Instagram Stories have been around for a while now. Are they worth spending the extra time on? Will they drive traffic to your shop? When stories were first introduced, Instagram took some flack as a copycat of Snapchat. Copycat or not it’s hard to deny that Instagram Stories have grown tremendously since their inception.
So much so, Instagram now has nearly 100m more people using stories than does Snapchat. WHOA!
Simply having lots of Story users doesn’t prove anything about the effectiveness of stories, though. With that said, check out some of these stats provided by Instagram:
Since adding Stories to Instagram, users are on the platform longer and more frequently
- Those under the age of 25 spend more than 32 minutes/day on IG
- Those over the age of 25 spend more than 24 minutes a day
- Both groups spend 15-21 of those minutes on STORIES!
OK, so what's a Story anyhow?
Instagram Stories are photos and videos that vanish after 24 hours. They don’t live in the typical feed and, instead, are found at the very top of a users Instagram screen.
Pictures move in a carousel, each with a duration of 5 seconds while videos can last anywhere between 1 and 15 seconds. Instagram also has a “Live” feature built into stories. We’ll talk about this another day, though.
Stories are a great feature for brands to gain more exposure, give a glimpse of their shop behind the scenes, and share quick and fun content to their following. Better yet, by using stories, brands can avoid using yet another platform (such as Snapchat). Even more, Stories give brands a place to create more content without bombarding their follower’s feeds and are way more discoverable through Instagram search than are standard posts.
Our favorite reason to use Instagram Stories, though, is that it provides endless ways to get creative.
ONTO THE BASICS
CREATING A STORY
- Go to your profile page and click on your shop icon or go to your main feed and click on the camera icon on the top left corner.
Once you’ve created a story, tap the “+ your story” icon at the bottom right corner and it has officially been added to your story roll!
BACK IT UP--LETS GO INTO MORE DETAIL
Once you’ve made it to the “add to your story” screen, the bottom of your screen will allow you to swipe right and left to choose between a variety of story formats: Type, Live, Normal, Boomerang, Superzoom, Rewind, Hands-Free, and Stop Motion. Be on the lookout for more, too. Instagram is constantly adding fun new ways to use stories!
Want to use existing media from your camera roll for your story? Simply swipe up and your camera roll will appear. Instagram used to limit this to content created in the last 24 hours, but no longer does! If you are uploading a custom image, you’ll want to create it to be 1080 x 1920 pixels. The video aspect ratio is 9:16, and the length can very from anywhere between one second and 15 seconds.
Once you’ve uploaded content, simply swipe left to advance through a series of filters that can be applied to your photo or video clip.
To get to the text to your story, you click on the top right corner on the “Aa” icon and start typing. In the top middle, you’ll notice a button with the word “Classic”. When you click this it will advance you through a series of a few different font options! To the left of this button, you’ll see an “A” inside of a box. This allows you to highlight your text. Click it twice to have a lighter highlight. (Not all fonts have this ability). At the bottom of your screen you’re able to change your color and on the left hand side of your screen you’ll see a slider which increases or decrease your font size. Want to have multiple fonts, sizes, or colors? Simply keep adding new text boxes. There’s no limit so get creative!
USE A PEN INSTEAD OF TYPING
Just to the left of the “A” for typing is a pen tool. You can write, highlight, erase and more. If you’re particularly good with script on a phone, this tool is for you!
CHANGE COLORS ON TEXT/FONT
There are two ways to do this: The first is using one of the preselected colors at the bottom of your screen. The second is selecting a specific color from your image by clicking on the droplet icon at the very bottom left.
You do this by clicking the text icon and typing "@" followed by the handle of the user you'd like to tag. Instagram should generate a list of people who you’re trying to tag as you type, and then you click on their image to tag them. Not sure if you’ve tagged a real user? The way you can tell it worked is by seeing an underline under the tagged name.
There are all sorts of fun stickers you can add to your Instagram Story. To add a sticker, simply click on the square "Happy Face" icon in the top right hand corner. Instagram is constantly updating their stickers so don't get too attached to anything. Below are a few that are likely to stick around, though.
This is the location sticker. Adding this will find your exact location on a map and pin it for your users to see. Don’t want people to know exactly where you are? Don’t use it!
Once you hit stickers icon, you’ll see a camera icon. You can click on this and take a selfie, and then tap the image to add a white circle around it or leave it with glowing edges. You can only take a selfie with this sticker. Have fun with this one. The creative possibilities are endless!
Use this sticker to add a searchable hashtag in your story. Don’t add the # though. Instagram does this for you!
Want to ask your followers an interactive question? This is a great way to do it. Instagram will keep track of the answers so you can see all of the results. One quick note, you can only have two answer options.
Instagram has partnered with Gifphy to allow you to add a fun, moving sticker to your story. Within this sticker you can search all of Giphy’s database—the options are endless.
Want to change the size of your sticker? All you have to do is pinch with two fingers and expand or shrink.
**Want to know how to pin a sticker or text to a moving part of your video? Place your text or sticker in the desired location and tap and hold the screen until you get a little bar at the bottom that says “pin”. Move the sticker or text to the place in the video you want to pin it to and then hit “pin” when you’re ready. Then, watch as your sticker moves with your video!
ADDING COLOR OVERLAYS
Another fun feature of Instagram is color overlays. To use this tool, select the pen, pick a color, and then tap and hold your screen until it turns that color. Then, use the eraser tool to selectively reveal certain parts of your original image or video.