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How to Get People to Watch your Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories have evolved so much since it first appeared on the app. Of all of the different areas of Instagram, which I call the Instagram Neighborhoods, Instagram Stories are the most casual and interactive. Plus, they’re a great opportunity to connect with and sell to your engaged followers.


Keep reading this blog post to learn how to get people to actually watch your Instagram Stories. 

In this blog post: 

Post Content That’s Right for the Instagram Stories Neighborhood

First, let’s dig into how you can actually get people to watch through your Instagram Stories. 

First, like I just mentioned, you need to post the content that’s right for the Stories Neighborhood. Because of the nature of Instagram Stories, and how they’re featured on the app, they largely cater to your existing followers. Essentially, that means people watching your Instagram Stories are probably at least a little familiar with your business. 

Also, since Instagram Stories disappear after 24 hours, they do not have to be perfectly polished content. Your Stories can be more real time, authentic, and less polished content.

When you’re planning your Instagram Stories content, you should also consider the creative elements that will help you draw in more viewers. This includes engagement stickers like polls, quizzes, sliders, and question boxes. All of these creative elements will help you start a conversation and build community. 

Remember, retention is the goal. A single Instagram Story clip is up to 15 seconds, so sharing anywhere from 2-8 clips is usually the best approach. 

Don’t Forget to Provide Context for Your Instagram Story

Next, let’s talk about the importance of providing context for your Instagram Story. The fact of the matter is that most people are watching Instagram Stories on mute. It’s been said that 85% of people watch Instagram stories in silent mode. 

That’s why you need to use the text tool to give content to what you’re sharing in the first clip. Right from the start you want to capture the attention of your audience and entice them to watch the rest of your clips. 

If you don’t give people a reason to learn more, they’ll just keep tapping through. 

Use Captions or Subtitles

Now, I know what you’re probably thinking, “Sue, you’ve already told me to provide context … Why do I need to add more text?” The truth is, captions and subtitles serve a different purpose than text for context. 

Not to mention, adding closed captions ensures that all of your followers, including those who are hearing impaired, can enjoy your content. 

To learn how to add closed captions or subtitles to your Instagram Story video, check out this YouTube video

Why You Need a Hook in Your First Instagram Story Clip

Finally, here is my biggest pro tip that I also use every single day. You should always add a hook to your first Instagram Story clip. 

You only have a few seconds to stop people from skipping past your content. While subtitles come in slowly, at the pace that you speak, the hook gives people a reason to keep watching. You need to tell people why your content is worth their time. 

For example I might say in my Story clip, “Hey guys, it’s Sue B. I’m here today to take you behind the scenes of my YouTube filming day. It’s a lot of glamour, a lot of work, and a big team! Can you guess how many people help out on a YouTube day?”

Then I would add a quiz sticker to increase engagement. 

The hook I would type for this Story clip is “Here’s a behind-the-scenes peek at my YouTube filming day … Can you guess how many people help me batch 8 videos in a day?”  

This text helps to capture my viewer’s attention, encourages them to watch my content all the way through, and participate with the engagement sticker. 

Ultimately, I know if you give context in your Instagram Stories, are casual with your followers, use text and captions, and use a hook on your stories you will absolutely keep your followers’ attention. Plus, you’ll make your followers into super fans and buyers! 

Looking to Get More Out of Your Instagram Stories? I’ve Got a Solution for You

Download my new FREE Instagram Stories resource, 4 Ways to Engage with Your Followers Using Instagram Stories. You’ll discover how to make the most of your Instagram Stories in 4 simple steps.

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