How to Use Instagram Right Now

Welcome to episode 348 of Hit the Mic with the Stacey Harris.

With all the changes in the last year with Instagram, I wanted to help get clear on how you can use it right now, how you can make these pieces, like Instagram stories and Instagram lives, and of course your good old faithful, your actual profile to work for you now. I thought I’d talk a little bit about how I’m using it, how some of my clients are using it, how we sort of mend these pieces together. We’re going to do that by really talking about each of the three pieces, starting with Instagram stories. Then, we’ll talk about Instagram live, and we’ll wrap it up with our profile page. Okay?

Instagram Stories

Let’s jump in with Instagram stories. Instagram stories are a really powerful way for you to share what’s happening that day. I do like having some plan if this is something that you are really going to be using. Even as far as actually planning what shots are going to happen or what chunks of video are going to go out. The cool thing about Instagram stories is that you can blend together multiple messages throughout the day to really tell one cohesive story. A really great example of that is behind the scenes of a product development, or a product launch, or packaging of some sort of special bundle. I do it a lot when I shoot video. If I’m doing a video day, I’ll actually do stories throughout the day of my setup and what I’m shooting and my wardrobe changes and things like that, because it gives you again that connection point that we talk about all the time.

We talked about it in the last episode. We’ve talked about it a lot in my backstage. That connection point is the reason stories is valuable. That really is going to give you the chance to showcase what’s happening in that 24 hours. Please make sure they make sense, and make sure they’re cohesive with what’s going on. Use them to support the content you have going out on the profile, the lives you have coming up, the content you have going out on your website, the content you have going out on other social media channels, the ads you’re running at the moment. All of those pieces, this is still a part of that. Don’t think about short-term social and Instagram stories as something that’s separate from your overall strategy. It’s not. It’s just another support piece. It’s just another touchpoint for us to connect this way in a little more of a short-term way because it does expire. People aren’t going to be finding it six months later. It allows us to touch base right then.

It’s also a really, really, really cool way to know who your biggest fans are. You can see who’s watching those stories, so you can see. Oh, I know these six clients or listeners or viewers or readers or whatever; they watch every single story. Maybe I should reach out to them. Maybe I should make sure I’m engaging on some other content. Maybe I should see if they want to be a part of XYZ program, products, group, whatever. Utilize those stories to again support and also identify who you’re going to connect. It’s the only thing on Instagram that allows you to see who’s watching in and out and it and out over and over again, who’s lasting through whole stories. That’s powerful. Okay?

Instagram Live

The second thing I want to talk about is Instagram live. Instagram did a really cool thing. In I think April they released this. You now have the ability to save your Instagram lives to your phone, which is awesome because now as temporary as they are, because there’s no replay or anything like that on Instagram; you know at least repurpose. Meaning, you can now go and share that video on YouTube or wherever else it makes sense again for your brand. What I really love about Instagram live is they’re really so far staying true to the original live video, on the go, on the fly model that Periscope and Blab had early on where content was only available for a very short period of time.

Instagram has really taken that a step further. Instead of going like Periscope eventually did and saying these things can be available forever, like Facebook is and it just becomes a part of your library; Instagram doesn’t even give you 24 hours. When it’s over, when you hit done, that video is gone. There is no replay. Again, you can download them and you can repurpose them, but there’s no replay natively on Instagram. That allows you to really see who in your audience is jumping in. It really gives you the opportunity to present those people willing to jump in during that section of time. Some coaching, some value, some special offer, some insight that maybe you literally have not shared anywhere else and don’t plan to, and that is powerful.

I really love this for speaking events. Some things like that I can do a short burst, “Hey, if you’re here at the event, come see me.” Or, something like that. I really like it during launch times. You can offer maybe a discount code or an added value bonus code. Again, you’re rewarding those people who are saying, “Yes, I’m so invested in you and what you’re sharing and what you’re teaching that I’m going to stop what I’m doing and watch this.” That’s incredible. Don’t underestimate that ability to connect, and don’t underestimate your ability to repurpose content there. A lot of people ask me before Instagram allowed us to save them, “Really what’s the value of me going live on Instagram if it’s going to be gone and I can’t save it, and there’s no replay?” Great. Talk about the same thing you talked about on your Facebook live earlier. Talk about the same thing you talked about on the podcast. There is no replay. Nobody’s going to know.

Use that audience that shows up to drive traffic, and there you go. Utilize that space for repurposing. Share something you’re sharing somewhere else. Share a slightly different perspective. Again, use it to drive traffic to that stuff that does stick around. That’s the value of Instagram live. Again, be using your stories to support those. Using your stories to remind people, “Hey, I’m going to be live.” Or, “Hey, I went live, and this is what we talked about.” Make sure you have my notifications on so you see when I go live. See what we did there? Yeah. It’s that simple.

Your Instagram Profile

Next up, your profile. Now, when Instagram stories were released, I heard from a few people, and I’m not going to name names because I don’t know who originally said it. This is not my original thought. Think of Instagram profiles like your gallery. That’s your best of the best. That’s your shiny, well developed, pretty, pretty, pretty stuff. The stories is more the day to day, where behind the scenes, how the sausage is made if you will. Okay, so that one was mine, but I’m not sure I want to take credit for it. All right. I agree, but one thing I want you to be cautious of when following that train of thought is not to overproduce your profile. Meaning, don’t get so stuck on it being this gallery of shiny, magical, wonderful things that you forget the value, that you forget the voice, that you forget the personality that your brand has.

Because it’s absolutely critical that even when shiny and pretty and wonderful, it doesn’t feel like a robot, whether it’s scheduled or not. It doesn’t feel fake or like a façade. It needs to still be something that people are going to when they’re scrolling through their feed. Don’t be confused. Instagram stories and Instagram live have not at all reduced the amount of time people are spending scrolling through Instagram. That’s why Instagram ads are still delivering so well. Make sure that your feed still represents you in a way you want to be represented. That it’s still representing your brand and driving people to the places they need to be going because they want to learn more. They want to know more.

Now, there are absolutely things I share on stories that I would not share on my profile. Some of the sort of random behind the scenes silly stuff, but you bet that my profile is not just shiny, perfectly wonderful crafted photos. It’s not just quote images. Yes, we do a lot of inspirational quotes because, guess what? You guys like them. They help grow the following. They engage. They allow me to ask you guys questions and connect and start conversations. You’ll also see one post everyday. That’s something that is happening that day. It’s pulling in a little bit that idea of stories, a little bit that idea of what’s happening right now into the feed. It’s not over-scheduled. It’s not over-autopiloted. It’s not over-robotic. It’s still me. It’s still what’s happening, and it’s still about connecting. Don’t forget that when you look at your profile. That piece still has to be there, or you’re going to have a hard time getting people to watch the stories, to show up live for Instagram live. Make sure you don’t lose the you from your Instagram profile. Okay?

That’s it. That’s all I’ve got for you today. That’s kind of how we’re using Instagram. It’s how a lot of our clients are using Instagram. If you have questions, be sure to check out Hit the Mic Backstage because in April we released a brand new training all around Instagram. It’s got all the updates with Instagram live and Instagram stories, and all the things are in that new training. We talked about hashtags and all that good stuff. Check that out again, inside of If you just search, you’ll find it in there, or of course it’s in the most recent area because it just went live in April. Cool? All right. By the way, I just realized that some of you probably aren’t in Backstage. If you haven’t checked out Hit the Mic Backstage yet, what the heck, man? Go on over there. It’s also the best place to ask me questions about this show or anything else. Okay? I will see you next week.

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