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As a travel blogger, there is an array of different promotional tools available to ensure that your content performs well, and Instagram is without a doubt the best place to start. It boasts millions of users eager for wanderlust pictures and travel tales—so there’s an extremely large audience that you can tap into. But with every person (and their dog) on Instagram pushing products and promotional messaging to their audience, you’ll need to make your content stand out from the noise and ensure that you’re using the platform effectively to market your travel blog. Instagram Stories let you share photos and videos in slideshows that appear separately from your regular Instagram profile. They are a valuable tool that will allow you to post more content without oversaturating your audience’s feed. There’s a lot to gain by mastering the art of Instagram Stories, so here’s how to market your blog and increase engagement with a few simple tricks.

1. Get insight from your followers with polls

With any type of content creation, feedback is invaluable. Instagram Stories allow you to create a poll for your followers and ask your audience virtually anything you’d like. This is a great way to learn what type of content your audience wants you to share. Within this feature, you can also create an “ask me anything” Instagram Story and do a question-and-answer session with your followers. Again, you can customize this to anything you want, asking your followers things like, “What topics would you like to see more of?” “Where’s somewhere you’ve always wanted to travel?” or “Who can guess where I’m going next?”

2. Tagging your partners

Sometimes the world of Instagram can feel very over promotional, so using Instagram Stories instead of an Instagram post to your regular feed can be a better way to convert your followers without appearing too pushy. If you’ve just collaborated with a tourism destination or other commercial partner, try tagging them in a Story that promotes your work together. Chances are your partner will be impressed with the extra traffic you’re driving to their account.

3. Use hashtags and location tags

If you’ve just shared an article on your website about Greece, using the specific location tag and relevant hashtags on your Instagram Story is a really great way to further expand your reach outside of your existing followers. Using hashtags and locations tags on your Stories works the same as with regular posts, making them discoverable by anyone searching that topic.

4. Use insights

You’ll need a business account to access your insights dashboard on the back-end of your Instagram account. With these insights, you’ll be able to see who and how many accounts have seen your Story and the actions taken from your Story, which can include shares, replies, profile visits, and sticker taps. You’ll also be able to see the impressions, accounts reached, and new followers gained from each Story that you post. These statistics can be really helpful when you’re publishing sponsored or partner content, or to see what content your audience likes most.

5. Use highlights

Traditionally, Instagram Stories disappear after 24 hours. If you’d like yours  to be discoverable after this try adding a Story highlight to your page so that the Stories you hand-select stay visible forever. Highlights are found at the top of a profile and could include topics like “Up On The Blog,” “Latest Work,” or “Stories From The Road.” You can select any Stories you’ve posted from your archive to add to your new highlight. Hopefully these five tips have given you a good idea of what Instagram Stories are and how you can use them to connect with your audience. Armed with this knowledge, you are one step closer to building the successful travel blog of your dreams. Get out there and share your stories with the world! [Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can fund your travels and make an extra income with photography, travel writing, blogging, and more in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel. Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Three Fun Ways To Get Paid To Travel: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]

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