Instagram has taken the online world by storm, simultaneously putting businesses and brands on the map. The popular app boasts more than 1 million users per month with 200 million Instagram users visiting at least one business profile daily. 

But there’s far more you can do on Instagram than just post photos with captions. Businesses should make note of Instagram Stories—an interface within the app that more than 500 million people use every single day. Stories can be daunting, but they’re a fun way to explore your creativity and there is absolutely no wrong way of doing them. 

Think of your Instagram Story as a way for you to share all the moments of your day with your followers in a slideshow format with both photos and videos. It’s a great way to cross-promote what others have been saying about you online and to share what the businesses you support are also doing. 

The best way to become acquainted with this platform is to simply use it and play around with its features, but there are a few tips and tricks that will help you create engaging and creative Instagram Stories to wow your audience. 

Instagram Stories 101

Before diving into those tips, you should first get to know the editing features that appear at the top of your screen when creating your story. 

  • Save: The save icon allows you to save the image you are working on, whether it’s just the image itself or if it includes the edits you’ve made. If you’ve added in any gifs or music, your creation will save as a video.
  • Filter: The filter icon allows you to add fun filters, including layover images such as glitter, tropical trees, and retro vibes.
  • Accessories: The accessories icon allows you to add in engagement features, such as polls and questions, and a whole library of stickers. These features can also be accessed by swiping up while editing your creation.
  • Drawing: The drawing icon allows you to add handwritten drawings with different options for brushes and erasers. You can use color selection tools from here, as well.
  • Text: The text icon allows you to add in text, which can also be accessed by tapping anywhere on the screen when editing your creation.

Tips and Tricks

Adding an image or video to your Instagram Story is the perfect way to get your audience engaged with your brand in a new way, but once you become comfortable navigating your story, it’s time to take your creations to the next level.

Change Your Background Color

Curious as to how to change the background color on any image or Instagram post you’re sharing to your story? All you have to do is tap on the draw icon when editing your creation, choose a color, and then tap and hold on to your image. The entire screen will fill with that color—it’s that simple! 

Create a Photo Collage

Have a couple of photos that you want to share with your audience? Create a photo collage on your story. 

  1. First, take a photo of anything and change the background color to whatever you would like.
  2. Next, go to your camera roll, tap the share icon on the photo of your choice, and click copy.
  3. Head back to Instagram and you should have the option to add the photo you copied as a sticker—if you don’t see that option you can just click on your screen and press paste. 
  4. Repeat until your photo collage is complete. 

Use Your Brand Colors

If you’re tired of the color options Instagram offers for creating stories, change it up by adding your brand’s colors as either your background color or text color. Keep a photo of your logo in your camera roll, or anything that includes your brand colors, and copy and paste it into your story creation.

When selecting a color, click the dropper tool located to the far left of your choices and you can then drag your finger along the image you pasted until you find the color you’re looking for. Then, just delete the image you pasted if you no longer need it!

Use Questions, Polls, and Quizzes

Questions, polls, and quizzes can be valuable tools for driving engagement through your stories and interact directly with your followers. If you’re planning on doing an Instagram Live video, ask your followers for questions beforehand through your story. Then, you can answer those questions during your broadcast. 

You can find the questions and replies to any of your prompts where you would typically see who viewed your story. To answer a question someone gave you on your story, just tap it in the “responses” list and reply in a new story with a video or photo with text. Try out each format—questions, polls, and quizzes—with different content to see what resonates best with your followers. 

In the three years since Instagram launched, stories has become a massive part of what makes the platform so popular with all types of audiences. Stories are an essential tool for brands to use to engage, inspire, and connect with their audience on a more personal level. Try to figure out the best way to use stories to your advantage. Have fun, wing it, and the more you do it, the more comfortable you’ll be doing it.