Need to Know Tips for Instagram Growth – 12 Ways to Grow a Loyal Following on Instagram Using Stories

Grow instagram following using stories
Photo: RuthAnn Rafiq, R Artspace

If you’re building your following on Instagram and are looking at the quantity alone, you’re going about it the wrong way! Numbers can be deceiving because they don’t indicate how many of those people are actually interested in WHO you are or WHAT you’re doing.

For instance, if you have 12,000 followers but only 100 likes per post, you’re doing worse than someone who has 500 followers and 100 likes per post.

Because building a large following isn’t what you want.

You want a loyal following.

But how can you build a loyal following when your feed gets buried to the bottom and the people who follow you never see your posts again?

Thank you recent algorithm changes!

The way to showing up for your audience and building that loyalty factor is to utilize Instagram Stories. Instagram Stories are the videos and clips that can be seen for 24 hours before they disappear. Getting on IG Stories can change the game when it comes to growing engagement with your audience and building the know, like and trust factor which is key in cultivating a loyal following.

Let me show you why and how.

Disclaimer: While I love using social media to interact and grow a following, it’s important to know that it’s not the end all. I still recommend bringing people back to your website (your digital home-base) and giving them the opportunity to hop on your email list which will give you complete control rather than be subject to algorithm changes and the likes.

Here are 4 reasons you should get on the Instagram Story bandwagon TODAY:



1. You can get visible


Like I mentioned the algorithms are changing and it’s becoming more and more difficult to be seen by your followers on your normal Instagram feed. The way to get in front of those following along with you is by showing up in your Instagram Stories.

Video is becoming the vehicle that is getting pushed to the front of the line due to how much more engaging videos are over photos. So, if you want your current followers to see what you’re posting, start showing up in your videos.


2. Your followers can get to know you


Even if you’re showing a snapshot of yourself in your feed every now and then, most of the time people won’t really get to know you until they hear your voice. When you show up on a video on IG Stories people can relate to you and they feel like they know you better.

I know this has happened for some people I follow, once I see them talking in a video, it seems like the veil between us is removed and I know who they are.


3. You can treat your viewers as insiders


We all want to be an insider and have the inside information. When you begin to share your life on Instagram Stories you can say things in your feed like,

“Check out my Stories for exclusive access”

and you can make it seem like special privilege so casual onlookers can choose to follow along with you to get access to your IG Story – because, if you didn’t know, people who don’t follow along with you cannot see your Story.


4. Build the know, like and trust factor


Your goal in business should always be to improve in this area: building the know, like and trust factor. Once people get to know you, they will like you more and subsequently, trust you. And Stories is one of the best ways to do this.


So, perhaps I convinced you to start trying out Instagram stories, but what should you post to your stories once you get on?

Here are 12 things you can do that will grow your relationship with your audience and help your business flourish.


1. Show your face


I know a lot of us don’t like video (myself included). Either we’re nervous, we don’t know what to say, or we just don’t like how we look – well, get rid of the excuses because the time to show up is now!

Everything is moving towards video, like I mentioned earlier, and the sooner you can show up, the better, so your audience can start to get to know you (more on how later).


2. Share daily life


We all want a peek behind the scenes. Show people what projects you’re working on, your workspace, your favorite hot drink or your furry office pal.

Sharing more of your daily life will give your followers a visual of your actual day to day. This will give them a chance to relate to you and feel more connected to you.


3. Share quotes or encouragement


A nice way to show up in your feed without having a photo or a video is writing a quote or sharing some written encouragement.

This is a great way for people to feel positive about their interaction with you. So when you just don’t know what to share, you can’t go wrong with some encouragement or uplifting inspiration.

Grow instagram following using stories - Quote for sharing on Instagram stories

Have you ever wanted to know how to get that solid color background?

It’s easy!


Step 1:

Get into your Stories and select a recent photo. (The photos you’ve taken in the last 24 hours will show up here.)

Grow instagram following using stories-step-1-select-a-photo-for-instagram-stories-tips-from-r-artspace

Step 2:

Select a photo. Then select the pen tool once you’re in.

Grow instagram following using stories-step-2-selecing-a-photo-for-instagram-stories-tips-from-r-artspace

Step 3:

Once you’ve selected the pen tool you just need to tap twice and on the second time, hold down and the screen will turn white. And you can scroll through the colors to choose the color you want.

Grow instagram following using stories-step-3-white-background-on-instagram-stories

Grow instagram following using stories-step-3-gray-background-for-instagram-stories-by-r-artspace

Step 4:

Choose ‘Done’ in the upper right hand corner when you’re happy with the background color and it will take you back to the main screen.

Grow instagram following using stories-step-4-finished-quote-for-instagram-stories-from-r-artspace

Step 5:

Select the font tool and write your quote. Easy peasy.


4. Show real life


A lot of us want a beautiful feed and most times we try to make our feed look as good as possible. What’s nice about Instagram Stories is that it becomes our avenue for showing real life. We can show our messy workspace for what it is, show up in our gym clothes with no make-up and have followers get to know us in daily life.

Whether you choose to get all dressed up or you choose to come “as you are” your audience will get to know you in the day-to-day. It’s always nice to see reality amidst the “perfection” of Instagram sometimes.


5. Get on those 15 second videos


The nice thing about the videos is that when you upload them (not live) there is a 15 second limit. This is awesome because if you feel intimidated by video you can quickly hop on for 30 seconds and make 2 videos sharing your thing and hop off. No long-term limit required :).

If you don’t know what to talk about, think of your how your business is serving your clients and start there. Maybe you do something different than most competitors in your field, so sharing in a video about what you offer or explaining how you’re different could be a great way to educate your followers.

You can share why you wrote a recent blog post, why you love being a business owner, your favorite tool in business… the list is endless.


6. Take a poll to further interaction


There’s a great feature that’s been going around and that’s the poll feature where you can ask your people a yes/no question and they can respond. This is a great way to get feedback and cultivate interaction.

It can be as simple as “which magazine should I read” to “would you want me to share more how-to tips with photography in my blog”.

The goal for the poll is to get your audience to interact with you. You will be able to see results and who participated, but just like other Instagram Stories, it will be deleted after 24 hours.

Grow instagram following using stories-poll-for-sharing-on-instagram-stories-from-r-artspace


7. Share a moment


My husband and I were on vacation in New York City just a couple of weeks ago and we stumbled into this TV filming in Battery Park. Like we literally walked onto the set of Instinct during a break! I was so excited about it, I shared it in my Instagram Story.

I hopped on and explained how it happened then showed the set and the actors. Even though I’ve never seen this TV show, it was so cool because they were filming a crime scene so there was a guy on the ground covered in blood with a white sheet over him and detectives taking photos. I thought it was awesome and I was really excited to share it with people. I got the most views I’ve ever had in my Stories and a lot of DMs telling me how cool it was.

So sharing something that’s happening in the moment is a fun way to make your followers feel like they’re with you and you’re inviting them into your life.


8. Talk about something that’s important to you


As you can tell, I’m mentioning video quite a bit but it’s because showing up on video is key! When you get on video and share a bit of your heart or something you’re passionate about, then people can see that passion and relate more to you.

I got on Stories once and I talked about how I wanted to give up on the “perfectionism” of the Instagram feed because it’s turned into something that’s fake and plastic rather than genuine and a place to show your work. So I shared about that and received a lot of interaction on the Story as well.


9. Share what’s new on your blog


Sharing what’s new on your blog is a great way to show your community that you’re actively working on your blog and business and that you are a trusted resource when it comes to the topics you share. And this is a great thing to do if you’re not sure WHAT to share in your Instagram Stories.

Grab a little snippet from your most recent blog post and talk about it, then say, “head over to the blog to read the rest!” or something like that. This is a great way to drive more traffic to your website as well.


10. Get on live


Live is still a struggle for a lot of us, but getting on live is a great way to interact with those tuning in, in real time. You can request questions and answer them on the spot, you can share valuable information, or you can share updates.

The great thing about Instagram Live is, there is no time limit so it won’t stop recording after 15 seconds; but a downside may be that it also disappears after 24 hours. So if you spend time preparing to talk about something, it will only be around for a day.

The girls over at Humble and Whole had a wonderful strategy where they hopped on IG Live three Saturdays in a row at 11 am and talked for 15 minutes about how to engage with your audience using social media. On the third Saturday they unveiled their new product, an ebook called The New Rules of Engagement.

This was a brilliant strategy because they showed up and delivered amazing content consistently, spent time with their followers and at the end gave them a chance to learn even more information on the topic by purchasing their new product.


11. Be silly


Show your silly side and take advantage of the 24 hour disappearing act!

I see a lot of people using filters in their Stories where you can see the cat ears and whiskers, or they have the glasses filter where there’s arithmetic circling above their head or they have a dog face. Don’t take yourself too seriously and have fun by showing your silly side.

I don’t recommend doing this all the time, but once in a while is really fun. To do this, simply hop on video and double tap to reveal the filters strip at the bottom of the screen and choose your favorite.


12. Tag your friends


A great feature in Stories is that you can now link to other feeds. This is cool if you want to do a shout out to someone, you want to credit them with a guest post or if you want others to follow along with a feed you love.

Tagging people is also a great way to build the know, like and trust factor with your audience. When you’re not afraid to share someone’s feed and encourage your followers to check them out it shows that you’re confident and unselfish. Another bonus is that it builds a great rapport with the people you’re tagging as well.


These twelve ways to use Stories are not exhaustive and there are more things you can do; you’ll just have to jump on it, give it a try and see what works best for you.

To wrap up, getting on Instagram Stories is what you NEED to be doing. Getting on Stories will allow your feed to be seen, your followers will feel like they’re on the inside and they can get to know you better. But most importantly, you will be able to build the know, like and trust factor which will cultivate a loyal following and in turn grow your business. Quality over quantity wins every time.


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12 need to know ways to grow your Instagram following using Stories // PB - Digital Marketing Strategy + Services // Let’s talk Digital Strategy and how I can help your business make a high impact online! Book your 20 minute no-obligation call with me.

RuthAnn Rafiq is the brand designer and photographer behind R Artspace, a branding studio for creatives and makers that offers branding, web design and styled brand photography to elevate brands with less stress and more strategy.

RuthAnn loves spending time with her husband of 3 years, reading with fake glasses, eating popcorn and making time for genuine connections.

Follow along and introduce yourself! @r.artspace,