5 Things you should know about Instagram stories

September 3, 2017

The problem with the internet is that in this day and age, things tend to last on there for aaaaages. I mean, I can attest to this from those annoying facebook reminders of some silly status you put up as a 15 year old including an emoji actually made of text. Remember those? (Y) (I was weirdly into the square bracket smiley – :], always the rebel).

So with those unwelcome memories has come the rise of the ‘temporary content’, things which can pop up on a social channel and will easily disappear 24 hours later. A little window into someones life which can be properly candid. At first, it was snapchat and I did have a few phases with it (especially before blogging, if that time did indeed exist…) but the real star at the moment is Instagram stories.

And it makes sense, as Insta has grown, feeds have become more curated and with that algorithm, it is anything but ‘instant’. It’s the ideal place as it’s already so visual (which is why no one ever uses facebook stories right?).

So if you haven’t used Instagram stories before then it’s pretty basic. You take or use a snap in your recent pics and upload it to your story, this in 24 hours it disappears. So far, so good. Don’t get me wrong, if your friend posts a picture and you want to save it on the sly, you can anonymously download it through software like storiesig, but apart from that, it’s gone in 24! So what else do you need to know about Instagram stories?

1 Text does well – how do you make text ‘appear’ as you click through your instagram stories?

I did a little twitter poll and it matched what I was already thinking – most people watch instagram stories with the sound off. That’s not to say video and talking doesn’t do well, but that text is more helpful for a wider audience. When uploading videos straight to your Instagram, you might want to buy Instagram video views if you feel that a lack of engagement could be harming your image or credibility (especially if you are a brand or an influencer!).

Text is easily inserted onto each snap. It’s also rather nice when the text appears as you click through rather than a giant chunk at once. To do this, just upload your first snap and add the first block of text, then take a screenshot of the picture with the text so far (or hit the little save button!). Then upload the screenshot and add the next bit of text, and so forth until all the text you want has appeared on the story. Easy peasy!

A couple more quick tips about text:

  • When you’re watching instagram stories, hold down the screen to pause when you’re watching the story to be able to read it for longer.
  • Consider adding text on your videos so that people who don’t have the sound on or may not be able to listen can still watch and get value from your content.

2 You can use hashtags and tag people in stories too!

Woo! Hashtags also work on stories which is rather handy. Just get typing them in on screen and Insta will even offer you some suggestions (so kind…). This is really great if you’re at an event or use a specific hashtag as when you search that hashtag, the story at the top will combine aaaaalll of the stories from the individual accounts.

You can tag people too – they will get a direct message saying that they have been tagged (but remember, the little screenshot which shows what you’ve been tagged in does disappear after 24 hours which can be rather annoying if you have some time off social media – but really, when does that happen?!).

Also, if you do tap on someone who has been tagged within an instagram story you can visit their profile and then it does take you right back to where you were – no hunting out the story you were watching!

3 Some people can use links and an Instagram browser

Instagram not having links has been quite the bugbear for basically everyone since it started. The mystical ‘swipe up’ feature on instagram stories is still a mystery to me (as with most of us!). The idea being with this is that you can link your story to a webpage (which is fab for blog views / selling bits).

The webpage opens in Instagram itself which make it easier for you as you don’t even need to leave the app (though bad for the bank balance!). At the mo, this feature is only available for those of us with 10K+ followings, though it does suggest it will be rolled out wider on the Instagram blog. Who knows, watch this space…

4 You can use third party apps to do the fancy stuff

Ever wondered about how you do the fancy animations and words popping up in a story? Well it’s actually through another app called hype type. This allows you to create all the fancy stuff, save it, then upload to your Instagram stories – easy.

Boomerang is another one commonly used to make those little looping videos (I mean we’ve all seen the prosecco glass cheers on repeat, right?). This is now integrated into the app itself – just swipe to the side. However, you can download it as a separate app too if you want to do to then look and see which is the best one to then share.

When you’re deciding which third-party app to choose from, it could be important to your social media image that you thoroughly research the different platforms that are on offer to you. At least this way you will know that you have made the best choice. One app that is currently hot on the heels of Boomerang is a video sharing network service called TikTok. TikTok allows its users to create short dance and lip-sync videos, amongst other things, that can be used to share across platforms like Instagram. To get a head start, some users may decide to visit TikTok Upgrade, which is a growth service that can help people increase their following base without having to create a video first! Not only can this boost your presence on TikTok, but if you decide to share it with your Instagram profile, more people are bound to tune into that too. It’s a win-win and could be a great way to becoming a social media sensation.

If you use Instagram as a social media marketing tool, then you might be pleased to learn that there is also a way to schedule instagram stories by using a scheduling platform such as Sked.

I’ve also seen a few people create custom promotion graphics through apps like Canva which can then be uploaded to make it look a bit more exciting.

5 The Little Things about Instagram Stories…

A few more little things to note and try:

  • You can see who has watched your story by just watching your own story again and then clicking on the little count at the bottom of the screen.
  • You can easily respond to someones story by swiping up and sending them a direct message.
  • You can access more colours in the text area by just holding down one of the colours before you start typing.
  • You can make your canvas one solid block colour by taking a snap, then going to the ‘pen’ option, pick the colour you want then tap and hold down onto the screen until it fills it all up.
  • If you want to share a photo that’s more than 24 hours old, just screenshot the photo and it will appear in your recent pics.

On a side note, I did ask a load of bloggers whether the stories sharing that there is a new post on the grid is useful and to be honest (me included), it was a resounding, no! I think it can be useful once in awhile as a reminder, and for sure promote your blog posts / biz posts too!

Ideally, Instagram stories is perfect for that behind the scenes shot which shows you’re an actual real person! It’s something which makes me feel properly connected to other bloggers / biz owners and definitely a channel to have some fun with!

Do you use Instagram stories? What’s your top tip?

5 things to know about instagram stories - things to know to help build your brand and following using instagram stories

PS This month is all about Instagram on the blog so make sure you subscribe and follow along for all the tips!

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