The ultimate guide to Instagram Stories: mastering the ephemeral art

8 min


Stories are a very popular type of content on Instagram. In them, you can shoot short videos and photos that disappear after 24 hours, sharing your impressions of memorable moments. If you only want your stories to be seen by your close friends and not all of your followers, you can customize the showing of your stories, making them more private.

As you might have realized, stories are a very useful and interesting feature in Instagram, which unfortunately not everyone knows how to use properly. In this article, we will tell you what Instagram stories are, how to apply them, what additional features are associated with them and how to use them in your business. 

insta-stories
The ultimate guide to Instagram Stories. Image: Freepik

What is an Instagram story and how do they work? 

Instagram story is one of Instagram’s features with which you can post photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours. In Stories, you can add photos, videos, live streams, and overlay text and various interactives such as polls and quizzes.

In this way, the stories instagram feature allows users to share moments from their lives in real time. How long can instagram stories be? The length of the IG story cannot exceed 15 seconds. Stories have become very popular since their inception and are gradually replacing other types of content on Instagram. You can use Stories to share moments from your life or advertise your business.

Due to the short format, Stories are convenient and interesting to view, which increases audience engagement.

How to post a story on Instagram?

To create stories Instagram, you need to follow the following simple steps:

  • Launch the app on your device (iPhone or Android) and sign in to your account if you’re not already authorized;
  • On the Instagram home screen, tap the camera icon in the top left corner or swipe left on the home screen;
  • You can take a new photo or video by tapping the round button at the bottom, or select an existing one by tapping the icon at the bottom of the screen;
  • Tap the «Aa» icon in the top right corner to add text. You can choose the font, color, and size of the text;
  • Scroll down to see the available filters and effects you can apply to your stories instagram;
  • Click the smiley icon in the top bar to add polls, quizzes, or questions;
  • Click the Publish button at the bottom of the screen to post your story content.
insta storie
Canva. Screenshot: Microsoft Store

Editing Instagram Stories

If you have posted a story content but decide to edit it, you can do so as follows:

  • On the Instagram home screen, tap your avatar in the circle to the left of the news feed to open your profile;
  • Click on the story you want to edit. Then scroll down to find the story you want to edit and click on it;
  • Click on the «Three Dots» icon at the bottom right of your stories instagram. Select «Edit» from the menu;
  • You can then change the text, add new items, or delete existing items;
  • Click on «Done» to save your changes or «Delete» to delete your story.

Story Elements for Engaging Content

Creating engaging Stories requires a combination of creativity, visual appeal, and understanding your audience’s interests. Let’s take a look at the basic ground rules for creating engaging instagram story.

The first thing you should pay attention to when creating high-quality and engaging insta stories is the quality of your visual content. No one will watch your stories if its quality does not exceed 144 pixels. Use high-quality, non-blurry photos and videos to make your Stories enjoyable to watch.

The color palette is also a very important factor — it should be bright and stylish to attract users’ attention. It’s also worth adding different visuals to your stories, creating your own, unique style or adding more visual aesthetics.

The second, but equally important part of creating good stories is the use of storytelling. Your stories should have some sort of storyline and it should be engaging to grab the attention of your viewers. Cliffhanger — cutting off the story at the most interesting point.

ig atories
Adobe Spark. Screenshot: Adobe website

This technique is also useful to add to your stories to keep the intrigue alive and make your viewers watch the next story. Also include calls to action in insta stories to provoke viewers to leave a comment under the story, swipe up to learn more, and so on.

Experimenting with different formats is reasonable either. Add text overlays, use animations, and insert different design elements into your stories, such as stickers, GIFs, and emoji. Also try formats such as stories from different locations, start live streaming, invite your business partners and so on. 

In addition, it is very important that your stories are unique, as viewers will not be interested in watching similar content that they have already seen on other accounts. Try to use unusual, unique filters, show little-known places, make creative videos and create your own and unique style. Don’t forget to put appropriate hashtags to make it easier for your target audience to find your account and watch your stories.

Optimizing the timing of your Stories is also a good solution, as people will be more willing to watch your Stories if they are not busy at that time. To determine the right time to publish your stories, you need to analyze your audience. We wrote more about the best time to publish content on Instagram in this article.

If you need an example of quality Instagram stories, you can use the famous sportswear company Nike as a basis. Nike often creates engaging insta stories using dynamic videos, motivational quotes, and interactive stickers to engage their audience and promote their products.

instagram historias
Unfold. Screenshot: Unfold website

Like Nike, Adidas actively uses IG story to showcase new sports collections, promote sporting events and participate in campaigns with celebrities. Red Bull, too, often shares exciting videos of extreme sports, events and music festivals on Instagram Stories, which fits their brand image perfectly.

Starbucks uses Instagram Stories to promote their new drinks, promotions, and to build a community around their brand by organizing contests and discussing news. BMW uses IG story to promote their new car models, conduct test drives, and showcase their customers’ unique insta story.

Tools and apps to improve Stories

  • Canva. Canva provides a wide range of templates and tools for creating beautiful text overlays, animations, and design elements;
  • Adobe Spark. Adobe Spark lets you quickly create attractive graphics and videos using templates and editing tools;
  • Unfold. Unfold offers stylish templates for creating elegant story instagram using text, images, and video clips;
  • StoryArt.This mobile app offers a huge selection of templates, filters, effects and stickers to create creative story instagram. StoryArt also includes photo and video editing tools;
  • Over. A handy app for adding text and graphics to your photos and videos. It offers a wide range of fonts, stickers and effects to make your insta story unique;
  • InShot. While InShot is primarily known as a video editor, it also offers tools for creating stories. You can add text, stickers, filters, and effects to your photos and videos;
  • Pixaloop: This app offers tools for creating animated stories. You can add animations to your photos, making the stories more attractive and interesting.

Viewing and privacy controls

To view insta stories of other members’, go to their profile and click on their profile picture. Then scroll down to view their story instagram. That said, you can’t find out who has viewed your stories, as Instagram doesn’t have that feature. You can only see the total number of views. There is also no way to view insta stories anonymously, as your name appears in the list of viewers. However, you can control who sees your stories by setting privacy settings on your profile. You can choose to have your insta story visible to all your followers, only to certain friend lists, or hidden from certain users. 

what is a story on instagram
Hootsuite. Screenshot: Hootsuite website

Harnessing the power of Instagram Stories for brands 

Instagram Stories is a great marketing tool for brand promotion. Businesses can use this feature to create a more direct connection with their audience and promote their products and services.

Product and brand promotion

For example, with Instagram Stories, companies can showcase their products or services in action. This can range from short videos to photos that allow them to show the features and benefits of their products. You can also use this format for instructional videos, showing how to properly use products or services.

In addition, brands can use story instagram to share with the audience everything behind the scenes, for example, unique moments in the life of the company. This could be the process of creating products, working on projects, internal events, etc. This allows you to show a more personal side of the brand and strengthen the connection with your audience.

Insta story is a great place to organize various promotions and contests. Brands can organize giveaways where participants can win company products or services, which encourages engagement and attracts new followers. You can also post exclusive offers and discounts only for subscribers in Stories.

how to add a story to your story
Buffer. Screenshot: Buffer website

Influencer Engagement

Instagram Stories also provides great opportunities for influencer marketing strategies. Brands can collaborate with Influencers by inviting them to share their experiences using products or services in their Stories. This helps increase audience reach and build brand trust.

Choose Influencers as your account progresses – if your account doesn’t have a large number of subscribers yet, you shouldn’t order advertising from popular bloggers. Look for smaller Influencers because their audience is much more engaged and will bring you more subscribers.

It’s also not uncommon for these Influencers to agree to reciprocal promotion without having to buy advertising. When you start to become more popular and your account crosses the threshold of several thousand subscribers, you can buy advertising from larger Influencers.

Analytics

To evaluate the effectiveness of instagram story, there are analytics tools provided by the platform itself. These track views, number of completions and audience engagement. This helps brands understand what content is performing best and how they can improve their strategies in the future.

In addition to the standard analytics tools, there’s Instagram Insights advanced analytics functionality for business Instagram account owners. With its help, you can get detailed information about your audience and viewers of stories, including information about age, GEO, gender, and time of activity.

If you lack the capabilities of the built-in tools, you can use third-party analytics services, such as Hootsuite, Buffer, and Sprout Social. These services provide various tools for interacting with social networks, and can also collect analytics about your audience, conveniently structure it and provide data on the effectiveness of your posts, stories and other types of content.

how to post on instagram story
Sprout Social. Screenshot: Sprout Social website

Advanced techniques for effective stories

  • Scheduling Stories. Instagram restrictions only allow you to schedule stories 24 hours in advance. However, there are third-party apps and services that allow you to schedule content in advance and automatically publish it at the specified time;
  • Advanced features of Stories. Instagram Stories offers a number of advanced features such as countdowns, live broadcasts with multiple guests, story icons, and shopping features. These features help create more interesting and engaging content, capturing the attention of your audience;
  • Collaboration. Brands can also collaborate with other accounts on Instagram Stories to create shared stories, helping to increase audience reach. You can also repurpose your Instagram Stories for other platforms such as YouTube or TikTok to reach new audiences and increase the reach of your content;
  • Engage with your audience. Respond to comments and messages from your viewers to increase audience engagement.

Conclusion

Instagram Stories is a useful tool for brands and users that opens up a lot of potential for creating creative and engaging content. Stories not only allow companies to effectively promote their products and services, but also create a closer interaction with the audience, share exciting moments from life and run various promotions and contests.

We recommend that you start experimenting with different features of instagram story and unleash your creativity to increase your audience reach and sales. We also suggest you check out this article on the best time to publish Instagram posts.

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