Written by Michael Keenan

September 8, 2021

Instagram Stories give you the power to communicate and interact with followers easily. And with over one billion Stories shared daily across the Facebook family of apps, the Instagram feature is only becoming more popular. 

Research shows that 50% of people admit to visiting a website to buy a product or service after seeing it in Stories. So t’s pretty clear that your eCommerce business should publish on Stories. But do you really want to be part of the trend, or do you want to be ahead of it? 

When everyone zigs, you want to zag. 

If zagging sounds like you, here are five little-known Instagram Story hacks and wins you can use to increase engagement and conversions on Instagram. 

Automatically reply to story mentions

While it’s tempting to respond to every Story mention you get manually, this can be overwhelming and lead to a decrease in engagement with followers. 

For Instagram marketers, automation is always better. No one can respond to 300 Story mentions all at once during a campaign on their own, so use an automation tool to help. 

For example, women’s fashion brand Roma By Rochi ran a competition that resulted in over 3,400 Story mentions in under 72 hours. Roma by Rochi’s agency partner, Chat Blender, used a Story Mentions Trigger to follow up with fans and further engage them in Instagram Messenger. The automation strategy also allowed the retailer to track Story mentions and identify brand ambassadors for future campaigns.

A Story Mentions Trigger lets you instantly reply to anyone who mentions your account in a Story. 

Instagram Story hack replying to Story mentions

With a Story Mentions message, you can: 

  • Send a short thank-you note.
  • Start an entire automated conversation.
  • Trigger a business automation. 

Set up an automated message or conversation to send to users in ManyChat’s Flow Builder. Story Mentions Triggers support customer engagement at scale and help you kick off chats from a simple mention.

The Story Mentions Trigger impacted Roma by Rochi’s giveaway campaign significantly, increasing engagement by 741% in three days. The campaign encouraged followers to take photos of their wardrobe before tagging the brand in their Story, which gave them more entry points and increased their chances of winning. 

“I was amazed to see how many followers bought into the competition,” noted Gustavio Boregio, co-founder of ChatBlender. “Several diosas [Spanish for ‘followers’] took pics with their entire wardrobe to build up Story mention points.” 

After someone mentioned the brand, they received a thank-you message in Instagram Messenger. The team used a Randomizer to send different messages to followers to give a more human touch, rather than sending one blanket message to everyone.  

You can automate story replies with a simple “Thanks, legend!” or “I appreciate you!” to make people feel valued and appreciated. Guiding people to Instagram Messenger also provides you the chance to offer coupon codes, receive feedback, or get more information about followers. 

Read more: How Roma by Rochi Saw a 741% Lift in Engagement Using Instagram Automation

Run Story ads that click to Messenger

Instagram Story ads are a great way to find new customers and inspire action for your business. To date, over 4 million businesses use Stories ads every month. Why? Because 58% of Instagrammers say they’ve become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in Stories.

Now, you could send people to your website to buy something from your ad, but they may bounce and go elsewhere. Or, you can take advantage of the interest and chat with them in Instagram Messenger. 

Instagram Story ads that click through to Messenger work differently than standard Story ads, and you’ll need to add an automation trigger to your Story so people can reply and receive your offer in their direct messages (DMs). A common approach to this is to use the Instagram Keyword trigger in ManyChat.

ManyChat IG ad flow

Set up your trigger, then create your Story ad. In this Instagram Story hack, you’ll want to ask people to DM you as your call to action (CTA). For example, you could say, “DM me the word ‘discount’ to get 30% off”  in a video or as copy in a static image ad.  

If a viewer is interested, they can start a conversation with you easily in DMs. From there, give them the offer, plus collect any information you want or answer questions in a live chat. It’s a much easier way to clear up any confusion or objections about your products. 

For a step-by-step tutorial on setting these ads up, read How to Set Up Ads that Click to Instagram Messenger

Start conversations from Stories

It’s no secret that people are using Instagram stories more than ever. With over 500 million daily users, you want to capitalize on Stories by extending engagement beyond a website click. One common Instagram hack is to start conversations from your organic Stories.

Similar to Story ads, you’ll want to set up an Instagram Keyword trigger in Flow Builder. This will tell your Instagram bot what keywords to look for in your Instagram conversations. If someone sends the keyword to your business’s DM, it will trigger an automated conversation.  

Starting conversations from Stories

Keywords help start conversations from Stories, help people navigate your automation, and deliver lead magnets or provide support for followers with product questions. 

For example, you could tell users to type “Help” if they want to speak to a live agent. This action will automatically ping a support rep, who can enter the conversation and solve the person’s questions and concerns directly. 

Emoji quick reactions

Quick reactions let people show how they feel about a Story with emojis. When someone sends a quick reaction, send an automated response from your Instagram bot; and if you’re promoting a freebie, deliver the promo to the user right inside Instagram Messenger. 

It’s a simple setup inside ManyChat. Start by setting your Instagram Keyword to any emojis that’ll trigger your conversation. 

Emoji quick reaction in Flow Builder

Then set a Smart Delay for 10 seconds. This will help the conversation feel more natural and human.

Smart Delay

Use a Randomizer to send random replies to different users and give your bot a personal feel.


You can reply with emojis or short follow-ups to kick off the conversation.

Random messages send from ManyChat bot

Turn Stories into highlights

Instagram Stories disappear after 24 hours and is a great way to share entertaining content without filling up your feed. But if you want to extend the life of a Story, make it visible as a Highlight in your profile. 

Instagram Highlights appear underneath your bio, where users can click and see the content stored in the thumbnail. 

Stories into Highlights example Jasmine Star

Sometimes people respond to highlights with questions about your products and services. These messages go straight to your DMs, where you can answer queries through Keyword Automation or in a live chat. 

Your turn

There’s no doubt Instagram Story campaigns have their advantages. You’re getting front and center on people’s feeds and engaging with them through a bigger, richer environment than an individual post can provide. 

However, if you want to better capitalize on your Stories, the hacks above will help improve engagement and conversions. Test the waters by trying one hack at a time. You’ll soon see how Instagram Automation impacts your bottom line.

Grow your Instagram following and make sales with Instagram Automation by ManyChat. Sign up free today.

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The contents of this blog were independently prepared and are for informational purposes only. The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ManyChat or any other party. Individual results may vary.