10 Cool Features to Use Instagram Stories Like a Pro
Instagram was first known for a media feed that consists only of images and videos, but these days this platform offers much more: Reels, Instagram TV, and Stories. Stories in particular are a great concept that was born on Instagram and then quickly migrated to every other social media platform.
You can use this feature to keep your followers updated, entertained and keep your brand image visible on a daily basis without posting a publication per day. This type of content is supposed to be easily consumed and fun.
How do Instagram Stories work?
Stories are basically full-screen content that disappears after 24 hours. This feature has its own tab at the top of the app — each profile's instastory is presented as their profile picture in a colorful circle. In theory, you can post unlimited amounts of this kind of content daily. Practically, you don't want to do so, because your followers will get tired of endless scrolling and won't open your Story the next day.
Unlike posts, stories don't get likes or comments — instead, they get views and interactions — these metrics are also important for your social media growth.
When you post an image, it will be shown for approximately five seconds, while a single video can last only up to 15 seconds. If you upload a longer video, it will be automatically cut into a few videos ten seconds each.
You can post them to give a better insight into your brand's or personal life without creating a standalone post, to share important information, entertain your followers, or to create a better engagement. Also, Stories are great for creating more user-generated content.
You can also set up an Instagram Advertisement via stories — this is a great way to receive more attention and chase your business goals. Basically, you can call this Instagram feature a multi-purpose tool.
To create one, just tap that camera icon in the upper-left corner of the app, take a picture with or without a filter, add some text, stickers, or gif, and post it. You can also record and share videos, boomerangs and create plain text content for sharing important information. You can use filters, stickers, gifs, and music to enhance your story — don't be afraid to experiment more and use new ways to attract attention. You can also switch cameras to create selfies or shoot narrative videos.
Ten cool features of Instagram stories
Posting plain videos or pictures is too basic in our humble opinion. To bring more life to your stories, use some of these tips or even mix them for better performance:
- Filters. You can both record videos or take pictures with filters on, and put them after you finish shooting. There are thousands of custom-made filters that can do multiple things to your image: correct colors, put a nice vintage filter, add some funny elements, change the background or enhance your facial features, which is great for taking selfies. There also are ore-installed Instagram filters that can create a nice touch to your content, too.
- Text. The text tool these days has a lot of possibilities — you can choose a font, color, and background for your text. use it to tell your story, ask questions or create funny captions to photos or videos you took.
- Drawing tool. Choose one of a few pen types to add painted elements to your media. You can choose a regular pen, a highlighter, a neon, airbrush, or arrow one depending on the effect you want to achieve. You can also regulate the thickness and choose the color you find the most suitable for your story.
- Reverse background effect. This one is great for unveiling new projects or reminding about new posts. All you have to do is to place a picture or post in your story editor, apply a brush of your preferred color with a long tap to fill the screen. Then, choose an eraser tool and erase a bit of space over the most important part of the picture you've uploaded — this way you'll highlight the best parts of the media.
- Fast filters with swipes. Did you know that you can add one of the default filters with a single swipe? Well, now you know: just swipe left or right while shooting a video or taking a picture to apply a beautiful filter.
- Add some stickers. There are stickers for everyone! Start with adding simple ones — emojis, themed stickers. You can also search for a relatable gif, decorative element, or add interaction stickers: a poll, a quiz, or a Q&A form. You can also use hashtags, geotags, and mentions.
- You can add links to the relevant content outside of Instagram. Earlier this feature was accessible only for accounts with more than 10000 followers and via a swipe-up option, but not so long ago the platform introduced us to a sticker option for everyone — the conversions are still great. You can put a link for your favorite quiz, your own website, or for a promo in the shop.
- You can add stories for your best friends only. Select people from your followers who you'd like to share some of your stories exclusively, and you'll be able to post content only for them. This way, a circle around your profile picture at the top of the feed will be green. It's a great way to protect your stories from unwanted eyes.
- You can add stories to your highlights to keep them visible for longer than 24 hours. They will disappear from the main section, but will still be available in your highlights for everyone to see.
- Own analytics tool. This kind of content also has metrics: views, interactions, navigation options, reach — they all matter in terms of improving your marketing strategy. You can also see who exactly saw your story. Gathering this data will help you understand your audience better and provide them with even better content.
Tips on creating engaging stories
Surely, there are some top tips on creating the coolest stories ever, and we couldn't just leave them behind:
- host a story takeover. It's a great way to share a bit of your audience with other accounts while getting to know their audience. Partner up with an influencer (if you're a brand) to let them review your products or participate in a fun activity. If you're a blogger, you can create a collaboration with other influencers and exchange followers while having fun;
- use your stories to tease something new. It can be anything you can produce: new post, new music, new fashion collection — the main point is to create suspense only to make a grand reveal afterward. The countdown sticker will make great use for this purpose. You can create a countdown to a certain date and even an hour — make it really special and get people invested!
- post something your followers will definitely want to screenshot. This can be any useful bit of information you can offer: a book list, a recipe, a guide on something. To do this, you have to know your audience well and know their interests.
Another pro tip: get creative with different apps that have templates for stories. You can choose your style and add photos or videos to already existing templates, add stickers and text. Apps like this exist both in AppStore and Google Play, so you won't have any problems finding them. Most of them are free or offer great trials — you can still try them to see if their styles suit your account's narrative and tone of voice.
To make your followers invested in your content, we advise you to experiment with formats to see what they like the most. The more interactions your story receives, the better.