Team Gary Vee’s 10 Tips for Posting to Instagram Stories: A Guide

Instagram Stories are dominating the content scene

gary vee instagram stories mobile
Digital Illustration by Michael Saintil

According to the content giant itself, the average Instagram user opens the social media app 33 times per day. Currently, 400 million users watch Instagram Stories daily. These two statistics combined mean that Instagram Stories, the little circles that constantly hover at the top of your home page, is the most prime real estate in an over-performing content platform.

Gary Vaynerchuk—CEO and founder of VaynerMedia, Instagram community builder and overall internet content guru—cites Stories as the cheapest bang for a business’ buck at the moment. So we tapped Andy Krainak, the brand director at Team Gary Vee, to demystify the basics of Instagram Stories and break down the top practices to generate optimum results. As lead coordinator of Vaynerchuk’s online presence, Krainak knows a thing or two about disrupting the user experience and staying relevant on a constantly vanishing platform. He also successfully runs his own account at @krainak for north of 16,000 followers.

In short, your business should be utilizing this valuable screen time to generate brand recognition. Here’s how:

1. Ghost Tag Brands and Input Invisible Hashtags

A surefire way to generate additional engagement on your Instagram Story is to tag accounts and include five to ten relevant hashtags. But including all this information on each post can feel spammy and desperate. Krainak suggests “ghost tagging,” a process of using the color dropper tool (located in the lower left-hand corner) to perfectly match the text of a tagged brand to the background and then shrinking it as small as possible, making it vanish. Since you can only repurpose a story when tagged, this practice allows other brands to easily repost your content. Sharing tagged Stories is so easy in the app and reveals your content to anyone who searches through hashtags. A win-win.

2. Nail Your Cadence

You may have noticed that the queue of profile image circles in your Instagram Story lineup is constantly updating. In order to stay at the top of the line—and remain top of mind to your target audience—nail the cadence at which you post Stories. Space them out a few hours. If you post ten Story slides in a day, save them to post at the top of every hour. Don’t publish all in the morning. This will keep your audience refreshing for more throughout the day.

3. Use Those Swipe-Ups

If your account has more than 10,000 followers, you’ve been blessed with one of Instagram’s greatest assets: the swipe-up link. Copy and paste a simple URL into the link option for immediate traffic to any webpage. This kind of call to action, or CTA, is invaluable for marketing and promoting your other pages, like a website, YouTube, LinkedIn, surveys and more. Krainak suggests leaving a strong cliffhanger and writing excellent copy to really drive the requested CTA home. Cliffhangers that ONE37pm often uses include “Swipe up to read the full story” or “Wanna find out more? Swipe up!”

4. Add Closed Captioning

Did you know that 30 percent of people click through Instagram Stories with the sound off? To capture that silent audience, always caption your videos. If you’re looking for a low-lift solution, simply type the captions into the Story functionality. If you’re into a more produced aesthetic, use a program like iMovie or Final Cut Pro to professionally type captions.

5. Use Native Tools

The Stories section has so many fun, interactive capabilities baked right in: GIFs, polls, stickers, fonts, colors, questions, face filters, music and more. Use them! They make content feel native to the Instagram app, meaning people are preconditioned to expect the kooky dancing animations and enjoy interacting with polls and questions.

6. Promote Your Feed

As visibility is diminishing for the organic eyeballs (i.e., unsponsored views naturally viewing your posts) to your feed, use the share option to remind your audience when you’ve posted a great photo to your grid. Ask them to click on it and show support. You’re potentially tapping into the pool of 400 million Story users daily.

7. Break Your Patterns

Krainak suggests breaking the monotonous patterns of your fonts and styles, and delighting the consumer with new color stories and text families. When people are quickly tapping through the Story section, they need major innovation to hold their fleeting attention. Krainak says using new fonts, a feature in the app that every user can access, every now and then will help you do just that.

8. Gather and Review Data

Get insights from your community. Ask them if they like certain content categories and track their answers. See what they’re responding to organically by monitoring replies and shares. Constantly retool for top-performing posts, homing in on what is working for you.

9. Break Down Content

Sometimes, something that could be crammed into one post is better broken down into, say, four. When ONE37pm promotes an article on our Story, we often tease it over four slides. Use the tap-tap-tap user habits to your advantage, building text and information in a click-through experience.

10. Make Posts Consumable

Remember that the eyeballs clicking through Stories are fleeting. The average attention span is slim. People are surfing the platform to be delighted and surprised. Keep content concise and effortlessly consumable. Save your soliloquies for longer hero platforms like IGTV or YouTube.

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