A lot of what we see on Instagram is all about the numbers. Who has more followers? More likes? More comments?
However, lately I’ve been seeing a shift in the way people go about running their page. There’s a new, widespread intimacy to Instagram that wasn’t there even a year ago. Engagement is still key, but creating connection is where it’s at on the ‘gram in 2019. Content creators want to know their audience and create for them as much as they do for themselves. Authenticity and originality has become a central focus, with creators looking to be more relatable and helpful to their followers.
I could go on for hours about the amazing, down-to-earth, inspiring, and empowering people I’ve met through Instagram and the way they work to lift me and others up. I’ve shared personal stories, sent memes, and chatted about my day with many of you in ways that can only be described as deep friendship. Connecting and building a GENUINE relationship with each of you is a goal of mine, just as it’s becoming a goal of many other creators.
Before we get into the #1 way to connect with your followers, let’s chat about why connecting with your followers is so important.
WHY IS CONNECTION SO IMPORTANT?
Connection breeds long-lasting relationships (this can be taken in a romantic way, but for the sake of this post I am referring to friendship). Having a side hustle or job that revolves around online media means having less face-to-face contact with those who follow and love your work. Online media platforms, like Instagram, are not a one-way street where people share and consume with nothing in return, but they can easily seem that way. Genuine connection and friendship with people on the other side of your screen is vital and something to work hard at, as it allows positive feedback and can build your platform to something greater than just a follower count.
Connection is how you go from being just a content creator to being a content creator and influencer.
Comment sections are the quickest way to spark an online friendship, but it’s not the most noteworthy way to get to know someone. Frustrated with the lack of deeper connection to my followers, I turned to a new tool that I had previously been hesitant to use. After using this tool for not even a week, I saw a change… slowly, but surely, I was building connections that went beyond the comment section.
I began to casually have daily conversations that were more than just small talk with wonderful women and people who inspired me and because of this I also felt less afraid to reach out to other content creators I looked up to. And so began my intensive journey to get to know each of you through this Instagram tool.
What is this tool, you may ask. Well, it’s INSTAGRAM STORIES, of course.
WHY INSTAGRAM STORIES?
1.breaks the highlight reel
The regular Instagram feed is full of curated and perfectly-edited photos (there are loads of exceptions, but for the most part, this is true). This “highlight reel” can start to feel a bit dry and toxic after awhile and although I am a huge advocate for the opinion that Instagram is not superficial and surface-level, there are always times when it feels that way.
Instagram stories break this highlight reel. They allow you to share snippets of your daily life, people you love, exciting news the moment it happens, behind-the-scenes of creation, and real talk. Stories only last for 24 hours, so it’s like watching real-time moments from your favorite content creator’s life. Believe it or not, the people who love to follow you want to see the side of you that isn’t perfectly curated. It allows them to relate to you, find common ground, and makes you a 3D person instead of a 2D person from their feed.
2. easy response
Another great plus to Instagram stories is the easy response it allows. All followers have to do is slide up and they can type a response to your story that goes straight to your DMs. DMs allow for a direct and deeper conversation than comment sections, and more often than not more will be said in response to a story than “cute outfit,” which so often appears in the comments under feed photos.
This easy response feature is what really builds the connections when it comes to Instagram stories, as well as interactive story features like polls and questions. Chances are, if you’re sharing content that’s real and true to you on your stories, DMs will roll in and you’ll easily start forming online friendship 😉
A feature that I’ve touched on multiple times already is the customizable aspect of Instagram stories. Obviously, you run your own account, thus you are in complete control of what gets shared on your story. Like I mentioned in #1, you can share everything from behind-the-scenes looks at your shoot and content creation tips to daily life and casual, yet engaging chats.
My personal favorite way to share on my story is to start an open discussion where I share my thoughts on an issue, then leave a “questions” box and encourage people to DM me with their own thoughts on the issue. Then, I anonymously share the responses I get to give my followers a well-rounded view on the topic at hand!
4. completely unique to you
To capitalize on my last point, Instagram stories are completely unique to you and no two Instagram stories will ever be the exact same. What makes you different is what makes you exciting to follow, so be sure to utilize your stories in a way that you and your followers love. From aesthetic food shots to #wokeuplikethis selfies, the Instagram stories are yours for the taking, so use them!
Stories allow your unique and authentic side to show through in a way the regular feed may not always convey. This stimulates response which leads to real connection between you and your followers that cannot be recreated elsewhere. Build your influence with Instagram stories. It may seem daunting at first, but I’m rooting you on… YOU GOT THIS!
I hope you all enjoyed this post on my personal favorite way to connect on Instagram. I encourage you to start utilizing stories on your own page and see where it takes you! Stay tuned for an Instagram Stories tip post 🙂 Thanks so much for reading!