These days social media feels like a personal diary. You see people documenting what they do, the places they visit, what they eat, and whom they meet with. This stream of endless events is crammed into what we call an “Instagram Story” – a second-long video where people share parts of their lives.
However, IG stories are more than just the online diaries of a whole generation. They’re also a powerful advertising tool that helps businesses earn billions every year.
Statistics show that more than 500 million people use Instagram Stories every day. As a brand, you want to have access to that audience, as it’s likely that along with having an interest in what their friends are doing, they also are on the lookout for new products and services.
Currently, more than 4 million businesses advertise on Instagram Stories every month. If you’re not among those, then this blog post is precisely for you.
In this article, you will learn everything there is to know about Instagram Stories and how to use them for your company.
What are Instagram Stories?
Instagram Stories are full-screen photos and videos that you post on Instagram, which disappear after 24 hours. They can usually be found at the top of the Instagram app upon tapping on the profile picture of an account that has recently posted a story.
When posting a story, you can use a variety of interactive tools such as an Instagram story poll, stickers, and filters, which can make your content more interesting for your audience.
How to Make an Instagram Story
People who aren’t really into social media and rarely go onto Instagram often have many questions regarding the platform once they’ve launched a company and want to start to market it on social media. If you just go on Google, you can see many searches along the lines of “how to post a video on Instagram Story” or “how to tag someone on Instagram Story”.
This article will aim to cover all of these questions so that it can become your go-to guide for creating content for Instagram.
Let’s first start by learning how to make an Instagram Story. The steps are relatively simple:
- Open the Instagram app and then tap on your profile picture in the top left corner.
- Choose a filter by swiping left and right at the bottom until you find the right one.
- Capture a photo or a short video using the camera on your device.
- If you want to, you can skip the 2nd and 3rd steps and directly swipe on your screen to access your gallery and choose a photo or video from there.
- If you want to, you can then go ahead and add stickers, polls, gifs, or time stamps to the story.
- Once you’re done editing, tap on the arrow on the bottom right corner and share to Your Story.
Now, this is the simplest way to describe each step of the process. In reality, there are a ton of ways you can make your content more engaging for your audience. This video shows you a ton of helpful advice so that you can start creating Instagram Stories like a pro.
How to Check Your Instagram Story Views
Once you’ve posted your first Instagram Story, you will likely want to know how many people have seen it. In order to do that, you just have to tap the “Your Story” icon on the app’s main page so you can see the viewer count for it. By tapping the number in the bottom left of the screen, you will also see a list of all individual accounts that have seen your story.
After 24 hours have passed and the story has disappeared from your profile, you can go to Insights in order to see the engagement that you’ve brought in with it. Insights show your Reach (number of unique accounts that viewed the story) and Impressions (how many times your story was seen). Here’s how you can do that:
- Go to Instagram’s homepage, then tap on your profile photo at the bottom right of your screen.
- Go to “Insights” and choose a time period you’d like to see the data for. It can be 7,14, or 30 days or a custom timeframe.
- Scroll down to “Content you share” and choose “Stories.”
- You will be able to see the insights for all the stories you’ve posted.
How to Use Instagram Story Stickers
Using stickers on your story doesn’t take a lot of work. There are just a few steps you need to follow:
- Create a story using the steps mentioned above.
- Before you’re ready to publish the photo/video, tap the sticker icon at the top of the screen (it’s a smiling square).
- Select the type of sticker you’d like to use. Once you’ve chosen one, you can pinch it and drag it across the screen or change its size.
How to Tag Someone on Instagram Story
You may want to tag someone in your Instagram Stories either when you’re doing a collaboration with them or when you want to repost feedback from your customers that you’ve received on the app. There are two ways to tag someone in an Instagram Story.
By tagging them in the text of your Story:
- After you’ve chosen the photo/video you want to post, go ahead and click on the “Aa” icon at the top right corner.
- Type the @ symbol and then the username you want to tag.
- Close the editor, and you will see that the app automatically underlined the tagged account.
- From there, you can decide where to place the tag on the photo/video you’ve chosen.
- Once you’ve chosen the content, to upload to Stories, tap on the Sticker icon.
- Select the @ Mention sticker.
- Start typing the username you want to add to the story. Instagram will likely begin giving you suggestions instantly.
- When you’ve found the account you want to tag, select it and place the sticker on your Story.
It’s important to remember to tag accounts before you go ahead and post the story. That’s because once a story goes live, you can’t go back and edit it. If you want to make any changes, you will have to delete the old story and create a new one from scratch.
Another important disclaimer is that you cannot tag more than 10 accounts in one story, so make sure you consider that when planning your posts.
How to Post Instagram Stories with Captions
Stats show that around 60% of people watch Instagram Stories with the sound on. That, however, means that another 40% watch them with the sound turned off. A great way to keep those viewers engaged is by using captions.
Typically, people avoid doing captions because they assume they will have to spend a lot of time writing and timestamping them. However, Instagram makes it a lot easier for all of us. If you simply use the captions sticker on your story, the app will automatically generate captions for your video without you having to do any work. The process is relatively straightforward:
- Start creating your Story video (the captions sticker appears only for videos).
- When the video is done, tap the sticker icon and select the Captions sticker.
- Even though Instagram will automatically generate captions, it’s a good practice to take a look at what’s happening on the screen. If you see that the text is not correct at some point, you can edit it.
- If you want to, you have the option to change the font and the color by using the tools at the top and the bottom of your screen.
- Once you’re happy with the captions, you can close the editor and move them to an appropriate place on the screen.
If you choose to use the Music sticker for your story, you can add captions that contain the lyrics of the song you’ve picked to go along with the video.
- Begin making your Story (again, it has to be a video in order for you to be able to use the Music sticker).
- Once you’re done recording, click on the sticker icon at the top of your screen and choose the Music sticker.
- Either select one of the suggested songs or search for a particular one you want to use.
- Use the slider at the bottom of the screen to pick the exact part of the song and its lyrics that you want to have in your Story.
- You can again change the caption’s font and color using the tools at the top and bottom of your display..
- You can choose where to place the sticker on the Story, and you’re ready to post it.
How to Delete Stories on Instagram
Sometimes you might accidentally post the wrong photo or forget to add a specific caption or hashtag. Don’t worry. It happens even to the best of us. That’s why it’s great that you can delete your IG stories immediately after you’ve posted them.
To do that, you have to
- Go to your Story by tapping on your profile picture in the top left corner of the application.
- Go to the three dots icon “…” at the bottom of the screen and click on it.
- Select “Delete” and confirm your choice.
So, don’t panic about making a mistake. Instead, just know that you can always re-upload the story the right way.
How to Use Instagram Story Highlights
Even though I mentioned that stories usually disappear after 24 hours, there is a way for you to make them stay on your account forever, by highlighting them.
With Highlights, you can choose the best stories you have or stories that discuss a particular topic and group them together into a specific highlight. Each highlight can contain as many stories as you want, and it can remain as a part of your profile for as long as you need it.
Creating a Stories highlight is quite simple:
- If the Story is older than 24 hours, you have to go to your archive and retrieve it from there. To do that, tap on your profile icon at the bottom right corner, then choose the menu icon in the top right. Select “Archive” and find the Story highlight you want to select.
- Choose the “highlight icon” at the lower right corner of your display.
- From there, select the highlight you want to add the Story to or create a new highlight.
How to Use Instagram Story Polls and Questions
By doing polls or letting your audience ask you questions, you can get your followers to be more engaged with your content. Thankfully, Instagram has made that all possible thanks to different stickers that you can use.
If you want to run a poll on your Story, you just have to
- Create a Story using the steps already mentioned in this article.
- When you have a photo/video ready, simply go to the stickers icon and select the Poll sticker.
- Type in your question and two possible answers – the default ones are Yes/No. However, you can type in any other ones as long as they contain less than 24 characters.
- Publish your story and let the poll run for 24 hours.
- Share the results with your audience.
If you want to let your followers ask you questions
- Create a Story using the steps mentioned above.
- Before you post it, tap on the stickers icon and search for the Question sticker.
- Edit the text of the question prompt with whatever you want your audience to ask you about.
- Once that’s done, post the Story. When you begin getting replies, you will be able to reply to the question and share it without revealing the identity of the account that asked you.
How to Get Your Instagram Stories on The Explore Page
Instagram’s explore page is a collection of photos and videos that were selected by the platform’s algorithm based on what posts you like and the people you follow. If you manage to get your content on the Explore page, that usually means that you will see a significant boost in reach and engagement since the algorithm will be showing your content to a new audience.
That being said, getting your Stories to reach the Explore page is not that easy of a task. According to Instagram, the algorithm takes into consideration the following things when choosing content for the Explore page:
- How fast people interact with the post
- Your interaction history with the account that made the post
- The kind of posts you’ve interacted with in the past
- How many other people have recently interacted with the post
This video shares even more information on what you can do to get your Stories to the Explore page.
5 Tips for Using Instagram Stories For Promoting Your Company
Now that we’ve covered all the basics of how to use Instagram Stories, let’s discuss the different ways that you can use the platform for promotions. Here are some tips and tricks that will help make your stories more popular and bring you more followers.
Announce Promotions on Instagram Stories
Whenever you make seasonal sales, giveaways, or you simply have a discount code, you have to announce it on Instagram Stories.
The 15 seconds per Story you get is enough time for you to generate excitement through a visually pleasing photo or video that utilizes the newest trends in the best way possible.
Once you’ve uploaded your visual content to the Story, don’t forget to add a call-to-action button that tells customers what they have to do now thanks to your news (Get 20% OFF Today! Go to the Black Friday Sale Now). Along with that, don’t forget to add a link that takes them to your destination page.
A good tip here is to include hashtags via hashtag stickers or text. That way, your Story will reach more people.
Use Product Stickers to Promote Your Newest Items on Stories
Sales and discounts aren’t the only things that can be announced via Instagram Stories. Adding new products or services is also a call for a celebration in the form of a beautiful IG Story.
One of the best ways to promote a product is through product stickers. They offer an easy way to tag a product and include a link to it so that viewers can buy the product directly from your Story.
The tricky part is that in order to have access to this specific feature, you need to have the latest version of the Instagram app installed, and your account must be a business one. Along with that, you have to get your Facebook product catalog connected to your IG account. Otherwise, the links to products won’t work.
Promote your Instagram Stories through Ads
Nowadays, you don’t have to be a massive brand like Louis Vuitton or Nike to get your content displayed in front of a large audience. Thanks to Facebook Ad Manager, you can spend a bit of money and have your Stories be shown to a target audience that you determine.
Try to create flashy, exciting content for an IG Story and then get it promoted on the app. That way, you will be able to generate brand awareness in front of viewers who are probably already interested in the products or services that your company offers.
Host Live Events on Instagram Stories
Whenever you go “live” on Instagram Stories, the thing you gain the most is engagement. From the moment you start a live video, you grab the attention of all your IG followers as they immediately receive a notification about it.
That’s why it’s a good idea to plan out your Instagram lives so that they happen during the times you get the most traffic. Typically, those are the hours between 7:00 – 10:00 pm during the weekdays, when people are back from work and scrolling mindlessly through social media.
Do Instagram Quizzes with the Quiz Sticker
People love testing their knowledge, especially when it’s easy for them to do so. By using the Instagram Stories “Quiz Sticker,” you can post multiple-choice questions on your IG Stories so that your viewers can answer by tapping on their chosen option. After that, they immediately see whether they’ve gotten the correct answer or not.
These quiz stickers encourage your audience to interact with your brand, and you can share the answers to create even more engagement. Ask your viewers questions like, “What year was the company founded?” or “What color sweatshirt are you most likely to order?” Then post the results on your Story, so your followers can see what everyone else voted for.
Utilizing Instagram Stories is vital for any business that wants to market products, especially if they’re aimed at a younger audience. Stories give you a quick, fun way to create content related to your brand that generates engagement and boosts popularity. It doesn’t hurt that almost all Instagram users watch Stories of accounts they follow on a day-to-day basis, which makes them one of the most popular pieces of content on the Internet.
Learning how to work with the Instagram app in order to be able to create and share visually appealing, engaging Stories is vital for any young entrepreneur or digital marketer.
Hopefully, this blog post helped you learn more about how to use Stories and all their features to promote your company and its products. If you already knew all the basics, hopefully, the tips and tricks section gave you a few ideas on how to get new followers and boost your reach.