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Instagram Tips & Resources

How to Grow Your Instagram Following Using Stories

Updated on March 12, 2019
9 minute read

If you want to get more followers and increase engagement on Instagram,  Instagram Stories could be the key to growing your Instagram following. 500 million people tune in to Instagram Stories every day, so if you’re not posting regularly, you’re missing out on the chance to grow your following and boost your business sales. Instagram Stories is

Published March 12, 2019

If you want to get more followers and increase engagement on Instagram,  Instagram Stories could be the key to growing your Instagram following.

500 million people tune in to Instagram Stories every day, so if you’re not posting regularly, you’re missing out on the chance to grow your following and boost your business sales.

Instagram Stories is an easy, effective, and free way to keep your followers engaged with your brand, but did you know stories can also help you get more followers, too?

How to Grow Your Instagram Following with Instagram Stories

Until now, you might have been focusing on growing your  Instagram following through great photos and captions, but now it’s time to put some energy into your Instagram Stories!


Because every day, 500 million people tap through stories, and one-third of the most viewed stories are posted from a business account — that makes Instagram Stories an easy, and effective way to introduce your brand to a new, or wider audience.

Because of the ‘limited’ nature of a story, people are super engaged and interested in its content because they know it won’t be around after 24 hours.

Regularly sharing content on Instagram Stories – whether it’s some behind-the-scenes footage, an exclusive preview or just snippets of your usual feed content – opens up lots of new opportunities to grow your account.

It also helps you build stronger relationships with your followers, and stand out from the competition!

Building a strategy for Instagram Stories doesn’t need to be complex or time-consuming. In fact, following these 3 easy steps will help you grow your following, boost your account and fine-tune your Instagram Stories for the future!

Ready to get started? Let’s dive in:

Step #1: Reach a Wider Audience and Grow Your Following With Instagram Stories Stickers

Adding stickers to your Instagram Stories is like adding a jetpack your posts – it accelerates their engagement by getting your Instagram Stories in front of more viewers!

There’s a lot of different types of stickers, and while you probably can’t use them all at the same time, you should aim to use one or two stickers where possible. Here’s a few to try out:

The Location Sticker:

Just like an Instagram post, you’re able to tag a location in your stories with the location sticker. This could be the city you’re in, the restaurant you’re eating at, or your own business’ location!

When you click on a location in Instagram, in addition to seeing the regular feed posts, there is now also a live story for that location, too!

So by tagging your location, you’re giving your account the opportunity to be featured in that location’s story, which could mean new eyeballs on your content and result in more Instagram followers.

You don’t necessarily need to be in that exact location to add the sticker, so it’s worth thinking about events or locations that would be of interest to your audience.

The Hashtag Sticker:

You can add up to 11 hashtags to an Instagram story, and just like location stories, an Instagram user can watch the stories posted under that tag, even if they’re not following you yet.

Be selective with your Instagram Stories hashtags, and aim to use hashtags that have around 5k – 500k posts under it so you’re not posting to an already saturated stream.

If you’re worried about cluttering your story with your hashtags, you can pinch the screen to reduce the text size, and hide it under a GIF or sticker!

The Mention Sticker:

If you want to tag someone in your account, you can use the mention sticker to let a user know you’ve featured them in a post, or if you think it’s of interest to them.

You can tag up to 10 users in each story, but remember to keep your tags relevant to users in the story, otherwise it could look spammy.

By mentioning brands or feature accounts in your Instagram Stories, you’re also giving yourself the opportunity to get re-posted to their story.

If your content is engaging enough, this could lead people to check out your profile and follow you!

Optimizing your Instagram Stories posts with stickers is a really simple trick to boosting your audience and improving your chances of being discovered by new, and potential followers.

Instagram Stories are a free, easy, and effective way to stay engaged with your Instagram followers – even if they don’t see your regular posts. Learn how you can grow your business using stories in our free 45-minute video course:

Step #2: Improve Your Business Traffic and Sales with Instagram Stories

Once you start using the right stickers for your posts, you’ll probably start to see growth in your viewers and engagement levels.

But don’t let all these views go to waste – it’s time to start directing your audience to where you want them to go, like your website, online store, blog or to sign up to your mailing list!

One of the easiest ways to guide viewers off the Instagram app and onto your website is by using swipe up feature. Any Instagram Business account over 10k followers can link out to an external website in their Instagram Stories, you just need to add the link while you’re drafting your post.

You could try posting a testimonial about a product you offer and linking to that product with the swipe up link, or offer a freebie to viewers who follow the swipe up link to visit your website or join your mailing list.

The possibilities are endless, but it’s important to be strategic with your swipe up links.

Don’t just link to the homepage of your website every time you post — be specific with where you want to direct your traffic and make sure you have a strong call-to-action with your story text or video.

If you don’t have the swipe up feature (don’t worry, you’ll soon reach 10k – Later has lots of free online courses to help you get there!), you need to be generous with the information and expertise you’re sharing through your stories.

Share information and advice that your viewers can implement today. The more you can share, and help your audience, the more trust and reciprocity you’ll build with your followers.

Once you’ve built up that trust and act as an authority in your subject area, your viewers will be more likely to visit the link in your bio for more information, even if it does take a few extra clicks!

If you want to learn more about Instagram Stories and take your strategy to the next level, check out Alex Tooby’s new online course, Success by Story here!

Step #3: Learn About Your Audience with Instagram Stories Polls and Questions Stickers

The needs and wants of your Instagram audience are constantly evolving and changing. So it’s important to check in with them and listen to what they would like from your Instagram Stories and feed too.

One of the best ways to gauge what your audience is interested in, or how you can better serve them, is through Instagram’s poll and question stickers.

With a poll or question sticker, the responses give you immediate, real-time answers and access to your followers’ core interests.

Posting a question sticker also leads to a good boost in engagement as your followers start replying to your messages, and this can play into Instagram’s algorithm. If you feel like your engagement is dropping, having regular Q&A sessions with your audience is a nice way to get it back on track, while also hearing from your followers.

Instagram Stories Polls are also powerful tools when it comes to gaining insights into your audience, through a simple yes/no question! For example, you could ask if your audience would be willing to pay $10 for an online course your hosting on your website.

If a follower responded ‘yes’, you can DM them the direct link to the course. Or if the majority of responses come back with ‘no’, pop a question sticker in your next story to see how much they would be willing to pay!

Analyze Your Instagram Stories Performance with Later Analytics

If you’re scheduling your Instagram posts with Later, did you know that you can track and measure your Instagram Stories analytics too?

To help you optimize your stories, figure out your best performing content, and get more views, Later now offers Instagram Stories analytics! And unlike the analytics in the Instagram app, which only saves your stories metrics for 2 weeks, you’ll be able to analyze up to 3 months’ worth of Instagram Stories with Later!

With Later Analytics, you can track and rank stories by impressions, reach, completion rate, average views per user, and the number of replies each story received. So with just a few clicks, you can easily find your best performing Instagram Stories content and build a strategy based on your findings!

Note: As an Instagram Partner, Later uses the Instagram API for all Instagram analytics, which does not include data for swipe ups, profile clicks, or sticker taps in stories.

Upgrade to a Later paid plan for access to Instagram Stories analytics and all the other Pro Analytics features, like engagement rates, audience analytics, and tracking.

Instagram Stories is an amazing feature if you want to grow your following, but you need to be strategic with each and every post.

Make sure you’re utilizing all of the great features in Instagram Stories, creating engaging content and sharing information that’s useful to your audience. All this, plus listening to feedback from your viewers, is everything you need to grow your account with Instagram Stories and boost your business.

It’s time to take your stories seriously – watch our free Instagram Stories for Business course today!

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About the Author
Content Marketing Specialist

Alex is an Instagram Marketer, Influencer & Mentor residing in Squamish, BC. She is the founder of @alextooby@menandcoffee, and The Instagram Marketing Mastermind.

Plan, schedule, and automatically publish your social media posts with Later.

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