How to Use Instagram Stories
5 Ways to Use IG Stories + Free PSD Templates
I’m just going to say it - the age of Snapchat is gone. Well for businesses at least - for personal use it’s still alive and kicking...I mean I still use it for sending funny selfies to friends...just not for business. Now that Instagram has their own version of Snapchat within their app - IG Stories - it’s time-consuming to use multiple apps to reach your audience.
The other morning I was scrolling through Facebook and saw a question from someone in one of the groups I’m in asking how to get their Instagram stories looking like one of the popular brands they follow. After answering her question with the tips I’ll share below, I realized, a lot of people have no idea just how amazing Instagram stories can be for their business. People can see all of the hard work it took to get your event planned, your new product launched, or even just see a glimpse into the daily life at your business. Lately, I’ve even been seeing churches use it as a way to share their service online!
Plus, did you know you can actually schedule your stories? If you've already got an awesome post scheduled, why not bump up the excitement of the post with a couple of IG stories to match? I've been using Planoly to schedule my Instagram posts and they've recently come out with a feature that allows you to schedule your stories as well!
01 | Promote a new post
Because of the algorithms used for Instagram, sometimes your posts won’t show up at the top of someone's feed. It’s a bummer for sure, but there’s a way to potentially get around that (besides having them notified when you post).
- Every time you have a new post, go to your main profile screen (click your profile image on the far bottom right) and take a screenshot of your feed with the newest post.
- Go to Instagram Stories, swipe up and tap on the screenshot you just took.
- Swipe up again to add a fun emoji, and use it to cover up your latest post.
- Tap on the text icon and maybe write a little “New post - check it out” type caption with an arrow to the new post.
- Hit add to your story and you’re done!
02 | Share events happening right now
One of the most fun things about Instagram Stories is the live recording feature. Basically, it livestreams whatever you’re sharing (front or back of the camera). Two fantastic uses of this feature are to use it to livestream your event or church service, and the other is to use it as a Q&A time. While you’re on the screen (or the person you’re filming is), your followers can enter comments. So essentially you could create an easy Q&A time with your followers! Want to share your live recording with those who couldn’t be there while you were live? Instagram now allows you to share that recording to your story when you end or save it to your camera roll! So you can then go and upload it to Facebook or your website for others to rewatch.
03 | Let's get out of the office
Did your team go on an outing together? This is the perfect opportunity to show what you’re all like when you’re not in the office, do some fun quirky interviews of each other, show the fun side of your business - especially the boss - I believe that implementing team values starts with the head of the business. If one of your values is fun, then you need to be showing that not just in your feed but in your stories, and the best way to do this? Showing your boss having fun! P.S. You could totally do a mix of photos, video or even a livestream to share your day with your followers.
04 | Keep your feed cohesive
There’s a lot of people out there (me included) who love to look at gorgeous feeds and even have a whole plan for how they’ll post and what they’ll post. Sometimes that’s great and other times it’s tough because you’ve got this great photo or video that doesn’t quite fit your feed yet you really want to share it because it’s just that awesome. You have two choices; post it to your feed anyways or add it to your Instagram Story!
05 | Tell a bigger story
Sometimes you don’t want to write this really long caption for your post and yet there’s a really good story behind it that you’re just dying to share. You can do a couple things for this using Instagram Stories.
- Hop into IG Stories and do a video (or videos) sharing the story behind your latest post. You can do this by taking that screenshot of your feed and adding a caption that says keep watching for the story behind the photo - that way people will want to keep watching your stories.
- Create multiple images sharing the story - if there’s a lot of text, on your first story start off by saying something like, “to read the full story tap and hold the image until you’re done reading”. This is an easy way for people to read your entire story without getting cut off since the image only stays up for a few seconds before moving on to the next one.
- Or...maybe you've just done an AH-MAZING photoshoot and are dying to show all the pictures - post your favorites in your main feed but save some of the bloopers or behind the scenes ones for your story!