If you are a regular Instagram user but are not taking advantage of their “Stories” platform, you may be missing out on a great opportunity to connect with more of your target audience. How do you use Instagram Stories? You do not need to be particularly tech-savvy to use this feature, but we do have some advice to help you make the most of your Story posts.
Using Stories To Boost Engagement
Instagram users are often very focused on their “grid,” but the reality is that many of your followers are going straight to Stories to enjoy the more organic viewing experience that it offers. Story posts can be more casual, less curated, and can tell an actual story through multiple frames in a way that a standard grid post cannot. There are also several tools available in IG Stories that can make your post really stand out.
So how do you use this very useful and versatile feature? Simply click on the plus sign on the top right-hand corner of your profile page and choose the “Story” option. This will take you straight to your phone’s camera roll, where you can choose the video or image you wish to upload. Once your image is on the Story page, you can begin to have fun with the various creative tools available to make your post more interesting.
How Do Story Tools Work?
With a little creativity, you can make your Story very visually appealing, but first, you must understand the various features that are available to IG users. Once you have uploaded your picture or video from your camera roll, you will notice that there are several icons at the top right-hand corner of your Story page. Below we will break down what each icon can be used for:
The circle icon can be used to change the color of your background. This can be useful for making your image stand out or for creating a more appealing color scheme. Once you have adjusted the background color to your liking, you can then tap on your screen a few times to change the shape of your uploaded image from a standard square to a circle, star, or heart. Swipe across the image if you wish to add a filter.
The “Aa” Icon
This icon will allow you to add text to your story. Once you have tapped on this icon, you will see a new set of icons at the top of the page which will allow you to adjust the font and color or add a background to your text if you need it to stand out more against your image. Every Story post should have at least some text added to it, so do not overlook this important feature.
The Square Happy Face
This is where things get a little more complicated because there are many options that will come up once you tap on this icon. You will see a long drop-down menu that includes everything from stickers and GIFs to music and question options. If you wish to add a location or a mention, this is where you do it. There are also great options here for further engaging your audience, such as adding a quiz or a poll.
The Three Dots
The fourth and final option at the top of your page is the “…” icon which allows you to draw directly on your page. This can be useful if, for example, you want to draw attention to something particularly interesting using a colored arrow that you manually draw yourself. You will also see the “Save” option which allows you to download a draft of your Story to your phone. This is a great idea if you think you might want to use this Story again later.
So You Have a Great Looking Story; Now What?
Once you are satisfied with how your Story looks, simply tap “Add to Story” at the bottom of your page and it will be published. Your profile picture will now be surrounded by a red circle, alerting your followers that you have a new Story to share. You also have the option at this point of adding your Story to “Highlights,” where it will be saved beyond the standard 24 hours that Stories are visible for.
That’s right: stories disappear after 24 hours, so if you wish to have a story permanently saved somewhere on your profile, adding it to a highlight is your best bet. It is also possible to share a story as a post so that it can be seen on your grid, but this can look sloppy as Stories are not typically formatted correctly to fit nicely into a square.
How Do You Use Instagram Stories To Gain More Followers?
If your goal is not only to engage and entertain your current followers but to also gain more followers, then IG stories can definitely be useful. The key, of course, is to use hashtags. The hashtags that you add to a story can be as small as you like and do not need to interfere with your image if you don’t want them to. Even if your hashtag is in a very small font or hidden behind another image, it will still register your Story under that hashtag.
Using location tags will also help to get your Stories in front of the right audience. An IG Story is also a great place to add “shout outs” to competitors or others with similar accounts in the hope that they will share your Story on their own page.
How Often To Post in Stories
If you really want to build your audience, then posting regularly is key. While non-stop posting in your main feed can appear “spammy,” your story is intended to be a place where you can add extra content for those followers who are particularly interested in your brand or service. Adding to your Story four or five times a day is ideal, but at an absolute minimum you should be adding one new Story daily.
Remember that each story image disappears 24 hours after you post it, so you need to be continually adding new content if you want to maintain a presence in your followers’ Story feeds. Monitor your account to make sure you are adding new Stories as old ones disappear. However, don’t go overboard! Posting constantly can be tiresome for your audience and some may hit “unfollow.”
When You Don’t Have Time for Frequent Story Updates
How do you use Instagram Stories when you just don’t have time to post frequent, quality content? This is where partnering with a social media marketing company can be very helpful. The right social media company can automate many of these features to take the guesswork out of how and when you should post. Not everyone can quit their day job to post on Instagram!
If you are looking to build more of a presence on Instagram or other social media platforms and need support navigating this very competitive marketplace, we are here to help. Contact us today at Automate My Social. We can help you take your brand, service, and social media image to the next level.