Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms today. Individuals, brands, and influencers use the platform on a daily basis. The Instagram stories feature is popular with all types of users. Making your story stand out will help you take advantage of this feature and reach a wider audience.
Whether your Instagram account is personal, or you manage a business or brand’s account, creating Instagram stories is a fun way of engaging your followers and attracting new ones.
For brands, Instagram stories can be a very lucrative part of their marketing strategy. It is a valuable opportunity to post creative content that can reach a huge audience and attract new customers. With over 200 million people actively using Instagram stories every day, the potential market is huge.
What is an Instagram Story?
An Instagram story is a photo or video that users can upload and it remains available to view for 24 hours. After the 24-hour period, it disappears.
This allows you to post updates and content that is relevant at the moment but will not clutter up user’s news feeds. The content is not added to the main news feed or your profile grid.
Your followers and other interested people can choose to see stories, whilst they are available. All accounts can add a story. The stories are displayed in a bar at the top of your feed. If someone has added a story within the last 24 hours, their profile picture will be highlighted with a colored circle around it. Tapping on the profile picture will show the story.
Instagram stories are a fun, very popular way to engage followers. They can be a particularly valuable way for brands to promote content. Offering insights of the brand or new product updates, will increase brand awareness and drive traffic to your other content or sites.
So, how can you make sure your stories stand out from the crowd in the best way? We look at various additional features you can add to make your stories more attractive and engaging.
How to Make Your Instagram Story Stand Out
If you use Instagram regularly, you are more than likely confident with the basics of adding a story. However, just in case you are not. Do not worry, as it is very simple.
Once logged into Instagram, tap the camera on the top left of your screen or swipe right. You can then swipe up to choose to add an image from your camera roll, or use the camera lens to take a photo or video. When you have the photo or video, you can add additional features to complete the creative look you want. When the design is finished tap on ‘Your story’ at the bottom of the screen. This will share your Instagram story for 24 hours.
Your content and the way it is presented are very important. With Instagram stories, you can be inventive and show your brands personality. It is the additional features and how you use them to design your content that will attract and engage users, making your story stand out.
When taking a photo or video in the app there are 6 different types to choose from.
In normal mode, tapping the circle button once will take a photo. Holding it down will record a video. Instagram stories are only 15 seconds in length. Longer videos will need to be cut into 15-second sections.
Live videos are broadcasted directly to your followers, who can follow along in real-time. This video will disappear after it is finished unless you choose to save it.
Boomerang mode creates a GIF. It combines a series of photos to create a short video, which plays forward and then backward, on repeat.
Superzoom zooms closer and closer to your subject. It also has a sound effect that can be dramatic if you turn the volume up when recording.
As the name suggests, Rewind mode films the video in reverse.
In Hands-Free mode you do not have to hold the button down to record. Just tap once to start the recording then one more time to stop. This way you can set your phone up somewhere and make the recording.
To add a filter to the image, swipe left. This will show you a variety of different filter options and you can choose your favorite. Different filters can instantly change the look and feel of an image.
Color is important, especially for branding. Using your brand colors where possible, will help your content remain consistent. Think about incorporating your brand colors in the text or background.
To add a background color, tap the pen icon at the top right of the screen to open the color palette. Select the color you want. Then hold your finger down on the middle of the image until the color fills the screen.
If you want to show a bit of the image that is underneath, use the eraser tool to remove parts of the background color.
Use Your Own Color Scheme
Cannot find the same colors as those in your branding? Or perhaps a different shade would stand out better on your image? You can access a greater selection of colors in Instagram. Simply hold down your finger on one of the color options to open up the full color scale. You can then select whatever shade you prefer.
You can use the pen to emphasize certain words or parts of the story, add symbols, text, or whatever creative elements you can think of. Tapping on the pen symbol in the top right will open the color palette and pen/brush options. You can choose the style and thickness of the pen stroke and what color it will be.
Text can be useful in Instagram stories, but the basic version can look a little dull. To add a bit more interest to your text, you can create a shadow effect behind it.
Tap the ‘Aa’ icon to open up the text screen and write out your message. Then repeat this, writing out the exact same message but in a different color. Lay the top layer of text over the first. Make sure it is a little off center, this way the other color will also show.
Another way to add interest is to change the color of individual words. You can do this by highlighting each word separately and selecting the color you want.
You can also pin your text to a certain object in the video. Then if the object moves, the text will move with it. Tap and hold on the text to open the pin button, and then place the pin where you want it to be.
There are many different stickers available to choose from to customize your Instagram story. New unique stickers are also added fairly regularly. To view the stickers you can use, tap on the smiley face icon on the top right of the screen. There is a large choice of fun and themed stickers including holiday or seasonal themes.
Whatever sticker you choose to add, you can move it around your image and adjust the size if necessary. Select the sticker and using two fingers either pinch or expand them. It makes them smaller or larger.
Select the location option in the stickers menu. Then choose your location from the list or type it into the search bar. Once you have selected the location, tap on it to add it to your story. Tap on the sticker to customize its color.
Adding a location (or geotag) to your story will also make it discoverable when users search for that location. If users tap on the button, they will be able to see other posts and stories with that location too.
This you can add to your story as a sticker. To make your own selfie sticker open the sticker menu and select the camera icon. Next, take a selfie. Then you can place it where you want on the image. Tapping on the sticker will give it a circular border, tapping again will remove the border.
Like the location sticker adding a hashtag sticker to your story will make it visible in searches for that hashtag. This allows your story to reach a larger audience, not just your followers. The hashtag sticker is also found in the sticker menu. Tap on the smiley face in the top right of the screen to access it.
Tag Other Accounts
You can tag up to 10 other accounts in your story. They will get a notification that you tagged them. Mentioning another account in your story can be a great way to collaborate with other businesses, tag people or add a shout-out for an influencer.
To tag another account tap the ‘Aa’ icon to open the text box type @ then the account name. Do not leave a space between the @ and name. A drop-down list will appear and you can select the account from that.
Polls can encourage engagement in your stories. There is a two-way poll sticker option that you can add to your story to have followers answer a question. Select the poll option from the stickers menu.
You can even customize the answers, so it does not have to just be Yes or No. Make it more personal using your own or the brands style of voice.
Music or sound effects can add appeal to your story. A simple way to add it is to play music from your phone whilst recording the video.
If you have a verified account, you can add links to your stories. This is a great opportunity to direct users to a blog or sales page where they can get more information. Once you have created your image or video, tap on the paperclip symbol on the top right. Add the link URL there, and when you publish the story it will say swipe up at the bottom. Users can swipe up and be taken to the linked website.
Creating appealing and engaging Instagram stories can be fun and worthwhile. They are a great way to reach out to new people and promote your content. However, it can be time-consuming. In order to make creating great content for Instagram stories less of a challenge, you can use customizable templates.
Using online design tools such as Adobe Spark or Canva, you can create templates for various types of stories. These can then be adjusted to create fresh new content quickly, rather than starting from scratch every time.
Today Instagram has over 200 million users. Both individuals and brands are using the platform to share photos, videos and engage with a large audience of people. Publishing content with Instagram stories can help increase brand awareness, attract new followers and add a bit of personality to your profile.
Available for only 24 hours, stories are short videos or images that offer a unique insight into what’s happening. These fun posts are very popular and can be valuable marketing tools if used well.
There are so many ways to create unique and authentic content. The options are endless. Finding your own style is important in order to stand out from the crowd. Consistent, quality stories will encourage people to follow and look forward to your content.
So, go ahead and get creative. What will your next Instagram story be?