The increasingly popular Stories feature on Instagram offers users a more candid medium than standard, allowing you to interact with your audience in a more casual, personal, and unadulterated manner. But to maximize the effectiveness of your social media presence, you need to know what works for your audience, what your followers want to see from you. To do this successfully, avoid these common mistakes users make with their Instagram Stories.

You’re Not Actually Telling a Story

The difference between a standard Instagram post and a Story is pretty self-explanatory – your Stories should actually tell a story! It is vital to keep followers engaged by creating an on-going sequence of Story posts that connect, rather than random flashes of things that are unrelated.

You Post the Same Things in Every Story

Having said that, you should also try not to fall into the trap of posting too much of the same stuff. The story you tell needs to have variety to keep it interesting, so your audience doesn’t get bored of watching your dog play, or your work-out routine from beginning to end. This stops your Story from becoming monotonous, by only posting eventful moments, snippets of fun videos, etc., to engage your followers. You should also consider varying the mediums of each post, including a range of still images, videos, text-only, boomerangs, and live videos to keep audiences from getting bored.

This also means avoiding posting the same things in every single story – mix up your Story by including varied content each time you add to it. As Edward Goldstein, a business writer at Australianhelp and Bigassignments, reminds us, “While having a brand that focuses on fitness, for example, is fantastic, nobody wants to see the exact same thing every time they watch your Story, so keep it original and interesting!”

Your Tone and Brand Image is Inconsistent

Variety is important – but so is creating a consistent presence. This will help you build a coherent and trustworthy brand identity. It can be all too easy to be inconsistent when posting on ephemeral channels of communication, so maintaining a general tone to the way you talk, what you show, and how you use add-ons like stickers and polls.

You’re Not Creating an Interactive Experience

In short, this is about creating an immersive experience for anyone watching your Story. Try to include action shots, such as POV footage of you unboxing a package rather than just a still image of it. Another simple way to interact with your audience in your Stories is by talking directly to them and asking them questions or including polls to encourage them to be more involved in your Story.

You’re Focusing on Your Face Too Much

            While communicating with your following directly by talking into the camera can be a fantastic way to increase audience engagement, having the camera focused on your face for the duration can be ineffective – show your audience your surroundings or relevant images and products to shake things up and avoid having monotonous Stories.

But when you do want to show your face…

You’re Not Showing Your Relatable Side

When you do decide to show your face, make sure to appear genuine and relatable. One of the reasons Stories are so popular is because they are an insight into the “real” you – candid and unadulterated. Robert Sims, a marketer at Academized and Paper Fellows, says: “Show your audience a more personal side of yourself by not appearing too made-up, throwing yourself into new or uncomfortable situations, or just being a little awkward!” People want to get to know the real you, but you have to let them.

While there are plenty more mistakes to be made when you post on your Instagram Stories, these are just some of the most common and fundamental issues you should always take into consideration. Try to be aware of everything listed here each time you go to post to your Instagram Story to ensure your audience’s attention is grabbed from the first post and, more importantly, maintained throughout.

Molly Crockett is a writer for Ukwritings and Essayroo, specializing in marketing and business. She advises company managers on how to optimize their approach to their business practices. Molly also helps seek new ways to help develop writing and research skills in young people and she teaches such skills at Boomessays.

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