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The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Stories

The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Stories

What are Instagram Stories?

Instagram stories are photos or videos that are posted separately from your regular feed and disappear after 24 hours. Instagram stories can be edited in unique ways and are a great tool for building brand awareness and promoting content. The main appeal of stories is that they’re simple, there’s no limit to how many you can post, and they can be used for spontaneous uploads that don’t necessarily match your account’s tone or theme.

How and When to Post

Even though there’s no limit to posting Instagram stories, followers won’t be interested in viewing your uploads if you consistently post too many. If people find your stories annoying enough, they can even mute your stories, preventing them from autoplaying. To mute someone’s Instagram stories, tap and hold their Stories avatar and select the ‘Mute’ Option.
Overall, the optimal number of stories posted per day will vary depending on the type of Instagram account you have and what the followers have come to expect. While an international company or an active beauty blogger could get away with posting 10+ stories per day, smaller niche pages may find more engagement with their stories if they limit their uploads to a few times per week.
To post an Instagram Story, swipe right from the Instagram home page or click the camera icon on the top left corner. From here, you’ll see that there are several different options for how to post your story.
  • Type: In Type mode, you can write out a message in text and upload this to your story. You can change the font of your text by tapping on the font name in the oval on the top middle portion of the screen. To customize the background, you’re able to tap the color changing icon to the left of the post button or take a photo to use as the background by tapping on the camera icon to the right of the post button.
  • Music: The Music option allows you to apply an autoplaying song to your Instagram story. You can search for music to use by genre, mood, or what’s currently popular.
  • Live: In Live mode, you can stream a live video to viewers that they can watch and interact with in real time.
  • Normal: The default mode for Instagram stories, normal mode, allows you to take and upload photos or videos. Additionally, you can upload saved photos or videos to your story from here by swiping up while in this mode or by clicking on the gallery icon in the left bottom corner of the screen.
  • Boomerang: In Boomerang mode, you can take a short video that will loop repeatedly, much like a GIF.
  • Focus: The Focus mode on Instagram works for portraits, selfies, or any other photo or video that features a face. With Focus, the camera focuses on the face while slightly blurring the background, much like how Portrait mode works for iPhones.
  • Superzoom: When taking a video in Superzoom mode, a dramatic zoom is added, with accompanying audio and filters. To customize the type of zoom applied to your video, tap the musical note icon above the filming button.
  • Rewind: The Rewind feature allows you to film a video that will then be played in reverse.
  • Hands-Free: In Hands-Free mode, you are able to take a video without holding down the filming button continuously. To begin filming, press the film icon once, and then simply press it again when you’re ready to end the recording.

Applying Instagram Filters

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Instagram filters can be applied to your face either to add a fun, unique flair or to hide flaws and blemishes. Filters can be applied when you take a photo or video in Music, Live, Normal, Boomerang, Rewind, or Hands-Free mode. To select a filter, tap on the smiley face icon in the bottom right corner of the screen. This will bring up a tray of selectable filters, which you can scroll through and apply.

Adding Stickers to your Story

Adding stickers to your Instagram story not only makes your posts more artistically appealing, but can also dramatically increase your engagement. Once you’ve taken your photo or video, swipe up or select the sticker icon at the top right corner of the screen to bring up the tray of stickers. To apply a sticker, simply tap it, and from there you are able to readjust the size by pinching and dragging it or change the direction the sticker is facing by tapping it once. Listed before the emojis and graphics, you’ll see that there are four rows of interactive stickers that you can apply.
  • Location: When applying the Location sticker, you’re able to search for and select a location that you can then apply to your post. With the location sticker on, your post will now be searchable by this location, increasing potential views. Additionally, people viewing your story can click on this sticker to view other users’ stories at this location. Once you’ve applied this sticker, you can customize how it looks by tapping on it.
  • Mention: The Mention sticker allows you to tag other people and pages in your posts. Any account that you tag will receive a notification of this mention in your story. With the sticker applied, people viewing your story will be able to click on the sticker and be taken to the tagged user’s page. Once you’ve applied this sticker, you can customize how it looks by tapping on it.
  • Hashtag: The Hashtag sticker lets you apply hashtags to your story, which can lead to your story showing up in more searches and gaining more views. Once you begin typing a hashtag, Instagram will recommend popular suggestions that you can use. Once you’ve applied this sticker, you can customize how it looks by tapping on it.
  • Picture in a Picture: With the Picture in a Picture sticker, you’re able to select any photo or video in your camera roll and turn it into a sticker. This sticker can then be moved and resized on your image.
  • GIF: When you select the GIF sticker, you’re directed to a sticker tray of trending GIFs and a search bar that prompts you to search GIPHY. From here, you can search for something specific or select a trending GIF. GIFs can then be moved and resized on your image.
  • Music: Applying the Music sticker leads to the same results as capturing your story in Music mode, but can be applied to photos and videos from your camera roll as well.
  • Time: The Time sticker displays the time that the photo or video was captured at. You can change this sticker from a digital to an analog readout and vice versa by tapping on the sticker.
  • Poll: With the Poll sticker, you are able to pose a question to your followers and then review the results. When you select this sticker, you are prompted to “Ask a question…” where you are free to type anything you’d like. By clicking on the preset ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ options, you are also able to customize these response buttons as well. Note that the results of Instagram polls are not anonymous.
  • Emoji Slider: The Emoji Slider sticker allows you to pose a question to your followers, which they can then respond to by dragging your slider. When you select this sticker, you have the option of customizing which emoji reaction will be used on your slider.
  • Questions: The Questions sticker allows you to ask your followers a question, much like the poll sticker; however, unlike the poll sticker, these answers can be open ended. Users are able to type out and send any response that they would like. Once you’ve received these responses, you are able to take any relevant responses and repost these as its own separate story. Similarly to the Poll sticker, responses to Questions are also not anonymous.
  • Camera: The Camera sticker allows you to use a separate photo as a sticker in your post, much like the Picture in a Picture sticker; however, the Camera sticker gives you the option of taking this photo in the Instagram app itself rather than selecting a photo from your camera roll.
Any sticker that you’ve applied to your story can be removed by pressing and holding the sticker and then dragging it down to the trash can icon that appears in the bottom middle of the screen.

Adding Text to your Story

Adding text to your Instagram story gives you the opportunity to explain your post and share relevant information with viewers. Once you’ve taken your photo or video, tap anywhere on the screen or click on the ‘Aa’ icon at the top right of your screen to bring up the keyboard and a cursor. Here, you can begin typing your message.
You can change the font of your text by tapping on the font name in the oval on the top middle portion of the screen. Only one font can be applied per text box; but, if you would like to use different fonts in the same post, this can be done by adding multiple instances of text to your story. To change the color of your text, you can select any preset color above the keyboard or you can select the eye dropper icon, which allows you to pull a custom color from your post. Finally, you can also choose to highlight your text by selecting the A icon in the top left corner of the screen.

Drawing on your Story

With the drawing feature, you can draw anything you’d like on your Instagram stories. Once you’ve taken your photo or video, click on the pen icon at the top right corner of the screen. At the top of the screen, you will be able to choose between different writing instruments and at the bottom of the screen you’ll see that you are able to customize your colors. On the lefthand side of the screen is a slider that allows you to adjust the thickness of your drawn lines.

Adding Links to your Story

If you have a business account on Instagram, you will be allowed to add links to your stories. Adding a link to your story is a great way to drive traffic to your website and encourage sales. To add a link to your story, take your photo or video and then click on the link icon at the top right of your screen. You will be prompted to enter or paste in your URL here. Once you’ve added the link to your story, viewers will be able to swipe up on your story to be redirected to your site.

Tagging Products

Tagging products in your story, much like adding links, can only be done if you have a business account on Instagram. To enable product tagging on your account, find ‘Shopping’ under your Settings and select a product catalog to connect to your profile.
Once this is enabled, you can begin tagging products in your posts. Tap the product in your photo, enter and select the name of the product, and then share. Your photo will now be posted with a tag that automatically shares relevant product information and links interested users directly to your product.

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