Interview: How to Effectively and Strategically Create Instagram Stories

Interview with the Instagram marketer Alex Tooby with actionable tips on how to get the most out of Instagram Stories for your business.

instagram stories tips

Sharing through Stories is expected to surpass sharing through the feed in 2019.

Chris Cox, f8 conference.

It is expected that sometime in the middle of 2019, Stories will have more views than posts published in the feeds. This means that the Story format will become the most preferred way to share, engage and consume content on the Internet.

That is why understanding how to use Instagram stories properly, is becoming very crucial for your marketing strategy, whether you are a mom-and-pop shop or a big brand. And if you figure out how to create and publish stories at scale, you will definitely boost engagement and eventually lead to greater sales and conversion rates.

So, in order to learn the best practices and share them with all of you, I decided to ask Alex Tooby, an expert in Instagram marketing, influencer & mentor to share her actionable tips about Instagram stories.

1. You’ve recently launched Success By Story, a course about Instagram stories. Congratulations! So, why do you think the story format is so important for marketing in 2019?

Thank you!

Many of us (myself included) have felt the sting of decreased engagement, likes, and followers lately.

With so many algorithm changes and engagement plummeting on regular posts, Instagram stories give brands more opportunities to engage with their target market and reach a larger audience.

When properly used, Instagram Stories can effectively make up for the lack of post engagement, and more!

2. Can you share more about your course, why people should enroll and what they will learn?

I created Success by Story to teach people how to effectively and strategically create Instagram stories to “wow” their current followers, reach new people, boost their ranking in the algorithm, and get more inquiries that lead to sales.

Instagram stories course success by story
‘Success By Story’ – Instagram Stories Course

Instagram stories currently has 500 million daily active users and growing, making it one of the biggest social opportunities to capitalize on. 

Success by Story is an extremely robust course that teaches students how to create stunning stories that actually boost your business through increased engagement, web traffic, and sales!

You’ll learn exactly what to post, how to use all of the internal IG story features, how to create impactful, meaningful content, how to measure and track the success of your stories, and how to increase revenue by strategically adding elements that encourage a user to buy! 

3. Can you share 3 topics that every business can think of in order to create content for their stories?

  • Behind the scenes or day in the life content (people want to see what a business is really made up of, not just the end product).
  • Testimonials (share it in it’s raw format to further increase social proof!)
  • Announcing a new post (tease what the post is about so that your audience is intrigued to visit your feed!) 

4. What are your must-have elements (call to action, text, video, sticker…) of a story in order to engage with the viewers? 

My goal with Instagram Stories is to always give the user something to interact with.

I really like the questions sticker because you not only get engagement from your audience when they reply but you can also learn really valuable information from them depending on what you asked!

If you have 10k followers making use of the swipe-up feature is a no-brainer.

This is one of the most valuable additions to Instagram in the last few years and should be used regularly! Send users to blog content, product pages, opt-in pages, new posts, or other social platforms.

If you don’t have the swipe-up feature a call to action is the next best thing. Ask them to send you a DM, visit your profile, like your latest post, leave a comment, etc!

Alex Tooby

Lastly, you should include geolocation and at least 1 hashtag on each story to increase your reach. 

5. Which editing app do you recommend for creating Instagram stories? Or any tool you find great value in your everyday activities, regarding Instagram marketing?

I really think you can do so much within the Instagram app so that’s my go-to but I do like Unfold, Over and Adobe Spark to help spruce them up even more!

As far as other tools I use, I love Later for scheduling and analytics and UNUM for previewing my feed! 

6. What do you think about an option to display Instagram stories on a website? What benefits this option might have for the business?

I love it!

Instagram Stories often have your most personal, real content so having audiences from multiple avenues see that is a great opportunity!

Not only will they get to see what you’re all about, but it may also even encourage them to click over to your feed and follow you for more.

Or maybe they skip that step and go straight to the checkout on your website because of what they saw!

Displaying Instagram stories on a website makes creating stories content even more multifaceted and worthwhile. 

Alex Tooby

7. How can a person convince their CMO to invest more in producing content for Instagram stories having in mind that they disappear after 24 hours?

Take advantage of Instagram Highlights!

You can add any story to a highlight where it can live on forever.

Highlights are part of your first impression – when a new person lands on your feed they’re likely to look at what you have saved in your highlights so keep this content conversion-focused.

For example, you would want to add information about you or your company. Products/services you have for sale, testimonials, recent blog posts, etc. 

You will also want to keep track of your story insights and put together a report showing how many views, clicks, website visits, etc you get. You could even compare that to the insights from your posts! 

Alex Tooby

Lastly, some people may see the 24 hr limit as a bad thing, but really powerful marketing often includes deadlines and expiring offers.

Taking advantage of the 24hr limit can actually encourage more people to take action than normal!

8. How much do you use Instagram Story Ads, and have you noticed any differences in the results when compared with other ad formats?

I prefer to focus on an organic strategy but will use Story ads during a launch or promotion.

I found story ads to perform slightly better than Facebook ads since they auto-play and if designed correctly can appear just like any other user’s story and not so much as a blatant ad.

I personally will create the ad content in Instagram stories, then upload it to my ads manager so that it looks native to the platform for best results!

I will note that I did see a decrease in organic story reach after using story ads so keep that in mind. It could have been a coincidence though…

9. Can you recommend 3 brands to follow that are doing a great job with Instagram Stories?

10. What is your favorite feature and do you have a missing feature you think Instagram should release this year regarding the stories format?

The countdown timer is my favorite!

Alex Tooby

It’s so powerful because it instills urgency in your viewer.

This can be really helpful for getting them to take action on promotion, be the first to sign up for something or mark their calendars for an upcoming event. 

I think Stories are missing more detailed analytics. For example, when you share a post to your feed I’d like to know how many people clicked through. I hope they will expand this in the future! 


About Alex Tooby

Alex teaches entrepreneurs how to maximize their efforts on Instagram. By focusing on business growth rather than vanity metrics she’s successfully guided thousands of entrepreneurs to more loyal followers, web traffic, and sales!

If you want to reach out and follow Alex check here profiles below:
Instagram: @instawithalex

Instagram Stories Platform

Generate, analyze and embed Instagram stories on any website.

Get started

Aggregate user-generated content and display social proof on any website.

Start free trial

Co-Founder of EmbedSocial and Head of Growth. A previous owner of a Facebook Partner Company and a digital marketing agency. Marketing API geek and a Call of Duty fan.