Instagram Stories lets Instagram accounts post images and videos that disappear after 24 hours.
Instagram stories were released in August 2016, and now more than 500 million Instagrammers use stories every day. If you've ever thought of playing with stories to make you reach out or engage, now is the perfect moment to grab your customer's attention.
Nowadays, social media is all about documentation.
Where you go, what you eat and drink, who you meet, and what's most memorable: these are the standard feed of Instagram Stories, seconds-long glimpses of people's lives, shared with Instagram for just 24 hours.
Below, we've built a guide to help you understand what Instagram Stories are, how to share them with your fans, and how to make sure those stories are just what your audience wants to see. We're going to discuss the following in this article.
Let's get started
Table of Contents
- 1 How to Use Instagram Stories?
- 2 How to Post Stories?
- 3 How to Check Your Instagram Views?
- 4 How to Use Stickers on Instagram Stories?
- 5 How to Add a Poll Sticker to Your Instagram Story?
- 6 Add a Countdown Sticker on Your Instagram
- 7 How Instagram Stories Work?
- 8 Instagram Highlights
- 9 Choose Who Can See Your Stories
- 10 Build an Instagram Stories Plan For Your Business
- 11 Using Stories Ads to Improve Reach, Interaction, And Conversion
- 12 How to Check Your Instagram Stories Analytics?
- 13 Instagram Stories Ideas For Your Brand
- 14 How to Use Instagram Stories For Your Business?
- 15 Conclusion
How to Use Instagram Stories?
Instagram Stories will display in the bar at the top of your feed—and all Instagram accounts will be able to share stories, from your closest friends to your favorite famous accounts. When something new is to be seen, their profile photo will have a vibrant ring around it.
To view someone's story, you just need to tap their profile picture, and their story will appear full-screen, showing you all the content they've shared in the last 24 hours, and the content will play in sequential sequence from the oldest to the newest.
When you've seen a post, you can tap back and forward or switch to another person's story. Unlike regular posts, there are no public comments or likes on stories.
Your Instagram Story is published apart from the images and videos contained in the tiled gallery of your Instagram profile. And even though you may know the basics of sharing them, there are secret resources in the app that can make the videos and images you add to your story more innovative and interactive.
How to Post Stories?
To make a story on Instagram, you need to tap the camera icon at the top left corner of the page, or you can open the story camera by simply swiping to the left.
Once the story camera is open, you can take a photo or record a video, just as you would normally do with Instagram. After you have filmed your video or taken a picture, you can use a variety of filters and add text and drawings to your content to make it attractive.
How to Check Your Instagram Views?
Take a look at who's been watching your story.
- Click the Your Story icon in the top right corner of the app's homepage.
- Your story is going to have a view count in the bottom right corner.
- Swipe up to see a list of users who have viewed your story.
- If you have a professional (i.e. a creator or a business) account, you can also tap the graphics icon to view Insights.
While the Stories only last 24 hours, your viewer list will last for 48 hours, and your Insights will last for 14 days.
How to Use Stickers on Instagram Stories?
Instagram Stories stickers are super useful and allow you to add extra meaning to your Instagram Stories content.
To add stickers to your story, take a picture or video, and then tap the Stickers button (a smiley face at the top right of the screen) to find interactive weather stickers, the current time, place, and more.
To add your location to your Instagram Stories posts, tap the Stickers button, and then press the 'Location' button.
You will now be provided with a list of nearby locations and a search bar to help you browse and find the correct location.
You can add a hashtag to your Instagram store by taping the hashtag sticker. Once picked, you will be asked to write your hashtag.
How to Add a Poll Sticker to Your Instagram Story?
Instagram Stories is also a great dynamic poll sticker that lets you ask a question and see the reactions of your friends and followers as they vote.
After you have taken a picture or video of your story, open the Stickers menu and pick the "poll" sticker.
After you've tapped the "poll" sticker, Instagram will ask you to write a question and customize your poll choices. After you've made your survey, post your story and your followers will be likely to participate right away. Checkout out our guide on How To Boost Your Instagram Followers.
Adding a poll sticker to your Instagram story is a great interaction with your audience and it's the best way to identify your target audience by asking relevant questions to your audience.
Add a Countdown Sticker on Your Instagram
Use a countdown sticker to build exuberance for a big event or reveal a product with your followers to grab their attention.
Add a countdown sticker to your story:
- After taking a photo or video, select 'Countdown' from the sticker tray.
- Name the countdown
- Add the date or time of the end and customize the color
- Share your story
Once you have created a countdown sticker, it will remain in your sticker tray to be reused in future stories until the countdown is complete. If one of your followers taps your countdown, they'll get a notification when the countdown is over.
How Instagram Stories Work?
Instagram Stories can drive a huge amount of traffic and value—whether you share a Story from a brand account or your profile.
Since its launch back in August 2016, a total of 250 million Instagram users have started sharing interactive content in Instagram Stories—contributing to a huge jump in time spent in the app every day from 24 minutes to 32 minutes.
Many brands have already seen growth in publishing content on this website. Instagram Stories has fueled the development of brands like Teen Vogue, Insider, and Bustle. Whether publishers aim to increase brand recognition, increase traffic to videos or newsletters outside of Instagram, or share supported content, publishers flock to Instagram to publish fun-filled content that animates brand voice and personality without taking too much of the average techie's diminishing attention span.
Instagram Stories is credited with driving the rapid growth of Instagram Direct—private one-to-one communication between users within the app. Instagram Direct has developed into one of the world's most popular social media apps with 375 million users.
In 2017, Instagram launched Stories Highlights as a way to carry your stories around for more than 24 hours.
Stories highlights appear in your profile below your bio.
Alongside the highlights, Instagram also launched an archive of stories. Stories that you share are automatically saved to your archive until they expire, so you can reset your favorite stories at any time.
To Make a highlight:
- Tap the "New" circle on the far left.
- No story you can pick from your archive
- Choose a cover for your highlight and give it a tag
If you've done so, your highlight will appear as a circle on your profile. You can have as many highlights as you want, and they'll remain on your profile until you delete them. To edit or delete the highlight, just tap and hold the highlight on your profile.
Choose Who Can See Your Stories
Your story follows your account's privacy settings. If you set your account to private, your story is only available to your followers. But you can easily conceal your whole story from someone you don't want to see, even though they follow you.
You can make a list of close friends on Instagram and Stories of only the people you've added. To add people to your list, go to your profile and select "Close Friends" in the side menu. Only you can see the list of your close friends, and no one can ask you to include it, so you can feel comfortable changing it at any time, and you will feel comfortable with your close friends and post anything you like.
Build an Instagram Stories Plan For Your Business
As in all aspects of social media marketing, you will need Instagram Stories to plan to be effective and achieve your goals.
But from where are you supposed to start?
Here are a couple of tips to help.
1) Post Around One to Seven Stories In a Day
We've done some research into how people interact with Instagram stories, and we've found that posting between one to seven stories is best done to keep the completion rate up (over 70 percent).
The completion rate is calculated by measuring the number of times your Stories have been watched from the first Story frame to the last Story frame within the specified 24-hour time frame.
This means that if you post between one and seven stories, 70 percent of your audience is likely to hang around until the end of your last post.
But if you want to post longer stories, the drop is not too bad. You will still see completion rates above 50% for posts longer than 20 stories.
2) Select An Optimal Time to Post
Given that stories last only 24 hours, when you publish them, you're going to optimize the scope of that story.
The best time to post would be different for each account depending on their audience and when they are most involved, but to give you an idea of where to start, we've been observing the average completion rate of stories during the day.
3) Build a Connection With Your Audience
As social media entered the mainstream for the first time, there was a lot of hype and enthusiasm about being able to talk to your favorite celebrities and brands. Stories offer marketers the chance to get back to the origins of social media and to connect with their fans on a 1:1 basis.
4) Be Consistent
Consistency is the secret to the success of social media. And that's particularly true of the stories. Since stories only last 24 hours, you need to publish new content regularly to keep your audience engaged.
We've found that the more stories the top Instagram accounts share, the more median reach and impressions they receive.
This doesn't mean you're supposed to pump out stories for the sake of it, but if you want to maximize your reach and views on Instagram, well-thought-out and organized stories might be a great way to go.
Using Stories Ads to Improve Reach, Interaction, And Conversion
When we used Instagram Stories ads to support our blog posts, we found they surpassed our Facebook feed ads.
Our Instagram Stories Ads cost just $0.06 per click!
(On Facebook, our feed ads typically cost around $0.30 – $0.60 per click.)
Since Stories ads are still relatively fresh, we think it's a great time to get started and get the most out of it. We're super excited to support you with this.
Stories advertisements will appear full-screen on mobile devices and run in-between user stories.
Scheduling Instagram stories
If you're managing a company or a creator account on Instagram, you might want to plan your stories to ensure that you're still sharing new, engaging content with your audience.
If you want to improve interaction, take your fans behind the scenes or support your new product launches and sales, you can do it all with Instagram Stories.
Here's how to arrange Instagram Buffer Stories:
1) Connect Your Instagram Account
Stories have their queue in the Buffer dashboard, pick your Instagram account, and then open the Stories tab.
2) Upload Your Content
Tap 'Add to Story' from the queue, and then pick Add Media Files to upload your Story photos and videos.
2) Shedule Your Content
Use the Schedule Story button and select the time and date picker. Choose the day and time you want to post the story, and they will send a push notification to your mobile device with everything you need to conclude the Instagram post.
How to Check Your Instagram Stories Analytics?
If your story is posted, you can also access some simple analytics to show you how many times each post in your story has been viewed and who has seen it. When you're watching your own story, take a look at the data and who's seen each picture and video.
1) Creator Studio Insights
Instagram accounts can now be linked to the Facebook Creator Studio, a tool that allows you to dive into your Instagram Stories info.
Go to Creator Studio, pick your Instagram account, and then open the Content Library tab. This segment provides an overview of all of your Instagram images, pictures, carousels, stories, and IGTV posts.
Any of your story posts will be listed in the Content Library and you can access data such as impressions, responses, and clicks for each message.
This makes it easy for you to check the insights of your stories, posts, or IGTV posts.
2) Story Insights From The Buffer
Buffer Evaluate reach and success rates for individual Instagram Stories and overall metrics, such as total impressions and average range, for all Instagram Stories that you have shared during the selected time.
Instagram Stories Ideas For Your Brand
When making Stories photos, we always find it beneficial to look at images from other companies for motivation.
We hope you will find this helpful.
1) Create a Quiz
Airbnb uses stories as a means of making enjoyable and engaging travel-related quizzes. It also uses stickers to make it easier for people to guess the location.
2) Promote Deals
Hopper uses Instagram Stories (and the 'Swipe Up' feature) to raise awareness of its new offerings and content.
3) Post Attractive & Catchy Content
Stories can only last 24 hours, but you can create content that your audience needs to capture and hold their camera roll for reference. This is going to help the brand stay top-of-mind. Jamie Oliver is doing this with his recipes.
4) Display Your Products
Stories are extremely appealing and a perfect way to learn more about your company and goods with your audience. Warby Parker is doing this very well.
How to Use Instagram Stories For Your Business?
Knowing how to post to your Instagram Story is one thing, but knowing what to post is another thing. Well, for businesses looking to share their Instagram story, it's crucial to know who your ideal fans are and what they'd like to see on Instagram. Remember, Instagram is a visual medium, but that doesn't mean that you can't teach or encourage something in the process.
Here are some suggestions for using Instagram Stories to draw fans and create a customer base.
1) Post a Picture of an Office Event
The best thing a company can do on Instagram is to be as human as possible. One way to do this is to post a short video of a company feature. If it's an office holiday party or an award banquet, it's easy to post videos to your story and in-the-time entertainment for your fans. This content also shows people that you are a relevant and friendly voice in your business.
2) Post News About Your Business
Just as you would on your company page, you can use your Instagram Story to report on the latest developments in your industry. With the right design work, you can turn tiny news breaks—which don't deserve a full article—into a story on your Instagram account. This keeps consumers coming back to you to stay up to date with industry trends. You can also ask users what they think.
3) Illustrate your product
Your product may not be the easiest or most desirable product in the eyes of a layperson. Ok, your Instagram Story is the ideal format to show future customers how this product is being used. Upload a long video, segmented into 15-second clips, showing users what your product or service does and how it benefits your customers.
For instance, if you sell software, you might want to record a video on your computer screen using a recording tool like Loom, which shows people how to log in, use the software dashboard, and navigate to the different features included in the product.
4) Promote a Company Event
Is your company holding a trade conference or attending a major one every year? Use your Instagram Story to advertise the event and tell your fans to look for you. Work with a graphic designer, or do some artwork yourself, to illustrate a flier event with all the detail you need to find. Most of this can be accomplished directly on Instagram.
5) Mention Other Companies
As your Instagram continues to expand, you can inevitably pick up other business accounts that want to follow you as well. If those accounts are your business partners or just your followers, consider giving them a shout-out on your Instagram post. This is a passive but powerful way to cultivate relationships with users that are most important to the growth of your company.
We hope these tips will help you post the Instagram Stories hero that your audience won't be able to stop following. There are a lot of secret ways to take the stories to the next level—some of which we might not even have covered here. Our best advice, huh? Keep clicking around to see what you can do with the latest app changes.
Stories have become an extremely essential part of Instagram's marketing plan, and we let you prepare, preview, and schedule your Instagram Stories ahead of time, so that you have everything ready to post with a single push notification.
We have covered all the topics and secrets of Instagram stories comments below if we have missed anything above.