*Scroll down for the full tutorial!*
It's no secret that video content is absolutely killing it right now. Youtube, Periscope, FB Live, Instagram Live, Snapchat, Instagram Stories.. it can be a lot to take in. And video can be a really terrifying thing - I get it.
But research is showing that an increasing number of consumers prefer video content so ignoring it is becoming less of an option. Luckily, Instagram has given us an easy way to share video without so much pressure. No need for a fancy lighting set-up or a fancy camera. No need to even put on makeup if it's not the day for that.
INSERT INSTAGRAM STORIES. You know, Snapchat's sort-of copycat built right into your other favorite social media platform.
I am in seriously in love with this little tool. Instagram stories allow you to upload content just 15 seconds at a time. You can upload one or many in a row to create a STORY. So let's get to it! See below for a FULL TUTORIAL and MY BEST TIPS on using Instagram Stories.
INSTAGRAM STORIES VS. SNAPCHAT
IG Stories are a LOT like Snapchat, yes. A lot of people are wondering which one they should choose and my answer to that is that you should go where your people go. If you get more views and engagement on Snapchat, stay there. But if you have an audience on Instagram, I *highly* recommend you at least give it a try.
Snapchat has fun filters and that can be a huge draw for a lot of people. Good news! If you really want those filters, you can download your snaps and simply upload them to Instagram. I'll show you how below.
In general, Snapchat tends to lean younger than Instagram, so keep this in mind when choosing your platform. Some people like to use Snapchat for personal conversations and more silliness and use Instagram in a more professional sense. These are decisions that are totally up to you and totally depend on your audience. If all else fails, just ASK them - where do you hang out? They'll let you know. ;)
WHAT TO POST ON INSTAGRAM STORIES
There seems to be a lot of confusion on what you should post on Instagram Stories - I mean really, another place to add content? Here are my rules for posting:
- Be relevant! For the *most* part, your audience will want to see content that is relevant to what you already post on Instagram. Stick to your niche as much as you can. If you post about social media on Instagram, include tips on social media in your stories too! It's like a little EXTRA for those who choose to watch your stories.
- But get personal! This is a place for you to talk directly to your audience and share the more casual (less styled) bits of your job with them. This means you don't have to be totally made up and you can share some of the more personal aspects of your life (if you choose). A lot of people who watch you will be admirers who want to be just like you.
- Show your face! I highly recommend showing your face here - people are attracted to people - keep it interesting and be true to you. Don't let the perfectionism bug stop you from posting on Instagram Stories. People love the raw aspect of them.
- Don't be random. If you're going to share on Instagram Stories, try to share a complete story. If you just share one 15-second clip of something really random that isn't relevant to your niche, your audience will be confused and might even mute you.
OK, ARE YOU READY FOR IT?
THE COMPLETE TUTORIAL ON INSTAGRAM STORIES
Instagram Stories can be found at the top of your feed. They are the circles filled with the profile pictures of everyone you follow. Yours will also be found there in the top left. (If you can't see these, update your app completely).
You can watch others by clicking on their circle at the top. It will cycle through all of the people who have new stories. To SKIP someone's story, simply swipe to the left. To PAUSE a story (in case you need to read, screenshot or do something else), simply hold your finger down on the screen. To MUTE someone's story (meaning you won't see them anymore), hold down on their circle at the top. See below.
To add new videos and clips to your Instagram story, simply swipe left or press the little camera icon the upper left corner. You will see a screen like the one below. If you swipe right, you'll see your direct messages.
From this screen, you have a few choices for how you want to add things to your Instagram story. Simply swipe between them to choose.
LIVE - The live feature means that you will be broadcasting live to your audience. They will get a notification that you are live (turn off live notifications in your push settings in the app). Your live broadcast will only be available during the time that you are live and will not be saved for any period of time or to your camera roll.
NORMAL - The normal feature is how you add video or photos to your story. To add a photo, just click the circle button. To record, you will need to hold down the circle button and it will record 15 seconds at a time. There will be a progress circle around the record circle to let you know how much time you have left.
BOOMERANG - Boomerang creates a cute little looped video. Experiment to make some fun moving images!
HANDS-FREE - Hands-free is also a video option if you want to prop up your phone to record instead of holding down the record button like in the normal feature. This can be helpful if you want to show yourself working.
*Fun tip: to zoom while recording, simply keep your finger on the screen and drag it up. Drag back down to zoom back out.*
In the playback screen, you will have some options to make alterations to your content. These options include text, drawing with a thinner pen, thicker pen and a neon pen and adding stickers (these include fun things like geo tags, weather, all your standard emojis and seasonal options).
*Fun tip: To get even more color options, simply hold down on the colors and move around a whole spectrum of colors!*
You can also add a few filters with Instagram Stories like a black and white filter, a gradient filter and a few others - not as many or as cool as Snapchat, but can help if you're taking photos in bad or low lighting (which is totally cool on IG Stories). To add a filter, simply swipe right in this phase of editing.
To create a completely colored background, it's simple! Just take a random photo, choose the draw option, get the biggest brush you can and pick your color. Then start to draw. The color is semi-transparent so you will need to color until it's opaque. This can be a bit finicky if you hit the undo button or grab buttons from elsewhere on your iPhone while you're coloring. If it does this and won't color, just press done, then go back with the same settings and continue on.
You can also TAG PEOPLE in your Instagram Stories - if you wanted to thank someone, give a shoutout or share a source for something, this is a great way to do it. Once tagged, a viewer can click on the tag and head straight to that person's profile and then easily click back to get back to your story.
If you have photos, videos or graphics in your camera roll that you want to share in your story, you can! They just have to be taken or saved within the last 24 hours. If they aren't, you can always take a screenshot (edit quickly to remove iPhone headers and footers) and it will now be in your camera roll. To add things from your camera roll, just swipe UP (don't take a video or photo or Boomerang, just swipe up). This is where you could upload things that you have saved from Snapchat!
To POST your awesome new Instagram story, just click the button with a plus sign and Your Story. If you want to send it as a direct (secret) message, click the arrow in the bottom right and choose who you want to send it to. If you'd like to save your story, simply click the save button before adding to your story (don't worry, you can do this later too). You can add several clips or photos in a row to complete the story.
To see who is watching your stories, go back and watch back your story. You can swipe up while watching to see the number of people who saw each clip. From this screen, check out who is watching your story. This is a great way to detect if you have a lot of spam watching or if they are genuine people. You can also see where people stopped watching if the number drops significantly at a certain point.
Within this screen, you also have options to save your story or portions of it with the down arrow, upload a portion of your story to your Instagram feed with the up arrow or delete a portion with the waste basket.
The settings will also allow you to hide your stories from certain people and choose who can send you direct messages. I recommend keeping these on so people can interact with you!
Starting conversations with people is so easy with Instagram stories. When watching their stories, send reactions, questions or praise by simply clicking the 'Send a message' text in the lower left. Most people are super gracious and send a reply in return so don't be shy about interacting, even with bigger names or influencers.
One other way that people might be seeing your stories if they aren't following you is through the Discover feature. If your profile is public, your story might be shown in the search feature of Instagram. Just click the search icon (second from the left on the bottom) and see stories of people you don't follow at the top of the screen.
And there it is! The COMPLETE tutorial on how to use Instagram Stories! These are an awesome feature to add to your marketing and social media plan. I have personally made closer and more personal connections with many people and even made affiliate sales through my stories.
Don't forget to PIN THIS ARTICLE for your reference later!
Sooo, will you try it? Are you already using them? Do you still have questions? Leave them in the comments below!
Ready to get going on Instagram Stories?
Download my FREE Instagram Stories Planner below!