas they’re typically only engaging with a static photo on a feed for a couple seconds,” Ellie Jenkins, an influencer-innovation manager at the marketing firm Mavrck, told Business Insider in April.

Engagement and reach is highest for micro influencers

Accounts with 10,000 to 50,000 followers, which fall into the category of “micro influencer,” saw the highest levels of reach and engagement per follower on Instagram Stories, according to Conviva’s report.

In Convia’s report, it broke down Instagram Stories reach rates for several ranges:

  • 10,000 to 50,000: 13.3% of followers
  • 50,000 to 100,000: 9.6%
  • 100,000 to 250,000: 7.0%

As Instagram Stories become more important for creators, those engagement rates have implications for what type of influencers brands are looking to hire.

In a March report by influencer-marketing firm Linqia, micro influencers were the top category brands were looking to hire in 2020. And Turner said she’d seen a growing interest in micro influencer partnerships from her work with brands.

“Their audience is so loyal and it’s easier for them to convert to the website or drive purchases for brands,” Turner said. 

For more information on how influencers are adapting to new trends and circumstances, read these Business Insider stories:

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