Ep. 029 Lessons from My Month of Daily IG Stories ( + How to Make the Algorithm Happy)
I’m gonna be honest: I really don’t like being in my Instagram stories all day. I just am not one to show everything that’s happening in my day, mostly because I find it incredibly distracting! However, for a while I was hearing everywhere, from every entrepreneur I looked up to, that showing up in your stories leads to higher conversions (meaning more clients for your business!) So I decided to commit to showing up every day (well, almost everyday) during my morning cup of coffee and I’ve been able to keep that up for the past month! I’ve learned a lot of lessons from this little experiment and I’m excited to share them with you all today.
To start, I want to share some of the reasons I was resistant to showing up in my IG stories because I think some of you will be able to relate.
Why wasn’t I showing up in my Instagram stories?
I felt like I needed to look perfect and pretty in order to show my face on camera.
I was so incredibly self-conscious about my appearance. But when I really started to pay attention to other entrepreneurs that were showing up in their stories and having success, I realized that what made them engaging was that they were authentic. Hey, we work from home, most of us don’t do our hair and makeup. And avoiding my stories because I didn’t look picture perfect felt silly. I mean, isn’t that what filters are for? I’m happy to say that I’ve completely overcome that mindset. If you’re still feeling like you need to be all done up in order to show up in your stories, I want you to really notice how other people are showing up. I think you’ll find that your favorite people to follow aren’t the made up and polished ones, they’re the ones who are showing up every day, just how they are, and providing value.
I was afraid I wouldn’t be providing enough value.
I’m not the type to want to give a play by play of my day or even really share that much about my kids and my family. And yes, those things totally work for some accounts! But for me, I knew that I wasn’t going to want to show up in my stories without providing some kind of value every single time. If you listened to Ep. 027 where I talked about my process for batching and repurposing content, you might remember that I use a Trello board to organize ideas for upcoming IG stories. Having those prompts made it so much easier to pop into my stories and provide value to my audience! (So go back and listen if you haven’t heard that episode.)
Time! I simply don’t have time to be in my IG stories all day.
I’m a mom, I’m working like crazy for my clients, I’ve got this podcast, I’ve got The Support Squad Membership Community, and let’s be real: IG is not always at the top of my priority list. I also get really, really distracted by Instagram and try to avoid it during the workday as much as possible. So here’s one thing I discovered - by committing to show up during my morning cup of coffee, my IG stories became a part of my routine AND I got them out of the way early in my day. Providing value early in the day makes it easier for me to justify popping in and sharing little life moments later in the day.
Overcoming all of these little things I felt so resistant about, eliminated any blocks I had about showing up in my IG stories. So whatever you’re struggling with, whatever’s holding you back from showing up, I want you to dig in deep and heal those little pieces. As entrepreneurs, especially in the online space, we can’t afford to hide due to fear. Next month in The Support Squad Membership Community, I’ll be featuring Peggy Re James as our guest expert. We just recorded her training about how to use social media to connect with and land clients. Her strategies are extremely effective, they’ve worked like gangbusters for her students, but I’m telling you now...effective social media strategies always include putting yourself out there.
Okay, so is it really worth it to dive into your IG stories the way I did?
Let me share some stats:
I had the same number of posts in June and July, but July was when I made the commitment to showing up - so let’s compare those months:
In June, my random IG stories averaged about 45 views each time I posted, now I’m averaging 120 views per story. So that was a huge increase.
I got on average 5 more comments per post in my feed in July versus in June.
I don’t have stats on my DMs, but it’s safe to say they EXPLODED.
My follower growth almost doubled - in June I only had 38 new followers, while in July I had 63.
And then there were less direct results that miiight be tied to my IG stories - like more website visitors, way more podcast downloads, and a huge spike in people joining The Support Squad Hangout on Facebook.
Working with the Instagram Algorithm
A lot of it has to do with the Instagram algorithms, right? Now keep in mind, we’re not trying to beat the algorithm, we’re trying to work with it.
Posting throughout the entire day
So I know that the algorithm likes me to be in my stories all day, ideally posting every 3 hours or so. Since I don’t like to be in my stories that much, I had to be strategic. So when I posted my morning coffee chat, I usually asked a question to my followers. Then I would strategically share the answers to the question throughout the day, rather than all at once. This kept me on the top of people’s story feed and made the algorithm happy, but I wasn’t actually doing all that much extra work.
Creating easy ways for my followers to engage with me
The algorithm really likes when I make it easy for my followers to engage with me. So I filled my stories with questions, polls, etc. Remember, Instagram’s main goal with the algorithm is to keep people on the app. So anyway you can get people to linger on your stories longer, the better.
On that note, I also made sure to type up little captions any time I was talking to the camera. I don’t know about y’all, but if I see someone’s story without any captions or words, sometimes I just skip it. A lot of people watch IG stories on mute, so having captions really helps capture their attention longer and highlight your key points.
Another thing that makes the Instagram algorithm happy? When you’re social! As much as possible, you should tag other users in your stories. Did you see a super-informative post from another virtual assistant? Tag them in your story and let your followers know about it! Are you listening to this super-cool podcast right now? Post about it in your story and tag me! Okay, so I’m kind of joking (not really), but when you tag people in your stories it creates engagement and also gives them the opportunity to connect with you.
Overall, I found that it’s not that hard to make Instagram’s algorithm happy. In fact, it’s pretty intuitive. You really just need to think about what will make your followers happy. And that’s providing value, engaging with them, and being social and friendly. Not so hard, right?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned from this experiment, which is actually now just part of my daily life, is that I actually like Instagram a lot more now! I’ve learned that what we post in our feeds actually really doesn’t matter as much as what we share in our stories. And that takes a lot of the pressure off. So I’d love to encourage you to start showing up.
And if you want to deep dive into this topic, I mean really deep dive, you are going to love Peggy Re James’ training in The Support Squad Membership Community next month. She goes beyond just how to get followers and stay engaged with them, and really explains step-by-step how to turn Instagram followers into dream clients. So if you don’t want to miss it, make sure you’re enrolled as a member at thesupportsquad.com. (Pssst, did you know it’s less than $20 a month to access all the goodness of the membership community.) I’ll see you in there. Until next time, boss babe.