Keeping up to date on social media trends can be a serious headache sometimes. Especially if you have a personal account and a separate brand account to worry about. And just when you think you have the hang of things, you get that upgrade notification from the App Store and suddenly there’s a brand new feature you have to figure out.
Remember when Instagram Stories first rolled out? It felt like everyone was quick to write it off because…Snapchat. Plus, the thought of double dipping into our content to post on both platforms just seemed silly. But then an interesting thing happened…brands figured out what role Instagram Stories could play in their larger marketing strategies. And the little-feature-that-could all of a sudden became the main event.
We love Instagram Stories simply because it can be what you make of it. In other words, there’s an entire creative world that exists beyond selfie filters and sticker-decorated screenshots. In fact, there are ways you can get really creative and we’ve compiled some of our favorite ideas here. If you’re ready to make your next Instagram story really stick in the minds of your followers, read on.
How to make Instagram Stories.
Let’s kick it off with the basics: how do you start an Instagram story? In the top left corner of your Instagram home page (aka your feed), tap the “Your Story” button with your profile picture in the little circle (below the camera icon). You can also swipe right on your home screen to get to this page. Create your story by taking/uploading a picture or video. Then click “Next” and select “Your Story.” Then hit Send. And there you have it! You’ve uploaded a story.
Some things to note:
- To zoom on a video slide your finger up while holding the record button.
- Swipe left at the bottom of your screen to change in between Live, Normal, Boomerang, Rewind and Hands-Free modes.
- To use Instagram’s fun stickers click the smiley face in the top right corner.
- To mute a video click on the microphone button in the top right corner.
Okay, now to the fun part. Here are some of my favorite tips and tricks on how to make your Instagram stories more creative, fun and engaging for your followers.
Create a color background, solid or transparent
Adding a solid or transparent color as a background for your story can make tapping through more fun and your narrative more eye-catching. Click on the paintbrush button in the top right corner then select either the fine tip marker for a solid background or the slanted marker for a transparent background. Once you’ve selected either one, just hold down your finger on the screen and voilá! You’ve just added a colorful background.
Make your text look 3D
Add a dimension to your stories with text that pops out at you. Select the text button in the top right corner of your screen. Now type out your text twice using different colors. Now drag the text layers so that they’re layered, creating a shadow effect.
Upload a picture or video from your camera roll
It’s nearly impossible to take the right picture or video on the first try. So instead of trying to capture the perfect shot using Instagram’s native app, select one from your camera roll and upload it to your story instead. To do this, swipe up from the bottom of your screen and choose the photo you want to use. Instagram will only let you choose between photos you’ve taken in the last 24 hours so if you want to add an older photo, make sure that you either re-save it or take a screenshot of it so that it appears as a more recent image in your photo gallery.
Taste the rainbow.
Or, at least sample all of the colors for your text, drawings, and backgrounds simply by holding your finger down on the colors. Then drag your finger around to find the perfect shade. There’s three different color palettes you can swipe through.
Mention Other Instagram Pages
Promoting a product in your Instagram story? You can mention its Instagram page directly in your story! Add text and type the @ symbol and a drop down list of Instagram accounts will appear. Now when someone clicks their @ name it’ll take them directly to their Insta page. It makes promoting something in an Instagram post look much more natural and clean because you can change up the colors of the text and really integrate it into the photo or video you’re posting.
Use Boomerang and Rewind features
Video is an amazing way to engage your followers. People have done some really impressive things using Instagram stories as a filmmaking platform. But if video isn’t yet on your radar, you can still spice up your stories with a Boomerang or the Rewind feature. A Boomerang is a moving picture that loops and the Rewind feature lets you play your videos backwards. To access these features, swipe left from the camera button.
Use the eraser.
But not to erase your mess-ups! Upload a picture and cover all of it or part of it with a color of your choice. Now use the eraser to expose the image behind it. You can scrawl words or draw designs across your image so the picture behind it peeks out.
Highlight using the glow marker
Tap to add text and select the glow marker. This is great to use for writing in your prettiest cursive, circling things to make them stand out or just creating cute designs!
Embellish with drawings and designs
Get creative with your photography by adding some flair. Even something simple like polka dots can take your graphics to the next level. Use different brush sizes to vary the kinds of polka dots in your pictures and immediately give it a different feel.
Instagram Stories for your brand
Instagram stories are a powerful tool for brands to engage followers but also a great way to express yourself on one of the most visual and social platforms out there. These are just some ideas that show how different your Instagram stories can be from your regular posts or even Snapchat. As with any social media platform, remember to always stay on brand with colors and images. If you’re feeling overwhelmed about designing your own Instagram stories, see if you can leverage other tools and resources. Canva, for instance, has an entire section just for Instagram story designs.
Whether you’re using Instastories for your professional or personal Instagram I hope you try out these tips & tricks! Leave a comment with which tip you liked the best or your own Instagram story hacks.
Craving more? We have even more bonus tips for turning your Instagram stories into marketing masterpieces. Download the free resource sheet here and let us know your favorite bonus tip in the comments!