What’s behind those mysterious circles at the top of your Instagram Feed? They’re called Instagram Stories and everyone EVERYONE should be using them.
It’s time to jump on the Instagram Story bandwagon! But if you aren't sure how to best use Instagram Stories as a yoga teacher, I've got you covered.
Why You Should Be Using Instagram Stories As A Yoga Teacher
If I had to write a post about all the reasons why you shouldn’t be using Instagram Stories, I’d come up with a blank post. Instead, here are all the great reasons why you should be using Instagram Stories daily:
Showcase your personality
Your students (and potential students) are curious about you. And while this might be a little uncomfortable to think about, just think about how you like to learn about your teachers. Isn't it fun to see a peek behind their daily lives? Aren't you curious about what their meditation practice looks like? Or...what they eat for breakfast?
Sure it sounds silly when you think of sharing your life but when you think about how curious you are about others it makes sense why it would be interesting for your students.
So have a lot of fun in your stories, go off-script and keep it interesting! Be authentic; take your followers around to see what you do on a day to day basis. Learn something new? Tell it in your Instagram Stories! Just did something really embarrassing? Share the story in your Instagram Stories! The more authentic you are, the more people will adore, trust and relate to you. Check out more ways to showcase your personality throughout your Instagram profile inside my Intentional Instagram course.
Doesn’t have to be on “theme”
While your feed can be (although it certainly doesn't have to be) planned out and carefully curated, Instagram Stories can be spontaneous and in the moment. Instagram Stories are a chance to break free and show the real person behind the digital screen.
Plus your Stories are only visible for 24 hours (unless you add them to a highlight) so it's a great way to show your daily life that doesn't fit into a scheduled post. You likely wouldn't dedicate a specific post to your love of avocados but if you share that in your stories your followers get to learn that about you and it's a point of true connection. Someone else might reach out in your DMs to share their favorite avocado recipe and BAM, you've started a conversation with someone new that wouldn't have reached out otherwise.
Great way to test out an idea
One of the best things about Instagram Stories is that they disappear after 24 hours. If you have a few ideas you want to test out, pop them up on your Instagram Stories and see how they do. Open up your Instagram Stories and test out a new branding style you’re trying out or a message you want to convey to your followers. If you’ve switched to an Instagram Business Account you’re able to see the analytics of your stories and see if any actions were taken after viewing (link clicks, profile views etc).
This is one of my favorite ways to get feedback about an idea I have. If I'm thinking about recording a podcast episode on how to use Pinterest, I could ask a question in my Stories to see if that would be of interest BEFORE I find the expert and record the interview. This saves time and helps me learn what you want.
And you can do the same thing! Ask your audience what tutorial they want to see from you and no matter if you get 2 responses or 200, all answers are great ways to learn. It only takes one response for you to learn!
Engage with followers
Instagram Stories have a “sticker” feature where you can poll your followers or ask them a question! And so much more! When you utilize these interactive stickers your followers are able to directly engage with your Instagram Stories by answering or shooting over a direct message to further the conversation.
Engagement, engagement, engagement is the name of the game on Instagram. While it's super easy to get caught up in the number of followers you have, the better metric to pay attention to is ENGAGEMENT.
And Instagram Stories are easier for your followers to engage with than posts. They can quickly respond to a poll or a question, or use the slider bar to show you how much they like something. Or send a reaction to your story. Or the best -- respond to you with a direct message (DM). This is where real connection can happen!
How To Get Started Using Instagram Stories
Now that you’re up to date with all the fabulous reasons to be using Instagram Stories, how should you go about getting started? Here’s how I plan out the content being featured in my Instagram Story:
Just Get Started
Treat an Instagram Story like a story. Just like you would tell a friend what's gone on in your day or share a tip with a yoga student. This is exactly how you can use your IG Stories.
I tried to show up in my Instagram Stories on a daily basis (Monday - Friday) but it wasn't always that way and it certainly isn't always that way now. This is not a rule but rather a guideline for myself because I've seen how much I can connect with my audience on Instagram.
If you're just now thinking of using Instagram Stories, start with just 2 or 3 days a week to give it a try. Commit (right now) to showing up 2 days a week for the next month - starting TODAY!
Have Fun & Learn As You Go
Look at the next month or so as a learning opportunity. This is how you will (1) learn how to use all the features inside Stories and (2) learn what your audience engages with more.
When I first started to use Instagram Stories I made it my goal to use a new "sticker" each time I shared on Stories so I could see how to use it. Then I looked back to see what was fun for me and what my audience engaged with the most.
Fast forward to today and I use the question "sticker" a lot because this is what's fun for me and what I know my audience enjoys too. So it's a win-win. But I never would have known this if I didn't try.
So give all the things a try and see what sticks for you!
Give, Give, Give
I know it's super tempting to want to share things like "come to my class on Tuesday" but your audience will engage more with tips, advice, tutorials or random facts about you/your day. And each time someone engages with you on IG not only is that a connection for you with that person but it also tells Instagram that people like your content so it will show it to more people.
Most people think "don't give it all away because then no one will buy from you" but nothing could be further from the truth. All you have to do is share small, tiny pieces of information with your audience and they will gain more trust with you. And trust leads to buying.
Use your marketing content (ex: Instagram Stories) as a place to give and to share with your audience so you can connect with them. And then you can invite them to your paid offerings too.
Use a CTA (call to action)
Congrats! Your followers watched your story! Now what? While crafting your Instagram Story content, be sure to include a call to action at the end. Direct them to your event page on Facebook, direct them to your website to read your newest blog or have them direct message questions for a future question and answer. Tell your followers what they need to do so they don't have to guess.
Important Note: you won't always see the action you ask them to take and that's okay. You might encourage them to "do this breath technique 3 times today" and while you won't see this action they will experience the benefit.
Instagram Story Ideas For Yoga Teachers
*Want 50 IG Story ideas? Enter your information below and get access to 50 post templates that can also inspire your IG stories too! ⬇️ ⬇️ ⬇️
Now onto the good part, time to pop into your Instagram Stories and have some fun! There are so many ways yoga teachers can utilize Instagram Stories to strengthen your connection with your audience. Before you get started creating your own, take the time and start watching the Instagram Stories of teachers and studios that inspire you. What do they talk about? How do they format their stories? What do you like? What do you not like?
By observing, you’re able to start to develop your own personal Instagram Story strategy and voice. Here are some ideas for Instagram Stories to get you started:
Behind the scenes
Open up your Instagram app and showcase your daily life. What are your favorite yoga poses? How do you prepare for your yoga classes? What’s your morning routine? By providing a sneak peek into your life, you create a personal bond with your followers and future students.
Show your practice. Yoga students are curious what your practice looks like so the next time you practice, record a time lapse of it and share it on Stories.
Even better, call attention to the fact that your yoga or meditation practice looks different than what they might have in their mind. Students love to see/hear that their teachers only practiced for 5 minutes today. It helps them have permission to only practice for 5 minutes when they are busy.
Show off your classes and teaching style
One of the best ways a yoga teacher can use Instagram stories — showing off your teaching style! Give people a sneak peek of the flow you plan on teaching that day, share a video clip from a zoom class, go through a specific pose and share the benefits of that pose.
Share why you believe something. For example: what's your come back to the statement "I can't do yoga, I'm not flexible".
Every yoga teacher has a response to that question and that type of thing is a great to share in Instagram Stories. This is the type of content that will help your students get a feel for how you teach and your thoughts as a teacher.
Showcase the things you love
Whether it's sunshine, a specific type of yoga mat, a breath technique or flavored water, your audience wants to hear it all! Talk about the things you enjoy and why. This might not seem like engaging content but it's the stuff that will likely get the most engagement.
These are the common, every day things that we connect on as human beings. Just like you connect with friends and family by sharing common interests, this is how you can connect on your social media channels too. And the perfect place to share your love of chai lattes is Instagram Stories.
Not sure whether you should host your next workshop at 10am or 2pm? Ask your audience!
Instagram Stories can help you decide on your next blog post, workshop time or tutorial you create. You might not get 100s of answers for a question but the answers you do get will help you make a decision based on your dream students.
You can use the question "sticker" on Instagram Stories or you can ask a question and use the poll "sticker" or you can ask your audience to send you a message. There are tons of ways to get answers by using Instagram Stories.
Promote Your Offerings
While you want most of your Stories to be about value-add stuff (sharing tutorials, tips, behind the scenes, etc) there will be times when you will promote your offerings using Stories.
For example, if you're hosting a free yoga challenge (check out the step-by-step process on how to do this here) then you could share something related to the challenge topic and then ask "have you signed up for the free challenge yet?" and use a poll.
**Pro Tip: Use the answers "Send me the link" and "What Challenge?" as your poll options and then you can send the link to anyone who responds to your poll.
Looking For More Instagram Story Ideas?
>> Use the form below to get immediate access to 50 prompts that you can use for IG Stories!
**Video below recorded in January 2019