Some people think sharing an Instagram post on your Instagram story is redundant. Here’s why they’re wrong.
March 20, 2020 6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
I am an avid Instagrammer, and I try to post almost every day. Accordingly, nearly every time I post a picture into my Instagram feed, I’ll share it on my Instagram story, too. Lately, however, I’ve seen some memes and tweets mocking people who do this, and I thought I’d demystify why exactly it’s important to do so.
To some, it may seem redundant. I get the argument: your audience already saw your post in their feed, so they don’t need to see it in your story, too. But Instagram’s story functionality is an entirely different ballgame, and it’s important to do everything we can as online creators and entrepreneurs to beat the algorithm and earn exposure. It’s actually not redundant at all to publicize your latest post on your Instagram story. It’s simply a smart social strategy. Don’t believe me? Here’s why.
1. Your feed does not give equal opportunity to everyone you follow.
On both Facebook and Instagram, your news feed prioritizes your best friends, family members and favorite celebrities. Yes, they can tell which accounts those are. The algorithm generates your feed based on whose account you check the most often, who you have tagged content with and whose content you continuously engage with.
While this bolsters user experience by showing content you’re most likely to be interested in, it makes it hard for entrepreneurs to get exposure on their follower’s feeds. It’s great to always show up at the top of your mom’s or best friend’s feed, but let’s be real — they’re going to check your feed and engage with your post regardless. Sharing your post to your story can increase the likelihood that more of your followers see it, even if you’re lower in their feed algorithm. I’m sure there have been times when you see a post in someone’s story that you didn’t see in your feed. Sharing to your story is a way to be on the offensive against the friends and family algorithm.
Related: Are Your Instagram Stories Doing Well? Here’s How to Measure Their ROI.
2. You can’t attach a link to an in-feed post.
When you’re launching a new company, introducing a new podcast episode, sharing a YouTube video or posting content that should be attached to a link, many accounts simply have to direct followers to the link in their profile bio. The captions of in-feed posts do not permit links, and rumor has it that trying to add a link (which will show up as a text-only URL) can knock your post down a few pegs on the algorithm. Instagram has a vested interest in keeping users on their app for longer periods of time because of ads. So, they’ve done everything in their power to make leaving the app challenging.
However, if you have a verified account or over 10,000 followers, your account gains the “swipe up” functionality, in which you can add a link to a frame of your story and have viewers swipe up to learn more or engage. If it doesn’t seem fair that only accounts with 10,000 or more followers get this functionality, I hear you — but it isn’t all sunshine and butterflies for accounts with large followings. According to Marketing Charts, stories with fewer than 10,000 followers reach a bit more than 9 percent of their followers through Instagram stories, whereas accounts with between 10,000 and 100,000 followers reach only about 5 percent of followers. The more followers you have, the harder it is to get engagement, which seems backward but is yet another reason why it’s worth sharing your post onto your story.
3. Stories are available for 24 hours.
If you care about engagement, you’ve likely experimented with prime posting times for your Instagram posts. Some advise around 5:00 p.m. when everyone is on the commute home, others say lunchtime, others say late at night. Most audiences are diverse in terms of their time zones, so a “best time to post” is subjective based on where in the world your followers are. This guessing game is alleviated by sharing your post to your story.
When you do, the story frame promoting your post is available for 24 hours and boosted every time you add another story frame. So, if someone across the world is just waking up and you posted eight hours ago, adding another frame to your story brings your story back to their story feed and increases the chance that they’ll see your post… even if your original post is now buried far below all the ‘more relevant’ content in their feeds.
Related: How 39 Major Businesses Use Instagram Stories (Infographic)
4. Stories can illuminate why your audience should care about your post.
Finally, I advise using Instagram stories to tell your followers why they should care about your post. As important as it is to increase visibility by sharing it twice, you have to spark action. In addition to the status quo “new post” and “tap here” GIFs, I give a few bullet points on why the post is a worthwhile read. Tell your audience what they’ll get from your caption. Is it a vulnerable story you’ve never shared? Are there must-know tips on how to ask for a raise?
Adding these anecdotes is also helpful for followers who actually did see your post in their feed but kept scrolling without taking the time to read the caption or engage. It’s essentially an opportunity to convince them to take another look. It’s not always evident why they should care about your post, but they have to care in order to engage. They need to engage in order for your post to get traction. Your post needs to get traction to be discoverable, and it needs to be discoverable to reach new potential followers.
In order to truly own a social strategy, I urge you to use Instagram stories to your advantage. It amplifies your engagement, which is increasingly important on a social media platform that works against bootstrapping creators who don’t invest in ads. Earn engagement organically through the features you have at your disposal. Instagram stories are at the top of the list.