Instagram Stories seem to be loved and hated in equal measures, judging by a few conversations I’ve had about them, but one thing is for sure: Instagram is most definitely moving in a Story/video-based direction.
If you’re not using Stories, you’re making a mistake …
… and if you are, I’d like to talk about a few Instagram Story mistakes you might be making.
Are you guilty of any of these?
1 – You’re Consistently Inconsistent
In order to make Instagram Stories work for you and grow your account, you’ll need to use the platform consistently.
Posting 1 story per day for 5 days = consistent.
Posting 5 Stories in 1 day and then not posting again for 5 days = inconsistent.
(I’m guilty of the last one FOR SURE, I hold my hands up to that.)
I like to create what I call a “reverse content strategy”.
Rather than setting a goal to create and share lots of content that I’m probably not going to reach, I create as much content as I can and then schedule it out so that I’m consistently posting content over the coming days.
This strategy prevents me from posting all of my content in one week and then not posting again for the other three weeks of the month — it helps to keep me consistent.
2 – You’re Not Going Dark
This is going to sound super counterproductive after my first Instagram Story mistake, but if you’re not going dark on Stories every now and then, you might be missing a trick.
Going dark means not posting anything at all — and it is recommended that you do this after posting one or more Stories that receive lots of engagement.
For example, if you post a Story that gets high levels of engagement and then you post a brand new, unrelated Story straight after, the first high-level one might trail off quicker than it should do because people are more interested in engaging with the second one.
You should give people the opportunity to enjoy your content one piece at a time. If one piece of content is doing really well, let it have the limelight for a little longer before overshadowing it with something else.
If you keep bombarding your audience with brand new content, without giving them the opportunity to properly absorb already-published stuff, you may find that they miss some of your best bits. And you don’t want that, right?
(Just don’t go too dark and leave your audience wondering where you’ve gone.)
111+ Instagram Story Content Ideas
111+ Instagram Story content ideas for bloggers and content creators ~ for when you have nothing else to post, don't feel like getting in front of the camera, or are just getting started with Stories and want to learn as you go.Learn More
3 – You’re Not Adding Captions
People don’t tend to listen to videos these days. If you’re talking in your video and someone watches it without sound (at work/on the train/etc.), they’ll miss whatever it is you’re trying to say.
Adding captions to your Stories takes a few minutes, there are plenty of apps and resources that will help you do it both manually and automatically, and you’ll include a huge portion of people that you had previously excluded.
And, better than all of that, no one will miss anything.
4 – You’re Not Posting Frequently Enough
Stories and Reels are the most important features of Instagram right now — they’re both (allegedly) prioritised by the algorithm. And when you make the algorithm happy, Instagram will make you happy right back, by showing your content to lots of people.
The more Stories you post, the merrier.
Ideally, you will want to post Stories at least once per day, preferably more often than that.
5 – You’re Not Structuring Your Stories
Stories are exactly that: stories.
And what does a story have?
A beginning, a middle, and an end.
You should apply that to your Instagram Stories.
Introduce the topic (beginning), get to the main meal of the content (middle), and then add a call-to-action at the end.
Structure really helps when you’re struggling to create content, and it also helps your audience to get to know you and your content style better.
They like consistency, remember?
6 – You’re Not Keeping an Eye on Insights
Insights isn’t everything when it comes to Instagram analytics. In fact, it offers you the bare basics — but those bare basics can help you create a better strategy, especially in terms of when to post your content, and what type of content to post.
Make a note of when your Instagram Stories do really well (get the most engagement), or perform poorly. Post at the popular times again.
What type of content does your audience engage with the most? Do more of that.
What types of content flunk time after time? Work on that.
Creating an Instagram strategy that works for you is a trial-and-error process. The only way to figure out what works is to try a little bit of everything — different content types, different times, different days, different formats, etc.
When you find something that works, do more of it.
When you find something that doesn’t work, do less of it … or tweak it until it works better.
7 – You’re Giving Up
Hey, I know how it feels when you put loads of effort into Instagram content and then it FLUNKS more spectacularly than I flunked my GCSE Geography exam. (And I properly flunked it.)
But giving up is the WORST thing you can do. That’s what Instagram wants you to do.
(Okay, so, I’m lying about that a bit, but pretend that Instagram wants you to give up, and then be determined that you’re not going to.)
But you know how people always say things get worse before they get better? That’s what it’ll be like with Instagram.
At first, you’ll post regularly, excitedly, on track … but then, when you notice that things aren’t going as well as you’d hoped, you start to lose faith and give up.
That’s the bit you need to work through: the bit where you want to give up.
Ignore the fact that only 5 people are liking your posts. Keep going.
Don’t worry if no one even saw your last 3 Stories. Keep going.
Just keep going.
Instagram (and audiences) like consistency. By giving up, you’re not showing consistency at all.
Suck it up, buttercups. You really do need to work through the 5-likes-per-post stage before you get to the 5,000-likes-per-post stage.
8 – You’re Not Using Instagram’s Other Features
Stories are important in your Instagram strategy, yes … but it’s not the only part of your strategy that you’ll need to focus on.
As well as making sure that you’re posting regular Stories, you should also make sure that you’re posting to your feed consistently and regularly, and including Reels. Reels are said to be the highest priority content for right now, and from what I’ve seen and experimented with, that definitely does seem to be the case.
Maybe consider using a Story as a Reel, or creating fewer Stories so you can create a Reel.
And, of course, there’s Live and IGTV to think about.
In short: Instagram is a lotta work.
Instagram Story Mistakes ~ Summary
1 – You’re consistently inconsistent
2 – You’re not going dark
3 – You’re not adding captions
4 – You’re not posting frequently enough
5 – You’re not structuring your Stories
6 – You’re not keeping an eye on Insights
7 – You’re giving up
8 – You’re not using Instagram’s other features
How many of these Instagram Story mistakes are you making? If I’m being honest, I’ve made all of them … and I’m still making a few of them. But by making mistakes, we learn what does and doesn’t work — and that’s definitely a good thing for creating a successful Instagram strategy.
Do you think I’ve missed any Instagram Story mistakes from this list? Let me know! Give me a shout on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter [links below].
I’d love to know what you think.
As always, thanks for reading. I hope you visit again soon!