4 Ways to Improve Your Instagram Stories Organic Reach

How the Instagram Stories Algorithm Works

The Instagram algorithm determines the number of followers who see your stories. The algorithm tries to identify the best, newest, most relevant, and most engaging content for each follower. Then it delivers that content to the front of the follower’s Stories feed. That’s why it’s important to get people to watch your story through to the end.

As a business, you don’t need to reach everyone on Instagram but you do need to reach people who might buy from you. The following organic tips will help you reach that target audience by sharing stories they love at a time that’s relevant to them so it will be promoted by the algorithm. This will help you increase your organic reach to a more invested, dedicated community.

#1: Make Sure Your Instagram Stories Have a Beginning, Middle, and End

When Instagram Stories launched in 2016, some people didn’t think it would last. They felt that it was designed to appeal to younger users or just somewhere to dump images not considered good enough for the main feed.

Now, Stories is expected to overtake the main feed as the primary way of sharing on Instagram. Maybe it already has because it’s been a while since official figures were released.

Crafting quality content for Stories is just as important as for main feed posts. Therefore, you should take the time to create an Instagram Stories content plan.

As you construct Instagram stories, remember they should have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Start with the end in mind by thinking about the point you want to make or the message you’d like to share. Then consider what text and images you’ll need to communicate that effectively.

National Geographic has been sharing compelling stories about the world since the 19th century, and it’s now one of the most successful brands on social media. On its National Geographic WILDaccount, they share stories like this one about Rufio the skunk.


The National Geographic model can be easily translated to your Instagram account. Here are some ways you can share stories about your business:

  • Highlight customer stories and testimonials.
  • Feature a day in the life of your business or staff.
  • Share special announcements and “see it here first” developments to make your posts super-clickable.
  • Show exclusive behind-the-scenes content from events or trips.
  • Spotlight community service or outreach activities you’re involved in to show what you’re all about and what your brand values are.

In the story below, 33 Acres Brewing Co. takes viewers on a road trip—the kind of behind-the-scenes, in-the-wild storytelling that Instagram loves.


Pro Tip: Don’t forget to use your main Instagram feed posts to tell followers about your Stories content so they can catch it before it disappears.

You can share longer-form written content on Stories—creating an Instagram blog post if you like—if your particular audience would welcome it. By digging deep into topics related to your brand’s industry, you’ll be providing valuable information to potential customers, helping you build trust.

In their stories, personal debt account My Frugal Year charts the experience of clearing debt and shares in-depth financial advice. As an anonymous account, it relies on text entirely, but still provides huge value for its followers.


Pro Tip: Prompt viewers to tap and hold on the screen to read stories slides that feature lots of text.

#2: Include a Variety of Video Types in Your Instagram Stories

Sure, photos are easier to post on Instagram but video catches and holds people’s attention better than any other form of content. Instagram is helping to drive the explosion in online video traffic, with more than half of consumers saying that they’ve engaged with a brand after watching a video on social media.

Instagram Stories is the perfect (and easiest) place on the platform to harness the power of video. Here are some easy ways to incorporate video into your Stories content plan:

  • GIFs: Use GIFs to turn a still into a moving, funny, engaging Instagram story post. Use search terms in the Stories sticker box to find the right GIFs for your post.
  • Boomerang: Create a short, fast burst of photos stitched together to make a mini video that moves backward and forward. It’s a short, amusing Instagram staple.


  • Hands-free recording: Instagram lets you record a series of 15-second film clips directly to Stories. Add text, illustrations, GIFs, and music, and post your story instantly.
  • Face filters: Add face filters to turn a potentially boring scene into a fun and compelling one; then talk to your followers.

Pizza Pilgrims uses GIFs galore and short video clips—like these clips of a pizza being made and a slow-mo of it coming out of the oven—to add personality to their stories and celebrate their customers.


Don’t let a low budget (or no budget) stop you. Instagram users don’t expect to see professional-quality video, especially on Stories.

The Guardian, which has a successful Instagram news page, spent several months researching different types of Instagram posts to determine what resonated best with their audience. They found that video drives more new followers than static posts and the time and money spent creating polished and professional videos, specifically for Stories, weren’t worth it.

In this story, they’ve posted grainy news video, confident that their Instagram followers will be happy to watch it. The Stories format is more suited to casual, in-the-moment footage.


Tools to Create Instagram Stories Video

New apps are popping up all the time that make it easy to create branded video content from just a few still images.

Mojo video app is a free dedicated story-maker for Instagram that allows you to customize animated templates, adding in your choice of fonts and colors. Upgrade to the Pro version ($39.99/year) to use your own logo and fonts.


GIF Maker by Momento automatically turns photos or a sequence of images into moving GIFs. You can also add filters, stickers, text, and effects in the app. It’s free to download, but if you upgrade to Momento Premium ($9.99/month or $47.99/year), you can remove the watermark and get access to additional features.

International flexible working business WeWork often creates engaging videos by combining photographs from its spaces around the world. It uses moving text and graphics to weave the visuals together and draws viewers into the conversation by asking for their opinions via polls and question stickers. Access to easy-to-use creative apps means you don’t have to be a large organization with significant resources to do the same.


#3: Treat Your Instagram Stories Viewers Like Friends and Family

Instagram is a visual platform that helps businesses make a personal connection with customers. Stepping out of your comfort zone and in front of the camera is the perfect way to build trust with your audience and boost the reach of your stories and business.

As Instagram has become more crowded with brands and influencers, engagement on both types of accounts is down. Facebook, which owns Instagram, says it wants to deliver friends and family into people’s feeds. So what does a business do? Behave more like friends and family.

Serve up content that builds meaningful, familiar relationships. Be valuable by being visible. Posts with faces in them have always been popular on Instagram.

Be the Story on Stories

Harriet Inglis, founder of self-heating eye mask company Spacemasks, saw her online presence skyrocket and sales take off when she became the story on her Stories. And, news flash, you don’t always have to talk about your business. Her dry humor and commentary on day-to-day life as a mom and business owner have generated loyal fans and brand advocates.


Pro Tip: Using subtitles, just a few words on the screen, to give viewers an idea of what you’re talking about can be invaluable to those watching with the sound off.

#4: Add Instagram Stories Elements to Hold Viewers’ Attention

Instagram users have mercilessly short attention spans and unbelievably fast thumbs. You need to plan your Stories content to hold as many viewers as possible through to the end of the post. How-to’s and tutorials are the perfect “must watch to the end” Stories content.

Lead with your strongest image or video clip in the first story frame. Don’t expect people to hang around for the money shot; capture their interest from the get-go.

Incorporating the following elements in your stories will also help hold viewers’ interest:

  • Use text prompts to make it clear exactly what you’re posting about and why it’s worth watching.
  • Add music or voiceover to your stories. According to Instagram, 60% of stories are watched with the sound on.
  • Use numbers or letters to suggest you’ll be sharing a sequence of valuable content that’s worth sticking around for.
  • Use interactive stickers to encourage followers to participate in your story by answering questions and chiming in on polls. This input can also provide you with great audience insights.

Wern PR used a numbered reveal in the story below to demonstrate the results of a coaching call with a client. The payoff at the end is a glowing testimonial for Wern. It’s great awareness-building content for the customer—a superfan—and a compelling story for their followers too.


Post Instagram Stories When People Are Watching

Instagram Stories is designed for sharing content that’s current. However, if you want immediate and optimal engagement, post your story when your followers are most likely to be online.

To discover when your audience is active on the platform, start by examining the Instagram Insights for your business account. This data gives a useful starting point but trial and error can be equally important for establishing your best posting times. Perhaps your audience is often online in the evening but is most engaged in the morning.

As a guide, Buffer’s research with Delmondo on 15,000 posts from the top 200 brands on Instagram found that the best time to post to Stories is outside of work hours. For my account, I’ve found that for instant Stories engagement, evening is my best time, and by posting after 7 PM, I can increase my views by more than 50%.

There’s currently no capability to schedule stories without using a third-party app, although recent developments allowing users to schedule main feed posts and IGTV to Instagram through Facebook suggest that it may be possible in the future.


It’s been a tough year on Instagram. Since early May, marketers and users have reported a sharp decline in engagement across the platform. The engagement rate for brands now sits at around 0.9%, which is down more than half from earlier in the year.

With more businesses vying for attention on feeds every day, engagement on brand content overall has to decline; it’s a natural and inevitable consequence of Instagram becoming more popular. So now more than ever, you need to focus on what makes great, compelling Instagram story content for your followers.

By adjusting your approach and upping your storytelling game, you can create content that’s more engaging and relevant to your followers. Then it will rank better within the algorithm and appear closer to the front of the Stories feed. The result? Better organic reach and engagement for your business.

Link to Original Source

Related posts

As if serving one community isn’t a privilege, BOOST RADIO served six in 2021. In January, BOOST reintroduced themselves to St. Louis when they moved from a translator to a full-power signal. BOOST hit the cold streets with weekly “Sweet Stops;” the first 95 listeners to show up got free treats. BOOST team members served as the official DJs for two different Polar Plunges with the Special Olympics in February; nearly $200,000 was raised from hundreds of brave swimmers. March was when BOOST grew into Chicago! To celebrate, the station delivered deep dish pizza to listeners in St Louis and Chicago. BOOST RADIO renamed April 1 to April Fuel’s Day and had DJs pop up at random gas stations in both markets to buy gas for strangers. Spring & Summer brought BOOST to Minneapolis, Portland, OR, Pittsburgh, and Fayetteville, NC. The station brought their new friends Pop Up Parties for their backyard BBQ’s and open houses. BOOST supplied food, party favors, and custom mixes for dozens of winners nationwide. During the late summer and early fall, the station partnered with Out of the Darkness for suicide prevention walks. Across all BOOST markets, nearly 10,000 walked together. During the holidays, the station teamed up with rapper Thi’sl & the Salvation Army for the Full Ride Toy Drive. BOOST listeners filled a storage locker & U Haul full of gifts for children in need. 2021 was a year BOOST hit the streets and empowered its audience to bless others in their communities.


At Hope Media Group, the passion for Christ and the city of Houston shine in its efforts to mobilize the community to do good works so that more people can experience God’s love. After Hurricane Ida, generous KSBJ and NGEN listeners raised over $276,000 with God’s Pit Crew, sending 684 KSBJ Team Help Crews to Louisiana and sponsoring the distribution of 2,711 Blessing Buckets. KSBJ listeners also provided 20,000 bottles of water for fellow Houstonians after the winter freeze, and over 2,450 KSBJ and NGEN listeners participated in our annual Blood Drive with Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center saving more than 7,000 lives. A ministry committed to prayer, KSBJ formed the Greater Houston Prayer Council (GHPC), unifying 48 prayer groups across the city with an interdenominational, multi-ethnic, and multi-generational focus. KSBJ was also a beacon of joy to the community serving 3,000 cups of Blue Bell ice cream last summer and handing out 4,175 Easter Crosses for listeners to display as a reminder that “He is Risen.” During the holiday season, 91.7 Vida Unida blessed 100 families with Thanksgiving meals, and KSBJ listeners fulfilled the Christmas wishes of 9,315 children under the care of Houston CPS in partnership with Be A Resource. Beyond loving their neighbor, caring KSBJ and NGEN listeners sponsored 1,233 Kenyan children through Compassion International. In a year of unforeseen challenges along with the enduring effects of COVID-19, Hope Media Group listeners served as the hands and feet of Jesus like never before.


KCBI shares Jesus’ love and transforming power in Dallas-Fort Worth, inviting listeners to join the station in serving the community. KCBI Outreaches blessed nearly 67,000 individuals in 2021. In February, KCBI listeners provided 25,000 bottles of water to people in DFW whose water supply had been contaminated after an unprecedented winter storm disrupted power for several days. Later that month, nearly 1,300 women gathered for KCBI’s HeartStrong Faith Conference in Dallas to worship, pray and grow. Speakers included bestselling author Margaret Feinberg, podcaster Tara-Leigh Cobble, and theologian Nika Spaulding. Through KCBI’s Summer of Service, listeners donated over 13,000 meals, along with 9,000 Bibles, to community members still struggling with the COVID pandemic. Another 350 KCBI volunteers served at local ministries on our Summer of Service Day. They assembled 1,000 Love Boxes for women facing unplanned pregnancies; prepped backpacks, sorted clothing and distributed food to those in need; and prepped nearly 2,000 shoes for kids whose parents otherwise couldn’t afford them. Thanks to listeners’ generosity, KCBI distributed more than 32,000 Bibles to Texas prisons, human trafficking ministries and humanitarian ministries in 2021. Listeners purchased sonograms for pregnancy centers, which helped save more than 5,500 babies from abortion. They provided 38,000 bottles of water, along with 500 Bibles, to victims of the devastating tornadoes that swept through Kentucky in December. And throughout 2021, listeners offered more than 21,300 prayers for requests through KCBI’s Online Prayer Center. KCBI is grateful to God for the opportunity to impact DFW and beyond with Jesus’ love and transforming power.


Life 102.5 has a heart for Madison! For the 4th year in a row, during Valentine’s season, Life 102.5 invited listeners to share the love of Jesus with children and families receiving care at the Children’s Hospital. Listeners generously provided 2,234 Lego kits for the children. Afternoon host Summer Shepherd interviewed Dr. Melissa Mork on her award-winning podcast, “No Seriously, How Do I Do This?” Their conversation inspired the station’s “Embrace Play” giveaway, supporting families’ mental health during the pandemic. Life 102.5 provided a week’s worth of experiences for listeners, including art classes, game nights, and more. Morning Show host Dave Conour joined Team World Vision and rang two full marathons to bring attention to World Vision’s efforts of providing clean water to children and families around the world, Dave’s many miles provided 260 families with clean water for life! Life 102.5’s 21st annual Shoebox Gifts for Kids drive collected more than 1500 Christmas boxes of school supplies, hygiene items, toys, and winter clothing for children in Dane County. It was the station’s largest year yet. Amanda Brooks, Morning Show co-host and host of the weekly program “Faith & Life Today” focused on giving voice to women’s health, family and children’s issues in Madison including, education, marriage and divorce, immigration, and social justice. Life 102.5 had a wonderful year of reaching families, through children, with the love of Jesus. That’s why in 2022, Life 102.5’s outreach goal is focused on helping the most vulnerable children and their families in Madison and Southern Wisconsin.


Spirit 92.9 continued its commitment of blessing the central Minnesota community through intentional service projects. As the pandemic affected another year, station listeners rose to the challenge of uplifting and encouraging those feeling loss, loneliness, or burnout. Thanks to the help of generous listeners and business partners, Spirit 92.9 raised more than $8,000 in an online tip jar that blessed the staff at 19 local restaurants returning to work full time with huge tips during the Big Tip promotion. The restaurant workers were grateful for the visibility and appreciation. Numerous area teachers nominated by their students and families received special honor at the end of the school year with flowers and $500 VISA gift cards as part of “Thank A Teacher” organized by Spirit 92.9. In the fall, Spirit 92.9 partnered with two local ministries and provided free holiday meals to the community. During the ‘More Than A Meal’ event, the station worked with community members who donated enough to provide 6,000 meals and give help to people in need. Station team members also prepared and served meals together at the local homeless mission. At Christmastime, 11 community members wrote Spirit 92.9 and shared the story of someone they believed deserved some extra joy due to personal hardships. The individuals received $1000 to bless that person during Spirit 92.9’s Share The Joy promotion. Phone calls were made to hundreds of listeners to offer prayer and encouragement. Prayer support and a personal response is offered all year long.


2022 Membership Exclusives

January – 2022 Calendar
February – Social Series for Holy Week
March – Virtual Radio Station Field Trip
April – Book
May – Mediabase Webinar
June – Surprise at Momentum
July – Exclusive Momentum Content
August – Virtual Peer Networking Gathering
September – Fall Fun Box
October – Techsurvey Webinar
November – Noisemaker Promotions Vol 2 Book
December – Christmas Surprise 

*subject to change


Jim Campbell, Founder & Network President of Radio Training Network, Inc. began his radio career in commercial radio in Tennessee in 1964.  In 1966 he moved his family to Lakeland, Florida to attend college, and upon graduation he joined the staff at First Assembly of God Church where he and the church launched in the mid 1970s the first Contemporary Christian Radio Station in the nation, WCIE-FM. The station grew in both market impression and influence not just in Lakeland, but around the country inspiring others to follow Jim’s lead. In 1989 Jim left the church and founded Radio Training Network, Inc. (RTN) and over the next 30+ years, he oversaw the acquisition and development of 40+ stations plus translators. With 130 team members, RTN stations serve the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and Missouri. These stations are well recognized in their respective markets thanks to the servant leadership of the staff, aggressive marketing, and a commitment to a strong emphasis on Jesus first. At present RTN has some two million listeners each week on air and approximately the same number online.


Andrea Kleid is a 24-year veteran of radio and records. She began her career working in Christian radio at WNLT in Cincinnati, and then moved onto WAY-FM in West Palm Beach working in programming and promotions. Her next stop took her to JOY-FM in Tampa where she served as the Promotions Director. In 2004, Andrea moved to Nashville to begin her music industry career in radio promotion under Grant Hubbard at Capitol CMG. In 2008, Andrea became the Vice President of Promotion at Word Label Group where she led one of the most successful and influential radio promotion teams in the Christian music industry. Through her signature brand of honesty, passion for Christian music, and focus on relationships, Andrea developed a reputation for successfully launching new artists’ careers including for KING and COUNTRY, NEEDTOBREATHE and Francesca Battistelli. This year, Andrea celebrates her fifth year as the President of her own company, Boxer Poet. An advocate for both radio and artists, Andrea continues to zealously host conversations around further representation for women and people of color on Christian radio.


Jason Sharp has a rich history with CCM radio and leadership. His early years at WONU/Chicagoland and The Bridge/Delaware gave flight to his passion for great programming and innovative promotions. As Program Director of WCQR/Johnson City and eventually the network PD for Positive Alternative Radio, Jason’s influence grew across the industry. In 2007, Jason joined the team at Northwestern Media as Program Director and then Station Manager of KTIS, Minneapolis/St Paul. In 2015, Jason furthered his formal education and earned his master’s degree in organizational leadership. Applying his leadership knowledge and skills to work, he now serves as Senior Vice President of Broadcasting at Northwestern Media’s 23 stations in 14 markets across ten states that service 1.5 million listeners each week. Jason also served Christian Music Broadcasters, first as a charter member and eventually as the lead of CMB’s educational track at Momentum for more than ten years. He then served as the organization’s board chairman from 2017-2020. Jason continues to inspire others within Christian media toward excellence and compassion through a Christ-centered attitude, education, and practical application.


2023 Membership Exclusives

January – 2023 CMB Calendar
February – Virtual Air, Digital, Fundraising and Imaging Checks
March – CMB Website Case Study Webinar with Dunham+Company
April – Momentum Speaker Book
May – Virtual Peer Networking Gathering
June – Member Party at Momentum
July – Exclusive Momentum content
August – Salary Survey Results
September – Member Box
October – Techsurvey Webinar
November – Special Member Devotion
December – Christmas Gift

*subject to change


In 1972, while serving in the U.S. Air Force in Orlando, Johnny Stone dreamt of a second kind of “air force,” that of radio. He took an overnight position at WDIZ-FM, the station where Z88.3 now stands. In the past 50 years of his career, Johnny’s work and personality raised the bar for other programmers in markets ranging from New York City, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, San Diego, Tampa, Atlanta, Tucson, and Minneapolis/St. Paul. During his stint as Program Director and Morning Show host at Star 99.1 New York, his team won the NAB Crystal Radio Award and CMB Station of the Year. Presently, Johnny serves as afternoon host with his wife, Stacey, at 91.9 WGTS in Washington D.C. winner of the 2021 NAB Marconi Award for Religious Station of the Year. Owner of StoneStudios, LLC. and as a 22-year veteran in Christian media, Johnny mentored several on-air talents. Today, along with his on-air role at WGTS, he mentors college students at CMBU, teaching and modeling the belief that “you have to win in the hallways to win on the airwaves.”


Lisa Williams was called to Christian radio while praying in 1990. She walked into KCVO in Camdenton, Missouri and started on the air that same week. Over the past 32 years, Lisa served in various roles in on-air, programming, fundraising, and station management at radio stations and networks including K-LOVE, Z88.3, Star 99.1, KCVO, and KCWN. As an on-air personality, Lisa earned several number one ratings in several markets and was the recipient of three industry awards. Lisa now serves as the Network Talent Coach for Northwestern Media, owner of 23 stations in 14 markets across ten states that service 1.5 million listeners each week. While at Northwestern, Lisa hosted the nationally syndicated show Life with Lisa Williams from 2016-2021. She stepped away from the show to focus on coaching more than 90 on-air talents, encouraging and nurturing them to shine the light of Christ through excellent radio. When she’s not coaching talent, Lisa helps stations raise money for their operations. She also hosts a Facebook group for women on-air in Christian radio called GodsRadioGirls and helps facilitate their annual retreat.