Steal this Instagram Post and Stories Formula (It WORKS)

November 12, 2019

Apple Podcasts

Truthbomb: If you feel like you’re hearing crickets when you post on Instagram, it probably hasn’t got a single thing to do with the algorithm. 

Because, here’s the thing.

The Instagram algorithm is actually fairly simple.

And even MORE than that? It’s also FAIR.

At the end of the day, Instagram wants to make money.

Bastards, right? 

BUT! Here’s the cool bit.

They make money from advertising.

And, in order for that advertising to be valuable, they need engaged users on the platform.

Users won’t stick around unless they LOVE the content on there.

And so, the Instagram algorithm is geared to serve people content they like.

That’s it.

It’s that simple, and it’s that hard.

In this episode, I am going to give you the framework that works for me when crafting Instagram content that gets attention.

It works for stories, posts, captions.. the lot.

Feel free to steal it and use it – it will lift your engagement, and the eyeballs on your Insta content (TRUST ME ON THIS). 

There are two versions of this formula.

  1. The Value Post formula
  1. The Story Post formula

Both have the same beginning and ending, but vary in the middle.

The Hook

The hook is the the opening line/sentence of your post, and it has one job:

To grab ATTENTION.

The opening line/sentence – or ‘hook’ – of an Instagram post/stories is similar to the heading of a blog post, or podcast.

If people don’t like it, they won’t stick around for the rest.

Great hooks are especially important on Instagram where attention spans are short. 

In an Instagram caption, only the first line of a post is visible so if the hook isn’t great, your followers won’t click to read more.

In an Instagram story, your followers will decide in a split second whether to view your story or tap on. So, don’t start with ‘hey guys, god my hair looks awful today, I’m just jumping on…’ – you’ve already lost them. 

So, what goes into a great hook that draws ATTENTION?

Here’s a few examples:

  • Ask a question that your ideal client will relate to – eg. Do you find social media time consuming and hard to keep up with?
  • Disrupt: Use a cliche and flip it on its head eg ‘Desperate times call for desperate measures… or do they?’ 
  • Kill something off: eg. Blogging is dead.
  • Make a confession: You’re not going to enjoy what I am about to say, but..
  • Cite a fact: eg Did you know that over 50% of new business owners fail in the first year?
  • Pick a fight. Eg I hate to say it, but leggings are NOT pants.

The Body

Once you have a great hook and people are paying attention, you need to back it up with a solid body.

There is nothing worse than a click baity start, and a boring middle. 

There are TWO different ways you can structure the body of your caption/story, but at the end of the day, both come down to ONE thing: You need to make sure you are benefiting your reader or viewer. 

In other words, it’s NOT about you. 

This is a big mistake that I see people make in the early days.

They create content that makes them look good, or that shares a photo of their baby or something personal, without having first developed a reputation for valuable content first. 

You need to earn the right to talk about your baby, or your dog, or what you had for breakfast. 

Most of your content needs to help people or provide some sort of value to them, and after you have done that consistently and people know you for that, they will start to want to see more. 

If you want success on Instagram, it must never be the other way around.

There are two post types that work well when it comes to the body of your Instagram posts:

1. The Value Post formula

This is very simple – give away your best advice for free and provide epic value. The best way to do this is to be succinct and to the point. Give away a few tips that people can take away and implement. 

One of my most popular  ever posts was one in which I told people the exact things I did to spring clean my business.

That post was saved hundreds of times, was pushed out more by the Instagram algorithm as a result and reached thousands of people. 

Saved posts do very well at present, which makes this formula all the more effective. 

2. The Story Post formula

This formula relies on storytelling to capture your audience’s attention. It’s simple: tell a STORY to get your point across. 

Case in point: 

At the end of the last launch of my Hashtags Aren’t the Answer program, I wanted to let people know that doors were closing that day. 

Lazily, I’d scheduled a post that told people just that, but just before I post it? 

I checked myself – I knew it wouldn’t do well, because it didn’t add value and it had no interest point for my followers. 

So instead, I told a story. As an image, I posted a picture of myself and my partner Jules enjoying a drink at a local restaurant that day.

This was the post:

The caption read: 

Hooooooly sheeeeet.
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What a crew.
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So, the HATA Membership closes tonight and YES IVE GONE ON ABOUT IT FOR OVER A WEEK NOW, but wow.
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Thank feck I did because this crew is epicccc. I am SO pumped for kick off on Monday. You know the excitement that you got before the first day of school (or was that just me😂🤓)? Yeah, well I have THAT but times one billion.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Pretty pumped that my life is literally all about helping people get the social media and marketing tools they need to build the business they love. I love it more than anything.
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People always tell me how passionate I am when I talk about social and digital. But that’s ultimately because I KNOW what’s on the other side of the knowledge and strategies that I share.. because they’re the exact same strategies that have grown my own business to multiple six figures in a year, that have allowed me to live a life I bloody love and that has allowed me to get everything I’ve kind of ever wanted.. to be quite frank.
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Anyway, this is just a bit of a rambling message to say thanks to the people that have jumped in and decided to place their trust, energy, time and dollars into learning with me.. there’s a lot of options out there in this crowded social media space and I’m truly grateful. It’s also a thanks to those who have put up with me ‘launching’, the emails and posts etc, for two weeks even if 2019 isn’t the right time for them to join HATA. We’ll be back to the social media tips and tricks and non salesy posts tomorrow 😉
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But yes. Thank you. And I’m pumped. And god I love what I do. That is all 🙏🏼👊🏼👊🏼👊🏼

Because it engaged my followers, it did well and promoted my door closing much more effectively than if I’d simply told people that doors were closing.

The CTA (Call to Action)

The final part of the Instagram Post formula is the CTA.

Everything you do on social should have a point.

What is it you want people to do? 

This is where the call to action comes in. 

Now, not every call to action should be promotional – in fact, far from it. 

But, you should be clear on what you want people to do. 

Often, this is an invitation to get people to engage with your post. 

So, for example, you might tell a story and then ask people – ‘do you know where I’m coming from?’

This sort of CTA is great. because it is building your engagement on the platform and it encouraging people to interact with you. 

When crafting your CTA’s, keep these two things in mind:

1// It’s important that you have just ONE CTA for each piece of content. Don’t ask people to do a million things. You need to ask them to do ONE thing. 

2// It is exceedingly difficult to get people off the platform, so if your CTA is to read a blog post, for example, you will struggle. Instead, give people the content ON the platform and use it to build your authority and expertise, rather than trying to get people to leave Instagram.

Usually, it won’t happen. 

And, that’s it guys! The three part formula for Instagram posts and stories that generate engagement and please the Instagram algorithm.

Steal! Use! And report back. Tag or DM me on Instagram Stories – @steviesayssocial

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