Welcome back to our Instagram 101 Series! Ever hear and wonder what people are talking about when you hear the term “stories” in relation to Instagram? Looking for a way to boost your Instagram account’s engagement? Have a fun photo or video that you want to share, but don’t necessarily want to post it to your main feed? If you’re looking for a fun way to share content, Instagram stories is exactly what you are looking for.

What are Instagram Stories?

Instagram created “stories” to directly compete with it’s visual sharing competitor, Snapchat. Instagram Stories are photos or short video clips that are posted on your account for 24 hours. After 24 hours, your story disappears from your account. You may have seen those circle icon at the top of your home screen. These are other people’s stories. As they upload, you will continue to see them at the top of your page. To watch someone’s story, simply click on the icon. Stories will continuously play and switch to the next user until you close out of the page.

Photo Credit: FonePaw

Why You Should Post Stories?

Stories are a great way to share content that you may not typically share on your mainstream feed. Often, stories are also used to share the “behind the scenes” of your daily adventures, promote products, promote blog posts or even used to alert followers when you put a new post up. There’s no wrong or right way to use stories, use them as you see fit for your account.

How to Post A Story

Posting your first story can often be daunting, but it’s actually just as easy as posting a photo or video onto your Instagram feed. Once you’ve posted a story or two, you’ll be a pro in no time!

To begin, open your Instagram account and make sure you are on the “home” tab, which is located in the bottom left hand corner and looks like a house icon.

Once you’re on your home page, click on the camera icon, which is located in the top left hand corner of your account. This will open the camera on your phone. Instagram allows you to have the option of taking a photo or video and uploading it or you can upload a photo or video from your phone’s gallery that you previously took.

To take a live photo or video, simply tap the large white button at the bottom of your screen for a photo or hold that white button to take a video. Instagram allows your story videos to be 15 seconds or less. If you choose to upload a photo or video that you have previously taken, simply tap the far left box. You will see your latest photo from your phone’s gallery here.

Once you’ve taken your photo or uploaded your content, click the “send to” button and then “share”, followed by “done”. Voila, you’ve created your first story! 🙂

Text, Stickers, Gifs & More!

While you can leave your story as is, but just as you write a caption for your main feed post, you will probably want to write a caption for your story to let your followers know what is going on in your story. Overlaying text on top of  your story is just as easy as posting. Once you’ve taken or selected your photo, tap the “Aa” icon in the upper right hand corner. Here, you will be able to type a short caption and choose your font. In addition to writing a short caption, you can also tag accounts. If you tag an account in your story, your story will automatically be sent to the account you tagged so that they are alerted to your story as well.

A fun way to spruce up the appearance of your stories is by adding stickers and/or gifs. Gifs are moving emojis that can really capture a follower’s attention and add a little humor to your story. Again, once you’ve taken or selected your photo, simply tap the smiling sticker icon in the upper right of your story.

Here, not only can you add emojis and gifs, but you can also add facts such as your location, the time and the temperature. By adding your location, you can attract new followers that are around your area. You can be as precise as adding the exact location of any stores you are at or keep it generic in only adding the city or town that you are in.

Check Your Stats!

Just as you may check your insights for your Instagram posts, checking the insights on your Instagram story may be just as helpful when you are planning your content and/or working with a brand.

To check your insights, when on your home page of Instagram, tap your own story icon. Once your video starts playing or your photo pops up, you should see “seen by” in the lower left hand corner. This is the number of people that have seen your story. Tap “seen by” and a new page opens up.

Here, you can see exactly which accounts have viewed your story. To see deeper insights, simply tap the graph bar icon which will break down your interactions and discovery. Use this insightful tool to help determine which of your stories are most successful.

You can compare stories to see which stories have higher views and engagement. For instance, you may have higher views if you add #cutedog to your story versus just adding #dog. Play around with your hashtags and see what works best for you and your account. However, be sure to check your insights near your stories 24 hour mark. Just as the stories disappear, so will your stories insights.

All in all, Instagram stories, while meant to be an additional feature of Instagram, actually pack a lot of punch. Use stories to your advantage, whether that be showcasing a product you’ve been asked to share, sneak peeks of upcoming posts, sharing of blog posts, behind the scenes, etc. Allow stories to be yet another creative outlet for you to share your visual images with all your friends and followers.

Have any Instagram stories tricks to share? What makes your Instagram stories pop? Let us know in the comments below or share your thoughts with us in an Instagram story of your own. Don’t forget to tag our Instagram account @mybenebone so we see your story.

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