Did you know that Instagram thinks that Stories are the future? Stories can have a huge impact on how to get Instagram Stories views for free. The goal of Instagram is to push users to Stories. They believe the future is in short-form videos, not the News Feed.
They’re focusing on strategies to increase consumer consumption rate of video. They want more creators making videos, and increase ROI of advertisers leveraging video.
I love Instagram. Instagram Stories, IGTV, and Instagram’s feed are all valuable to me. It allows me to have multiple options to serve my audience with quality content.
Instagram stories grow in popularity every year. In January 2019, around 1/2 a billion people interacted via Stories. This is 100,000 more than in June 2018. The trend continues to rise. Stories was an instant hit with users. It has helped Instagram overtake the likes of Snapchat and Vine.
So today I want to dive into Instagram Stories. How you can get Instagram Stories views for free? Did you know you can still go viral on Instagram on a daily basis? Even with Instagram Stories? On some of my Instagram Stories 90% of the audience DIDN’T follow me. And that number is mind blowing. Keep in mind: I never spend any $$$ on ads.
Did you know Instagram Stories can go viral too! Instagram Stories is still one of my favorite ways to share content on Instagram. And that’s why I will share my 3 secrets in this blog post.
Instagram Stories views for free
There are multiple ways to get more Instagram Stories views. But we want to have the biggest impact with the least amount of effort.
Before we dive in, there is one aspect I need to share. This is important for the success of your Instagram Stories. You actually need to try to post Instagram Stories a couple of times per week. If not every day.
I still see brands who only use feed posts on their Instagram profile. They are missing out on so much fun which Instagram Stories can give, such as:
- Interaction with your audience with Instagram stickers
- Behind the scene material
- Test your feed content via Polls
- Get to your audience
- Go live with Q & A’s
- Use Instagram Stories to promote your IGTV content
Maybe you are one of those who don’t post on Instagram Stories yet. Maybe you didn’t know this function was available. Or maybe you don’t know how to use it. But first I will briefly explain how to post on Instagram Stories.
If you are familiar with how to post Stories, you can skip this section. Head over to the 3 methods.
How to post Instagram Stories for business
It’s not difficult to post on Instagram Stories. Don’t worry if you’re new to Instagram. I will explain how you can post on Instagram Stories.
- Swipe right from your home screen. Or tap the camera icon in the top left corner of the screen. This will open the Instagram camera (see image below).
- Take a photo by tapping the record button. Or take a video by pressing and holding down the record button. You also have the option of taking a type, live, boomerang, super zoom, rewind, or hands-free video.
- You can also upload a previously taken photo or video from your camera roll. Swipe up, or down. If the content older than 24 hours, a sticker will be added. This sticker will contain the date when the photo or video was made. You can easily remove this sticker by selecting it. After selecting you drag & drop it in the trash bin. You can find the trash bin on the bottom. Drag & drop it in the bin to remove it.
- Tapping anywhere on the screen will bring up the text tool. You can play with text size and color. Instagram has five beautiful fonts you can try:
- Strong (my favorite one)
- Last but not least you can draw doodles. Select from one of three different pen styles to doodle on your photo. You can also erase any drawings you’ve made. Use the eraser brush to do so.
- Now the fun begins. STICKERS! You can also add stickers by selecting the sticker button in the top right corner of your screen. Another way is by swiping up on your story. Some of the more valuable ones include the location sticker, hashtag sticker, mention sticker, selfie sticker, poll sticker, emoji slider, and question sticker!
- I’ve never been a fan of filters for my Instagram Stories. But there are multiple filters available you can try. To access them you simply have to swipe left. You can also swipe right.
- When you’re done you click “send to” and click “add to Stories”.
Your story will pop up at the top of your followers’ feeds. It will also be visible on your profile page by tapping your profile picture. Let’s dive in how you can get Instagram Stories views for free. I have three different methods ready for you.
Method 1: Instagram Stories views for free via the feed
Once you posted your Stories your followers can get a notification (if turned on). Another way how they can discover your content is via the feed.
Instagram switched from a chronological feed to a different algorithm. This is based on machine learning. This machine learning helps Instagram determine which profiles may appeal to you more than others. The algorithm tracks the profiles that you are ‘closest to’ your. Like your friends and family. Or whose pictures you often like and comment on, or who you talk to via direct messages. A similar method applies to the order of the stories too. Interactions define the Stories feed.
Despite their similarities, Instagram’s Stories algorithm is different from their feed algorithm. The main difference is that, with Stories, Instagram looks for “signals”. These signals are patterns of your behavior. Once it defines the signals, the algorithm adapts to your way of using this app.
Some signals are:
- Interests; If you search the same profile daily it means that you are interested in it. It can be your friend, partner, crush, celebrity, or a brand you like. If you follow it for some time, Instagram will know. It will try to give their stories priority.
- Interactions; Interaction is the relationship between your profile and others. If you frequently exchange likes, comments, and direct messages with them, your interaction is stronger. Based on interaction Instagram will move profiles. These stories get higher on the ‘pecking order’ in the top bar. The logic is simple. You are more likely to watch a story posted by a person that you are constantly interacting with.
- Timeliness; Instagram sometimes orders the stories from the newest to the oldest. While an old story posted by someone you interact with gains priority.
- Experience; You always tap the same profile’s stories once you open the app. After a while, you will notice that it is always first on your Stories feed. It doesn’t matter when the profile uploaded the story. Until you watch it, it will be the first in your feed. This is because Instagram relies on experiences. It. tries to assume whose fresh stories you can’t wait to see.With these factors taken into consideration by the algorithm, Stories become more interesting. If you are seeing someone that you’re interested in, it means that the algorithm set you up due to similar interests and online behaviors.
Can you change the order of the Stories highlights?
Yes, you can influence Instagram’s algorithms to get Instagram Stories views for free. Change the order of stories in your feed by behaving differently. The machine learns and adapts to your behaviour. If you don’t want some profiles to seem first on your feed, you should try interacting with them less frequently.
One of the main problems with this algorithm is that after a while it narrows the feed. Only a small percent of the profiles that you interact with will be on it.
Do you want to adjust the algorithm and rearrange your feed? You will have to visit other profiles, interact with other people, and engage with the content they post.
Keeping this in mind it shows that content still is king. You need to produce quality content which inspires or motivates your following. Otherwise your ‘ranking’ in the Stories top bar will fall behind.
A quick hack I always use is to add interactive stickers to my stories. I try to build a relationship with my followers. An excellent way to achieve this is by adding a POLL. With the POLL I can not test my feed content. If the poll is ?, I won’t even post it on my feed.
With interactions, you can “fool” the algorithm. You make sure you end up as the #1 Stories your audience have to watch.
Another way to boost engagement in your Stories is to add FOMO (fear of missing out). How I personally use FOMO?
For example, I share the result of this Mexican Grilled Chicken Bowl. In my caption, I write: “Want the recipe and tutorial how to make this? Head over to my Instagram Stories”. My audience needs to head over to my Instagram Stories to view the tutorial on how I made it. Or they need to go to my Stories for the recipe. The Stories are only available for 24 hours. Adding some pressure to it.
Due to this time pressure, something interesting is happening in the human brain. As you don’t want to miss out they instantly head over to the Instagram Stories.
Method 2: Instagram Stories views for free via hashtags
Twitter may have invented social media hashtags, but Instagram put them on the map. Giving marketers something else to lose sleep over: how to get Instagram Stories views for free via hashtags.
These days, Instagram hashtags not only categorize your content and makes it visible by users, but they are an effective way to get more followers, increase engagement and expand reach and brand awareness.
If you’d like to tap into the platform’s potential to reach a huge audience, upping your hashtag game is the way to go.
What I really love about Instagram is that they bring hashtags to a whole new level. I’ve always been a fan of hashtags. It’s one of the easiest ways to get new followers. What many don’t know is that you still can reach thousands of highly targeted people, without spending a single $ on ads due to hashtags.
As of now, Instagram allows hashtags on Stories too. In my experience using a maximum of 2 hashtags which are related to the Stories give the biggest impact. Using more hashtags kills the reach. Same goes for using unrelated hashtags (for example #cats on a dog post). Instagram’s AI and machine learning is so clever it scans your images and videos and knows exactly what’s on it. From the number of people, but also if there is a banana on the table or not.
Overusing the same hashtag is also not advisable. Always try new angles and new hashtags which relate to your Stories. There are many hashtags out there. I’ve written an excellent strategy about it, which you can find here.
Method 3: Instagram Stories views for free via the “explore page”
This is my favorite and best method, but it might be hard to achieve it. Going viral is the holy grail for many social media managers. Yet I believe that going viral is the easiest way to achieve on Instagram, compared to other platforms. This is due to explore page.
If you’re trying to figure out how to get on Instagram’s Explore page, you’ve got to think differently. You can’t just post and pray. If you want to get on the Explore page, you’re going to have to do something to stand out and GO VIRAL…and the best way to do that begins with a proper strategy.
Instagram’s Explore page evolved from the Popular or Discovery page, which displayed the most-liked content at the time of your visit. The issue with the popular page was that it failed to cater to specific users’ interests.
Now, with the Explore page, the content presented is different for each user. Instagram Stories is now included (see image above)!
Instagram’s Explore page comprises posts liked by people whose posts you’ve liked, posts from accounts similar to those that you follow, and posts with high engagement. In this way, Explore selects posts to show you, without being hemmed in by who you follow and what you claim to like.
By monitoring how you interact with Instagram, it is able to use the algorithm to select the content that syncs up with how you use the app. This is exactly why Wired calls the Explore page “the most honest place on the Internet.”
This change is good news for business owners with interactive Instagram audiences (and vice versa: good news for users when businesses like their photos), as there is a chance that your post will reach previously unconnected, yet interested, users.
The Explore page also allows you to find Stories from accounts Instagram thinks you’ll find interesting; location stories from areas near you; and top live videos. Also, this is where you will find Picked for You videos, which were introduced in June last year, and the events video channel, which shows user-generated videos for top events, such as concerts and sporting events.
Why You Should Get on Instagram’s Explore Page
If you are a brand or business, you should be strategically aiming for the Explore page for the same reasons you are using any aspect of Instagram.
To garnering more likes, getting on the Explore page will also help a business’s bottom line by building brand awareness, selling products, and acquiring new customers. This is possible because the Explore page offers the chance for exposure to a new audience, which is targeted—not random.
Taking advantage of the Instagram Explore pages is absolutely free. You don’t have to use ads.
Instagram is always adding new features to the Explore section. They want it to be more engaging for their users. Recently they added Location Stories to Explore for example. Learning how to get on the Explore page now will pay dividends in the future.
The big question is: how can my content end up here?
This is only possible with a golden content strategy. Without diving into the details, there are 8 important metrics you need to master:
- Know your audience
- Use related hashtags to your content
- Look for a conversation with your audience (i.e. find interactions)
- Include call-to-actions
- Post timing is crucial: when are the majority of your followers online?
- Use influencer marketing within your niche
- Ask your audience to turn-on post notifications. This makes it easier for them to engage with your content
- Ask your audience to save or share your content. This also counts as engagement for the Instagram algorithm
Getting on the Instagram Explore Page is Pretty Hard — But I Believe in You!
There are over 1 Billion Instagram users now. Let that sink in. 1 Billion Users. That’s a lot of eyeballs, a huge audience. Whatever it is your trying to promote, the Explore page can probably help you.
The Instagram Explore page isn’t rocket science. It’s a mix of good content and timing.
But by having a clear vision of your target market, selecting appropriate hashtags, engaging followers, and optimizing your content by releasing it at the right time, it’s possible to bolster your base and your bottom line—without having to pay for Instagram Ads.
I hope this post was helpful!