First things first, what the heck IS an Instagram Story and why should you care??
Instagram stories are a picture, video or “boomerang” GIF created by you and shared to your story timeline on Instagram. These stories are active for 24 hours and can be viewed by who ever follows you (or you can set specific parameters as to who can and who can’t view your story).
These images/videos can be made and posted instantly, or you can choose from your photos taken within the last 24 hours on your phone.
You can get super creative with their drawing tools, emoticons, graphics and colours to really enhance your brand and the experience for whoever is watching.
The list of what you can create is pretty much endless, but I will show you 3 simple ways you can get the attention of your followers, and add huge value to their lives while increasing your engagement on Instagram.
15 seconds annnnnnd.... go!
Instagram story frames are up to 15 seconds in length each - so it’s best to preplan the series of what you’d like to show your followers in a way that is interesting and unique. It’s not always possible to do this every day, but once you get good at thinking ahead in 15 second increments, it will come easier to you.
Setting a clear intention for what you
want others to know, see or experience is
the most important planning you can do.
So, if the word “preplanning” made you sweat a little bit, don’t worry! Do the best you can to create your frame work in your head or jot it down on paper.
The first thing to do is open your Instagram app on your phone and watch some Instagram stories. See what people you love to follow are posting, and how they're posting it. Some might be a video of themselves talking, or photos of what they're doing, or Boomerang videos of movement around them - the options for what you can create are pretty much endless so decide ONE theme for your Instagram story frames and roll with it to begin.
3 EASY & CREATIVE INSTAGRAM STORY IDEAS
1) The simple "Behind the Scenes" Story
This is probably the easiest to plan, because there doesn’t need to be too much pre-thought put in. Take a quick photo, or press and hold to create a video of where you are in that moment. You can talk as commentary in the background (great to hear your voice!) or you can mute the sound if its not adding to your video. Don’t forget! If you are with others who share your love for Instagram, don’t forget to tag them in your stories!! Simply type @ and the beginnings of their handle and choose the right tag. Collaborating on stories is such a great way to help others gain new followers along with you.
Get more specific by adding text or the location emoticon to your photo/video! You can also swipe left while editing to see a few different filters that Instagram provides for you.
This story gives your followers a peek into where you live, work or play. Which is always a good idea to increase personality and trust.
2) The Announcement Story
This story is a great tool to use if you have something you'd like your followers to know about you, your business or perhaps a contest or promotion you'd like to share.
Think about what you want your followers to know once they’ve seen your story. For example: If you are rolling out a new offering to your business, or you have a new product you love and want to share it with your followers - plan at least 3-4 slides to tell that story. Begin with the anticipation building “there is something I want to show you!” slide, then use the next few to describe WHY its so great or why you want to share it - and the last slide to reveal the announcement or product. Use each slide to help tell the story.
3) The Creative Text, Drawing & Emoticon Sticker Story
This story is a lot of fun to create, if you have the time and the imagination.
Start by opening your story camera, swipe down to open up your photos taken in the last 24 hours OR, if you don't have any - click the shutter button to start with an image. You wont be keeping it so don’t worry about what you take a photo of. Next - click on the brushes and choose a colour you want to use as a background.
***You can press and hold each colour to open the entire colour swatch picker! This is a great opportunity to choose a brand specific colour for yourself ***
Then - touch and hold the screen. It will apply that colour to the entire frame as a background!
Next - get creative and add text, emoticons or drawings to tell your story!
I love using this story option when I don’t have any photos to share, or the light is too dark to take any decent photos but I still want to share something with my followers. I will use this to share a step by step tip as well!
How to tag other accounts:
It is ALWAYS a good idea to tag others in your posts and Instagram stories if they have an Instagram account. Giving credit to others is a great way to build relationships and share the love on Instagram!
BONUS: TIPS AND TRICKS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT
- You can always delete stories or part of stories, but you can not edit them once they are live.
- You can save your stories by pressing the three small dots in the bottom right hand corner and choosing save. You can then post your great content to other social platforms if you want!
- See who has viewed your story by clicking the little eye in the bottom left hand corner
- Tap the right side of the screen to move to the next frame of a story
- Tap the left side of the screen to rewind to the previous frame of a story
- Tap and hold to pause a story to spend longer than 10 seconds with that particular frame! Works well when there is lots of text to read.
- Use portrait orientated images when posting to Instagram stories - you can not adjust the crop if you use a landscape oriented image!
Something else to think about as you create your stories and connect to your communities on Instagram is:
Once you have figured out the basics about how to be mindful and plan your Instagram stories, it’ll be time to step up your game a little and this involves a little bit of psychology…
People want to know what to expect from you when you're on Instagram - especially if you're using it for a business. They don’t want to waste their time if it’s something they’re not interested in - so keep your message consistent and give insight when things might be changing.
A great way to keep consistent is to post an image or video to your Instagram account at least once a day, and then use your Instagram stories to support that post, or give more detail about that post.
For example: If you want to roll out a new product or service offering, lay it out in your post - then use your Instagram stories to get into more detail or answer any “FAQ” your clients and followers may have about it.
What do you think? Makes sense right?