Right now, Instagram is home to approximately 1 billion monthly users, and over half of them are using Stories. Of those monthly users, over 500 million accounts use Stories. Every. Single. Day. These are no doubt massive numbers, but did you also know that over 60% of users said they have become more interested in a brand after seeing it in their Story feed?
Whether you’re posting your first Instagram Story, or looking into mastering all the features of the platform, here is The Chimp's full guide to Instagram Stories.
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What is it?
Remember Snapchat and its disappearing content? Thats kind of the idea behind Stories. The photos and videos you post don't show on your main feed, but in a Stories section of Instagram that only lasts for 24 hours. One of the benefits of this is that you can have a bit more flexibility in posting a lot of content without overwhelming the feed with post-after-post.
One other feature that is great for businesses without a full marketing department is that it's totally acceptable to post raw, unedited stuff on Stories - In fact, that's part of the appeal. So get your phone out and start shooting!
Here are some quick tutorials to get you going.
How To Create A Story
Open Instagram, click the camera icon in the top left. This is the Instagram Stories camera.
Tap the white circle at the bottom of the screen to take a picture or hold down to record video, OR
Swipe up (or select the square gallery icon on the left) to use a photo or video that is in your camera roll.
At the bottom of the screen there are a heap of different features to play with. Try out Type, Music, Live, Boomerang, Superzoom, and Focus.
How to check your Story views
Let's see who has watched your Story.
In the app click the Your Story icon in the top right.
You can see the view count in the bottom right.
Swipe up to see the everyone who has viewed your Story
How to use Instagram Stories stickers
Stickers are extra visual additions that you can put on top of your photo or video. They can add some character to your posts, but also serve a purpose.
Increase reach/views with hashtags and locations
Express a mood with gifs, emojis, or music
Engage with polls, countdowns, or questions
Make your post shoppable with product stickers
How to add a sticker to your Story:
Share a photo or video to your Story (or use Create mode to work with a blank background)
Tap the sticker icon at the top of your screen (the square that’s smiling)
Select (or search) the type of sticker you’d like to use. Each type has its own tips and tricks that take a little bit of experimentation.
And if you want music on your photo or video, add it with a music sticker, rather than trying to get the sound right while you record.
How to add a hashtag to your Stories
Using hashtags on Stories serves the same purpose as all other formats - It is essentially a search/discovery function.
You can add a hashtag to your Story in a couple of ways:
With a sticker as above. Use the hashtag sticker
Just tap the text (Aa) icon and use regular text to type #hashtags
Once you try to add a tag, Instagram will give you a few suggestions that you can click on to add. The maximum allowed is 10 but any more than 1 or 2 and we reckon you should shrink them right down and hide them so they don't take up your entire screen - you can shrink, stack and hide your hashtags behind another sticker.
How to add a location to your Stories
Adding a location to your Story expands its potential reach, the same way a hashtag does.
As a business you can also have a "location page" on Instagram. To do this, you will need an Instagram Business Account.
Once set up, your location page is where potential customers can check you out and existing customers can showcase their experience with you
To use a location sticker on an Instagram Story:
Tap the sticker icon at the top of your screen
Select the location sticker
Choose your location from the list (you can be broad like "Gold Coast, Australia" or specific like your actual business address)
Adjust the sticker (colour, size, location) so it fits your Story.
Tap your location sticker to change up the style.
How To Use Stories Highlights
Stories might disappear from the feed after 24 hours, but you can keep them on your profile for the long run. This is called "Story Highlights". You don't need to highlight EVERY story - this is a good spot for your best content.
Think of each highlight as a folder that contains individual stories. So you might have categories like "Products", "The Team", and "Behind The Scenes" that you add the appropriate content to.
How to create an Instagram Stories highlight:
Open the Story you’d like to highlight
In the lower right corner, tap the highlight icon.
Choose the highlight to which you’d like to add, or Create a new highlight
How To Use Stories Polls
There are two main ways a viewer can engage with your Stories - Passive or Active. Passive engagement would be someone viewing your Story, Active would be sending a message or "reply" to your Story. Adding a poll lets your audience participate with just a simple tap.
A poll’s results also stay visible to your audience after the poll has closed.
To create an Instagram Story poll:
Share a photo or video to your Story as normal (or use Create mode for a blank background)
Tap the sticker icon at the top screen
Choose the Poll sticker
Enter your question
Enter two potential responses for viewers to choose from
Let your poll run for 24 hours
Don’t forget to share the results!
There are a few different types of poll/question stickers that you can choose from - the emoji slider, quiz, and question stickers. Try them all out!
How to use Instagram Stories Create mode
"Create" is a perfect mode to use when you don't necessarily have a photo or video to use but still want to post a Story.
There are HEAPS of features in Create mode. Here is how to find them:
At the bottom of the Stories screen, swipe left until you get to Create
Starting with a plain background, add as many features as you like:
Stickers, including countdowns, polls and quizzes
Gifs from the gif library
@ mentions (this will show you active Stories that mention you so you can share them with your own audience)
On this Day allows you to share throwback posts from your own Instagram feed (Like a Facebook "Memory" post)
That should give you a good overview of most of the Instagram Stories features - This really is one of those platforms that you need to play with to get used to it so get in there and start posting! You will be surprised at what you can do with 5 minutes and a smart phone!