Avoid These 7 Mistakes When Using Instagram Stories

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Written By Kristin Herman

With Instagram being one of the biggest social media platforms out there, more and more users and companies are flocking to this giant to either advertise, share media, or both.

With an average of over 500 million active users every day, it is easy to jump onto the bandwagon… and make mistakes along the way. 

In order to be successful in your marketing, and engaging with your audience, be sure to avoid these seven mistakes when creating Instagram Stories:

1. Not mixing media

It is never a good idea to do the following:

  • Posting ten snippets of still images
  • Cutting up a video into Story slides stacked one after the other

Chances are, your audience will be uninterested. And chances are you are not mixing your media. People like to see varieties. Therefore, use various media in your Instagram Story sequence – have combinations of the following: 

  • Video
  • Images
  • Text only

Your audience will appreciate you mixing all kinds of media in your Stories; and that will keep them hooked through the entire sequence.

2. No consistency

Instagram Story: Avoid These 7 Costly Mistakes NowViewers want to see consistent content. Therefore, you’ll have to maintain a consistent image and tone of voice, as you create your Stories.

Even marketers have to keep this in mind because they will be selling a product or service, and building a trusting relationship with the audience. So, when thinking about consistency, think about:

  • The general voice of your captions and videos
  • Common templates you use (especially ones that match your brand’s color)
  • Custom fonts


3. Duplicating your content

Although it is tempting to duplicate content in hopes of promoting a product or service, this is a bad idea. In fact, duplicating Stories can be spam-like to audiences, and they’ll ignore them completely.

Instead, try repurposing your content. In other words, find new and creative ways to reuse material. For example, rather than duplicate a Story on your blog post, use a teaser video or behind-the-scenes photos in your Stories, so that you can entice viewers to read the post.

Therefore, when repurposing, be creative, and be authentic. Otherwise, your viewers will spot something spammy, and leave.

4. No interactive experience

This is a cardinal mistake, but fortunately, it is easily fixable – you just need a little awareness and practice. Stories work best if you provide the viewer with an interactive experience, and the key is to always think in terms “How can I immerse the user in this experience or involve them in it?”

For example, if you are trying to showcase a product, don’t post a still image and that is it. Show them the packaging, film yourself unboxing it, build up the anticipation, show yourself using it afterward.

Communicate directly – tell them how you are feeling about it and what are your favorite parts. Throw in some polls and swipe meters to ask them for their opinion.

Whenever you are about to post a still image, give it some thought as to how you can make the Story a more three-dimensional experience for the viewer.

5. Too much text

Let’s face it: No one likes to read long statements, especially on Instagram. Stories are supposed to be a visual medium, not written. Chances are, people will take one look at such Stories and click out of it.

Instead, only use text to add quick context to the visuals (i.e. photo, video, etc.). You only have about 10 seconds per frame, so overloading the Story with text will bore your viewers. 

6. Too many stories at once

Although it is good to have Stories on your Instagram, too many of them at once is detrimental to your social media image. In other words, you don’t want to annoy your viewers with too many news and promotions. 

Instagram Stories as just that: a story. That means that you’d want a clear, consistent narrative that people can easily follow and engage with.

Try focusing on one story or topic at a time, which can prevent your Stories from becoming disjointed, and will promote more engagement.

And, keep in mind, Stories only last for 24 hours, so there’s no need to try and cram everything in. Instead, be patient and do one of the following:

  • Cover one Story per day, OR
  • Have multiple Stories covering the same topic, and then post on a different the next day or week.

But again, be consistent when posting.

7. Not optimizing your stories

Instagram Story: Avoid These 7 Costly Mistakes NowWith Instagram Stories, optimization matters. In that case, when it comes to optimization, there is a fine line between what is considered a “good” Story and a “bad” Story.

So, when optimizing, your Story has to be good. And here is how to go about optimizing your Stories:

  • Find out what works for you and your business or page. 
  • Ensure that your branding and your own voice shine through.
  • Consider the “Explore” pages on Instagram. Make it your goal to increase your chances of being featured on the “Explores” section, when you optimize your Stories. 
  • Make sure you use a geolocation tag for your Stories. 
  • Use up to three relevant hashtags. 
  • Avoid using spam tags like “follow4follow.”
  • Hide tags and hashtags to maximize your screen space by shrinking them down as much as possible. You can do so by using the pinch motion on the screen, and then hiding the tags behind the reply bar so that your post will still register with them.
  • When working with any collaborators, be sure to mention them in featured Stories. Make sure that your collaborators’ tags can be visibly seen by viewers so that they can easily click on them. 
  • Make sure that your Stories have a consistent design. Make sure that at the bottom of the page, there is a message box where users can write you back a message as a reply to your Story. Plus, make sure there is a brief selection of icons on top of the page that they can share with a friend. 
  • Make sure that you double-check your posts for spelling and grammar. The last thing you want is for one user to criticize you for a spelling mistake that is in one of your Stories. Therefore, try not to stint your content with little errors, because viewers will not be fooled, when you try to hide these issues instead of fixing them. 


Conclusion: Instagram Story mistakes to avoid

Instagram Stories has already been known to offer a fantastic way for brands and users to connect with their audiences. Therefore, it is important to ensure that your content is consistent with brand and creativity in mind.

In addition, it is important to use a variety of publishing formats and tricks to keep viewers engaged for all the right reasons. And above all, your Stories have to be visually appealing (In other words, learn to be visual).

And although there are many more Instagram Story mistakes out there that weren’t mentioned in these articles, it is still important to learn from these mistakes and experiment with your Stories – see what techniques work, and which ones don’t work. 

By following these simple tips, and avoiding the above mistakes, you’ll succeed in making your Instagram Stories more successful and engaging to where you’ll grow your following, promote and sell your products or services to a wider fan base, and help your business grow more and more successful.

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