8 Tips for Making the Most of Instagram Stories
We’ll be the first to admit it: We weren’t very excited about Instagram Stories when they were first launched.
It looked like a bad copy of Snapchat but without the funny lenses and geo-filters.
But, as more and more people jumped on the Instagram Stories bandwagon, we began to realize that there’s more to the feature than meets the eye.
The numbers paint an accurate picture: in April, Instagram Stories outperformed all Snapchat activity (200 million users vs. 160 million.)
And, the reasons are pretty simple: Instagram took the best of Snapchat and refined it to take it to the next level.
If, just like us, you’ve been reluctant about using Instagram Stories until now then you’re probably wondering how you can get started? And, most importantly, you want to know what makes a good Instagram story.
First off, the story itself must be engaging and exciting to your viewers. Also, expect to receive a lot of feedback since Instagram Stories act as a bridge between you and your followers. But, perhaps the most crucial element of a Story is that it should be entertaining.
With that in mind, here are some tips to make the most of Instagram Stories and have fun while doing it.
1. Use the Boomerang Feature
It's embedded in Stories and pretty straightforward to use, although it may take a lot of trial and error to master. Boomerang is an app created by Instagram that allows you to create short videos by using a series of photos that loop back and forth.
Whenever you start a Story, you can see the options Normal and Boomerang at the bottom. Choose the latter, and the camera button will get an infinity symbol. Tap it to start recording, then tap it again to stop. Add it to your story to spice it up a bit.
2. Use a Solid Background
If you don't want to share a photo but a composite visual or the wise words of an online prophet, then a solid background works best.
Up until the newest update, people used to cover the phone camera with their hand or just shoot a picture of a blank wall to get a solid background. Fortunately, Instagram changed that and introduced an option that allows you to select any color you want for your background.
Here's how to do it:
- Take a photo;
- Tap the pen icon;
- Select any color you wish to use;
- Keep your finger on the screen for three seconds;
Here is how it looks visually:
3. Add Background Music
Do you want to make your stories more entertaining?
Well, then the best and simplest way to do it is by adding background music.
The great news is that Instagram lets you do this without the hassle of using video editing tools. The app can record songs playing on your phone, so all you have to do is press play and start recording your video.
4. See Who Viewed Your Story
Let’s admit it: you’re probably dying of curiosity wanting to know who checks out your Stories daily. Not to mention that this useful insight will allow you to adjust your content based on what your followers want to see.
All you need to do is to open your story and then swipe up to see both the number and the names of the people who looked at the photos or videos.
Also, if you want to restrict access to your stories for some users, here is how you do it:
- Select Options from the menu by tapping the gear icon if you use an iPhone, or the ellipsis icon if you use an Android phone;
- Select Account and then tap on the Story Settings button;
- Select Hide My Story From and choose who you want to hide your stories from;
- Click Done;
You can select this option before or after you've looked at who has seen your story. Depending on who you see on that list, tap the ellipsis icon near the person's name and select the Hide Story From button.
5. Embed Your Selfie in the Story
Instagram copied this feature from Snapchat, but that doesn’t make it less interesting. You can add your selfie as a sticker in your Instagram Stories to give them more weight and context. Selfie stickers will show your reaction to the story and give it a more human side.
Here’s how to do it:
- Take a picture;
- Tap on the stickers icon and then select camera;
- Choose from a variety of different frames;
- Insert the selfie and position it where you want;
Here’s what it looks like in action:
6. Zoom During Your Story
This trick is incredibly easy to put into action, but it can make your content more vivid and engaging. For instance, you can use it to single out a specific area in your story or highlight a detail. Then you can revert to the general view with a single touch of a button.
Here’s how to zoom in and out during your story:
- Open the Instagram Stories camera by swiping right from your home screen;
- Begin recording your video, holding down the capture button;
- Using the same finger, slide up or down to zoom in or out.
7. Upload Snapchat Videos as Stories
Sometimes using Snapchat is handier, especially if you are accustomed to this platform more than with Instagram. The good news is that you can have your cake and eat it too. In other words, you can download Snapchat Stories and then use them with Instagram Stories.
- Find your story and download it by pressing the arrow down button;
- The story will be saved to your Memories or your gallery;
- If you use Memories, select the story from there and save the video by tapping the icon with an upwards-pointing arrow;
In Instagram Stories:
- Swipe right or tap the camera icon;
- After swiping down from the top of the screen, you can choose a saved photo or video from the last 24 hours – select the video downloaded from Snapchat.
- Both Snapchat and Instagram Stories have the lifespan of a mayfly, so don't forget you will be permitted to upload only images that are no older than a day.
8. Tag Other Users in Your Stories
If we're comparing Snapchat to Instagram Stories, the latter has one big advantage: you can tag people in your story.
Not only is it an excellent way to draw their attention, but you can also keep them posted about what you're up to at the moment. This feature is also helpful if you want to highlight influencers and boost your account’s popularity.
Here’s how to tag someone:
- Look for the "Aa" icon (it's in the upper right corner) and tap it to add text;
- You can then select the username from the pop-up menu;
- You can also type the @ symbol followed by the account name of the person you'd like to mention;
Please be aware that you can only tag up to 10 people in each Instagram Story. The person will be informed that they were tagged and will also receive a preview of your story.
Instagram Stories are a useful, fun and effective tool if you know how to take advantage of their hidden features.
Just make sure to look through all of these hacks, try them out, and see what fits your profile.