Are you making the most of what Instagram Stories have to offer? Stories are a great way to share playful and interactive content about your business, but it’s easy to fall into the routine of sticking to what you know and sharing the same old content time and time again. In this article, we’ll give you some top tips on how to break out of the stalemate and start getting creative, attracting people’s attention and engaging your audience with Instagram Stories again, using all of the creative tools Instagram has to offer.
What do Instagram Stories allow you to do?
Instagram Stories are a fun and easy way to keep your audience updated and engaged with your business. Some of the things Instagram Stories allow you to do include:
Design fun photos and videos using the creative tools
Add interactive stickers to your story to engage with your audience
Attract people’s attention with an immersive full-screen experience
Share information in a creative and authentic way
Invite your community to engage with you through interactive features
How to create Instagram Stories
There’s two ways to start creating a Story on Instagram:
1. Start by taking a photo or video with the Stories camera
To get to your Stories camera, tap the plus icon in the top right corner of your screen. You can also swipe left to open the camera from your feed. Tap the shutter button to take a picture, or tap and hold it to take a video. If you take a photo or video that you don’t want to use, you can delete it by tapping the X in the top left of the screen.
2. Start by uploading your own photo or video
To upload a picture or video you already took from your phone library, tap the small picture thumbnail on the bottom left of the Stories camera or swipe up.
After you’ve got a basic Story through one of the ways above, you can start getting playful with it. The Stories camera has some extra features to play with, for example you can share a text-based story by tapping on ‘Create’ or apply a filter to your photo or video by swiping left and right on the screen to try one of the many available filters.
Creative tools you can use in Instagram Stories
Now, let’s look at the individual tools available on Instagram Stories and how you can use them to make your Stories more creative, fun and engaging. Just make sure to use these techniques relatively sparingly (don’t necessarily overload one Story with all of them) so that they stand out.
Adding text to your story allows you to share information and interact with your community. You can change the font, highlight or change the color of the text and even add a drop shadow. You can now also add a colorful background to the text to make it easy to read against your photo or video.
Instagram also offers a rainbow text feature, which you can use with clean and uncluttered photos to add more visual interest. You can create a rainbow gradient effect across your text by:
1. Tapping to select all the text
2. Tapping and holding any colour with one finger
3. Tapping and holding the end of the text selector with another finger
4. Now moving both fingers at the same speed: you’ll deselect all the text while moving your finger through the gradient at the same time
You can use Instagram’s brush tool to draw on a photo or video with a regular pen, a neon pen or a highlighter. If you mess up, you can select the eraser to correct and perfect your Story. You can also change the colour of your brush and make the tip of your pen larger or smaller by dragging the scroll bar on the left side of the screen up and down.
The Brush tool can be used to write or draw on any image, but some ways you could use it often for your business include to draw arrows that point to key parts of your photo or video, or underline words to emphasise a point.
Instagram Stories allow you to add ‘stickers’, which are graphic design elements that you can add to your images and videos. Stickers allow you to do a whole range of things, including showing how you’re feeling with a mood or emoji sticker, tagging your city or location of your business with the location sticker, mentioning other people and businesses using the @mention sticker, and interacting with your community with the range of interaction stickers. Here’s a list of all the stickers available on Instagram Stories and how to use them:
Location sticker: Use this sticker to tag your city or your business location so people know where to find you. To make a location for your business address, connect your Instagram account to a Facebook Page that you manage and that has a physical location. After you link the accounts, the location data will populate on Instagram
Mention sticker: Mention other people and businesses using the @mention sticker. Include the people you feature in your photo or video by mentioning them in your story: simply type @ and their username or use the @mention sticker. People who watch your story can tap the tag and view the other person’s profile, and the person you mentioned can also share your story to their story
Poll sticker or emoji slider sticker: You can use poll stickers to write your own question and customise the answers, allowing users to vote and engage with your content. With an emoji slider, users can respond to your question/statement by sliding the emoji you’ve chosen along a scale. Once it’s published, your followers that vote will be able to see the results in real time. When you view your story and swipe up, you can see how many votes each option received and how each person voted. These stickers are a great way of getting simple feedback from your customers quickly, asking your audience for their preferences for new business features/products and checking their availability to attend a future event.
Question sticker: Add a question sticker to find out what people want to learn about. People can tap the sticker in your story, then type a question which you will be able to see when you view your own story and swipe up. You can also share responses by tapping them and choosing ‘share’ – when you do this, their photo and username won’t show up, so users can remain anonymous.
Quiz sticker: You can use the quiz sticker to create multiple-choice questions for your followers to answer. Try testing your community on industry trivia or asking them questions about your products or services.
Challenge sticker: Invite a friend to join a popular social media challenge by sharing a photo or video of yourself participating and adding a challenge sticker. You can also nominate friends to complete the challenge by tagging them directly in your story.
Donation sticker: The donation sticker allows you to raise funds for a cause you care about. When you select the donation sticker you want to add to your story, you can choose the charity you want to raise money for and customise the name of your fundraiser. When people see your donation sticker in your story, they can tap ‘donate’ to make a contribution. Swipe up on your story to see the total amount you’ve raised and the usernames of people who have donated.
Boomerangs are captivating videos that loop back and forth, and are a great way of creating more eye-catching and dynamic content without the need to film a full video. You can find Boomerang in the Stories camera by swiping up from the bottom of your screen. Tap once and Boomerang does the rest, recording a burst of 10 photos and turning them into a mini video that you have the option to add effects, text and stickers to.
The Layout tool enables you to create one-of-a-kind layouts by shuffling your existing photos and sharing them with your friends. Choose photos from your gallery – or use the in-app camera to take pictures on the go – and instantly see them laid out in a collage for you to share. Make sure to select/take two or three images that have one clear focal point so that they will remain clear when combined into a collage.
Looking for more advanced tips?
For more advanced tips on how to get creative with Instagram Stories, join the Digital Women membership now. Here, you’ll gain access to the latest training by Digital Women Founder Lucy Hall, including more top tips and explanations on how to use Instagram Live for Business, how to get creative with Instagram Stories and more.
Join before 1st March for just £15 month!
Instagram Stories allow you to grab your audience’s attention and tell your business’ story in a unique, engaging and interactive way
Using the creative tools in Instagram Stories can help to make your photos and videos more fun and effective
Instagram Stories offers a range of interactive stickers that encourage your audience to engage with your business or brand
If you’re looking for more advanced tips on how to get creative with Instagram Stories and use Stories for your business, join the Digital Women membership today