February 12, 2018
Whether you love them or hate them, Instagram stories are here to stay. If you haven’t noticed, there have been a lot of new features added specifically within stories to make them easier and more fun to use. Could this be a ploy to distract us from all of the algorithm changes? Maybe. But as a business owner, you absolutely should be using Instagram stories for growth and exposure.
Being strategic with our IG Stories has actually helped us gain lots of exposure on Instagram, and paying attention to the analytics was key in helping us fine-tune our strategy. Of course, you can purchase some really cool apps to help; however, we’re going to show you 8 ways to slay your Instagram stories for FREE.
Utilize the new Instagram stories TYPE feature and say goodbye to that boring old font! Instagram just rolled out new fonts and a full fledged, easily-accessible type feature that doesn’t require you to upload a photo or video first. “TYPE” is the leftmost option at the bottom of the screen when you get ready to post a new story. Tap the screen to type, and then click at the top to toggle between the new font options: Modern, Neon, Typewriter and Strong. Also keep an eye out for the “A++”, on the top left, for additional styles and color options. And boom — you’ve made a custom graphic with text on a colored background for IG stories in seconds!
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’ve got to create eye catching graphics and images that will keep them wanting more. If your stories don’t pop, followers will swipe away in a heartbeat. Use high quality images and contrasting colors to make sure your they catch and hold a viewer’s attention. And no need for fancy design skills or an expensive app, Canva is an awesome tool that you can use to create graphics for your stories easily, and for FREE.
Make your stories fun and interactive! The latest IG features have made this incredibly easy to achieve. Use the poll feature to ask a question, or encourage followers to reply to your stories via DM to encourage engagement. Interactivity also shows that you care about what your followers think, and that you want to get to know them. Add stickers and animated GIFs for some cheeky fun. You can also use video, boomerang, superzoom, rewind, and stop motion to give your followers a behind the scenes look into your story, your process and your personality. Instagram is a social media platform…so go forth and be social! Bonus tip: Create polls that drive business. Ask a question related to something that you can offer potential customers as a selling point to gain their business.
Lead people directly to your feed by tagging yourself. This may seem redundant, but it’s like giving users a little shortcut to more of what you’ve got to offer. You can also draw a line towards your tiny profile pic at the top left, but why not give a viewer easier access to your profile by giving them a tag to tap within the story? It’s a higher converting call to action because it is larger and easier to tap.
Okay, but this one really isn’t meant to be taken lightly. We’re begging y’all, use a hashtag and/or location tag! We CANNOT stress this enough. Stories that are featured on hashtags and location tags have a MUCH better chance of reaching a wider, untapped audience than standard posts. As always, do your research first — figure out which hashtags you can apply to your stories that are related to your niche, but are not overly inundated with spam. What’s even better is that IG story analytics will tell you how many people viewed your story from the hashtag you used, so you can figure out which ones are winners and which ones are duds. Technically, you can add more than one hashtag to a story. But we suggest using one hashtag per story, as based on our testing, your story is much more likely to be featured in that feed. Bonus tip: If you want to hide your hashtag, use the eyedropper to change the color, make it super tiny and hide it somewhere in the background.
Speaking of the eyedropper tool, venture out beyond the basic set of provided colors by using that or the color spectrum. The eyedropper tool pops up to the left of the colors when you’re typing text. It allows you to “pick” any color from your background image or video and apply it to the text. The color spectrum is hidden, but can be accessed by holding down your finger on any of the standard color circles. Once it appears, drag your finger around until your text is the desired color.
You can easily add some music to your videos by opening up any music player app like Pandora on your phone to play your favorite song, then head back over to the Instagram app to record your story video while the music is playing. BAM – your favorite song is right there as part of your IG story. Bonus tip: Start recording at the exact part of the song that you want playing during your recording. You’ve only got 15 seconds, so play the best part!
As of the time this blog post is launching, some users are able to resize an uploaded image manually within IG stories by pinching. If you don’t have access to this feature yet, make sure your images and graphics aren’t being cropped. The perfect dimensions are 1080 pixels x 1920 pixels (9:16 aspect ratio). Ideally, your image is going to fit nicely in the screen area without any manipulation. Take photos directly in the app, or outside of the app in portrait (not landscape or square). If not, you can use an app to resize it or just take a screenshot of it from your photo library on your phone and use that screenshot for your stories. When using this method, fill in the blank space with something like text or a sticker so it doesn’t look too empty.
Now you’ve got the keys! We can’t wait to see your Instagram stories pop up in our feed so we can see you slay. Which one of these tips are you going to try out first?
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