Once upon a Story – Diving down the rabbit hole

cute rabbit with eyeglasses
Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

If you’ve been sleeping on Instagram Stories, it’s time to wake up.

You see, Stories are a big deal on the ‘Gram – over 500 million people view them daily. That’s a whole lot of potential customers!

Instagram Stories (or as the cool kids call them “Insta-Stories”) allow you to really connect with your audience – not just through pretty images and killer copy. 

However, it can seem really overwhelming if you’re just starting out. But don’t stress, we’re going to help break down how to use Stories for your business. 

Who?

In short, if you’re a business or brand on social media you’re going to want to be on Instagram Stories.

What?

Think of Stories as a secondary, exclusive feed of content for your community. Stories allow users to create a feed of consecutive content that disappears within 24 hours. Content can either be static photos or video.  

There’s a whole lot more creative freedom associated with Stories than the typical grid post. Think fun elements such as polls, emojiis and question stickers.

When?

As mentioned earlier, Stories only stick around for 24 hours before vanishing from your account.  Due to their short life-cycle, there is a sense of urgency and scarcity around them, making them must-see content for followers in the know.

Where?

Stories are found across the top of your Insta-feed. A coloured circle around your profile photo lets followers know that you’ve recently added to your Story. But just what do these colours mean? 

If the circle around the profile picture is orange and pink, then the user has added a new Story and you need to click on their profile image to check it out. If the circle is green, then the person’s Story can be watched by only those who are in close friends list (think super exclusive content!). If the circle’s grey you’re up to date!

While Stories do vanish from your feed, you can save Stories to your homepage to turn them into ‘highlights”. This is particularly great for tips and FAQs – you can answer them in video format and save them for later reference.

 Why?

Aside from the large audience – remember 500 million people daily! – there’s a whole lot of benefits to Stories. Here’s just a handful:

  • It’s simple to use. All you really need is a mobile phone and good lighting. 
  • There are many formats that you can try. How-tos, behind-the-scenes – the opportunities are endless.
  • It’s casual. People are on the site to be entertained. Instead of banging on about why your product is awesome, why not wow your audience with a kick-ass video demonstration instead?
  • It’s only up for 24 hours, so it’s a great way to test out new ideas. Story a flop? No stress, the content won’t be around forever.

How?

Ready to dive into Stories? Here’s a quick tutorial to get you started:

  1. Tap the camera icon top left.
  2. Just point and shoot or import any photo or video on your camera roll. Tap the icon at bottom left to find the images you want to add.
  3. Skip straight to step 10 to post or continue reading on some how-tos for Story features.
  4.  Swipe left or right to add a filter if desired. Or tap the smiley face at top to find some super cute and fun options (think animal ears/ funny faces/retro filters/quiz questions – the possibilities are endless!). 
  5. Tap the link icon to link to your website (you can only do this if you have over 10K followers) or to your IGTV video.
  6. Tap the emoji face to add all kinds of cool stickers.
  7. Tap the pencil if you wish to write, scribble, or colour on your Story.
  8. Tap Aa to add any text. You can choose from six fonts and lots of colours.
  9.  Swipe any element down and into the trash can to delete it.
  10.  Tap Your Stories at lower left to add to your Stories.

Phew! There’s a whole lot to Instagram Stories and we really only touched the surface today. But like most things, practice makes perfect and it’s about finding what works for your business. Give Stories a go and let us know how you went in the comments below!

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