While Instagram Stories have been around since 2016, doesn’t mean that everyone knows how to use them or doesn’t feel like a fool for just starting now.
Let me take your worries away - anytime you start using Instagram Stories is the right time!
But that doesn’t mean you don’t have Instagram Story questions keeping you from connecting to your audience, so let’s tackle them!
How Do Instagram Stories Work?
Instagram Stories allow you to share a 15-second view of a post or video for 24 hours and have it appear at the top of Instagram when people click on your profile picture.
Why Should I Do Instagram Stories?
While I believe Instagram Stories were only introduced because SnapChat had them and Instagram was feeling the competition, years have passed and Instagram Stories have come into their own and should be a part of any competitive Instagram strategy for your business.
It’s developed to be an integral part of getting in front of your audience. Instagram stories appear at the top of each person’s feed and are often the first thing user’s look at on Instagram. In fact, 68%
of millennials view Instagram stories (coming out on top of SnapChat and Facebook stories)
people use Instagram monthly, 22% of those people are on Instagram every single day. Posting in your story once a week can almost guarantee it will get seen by your audience.
How Often Should I Post Instagram Stories?
There’s no definitive answer on this, besides - as much as you can! That’s what you love to hear right?
But in all actuality, Instagram Stories help you get in front of your followers a lot easier, making them incredibly valuable to your social media strategy. If you usually post 3 times a week to your feed and never to your Story, try flipping that on its head and posting to your Story 3 times a week and missing your feed.
While it shouldn’t be one or the other (both will affect how often you appear to followers with the algorithm), Stories should be a priority as they get you in front of your audience faster.
Try out posting to your Story 3 times a week and 1 time to your feed, see how it affects your engagement!
How Do I Add To My Story?
You can add images, text, or 15-second videos to your Story three different ways:
When on your feed, tap on your profile picture at the top of the feed
When on your feed, swipe right
When on your profile, tap on your profile picture
You then will have the option to post something from your image library, take a picture, take a video, and swipe through any of the various filming options to customize your story and add additional effects!
How Do I Add All Those Cool Instagram Story Features?
You’ve probably seen a lot of stories that ask questions, have a rating system, include gifs, have music, mention another user - the list could go on and on!
You can access all of these features through the editing options at the top of the screen when you’re creating your Story. Here are all the options:
Save the Story
Add a filter
Add a sticker like a location, mention, hashtag, etc
Draw on your image or video
Add text to your image or video
There are a lot of different sticker options, making engagement on your stories really easy to achieve. Here is what you can add as of July 2019 (Instagram is always adding more options):
Location - add a location to where your story is taking place, anyone who views the stories for a specific location will be able to see yours.
@Mention - mention another user and they’ll receive a notification they’ve been tagged. They will then be able to add it to their own Story.
#Hashtag - include a hashtag in your Story and show up when people view the Story for that hashtag.
GIF - add a GIF to your Story as additional flair.
Music - available in some countries, you can add music and have the lyrics overlay. Not every song is available, but you can search for songs when adding music to your Story.
Time - add the time the story is taking place.
Poll - ask your followers for their opinion and give poll options.
Questions - prompt your follower’s to ask you a question or to answer a question you pose. This will allow your followers to interact with you without keeping track of direct messages you receive.
Countdown - show a countdown to a specific time and date of your choosing. This Story will still only be available for 24 hours but can build excitement over a coming release.
Sliding scale - allow followers to rate things using a sliding scale and an emoji of your choice.
Quiz - share trivia-style multiple-choice questions with your followers and track the results.
Chat - initiate a private group chat (like a group DM) with up to 31 of your followers, but you are able to choose who joins the chat. And decide how long the group chat will remain open.
Temperature - let your followers know the temperature of where your story is taking place.
Camera - take a picture to place on top of your story.
Photo library - similar to the camera sticker, pull from an image in your library to place on top of your story.
Stickers - flat images or stylized text you can place on top of your image or video within your Story.
You can place multiple stickers on your Story at one time, but you definitely want to add a hashtag and/or a location to your Stories to help you get found by a new audience.
Want to add extra stickers but not ruin your aesthetic? Easy! To change the size of your stickers you can use two fingers to pinch or separate and make them bigger or smaller (so small you can’t even see them!).
How Can I Share Links In My Instagram Story?
While there is a ton of flair you can add to your story, maybe you just want to link to a campaign or an article and can’t figure out how.
In order to link to something outside of Instagram you either need to have a verified account or be a business account with 10,000 followers.
If you haven’t hit that threshold yet, don’t sweat it! You can always direct people to DM you for a link or head to your profile and follow the link there. There are always ways to keep engagement high while you build your following.
How Can I Share My Instagram Posts In My Story?
One easy way to can double the exposure out of one Instagram post is to share it in your Story and it’s as simple as a click of a button.
When you view your post, you will see the paper airplane at the bottom of it. Click on it and you’ll see the option to send that post to your friend or add it to your story. Tap on “Add post to your story” and it will allow you to edit how it appears and add it to your Story.
How Can I Share My Instagram Live In My Story?
Once your Instagram Live ends, you can share a replay of it by tapping “Share” at the bottom of the screen after you've ended your live video.
Live video replays include all the likes and comments from your original live video. The number of viewers for your live video includes everyone who watched the live video and the replay.
Just like anything added to your Story, the replay of your live video will disappear in 24 hours.
How Can I Share my IGTV Video to My Story?
To share an IGTV video to your Story (whether it is your own or someone else’s public IGTV), start by opening the IGTV app and the video you would like to share.
Next, tap on the paper airplane icon and select “Add video to my story.” You’ll then be able to add any text, stickers, or flair and share to your Story like anything else!
Can I Schedule My Instagram Stories?
Instagram is slow to allow scheduling features on its platform but slowly allows more scheduling to happen year by year.
Currently, Stories can only be scheduled but not automatically posted to Instagram using 3rd party tools like Planoly (on their paid plan).
If you know of a tool that allows you to schedule Stories and be prompted to post them, all for free, let me know in the comments!
What Should I Share To My Instagram Story?
Now that you know how Instagram Stories work and all the ways you can engage with your audience user them - what should you post?
The options are (almost) endless!
I like to start involving Instagram Stories in my social media strategy by sharing content I’ve already created - whether it’s a Live, post, or IGTV. Next, it’s really easy to share other content that inspires you in a Story.
Once you get comfortable posting Stories, start to incorporate behind the scene videos, engaging your audience by asking questions, talking about a detail of your business or product - being a relatable human with interesting perspectives and points.
One person who I love to follow is nailthoughts
, Katie Masters brand account. She is a nail technician, artist, and amazing entrepreneur who showcases the amazing nail art she does on her account.
So her Story must be full of nails, right? Wrong!
Her Story follows her. Whether it’s the mischief her dogs get into, a matcha latte from Starbucks, going greener at home, or how she did her latest nail design - her Story features the person behind the account as well as the subject of the account.
People aren’t looking for the same thing they see in their feed, they are looking to go deeper and be included. Ask yourself, what does being included in my life and business look like? Share that!
Start connecting with your Instagram audience in new ways using Instagram Stories and drive new traffic to your website and your business!
Have a question that went unanswered? Comment below and I’ll be happy to help you out!