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It plays out like this: You press play, start talking, then stuff it up because you forget what you were saying mid-sentence and have to start again.
Then the same thing happens. And again. And again. And so you throw your phone on the bed, and resolve to do something different.
Instagram Stories can wait 'til tomorrow.
Only tomorrow never comes, because the same thing happens and you tell yourself 'Maybe I just shouldn't do Instagram Stories'.
Sound familiar? I thought so.
See the thing is, this happens to me. All. The. Time. I'm prepared to admit that I'm not the most articulate speaker and quite often trail off mid-sentence (ask my friends about my Whatsapp V.M.s....)
But the truth is, I persevere because I love Stories and I love connecting with people. And using this little Instagram sidekick has sparked connections and conversations with clients who've signed up to work with me, would-be clients who didn't, collaboration opportunities and established new (and sustained existing) acquaintences and friendships.
In a nutshell? Instagram Stories is gold. But if you're feeling the fear feels and would rather step aside from the spotlight, hold tight 'cause I've got a few tips and tricks up my sleeve that will have you gearing up to try Stories in no time!
Read right through to the end because I'm sharing a free Stories challenge for everyone who wants to practice using Stories daily! This is perfect for you if you want to push yourself out of your comfort zone and start connecting with your tribe through Stories!
1 | It's about connection, Not perfection
Peeps have been crying out for YEARS about the 'highlight reel' effect of Instagram. I'll admit, I love using my static Instagram feed to share my photography work and treat it much like a portfolio and hub of visual inspiration. So when Stories came along, I completely embraced the opportunity to use it as a place to connect with other Instagrammers, get a feel for what they're like IRL and share my own dorky / awkward / nerdy side, and the private chats that result from me sharing my stories or replying to others' stories have led to friendships, collaborations and so much more that wouldn't have happened through sharing my regular photos on Instagram alone.
2 | show your human side
Remember the days before Instagram Stories when everything was a static post? Sometimes someone you follow might post a video and you hear their voice for the first time and either think 'Woah, they're exactly like I imagined' or 'They're completely different to what I thought.'
I remember when I first watched a Youtube video of a nutritionist I followed on Instagram a few years ago. I thought 'Jeez, she sounds totally different to how I imagined'. It wasn't until I saw the video that I actually got a sense for what she was like as a person and could feel her genuine passion for what she does.
More and more people start growing online businesses and markets are becoming saturated. The one thing you'll always have that someone else doesn't is your unique makeup as a person, which is your selling point! Particularly as a coach, people sign up to work with you because they resonate with you as a person. Show your human side, and you'll find that it works in your favour when building connections and attracting clients who resonate with you.
3 | Share content you enjoy
If you like Instagram but pretty photos aren't your forte, you can focus more of your attention on your stories and share content in a format that you enjoy. The sky is the limit when it comes to different types of content on Stories - you can share vlogs or photos, and they can feature you or something (or someone) else. You can share inspiration, show your daily life, your interior styling skillz, tell jokes, share micro blog posts, talk about what you're up to, go behind the scenes or share how you're feeling.
4 | Share your products and services
Stories is an ideal place for you to chat about your products/services so more people know about them. It's always good to have a mix of value-driven content (i.e. non direct-selling) and promotional content. The thing about Stories is that people can feel your passion through the screen so it's the perfect place to share how your product/service works, what it will help your customers and clients achieve and most importantly, your belief in what you do.
An example of someone who does this really well is Alice Nicholls from The Whole Daily, who shares daily updates of her life on Stories, demonstrating how she incorporates her product (essential oils) into everything she does. She shares what she's adding to her meals, what she's wearing as perfume, what she's using to support a cold, what she uses to clean and what she uses to disinfect her daughters' grazes. This approach means that even when she's not directly selling, she's staying at the top of everyone's mind and sharing the many benefits of her product. You can bet the next time one of her followers is interested in using essential oils, they'll think of Alice and get in touch with her.
Check out The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Stories for more tips on how to soulfully sell your products and services with Instagram Stories.
Overcoming fear of video
Understandably, for some, the idea of putting their face on Instagram Stories for all to see is scare-to-the-y.
Maybe you fear being visible because of your crooked tooth, or your weight or [insert your fear here ______________].
Maybe you fear of success because you feel you're unworthy of an easier life or that you'll crumble with the extra responsibility that comes with it
Maybe you're scared of being judged because you're not confident in yourself (yet) or a past experience that burned you.
There's plenty o' reasons you might feel fearful, and it’s perfectly okay and not at all unusual to feel this way.
However the thing about fear is that it's mostly unhelpful*.
My fear of washing with Glo-white? Means my white t-shirts are saddeningly grey.
The fact that I'm scared of failing? Means I'm less likely to take risks that might pay off.
*My fear of birds? Perfectly warranted, yo.
The great thing about Stories is it’s not necessary to show your face. You can film and photograph your surroundings and life without being in it, if you want to. However if you have a goal to start being more visible and know you want to start putting yourself out there, here’s a few ways you can re-frame your fears:
How to start using Stories (even if you're afraid you're not-techy, awkward or boring)
1 | Switch your focus away from yourself to the people you’ll help.
Sometimes we allow our fears of what other people might think of us to consume us, when they're rarely waiting to judge! Make a conscious effort to switch your focus to connecting with like-minded people through stories, to sharing inspiring thoughts or offering helpful tips and tricks. Trust me, people love seeing what you're up to and hearing inspiring things from you!
2 | Ease your way in
If talking to a video isn’t your thing, don’t do it. Seriously, it’s okay. The beauty of Stories is that there's countless ways you can creatively share updates. Talking to the video is just one of them and if that's not something that feels true to you, focus instead on what does.
3 | Plan your key points
A really common fear is that you'll ramble on (guilty!) or forget what you were going to say while you're recording. While most of the Stories aren't live (phew!) meaning you can cancel and re-record, another way to create Stories like a well-oiled machine is to brainstorm and plot out your key points before you record. It only takes a few minutes, but the clear thought will help boost your confidence. In my Instagram Stories workbook, I teach you how to plan your creative and promotional content in advance - check it out here.
4 | Ask a trusted friend for constructive feedback to help you improve
My friend Phoebe once gave me some great feedback about the fact that I rarely smiled in my Stories, which meant I was coming across more cold than I am in real life - and I really appreciated her saying so because I didn't realise I was doing it and now make a conscious effort to smile in my Stories.
5 | Practice using video without posting a few times
Seriously, no one's an expert at anything to begin with. If you're worried about coming off as awkward or unpolished, do a few trials runs and trash them to get used to recording and talking. Practice makes perfect
6 | Buy a mobile phone tripod.
I have this one, and use it when I need my hands to record a story. It can also be a helpful way to get used to recording (use the hands-free Stories mode) so holding the phone is one less thing to think about!
7 | Tune in
A little self check-in goes a long way. Ask yourself ‘Why do I feel this way?’ ‘What do I get to avoid by staying unseen?’ ‘What are the benefits of being seen? ’. Chat it over with a friend, your coach, or write it out in your journal.
Friend, do you use Instagram Stories?
If not, is there a reason why? I'd love to hear from you and how you're using Stories to grow your business - talk to me about it in the comments!
Liked this post? You might also be interested in: The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Stories.