The constant struggle: Getting your audience to engage with your content. We know engagement is vital because it not only provides you with data on what your followers like to see most, but also because engagement is like a Catch-22. You need people to see your content so they can engage, but your content is much more likely to reach people if it has a lot of engagement already.
That’s why I’m excited to test out the new Poll feature in Instagram stories. Asking questions has always been effective in encouraging engagement—one of the best ways to show your audience you care is by inviting them to join the conversation!
Today we’ll have a quick overview on posting Instagram stories and then move on to how to add a poll, track the results, and even a few suggestions on ways to use the new feature.
Let’s get started!
Create a Story Post
You can add to your story in a couple different ways: from your profile or feed, you can tap on your icon with the helpful plus sign in the top left, or you also have the option of just swiping right while looking at your feed.
Once you open up Stories, you’ll see your camera on screen with some Instagram-specific controls at the bottom. You can either take a picture from here to use as your post or you can use a photo you’ve already taken by tapping on the bottom left icon, which will take you to your gallery. From there, you can scroll through your photos to get to the one you want to use.
In this example, I’m using a photo I took last week while doing a webinar on email marketing. (I know, it IS a glamorous life! Really, though, it was actually very good.)
Customize Your Story
Once you’ve taken or chosen a photo (or video) to use for your story, you can customize it by adding stickers, hashtags, and text. The icons are a little hard to see here, but they appear in a row across the top right of the screen. The first lets you add sticker images, hashtags, your location, etc. The second, which shows a little pencil, lets you draw on the image. I find it’s a nice way to add a little personalization sometimes. And the third icon lets you type text to be overlaid on your picture.
It’s always a good idea to add your location so your story can show up in search to people nearby (though in hindsight, I might have been better off using the more generic “Montgomery, Alabama;” I’ll play with that next time). The hashtag sticker is good for displaying one prominent tag. You can always include more in your caption, but you can only use one hashtag sticker. Choose wisely!
Add a Poll
Once you’ve added what you want to, it’s time for the poll! You’ll find it listed with the stickers, right next to hashtag. All you need to do is tap the poll sticker, type in your question, and provide two possible answers. The defaults are yes and no, but you can change them to anything you want provided they’re 26 characters or less.
Personally, I attend quite a few webinars; around three per month on average. There’s always something I could stand to learn more about. So my question was, “Do you watch webinars to continue your education?” You can place line breaks wherever you want, by the way, if you’re as picky about the display as I am. Tap on Done in the top right, and you’re good to go! You can drag it to wherever you want it to be and make it smaller or larger by pinching, just like with other stickers.
If you’re satisfied with what you’ve got, all that’s left is to post your story. The quickest option is to tap the + Your Story button there on the bottom left. You can also choose Continue, which gives you the option of adding it to your story or only sending it to people you specify, but for business purposes, you generally want to post it for everyone to see.
Track the Results
If you look at your Instagram account settings, there’s a place under Push Notifications that’s specific to stories. Turning these notifications on will allow Instagram to notify you every time someone votes in your poll. I usually like to have these types of notifications turned on, but that's a personal preference.
You can also choose to post your story + poll, move on to another thing, and come back to check on it later. Tapping on your profile icon again will bring up the story (or stories) you’ve posted in the last 24 hours, and there will be a little icon in the shape of an eye in the bottom left corner with a number. That’s how many people have viewed your story so far.
From there you can swipe up to reach the analytics—called Insights—and see more detailed information. You can also access this area by tapping the bar graph icon seen in the center image above and scrolling down to stories.
Depending on how much time has passed since you posted, there may be nothing to show yet on the first screen. Swipe left and you can see who specifically has viewed the story and/or voted in the poll.
Important Note: Poll results are not saved with your other analytics after your story expires, so if you want to keep those, you’ll need to make sure you check on them before the 24 hours is up.
Catherine has a degree in English literature and a passion for all things marketing. As Digital Specialist, her focus is on web design, search engine optimization, social media, online presence management, and project coordination.