It’s no secret that stories are a big deal on Instagram and more and more brands are getting on board with this.

Instagram stories have become an essential tool for growing engagement, building brand awareness and driving traffic to your website and this cannot be overlooked. Instagram stories are used by 500 million users every day (Instagram internal data, January 2019) and one-third of the most-viewed Instagram Stories are from businesses.

Stories are no longer seen as a novelty but a staple of Instagram itself. So, if you’re not yet using them, now is the time to start!

Everything you need to know about Instagram Stories

Why are Instagram Stories good for my business?

With more people using Instagram Stories every day, it’s important to have a strategy in place for sharing content. You’ll need a good game plan if you’re looking to use Instagram Stories to gain more followers and grow your reach, and especially if you’re looking to increase engagement. By developing a plan for your Instagram Stories, you can make sure you never miss an opportunity to connect with your audience again.

How often should I post Instagram Stories?

Unlike regular feed posts, Instagram’s algorithm won’t penalise you for posting too many Instagram Stories. However, Instagram does allow for people to mute stories from selected accounts, so maybe posting huge amounts of annoying salesy content wouldn’t be a great idea. I confess that I have muted people’s accounts when I have found myself tapping 20+ times before reaching the next account’s story. That’s not to say posting a ton of Stories is always a bad thing… it really comes down to your type of content and what your followers expect from you.

What time should I post my Instagram Stories?

When it comes to feed posts on Instagram, it’s very important to post when your followers are most active. However, luckily for you, this isn’t the case with Instagram Stories.

Due to the nature of Instagram Stories, they can only exist for 24 hours but for these 24 hours, they exist at the very top of your followers’ feeds. So, even if you post a story while all of your followers are asleep, it will still be at the top of their feed when they wake up.

In short, don’t stress too much about the time you are posting your Stories… the whole point of Stories is for the content to be current, so post when it’s happening.

What should I post on my Instagram Stories?

Similarly to Instagram feed posts, it’s good to post a variety of fun, light-hearted and promotional content to your Instagram Stories.

The great thing about Instagram Stories is that because they’ve created so many great tools, you can get as creative as you like with this.

When posting to your stories, everything you talk about should come back to your brand. Make sure you stay true to your values, tone of voice and aesthetic. But apart from that, it’s down to you to decide what you’re going to talk about.

If you’re already a whiz at using Instagram Stories for your business but want to know how you can do even more? Read on because we’re going to share the top 5 Instagram Story hacks that you NEED to know.

How to create stand-out Instagram Stories

When it comes to ensuring your Instagram Stories stand out from the crowd, some of the most useful features, tools and techniques Instagram provide are hidden from the naked eye. So, we are going to unveil all the tips and tricks to making your Instagram Stories engaging, artistic and effective.

Hack #1 - paste photos onto your Instagram Stories

Have you ever wondered how people make the gorgeous ‘collage-style’ Instagram stories?

We’re going to tell you how. You’re welcome.

Simply copy a photo from your camera roll by tapping the“export” button.

Copy a photo from your camera roll using the export button

Next, tap “copy” and head back to your Instagram Story.

Copy the image by tapping the "copy" button

Now, double-tap the screen and tap “paste”.

Double tap the screen an tap "paste"

Tah dah! Your photo has now appeared on your story.

Your copied photo will be pasted onto your story

The best thing about this Instagram Stories hack is that there are so many situations where you can use it. For example, if you want to ensure your Instagram Stories are 100% on-brand, you can paste a rectangle in your brand colour for the background and then layer your photos over the top to create that immensely on-brand Instagram Story you’ve been dreaming of. If you want to go even further, you can then use the colour dropper tool to pick up the exact colour from your background for your text element. (This works best on solid colour backgrounds but can be achieved either way.)

Colour pick your exact brand colours using this Instagram hack

Hack #2 - recover archived Instagram Stories

Have you ever wanted to view your past Instagram Stories and the only way you know how is to create a non-permanent Instagram Story Highlight which is super long-winded and annoying?

There is a simple way! And we’re going to show you how.

So, where is the Instagram Story archive?

Simply go to your Instagram profile and select the 3 lines in the top right-hand corner of the screen.

Tap the 3 lines in the top right-hand corner of your profile

Tap “archive”.

Tap "archive"

Switch between archived posts and stories by tapping “archive”.

Switch between the archived posts and stories by tapping "archive"

Here you can reshare a previously posted Instagram Story that performed well or throwback to that time last year to show to your followers just how far you’ve come.

Reshare previously posted stories using this hack

Hack #3 - create rainbow text in your Instagram Stories

If you want to add more colour into your Instagram Stories and although you love the colour slider tool, it’s not quite hitting the spot… then create rainbow coloured text.

To do this, open Instagram Stories and type out your message. Then tap on your text and tap “select all” to highlight it.

Type out a message on your stories, then tap it and tap "select all" to highlight the text

Whilst it’s highlighted, press and hold one finger down on the colour slider tool to open the colour spectrum. With that finger still holding down on the colour slider, and one on your highlighted text, begin to simultaneously drag both fingers towards the left-hand side of your screen.

With both fingers held on the screen, move them simultaneously across the screen

You’ll see your text begin to change colour. Move your finger faster or slower for additional colour variations, or alternate the direction you move your fingers across the screen to create something magical…

Hack #4 create solid colour backgrounds in your Instagram Stories

This hack is great when you want to share an Instagram Story with drawings and text rather than a photo or video. Wave goodbye to wasting time trying to colour in the whole screen, struggling to get to all the corners and edges.

Tap the pen icon in the upper right-hand corner of the screen and select a colour.

tap the pen icon in the upper right-hand corner and select our chosen colour

Now, tap and hold the screen until it is filled with a solid colour.

tap and hold the screen until it is filled with that colour

You can switch this up depending on which brush you choose. A marker or neon brush will give you a solid colour, yet the chisel-tip brush will give you a translucent colour.

You can also use this hack to tease release a new product or announcement.

And here’s how:

Take a photo or upload one from your camera roll of the product you will be revealing. Once your photo is selected, tap the pen icon in the upper right-hand corner and select a colour.

Take or upload a photo. Then tap the pen in the upper right hand corner and select a colour

Next, tap and hold the screen until it is filled with a solid colour.

Tap and hold the screen until it is filled with that colour

Tap the eraser tool on the upper right-hand corner of the screen and select the size of the eraser you want using the slider on the left-hand side of the screen. Now tap or swipe on the screen to reveal the image underneath.

tap the eraser tool and tap or swipe to reveal the picture underneath.

Hack #5 - hide ugly bulk hashtags in your Instagram Stories

Although a great way to increase reach, sometimes hashtags can ruin the aesthetic of your Instagram Story. Thankfully, we know ways around it.

Type out the hashtags you want to use, and then pinch them to make them smaller.

type your hashtags using the text tool and pinch them to make them smaller

Next, place an image sticker or GIF over the hashtag text so it’s hidden.

use a GIF/sticker to cover them

Or you can select a colour for your text from the colour tool that perfectly matches your Instagram Story background.

type out your hashtags using the text tool
use the colour picker tool to make the text disappear into the background

At SONDR, we can create a unique Instagram Stories strategy for your business. We can plan, create and post content in line with your brand… so, if this sounds of interest to you, get in touch today!

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Beth Dennehy

Beth manages SONDR’S clients’ social media accounts. Using her creative flair she plans and creates various forms of content.