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5 Mistakes You Are Making on Instagram Stories






If you’ve been following along with me on Instagram, you’re likely familiar with my use of the Stories feature as a means to connect with my audience. Whether it’s short video clips of the pups or a look at the late night hustle that keeps my business moving forward—offering a glimpse of the daily life of an entrepreneur has proven to connect me with my clients + customers in a new way.

With video content on the rise as a tool for effective communication in marketing, it’s important that you carefully consider whether or not you can afford to miss out on the potential packed inside of Instagram Stories. If you are using the Stories feature, be sure to avoid these five key mistakes that could limit your impact.



Use stories on a consistent basis to teach your audience to expect this platform as a communication channel. Posting at different times throughout the day also strategically lifts your stories feed to the top of your followers’ timelines. Post consistently in several segments throughout the day.

Make sharing to Instagram Stories a standard part of your daily marketing strategy. Share often and spread out your uploads. 

Failing to Check Your Requests Folder: 

There is a small link in the upper lefthand corner of your direct messages screen that says “Requests”. When someone replies to your Instagram Story who you are not following, their message will be held in a separate folder until it is approved. If you fail to clear out your requests folder on a semi-regular basis, it’s likely that messages will go unseen and opportunities for connection will be lost. 

Pop into your requests folder from time to time and accept invitations from your audience. Remember that if someone is taking the time to reach out to you—they are likely a member of your tribe and responding is an important way to show them that you care.

Make it a habit of responding to direct messages that arise from your Instagram Stories and use it as an avenue to deepen the relationship between you and your audience.

Failing to Optimize (Tagging):

Did you know that tagging your location on Instagram Stories and using relevant hashtags allows your story to populate publicly on explore pages within Instagram?

For example: When sharing on Instagram Stories, I tagged both a geolocation tag and one to three hashtags in my Instagram Story. It is common for me to get an additional 100-200 views from people who aren’t following my account when my story is accepted onto one or more of those explore pages.

Tips to Optimize Your Stories:

  • Tag locations for a chance to be added to geographic stories
  • Use hashtags to be added to that specific explore page
  • Tagging collaborators + brands with their handle

If you are going to take the time to share on Instagram stories, ensure that you’re getting the most out of every post. Tag, geotag, and hashtag your way into expanding your audience and building relationships with collaborators.

Perfectionism + Over-Rehearsing:

Unlike it’s big sister, the Instagram feed—Stories only last for 24 hours. This feature is valuable because they allow your audience to connect with you on a more authentic level. Being able to see into your world, see your brand’s human element—is one of the keys to success on this platform.

Don’t rehearse something a dozen times until it begins to feel stale. Allowing your personality and quirks to shine through Instagram Stories will yield deeper connections with your community and attract more of your ideal client.

Remember that in business: your time is money. There are moments when getting something perfects and due to the time limit on Instagram Stories—it’s better to to create content quickly than spend a significant amount of time rehearsing until it is perfect.

Also, be sure to avoid becoming a monologue master. One of the most entertaining parts of video is the ability to see what is happening behind the scenes. Strike a balance between talking to the camera and showing your audience the real life moments that are unfolding around you.

If you have the choice between seeing someone photographing a wedding day vs. hearing a recap the next day about the experience—which would you choose? Storytelling is more captivating when you have a visual to accompany it.


The biggest mistake you could make at this moment is to avoid using Instagram Stories. This tool is already proving to be a huge asset to small business owners looking to build their tribe and increase sales. I’ve increased my email list by nearly one thousand subscribers in the first week that the “Swipe Up” capability was rolled out for business accounts. Leveraging stories to showcase my freebies, downloadables, and other offerings has driven a significant amount of traffic (in a highly effective way) off of the platform and onto my website or email list.

By using the platform often, you educate your audience to know that they can find you on Stories and begin building deeper relationships with your audience.


If you need help getting started, I’ve created this set of Instagram Story templates to help you market your business. It includes templates for creatives, content marketers, and photographers to showcase their work and connect with their audience. Everything is created as a Photoshop (.PSD) file and is easy to edit so that you can make it match your brand! Enjoy!

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Add Your Comment


  1. Holly says:

    Great tips, Natalie! Thanks for sharing.

  2. tasha says:

    Thank goodness I am not making these mistakes but I am still not seeing growth with my current audience.

    • Natalie says:

      Are you using hashtags + geotagging the locations of your stories? Are you commenting on relevant brands and other businesses that your ideal clients are following? Five minutes a day doing this has helped me to maintain momentum despite algorithm changes.

  3. Great tips! I was a little slow to get with the program, but I’m getting used to Instagram Stories now. Definitely could be doing a better job, though! Thanks for the ideas!

  4. Ah! I super needed this. Thanks for the tips. Instagram will always be a work in progress. 🙂

  5. Missy says:

    Love this! Thank you, instagram has been one of my weaknesses.

  6. Great tips, thanks for sharing these!

  7. Thank you for this. I’ve been avoiding Stories because I didn’t truly understand it. I’ll be referencing your post. 🙂

  8. I had no idea tagging had that type of effect! Thank you for the tip!

  9. Elizabeth says:

    Love all these tips! I didn’t even know you could do half that stuff lol…yay for learning! Thanks!

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