One of the best things about Instagram Stories – and arguably one of the most frustrating things too – is how they only last for twenty-four hours. This can, of course, be frustrating if you put together a great bit of content, but it also allows for a much more natural feel for your Instagram.

The days of uploading your latest snap with a funny caption are long gone, especially for a business. The Instagram platform is so much more advanced and competitive than it once was which means Stories with a time limit allow for a more spontaneous approach, which can help build a rapport between businesses and their customers.

That being said, if you’re going to spend time creating and sharing content on Instagram Stories, then it’s worth knowing all of the features quite literally at your fingertips and how best to maximise the apps offering.

Launch

Launch the Instagram app and select the icon at the top of the screen that looks like a box with a cross in it.

Here you will be prompted to choose: Post, Story, Reels or Live. As above, there is so much to do on Instagram these days, but for this blog post, we’ll be focusing on Stories.

instagram stories

Text and Stickers on Instagram Stories

When you first access the Story section of Instagram, it defaults to your phone camera. Here you can either take a photograph, drag up the screen to share a picture from your camera roll or hold down the middle button to capture a video. Once you have done this, there are several icons across the top of the screen that allows you to edit the image.

The first icon is a down arrow; this will save your image or video to your camera roll. The second is a smiley face with stars, which enables you to add an effect (more on this later).

The third icon is also a smiley face but with a curled up corner.

Clicking this will launch numerous elements to add to your story, including:

  • @ Mentions
  • Tag Location
  • #Hashtag
  • Donations
  • GIFs
  • Polls
  • Time
  • Temperature
  • Stickers

There are almost too many add-ons to mention so definitely head over to your stories to see what is available and relevant to your business.

Instagram stories features

Fourth in line on the row of icons is a squiggle, clicking this will allow you to draw on the screen in any colour you wish. You will now see new icons across the top of the screen. Clicking the up arrow icon will turn your squiggly line into an arrow, the highlighter icon will increase the thickness of your line, and the icon with five dots adds a glow. You can then use the final eraser icon to rub out any mistakes.

Last but not least, the ‘Aa’ icon lets you add text in a wide range of fonts, formats and colours. Be sure to proofread any copy that you add to your images carefully!

Under the Story option, there are then six additional options:

 

  1. Create

The create option for stories allows you to choose from a range of formats and styles to produce engaging content. These include:

  • Text
  • Shoutouts such as Happy Birthday with an @ tag
  • GIFs
  • Templates – tap the screen to browse the options
  • Mentions or On This Day
  • Ask A Question (Yes / No)
  • Ask A Question (Text Box)
  • Donations
  • Countdown
  • Poll

2. Boomerang

An Instagram Boomerang is a series of photos played on a loop forward and backwards. It can result in a pretty exciting piece of content if done well. It’s worth playing around and getting some practice to master the art of a boomerang.

3. Layout 

Instagram has saved you the need to download a second app to create collages by introducing a ‘layout’ feature where you can either upload multiple images or take multiple photographs from within the app.

4. Superzoom

The superzoom feature, as the name suggests, zooms in on your subject with different effects overlayed. Choose from:

  • Hearts
  • Fire
  • Bummer
  • TV Programme
  • Dramatic
  • Beats
  • Paparazzi
  • Surprise
  • Nope
  • Bounce

Different effects will work depending on what you’re zooming in on, so it’s best to play around and see what works.

5. Hands-Free

Historically you would need to hold the middle button down to take a video on Instagram, but with the hands-free feature, you can tap the button once and record ‘hands-free’. This will help keep your hands available in the video, perhaps for product demonstrations.

6. Level

Level your photos. This a new feature and has been embraced more by the photographers out there.

 

Upload your own photos

You can also slide from the bottom of the screen up to reveal your camera roll if you’d like to upload something you have saved earlier. This could be a photograph or a template you have created in sites such as Canva or Photoshop.

 

Filters

If you take a photograph within Instagram or upload one from your camera roll, you can then slide filters across the screen. Each filter is unique and will impact your image in different ways, so it’s worth scrolling through to see which one works best for each piece of content.

 

filters

Effects

Effects are similar to filters but with a broader range such as movement. You can search for effects in the effects gallery on Instagram stories and save them to your profile. Furthermore, if you see someone using an effect you like on their story, you will be able to tap on the name at the top of the screen and save it.

 

Highlights

Fear not for the twenty-four-hour time limit can be avoided by adding your story to your ‘Highlights’ section, which sits at the top of your Instagram profile. You can do this by sharing your content and tapping the ‘Highlight’ button at the bottom of the screen. You can then create a new highlight or add to an existing one.

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