The most significant change came in 2016, with the introduction of Instagram Stories.
This form of social sharing altered the way people interact online, creating new influencers and catapulting brands into the limelight.
However, as social media continues to evolve, it’s getting more difficult to cut through the noise.
In this article, you’ll learn how to use Instagram Story ,like a pro to build audience for your business.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is an Instagram Story?
- 2 How to post a Story on Instagram
- 3 What is IG Story Highlights?
- 4 How to Use Instagram Stories for Business
- 5 Instagram Story Tricks and Hacks
- 5.1 1. Use stickers.
- 5.2 2. Record a hands-free Instagram video.
- 5.3 3. Let viewers share your Stories.
- 5.4 4. Use the pen.
- 5.5 5. Add a background color.
- 5.6 6. Mention another Instagram account in your story.
- 5.7 7. Make your text funkier.
- 5.8 8. See who has viewed your Instagram Story.
- 5.9 9. Center your text and stickers.
- 5.10 10. Add music to a Story (or mute it).
- 5.11 11. Upload Instagram Stories from your phone’s camera roll.
- 6 Conclusion
What is an Instagram Story?
An Instagram Story is a photo or video that automatically disappears within 24 hours. When you post a Story, a colorful ring around your profile picture appears, telling your followers they can tap on your profile photo to see what you’ve just posted. Your profile picture with the colorful ring around it also gets added to the top row of your followers’ home screens—making it the first thing they see.
How to post a Story on Instagram
Now that you know what a Story is, it’s time to get into how you can post your own. You can create and post a Story in three easy steps.
Step 1: Go to your home page and swipe left from any point on the screen to open the Instagram camera application. You can also get to the Instagram camera by tapping the “plus” button found at the bottom middle portion of your screen and then tapping “story.”
Step 2: Within the camera application, you can choose to either create brand new content for your story by tapping the white circle at the bottom middle portion of the screen or upload photo or video content you’ve previously created by tapping the album icon on the lower-left portion of your screen. If you choose to upload an existing photo, take note that Instagram Story dimensions are 1080px by 1920 px. If you choose to create new content on the spot, you can create different types of stories:
- Standard. A regular photo or video.
- Text Create—a photo with text on a solid background. Accounts usually use Text Stories to pose a question, tell a story, or create mini-blogs within their Instagram Stories.
- Boomerang. A really short video that plays forward and backward on a loop.
- Layout. A collage of different photos.
- Photobooth. Four continuous shots that get stitched together into one story.
- Superzoom. A Story that slowly zooms in on the video’s subject.
- Multi-capture. A Story made up of multiple photos taken in quick succession.
- Level. According to Instagram, a photo or video that’s perfectly level is usually for Stories featuring landscapes and horizons.
Step 3: Once you’ve created your story, you can add stickers and filters to it, draw on it, add text to it, and more. You can even mention or tag people or engage your followers through polls, quizzes, and other fun features.
What is IG Story Highlights?
Instagram Story Highlights are collections of Stories that you curate, located at the top of your profile in the form of tappable circles. They were introduced in 2017 as a way for users to keep their favorite or most relevant Stories around for more than 24 hours.
Story Highlights appear directly below your bio, so they are one of the first things your followers see when they get onto your profile. Brands have used their Highlights to present important information (e.g., restaurant menus, product lists, etc.) upfront. Highlights are also a great way to keep testimonials on your account—when you re-share customers’ Stories about how happy they are with your product, instead of letting those testimonials disappear, save them in a Highlight Bubble.
Alongside Highlights, Instagram also introduced the Story Archive. After your story disappears from your profile, it is automatically stored in your Story Archive, which only you can access within your settings. You can save your expired Stories to your device, rewatch them, or add them to a Story Highlight from the Archive.
To create an Instagram Highlight, you need to:
- Go to your profile page by tapping your profile photo located at the lower right corner of your screen
- Tap the “New” circle located right underneath your bio, to the left
- Choose some Stories from your Archive and then tap the “Next” button on the top right corner of your screen
- Give your highlight a name
- Optional: Edit your Highlight cover by either uploading a pre-made cover from your device’s album or selecting a different Story for your cover
Once you’re done, your Instagram Highlight will appear as a bubble on your profile. You can have as many Highlights as you like, and they will stay on your profile until you remove them. To edit or remove a Highlight, just tap and hold that highlight on your profile.
How to Use Instagram Stories for Business
1. Post footage of an office event.
Sometimes, a business can do the best thing on Instagram is as human as possible. One way to do this is to post a brief video of a company function. Whether it’s an office holiday party or an award banquet, posting footage of it to your story is easy and in the moment entertainment for your followers. This content also shows people you’re a relevant and friendly voice in your market.
2. Post breaking news about your industry.
Just as you might on your company blog, you can use your Instagram Story to report on the latest happenings in your industry. With the right design work, you can turn small news breaks — that don’t merit an entire article — into a Story on your Instagram account.
This keeps users coming back to you to stay abreast with market trends. You can even ask users what they think, as shown in the Instagram Story by HubSpot below. We’ll explain how Instagram “stickers” can help you do this in just a minute.
3. Demonstrate your product.
Your product might not be the simplest or sexiest product in the eyes of the layperson. Well, your Instagram Story is the perfect format for showing potential customers how that product is used. First, post a long video, segmented into 15-second clips that show users what your product or service does and how it helps your customers.
For example, if you sell software, you might record a video of your computer screen, using a recording tool like Loom, that shows people how to log in, use the software’s dashboard, and navigate to the various functions included in the product.
Just remember to modify your video’s dimensions before uploading it to your Instagram Story. Remember, Instagram Stories’ image dimensions are 1920px high and 1080px wide, with an aspect ratio of 9:16.
4. Promote a company event.
Does your organization host a trade conference or attend a big one every year? Use your Instagram Story to promote the event and tell your followers to look for you there. Work with a graphic designer, or do some artwork yourself to illustrate an event flyer with all the information one would need to find you.
Most of this you can do directly on Instagram. For example, use the native text options in your story to add:
- The event’s name.
- Where the event is located.
- Dates you’ll be attending.
- Your booth number.
- The event’s official hashtag.
5. Preview one of your company’s blog posts or videos.
Your blog posts and YouTube videos need all the exposure they can get. Even if social media isn’t your blog’s primary source of traffic, your Instagram Story can help readers discover that post or video for the first time and find it later.
In the screenshot below, Google Pixel used its Instagram Story to preview a video it published about a customer who used the device. When you tap all the way to the end of the Story, Google prompts you to swipe up with your finger, where it then links you to the full video on YouTube.
6. Mention other companies who follow or work with you.
As your Instagram following grows, you’ll eventually pick up other business accounts that want to follow you as well. Whether those accounts are your business partners or simply fans of yours, consider giving them shoutouts on your Instagram Story. This is a passive but effective way to nurture your relationships with the users that matter most to your business’s growth.
Instagram Story Tricks and Hacks
1. Use stickers.
Once you’ve captured a great photo or video, it’s time to jazz it up with some fun stickers. You can access these by clicking “Create,” then tapping the smiling sticker icon in the upper right-hand corner of your screen once you’ve captured a photo or video.
Here are some best practices after you choose a sticker.
- Change the size of your stickers.
- Check stickers every day for new and unique ones.
- Add location, hashtag, poll, and selfie stickers.
2. Record a hands-free Instagram video.
If you’re a frequent video-recorder on Instagram, you know you need to hold your thumb against the record button for as long as you’re recording. This can make it tedious when attempting dynamic and interesting videos that require more hand mobility.
The hands-free video feature can be found in the list of image capture options, as shown above. Simply tap the record button once to start the video and again to stop it after you’ve got the footage you want.
Increase engagement and views of your Instagram Story by letting viewers share them with their friends — as direct messages (DMs).
To do so, navigate to your app’s settings, then to Privacy, then tap story.
Toggle on “Allow Sharing as Message” so viewers can DM your Story to friends to increase your audience reach. Voila!
4. Use the pen.
Use the pen to add embellishment, symbols, or more text to your story. If you tap the pen icon in the upper right-hand corner of your screen once you’ve captured a photo or video, you’ll open up your options.
From there, you can adjust the thickness of your pen stroke or change the color you’re writing with.
5. Add a background color.
If you want to share a Story with a background color — like the images I’ve shared above — you can actually select it from the color palette.
Take a picture (it doesn’t have to be a picture of anything in particular), and then tap the pen icon to open up the color palette.
You can choose one of the colors from the three available menus, or if you want a specific shade of one of those colors, you can open up the full-color spectrum by pressing and holding one of the colors.
Then, scribble anywhere on the screen, and hold your finger down until you get the background color you want to appear.
6. Mention another Instagram account in your story.
Sometimes, it’s just not enough to send an Instagram Story to a particular person — you need to give them a shoutout in the photo or video itself. In these cases, Instagram allows you to tag up to 10 specific handles directly in your story’s photo or video.
To mention an Instagram account in your story, shoot a photo or video and then tap the square “A” icon in the upper righthand corner of the screen.
Enter the account you’d like to tag, starting with the “@” symbol and the account’s first letter. Scroll through the suggested accounts that appear below your cursor until you find the account you have in mind, and tap it. See what these options look like below.
7. Make your text funkier.
The text on Instagram Stories is pretty basic — jazz it up with these tricks.
· Customize your colors.
· Add a drop shadow to your story’s text.
· Turn your text into a rainbow.
This one’s tricky, but you can actually turn your text into a gradient rainbow.
Tap the text icon, and type out your message to add to your story. Then, highlight your text.
Gradually add text to a Story.
Sometimes, you might want to add text or stickers to an image to build on it — perhaps to promote a content offer or event or to encourage viewers to swipe up to read a link you’ve shared (this is only available to verified accounts).
8. See who has viewed your Instagram Story.
Snapchat users have always been able to see which of their friends have viewed their snapped Stories over the 24-hour period that the story is visible. Well, Instagram Stories can do the same thing — in exactly the same way.
To see who has viewed your Instagram Story, navigate to the homepage of Instagram on your phone and click on the circular icon denoting your story. See what this looks like in the screenshot below.
Click on “Your Story” from the Instagram home screen and swipe up from the bottom of your open story. This will pull up a list of all the accounts that have viewed this content.
By looking at which users view which Stories, you can figure out which types of photos and videos you should keep posting.
9. Center your text and stickers.
When you’re moving around text and stickers on your story, you’ll see blue lines appear vertically or horizontally in the frame. These are guiding lines you can use to make sure you’re keeping everything centered.
Don’t put your text too high or too low on the screen.
10. Add music to a Story (or mute it).
This one’s easy: Turn on music using your phone’s native streaming app and record a video Story. Once you get ready to edit and share, make sure the sound icon isn’t muted so your viewers can jam with you.
Alternatively, if you’d rather your video be muted, tap the sound icon, so a slash appears over it.
11. Upload Instagram Stories from your phone’s camera roll.
Great Instagram Stories aren’t just created through the Instagram app. You can also upload photos and videos from your mobile device’s native camera roll.
To upload a photo or video for use as an Instagram Story, open your Instagram Story’s camera lens and tap the little square icon on the bottom left-hand corner. See what this looks like below.
Tapping the icon shown above will call up your phone’s native media gallery, where you can select any photo or video to publish as an Instagram Story. It’s that easy.
We hope these tips help you post killer Instagram Stories; your audience won’t be able to stop following you and your business. There are lots of hidden ways to take your Stories to the next level — some we may not even have covered here; please mention in the comments below what you want to learn related to Instagram story.