Since its launch in August 2016, Instagram Stories has allowed an Instagram user to create a ‘story’ of images and videos. These appear above a user’s Instagram feed and are available to view for 24 hours only… after that, they disappear. Instagram users can draw on the photos and videos, add text and filters, record a ‘Boomerang’ (a looped animation that plays backwards and forwards), and even use the built in augmented reality filters (for when you’d like to be a koala 😉). In this previous blog post, we discussed how you can use Instagram Stories to market your business, but this time we are going to show you some of the tips and tricks people are using in order to make more creative Instagram Stories that really help them to stand out against the competition, as well as some other Instagram Stories tricks that will hopefully make using Instagram Stories easier for you.
1. How to zoom in and out when recording an Instagram Stories video
To highlight the action within a video, or a particular product or person, you can zoom in and out while recording by just using your finger!
Begin recording your video as normal (by holding down a finger or thumb on the capture button), then, using the same finger or thumb that you’re using to record the video, swipe up to zoom in and swipe down to zoom out. Just don’t let go, or you’ll stop recording!
2. Access custom text and pen colours
Instagram Stories offers a selection of colours to choose from along the bottom of your screen when you’re adding text or using the pen tool. Sometimes, though, you need a colour that just isn’t there. This is especially true if you wish to keep things consistent by using your brand colours. You don’t have to stick with the colours offered along the bottom of the screen… you can choose any colour you want!
Add text, or begin drawing on your Instagram Stories image / video as normal by tapping the pen icon or the text icon in the top right corner of your screen. To select any colour, tap and long hold one of the colours offered at the bottom of the screen. Slide your finger across the pop up colour chart to select the colour you wish to use.
3. Highlight your text
Sometimes it can be difficult to see text over an Instagram Stories image or video, no matter what colour you choose. You can overcome this obstacle by highlighting your text.
Once you’ve typed your text, tap the “A” icon at the top of the screen. One tap will highlight the text with the colour you’ve selected. A second tap makes the highlight slightly opaque.
4. Mention and tag someone in your Instagram Stories image or video
If you’re hosting an Instagram Stories take over, or you’ve collaborated in some way with someone else, or maybe you’d just like to credit someone and draw attention to their Instagram profile, you can ‘@ mention’ them within your Instagram Stories image or video using the text tool.
Tap the text icon at the top right of your screen. Type the ‘@‘ symbol, then begin typing the username of the person you wish to mention. Suggestions will appear across the bottom of the screen. Tap the logo / image of the account you want to mention and their username will appear in your story, underlined. This shows anyone who views your Instagram Stories that there is a tappable link, and will link to the account of the user you’ve mentioned. They will also get a DM to notify them that you’ve mentioned them in your Instagram Stories. You can mention up to 10 accounts in each of your Instagram Stories.
5. Pin your text or a sticker to a particular point in an Instagram Stories video or Boomerang
Want to draw attention to a particular part of an Instagram Stories video (or Boomerang)? You have the option to pin text or a sticker to a specific object or location in your video!
To pin your text or sticker, begin by adding the text or sticker as normal, by tapping the icons at the top of the screen. Once you’ve selected your sticker or typed your text, tap and long hold it. You can use the scroll bar along the bottom of your screen to find the point in the video or Boomerang you need, then place the text or sticker where you’d like it to remain. Tap ‘Pin’. If that object moves, the sticker or text will now move with it.
6. Create a solid colour background
This is a useful tip if you’re wanting to use text without an image in your Instagram Stories. I’ve been known to select the pen tool, then use my finger to colour in the whole screen… but you needn’t do that!
Tap the pen icon in the upper right-hand corner of the screen and select the colour you want to fill the screen with. Then, tap and hold your finger on the screen for a few seconds… the screen will fill solid with the colour you’ve chosen. If you’d like a slightly opaque fill rather than a solid block, select the chisel-tip brush instead of the pen tool.
7. Share just your video, with no sound
If you don’t want your video to have any sound, or maybe the sound that’s in the background just isn’t appropriate, you can choose to share your video without any audio.
Once you’ve recorded your video, turn the sound off (and back on again) by taping the speaker icon at the top of your screen.
8. Hide your Instagram Stories from particular users
We won’t judge you on your reasons, but sometimes there are one or two people who you’d prefer not to see your Instagram Stories… well, you can hide your Instagram Stories from those individuals!
Go to your profile within the Instagram app, and select the gear icon (on iOS) or the ellipsis icon (on Android) to access ‘Options’. Tap ‘Story Settings’ under the ‘Account’ header, then tap ‘Hide Story From’. Find and select the accounts you’d rather not see your Instagram Stories and then tap ‘Done’ in the top right corner of the screen.
9. Upload an image that’s older than 24 hours
While Instagram was built to be an instantaneous photo sharing platform, sometimes you want a share a photo that you took more than 24 hours ago. You can… sometimes.
Hopefully, you’ll already know that when you open your Instagram Stories camera, you can access the photos and videos you’ve taken in the last 24 hours by swiping up. Once you’ve done so, you will see thumbnails of the images beneath a blurred out view of your camera. To upload one of these images, you just tap on the thumbnail… but if your image is older than 24 hours, it won’t appear. To overcome this, find the photo in your camera roll. Resize the image to fill the whole screen (if necessary), and then take a screen shot. The image that you’ve just taken a screenshot of will appear as a new photo in your camera roll and will now appear in the images taken in the last 24 hours to upload to Instagram Stories. This isn’t always the best thing to do, however – bear in mind that image quality will be lost, and also that you might have to resize the image which will involve some cropping.
10. Check who’s seen your Instagram Stories
This feature is worth knowing about if you’d like to see how well your Instagram Stories are performing: what time of day is best to post your Instagram Stories, and which of your more creative Instagram Stories are being watched the most… Instagram will give you the usernames of everyone who has seen your story!
Open up your story by tapping on your icon. Swipe up, and Instagram will show you the number of people who have seen the story, as well as their usernames.
It is difficult to stay on top of Instagram Stories – there’s been a huge number of updates and added features since its launch in August 2016. Hopefully, we’ve covered a number features which will help you to post more fun, engaging, and creative Instagram Stories! If there’s any part of using Instagram Stories that you don’t feel confident with, feel free to get in touch and we can have a chat. Already using Instagram Stories? We’d love to hear about your experience – do you like it? What would you like to see in the future? Let us know in the comments section below.