Instagram Stories

Hello! Here I am again with a more “social media” themed blog. Don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll write another long winded musing about life sometime soon!

If you read or listen to any social media news you know that stories are the *thing* for 2019. For business accounts they are another way to get your content out, sometimes in a fun or more relaxed manner. I have heard the term “thumb-stopping stories” multiple times which is awful so let’s just work on making stories that people at least look at and maybe interact with?

You can make stories in the Instagram app pretty easily, just click on your profile image (do this on the home page, if it’s on your profile, Instagram will try to get you to change your profile picture). From there you can upload photos or type a message. There are GIF and sticker options at the top, you can use Snapchat like filters (I don’t because I’m an adult) and there are some built in fun options like Zoom with hearts or Boomerang (which basically makes something into a quick GIF). If you want to use one of those you will have to do it by taking the photo in Instagram, not on an existing one so plan ahead (hint: you can take a Boomerang and save it to post for later!). There are a few different fonts and colour schemes you can use for your caption, basically lots of different ways built into the app to design a fun story.

Here are a couple of examples of ones I’ve made in the app, in the moment. Behind the scenes stuff, to give people an “insiders” look are great for stories. You can also link to stories from other apps like GIPHY or Spotify – I like to use that for holiday themed music! #spooky

There are also many many templates around the world wide web that can be used. I use Canva primarily for mine, you can set up a custom dimension image (1080 x 1920 pixels) and go from there. You can upload images and use tons of different fonts, colours and graphics. They do also have a lot of story templates you can edit-I like to use these sometimes because a) they are quicker and b) there are way too many fonts in Canva now and it’s hard to find good ones/remember the names of the good ones so using templates is the fastest way to pick a font (I find). Once you’re satisfied just save it and download (the default download option is PDF-don’t fall for that! Change to a PNG or JPEG). I do this on my desktop and then just transfer the stories to my devices (using email because that is what works for me). There is a Canva app but I wasn’t a fan when I tried it. That’s probably because I’m old and would much rather use a keyboard and mouse to do anything and also sometimes Canva is slow or super finicky and annoying but whatever works for you.

Here are two stories I made in Canva with templates-very simple, you can add your own image, some fun graphics etc. Also this is a great way to plug the new Whale Tales Podcast and Patreon!

I have seen a few options to schedule stories on scheduling platforms but so far, they are only on paid accounts, so I’ll have to get back to you on that. Right now, I just set a reminder and upload them manually. Like all social media posts, you should think about having a call to action in your story. It can be as simple as “head to our website” and it doesn’t need to (and shouldn’t) be on all your stories but having your followers engage with your posts is something to always try to achieve. If you have more than 10,000 Instagram followers, you can put a link in your story (a little paper clip icon will appear as an option at the top) so you can say “swipe up to read” or something similar.

I made this one on Canva with just a blank template. Once it’s on my device I can add the link corresponding to this story.

If you don’t have that many followers yet you can just say “link in bio” and if necessary, change your Instagram bio for the day to a specific link (something that an be a good idea for specific Instagram posts as well). If you want an example of what that looks like, check out our Instagram story the day this is posted!

You can track story views, impressions and actions while your story is up or afterwards by checking out your Instagram insights (I will go into this more when I get around to writing an analytics update post!) but its always good to look at it at least once before it disappears (24 hours) to see how its doing. If it’s doing well you can add it to your story highlights on your profile (I’ll probably write a quick blog about this too one day!) so that people can continue to see it

Facebook stories do exist, but they are currently not very popular. If you have a good story, especially one that doesn’t require a link, just share it to your Facebook stories (an option in your IG story settings). It may be seen by more people and it won’t hurt.

Using stories can be crapshoot for business accounts. They can be more work than they are worth, especially since they can’t be scheduled so I use them fairly sporadically. They are useful to pass on certain messages and to increase your impressions and reach. If you do have the option to have links in them, they can be much more useful as that’s pretty much the only way to add new links in Instagram. Try to keep them interesting, simple and don’t just plop your Instagram post for the day in a story (no one likes that) and you should see some payoff-an increase in impressions and reach is always a good thing ?



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