Instagram Story Features (And how to use them!)

Instagram Story Features (And how to use them!)

Your goal this year was to kill it on Instagram. You wanted to gain as many new followers as possible, build a trusting relationship with those followers and hopefully even turn a few of those Instagram followers into clients. But, In order to make those goals a reality you must be utilizing all of the latest Instagram trends for 2019 – and that includes those Instagram Stories features that may baffle you a little.

Let’s go over the basics.

What is an Instagram Story?

Instagram Stories are an engaging way to share photos, videos and live content with your followers. Instagram Stories allow Instagram users to share these types of content to their “Story” – which is then visible to followers (and non-followers!) of the sender’s account. Typically, Instagram Stories disappear after 24 hours, which means they are a great way to create a sense of urgency for posts with a call to action. They are also just a fun, playful way to stay engaged with your audience.  

Why you should be using Instagram Stories

Over 500 million people use Instagram Stories daily. That is an extremely large amount of potential followers (and clients!) at your disposal. Every. Single. Day. As if that’s not enough, Instagram Stories are…

  • Discoverable by everyone, even if they don’t follow you! By adding hashtags and locations stickers, your story may appear on more than just your followers’ feeds. It may appear in the search for the hashtags and locations that you use, too.  
  • A surefire way to increase engagement. Adding polls and questions will help you spark a conversation, and often lead to a direct message!  
  • The perfect way to incorporate your personality into your brand. Stories are a great way to provide “live” messages to your audience – and if you mess up, don’t worry! They only stick around on your profile for 24 hours.  

Last but not least, when posted regularly, Instagram Stories will always keep you top of mind with your audience.  (And quite literally, at the top of their feed!)

How to post an Instagram Story

Posting an Instagram Story is easy peasy. Simply open Instagram and tap the camera icon in the upper left-hand corner of your device. You can choose to share a photo or video that you’ve already captured, or, you can choose to capture a video or photo in the app. That’s where the fun comes in.  

There are many different options to choose from for the type of story you want to share, including… 

For a text-only story, this option gives you a gradient background for which you can add text to.  Simple, to the point.  (But still fun).

If you toggle your screen to the “Live” option, you’ll start filming and broadcasting live on Instagram. Like Facebook Live, friends can follow along and leave comments, and when you’re done with the broadcast, you’ll have the option to let the video disappear, save it, or share it Instagram Stories for an additional 24 hours. 

Tapping once will capture a photo, and holding down will record a video. Instagram Stories can be 15 seconds in length, so if you want to share a video that’s longer, film in 15-second stints, or use a third-party app such as CutStory to split your longer clip into 15-second installments.

Boomerang mode films looping GIFs up to three seconds in length. In other words, super short videos of a single action that go forwards and then backwards and then forwards and then . . .

Superzoom is, on the surface, a video recording lens that zooms in closer and closer on your subject. But turn up the volume, and you can use Superzoom to create a dramatic soundtrack to accompany your video.

Focus provides guided help with just that, focusing your image.

Use the rewind lens to film a video in reverse.

Stop Motion
Use this lens to film cool stop-motion videos: several different still images woven together in one seamless video. Think of it as the video version of a flip book.

Use hands-free mode if you want to set up your camera to film a video for you. Make sure you prop it somewhere stable before you call “Action.” We’ll talk more about this feature in a minute.

Once you’ve finished editing your photo or video, tap “Your Story,” or tap “Next” to share it to your Story and to other friends at the same time.  You can also save your masterpiece to your device’s photo gallery by tapping “Save” in the lower left-hand corner.

How to make the most out of your Instagram Story

Use GIFs & Emojis.
Once you’ve captured a great photo or video, it’s time to jazz it up with some fun stickers. You can access these by tapping the smiling sticker icon in the upper right-hand corner of your screen once you’ve captured a photo or video — or swipe up from the bottom of your screen.

Change the size of your stickers.
You can pinch the sticker once you’ve added to your story to increase or decrease its size. You can also tap and drag it around the frame to change its position.

Add location & hashtag stickers.
By adding location stickers your Story will show in searches for that location, and viewers will be able to click it and see who else is using it. Instagram aggregates hashtags on stories, so some stories using the hashtag make it into the aggregation, others don’t. But it can’t hurt to try!

Add an engagement element.
Polls, questions, the “love-o-meter” are great ways to crank your stories up a notch.  You can ask questions or even show off photos of your projects and ask for feedback.  

If you haven’t added Instagram Stories to your digital marketing plan yet, we highly suggest you stop what you’re doing – and start posting.

Need help?  We’d love to chat!  

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