Tuesday Tip #5: How To Use Instagram Stories For Small Business

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So what’s up with the little bubbles at the top of your Instagram feed? They’re Instagram Stories! And considering there are an estimated 500 million monthly active users of the Instagram app, this is a feature you’ll want to start utilizing right away (if you’re not already).


The Gist Of Stories

“Instagram has always been the place to showcase the most beautifully edited version of your brand. But with Stories, the pressure is off. Content is quick-lived, unpolished, and even a little silly. Here, you don’t have to be picture-perfect.” (HubSpot)


With Instagram Stories, you can give your fans a behind-the-scenes glimpse of your small business. You can show your fun side. You can just be you. That’s what’s so perfect about it!


“Instagram Stories are a series of images and videos that appear at the top of a user’s feed. They live for 24 hours in chronological order, and give users the option to post as much as they want without cluttering up people’s feeds.” (HubSpot)


How To Use It

Creating a Story is super easy. You can get started in one of two ways:


  1. Go to your Instagram home screen and click the little plus sign that’s next to your icon.

  2. Go to your feed and simply swipe right.


Now the real fun begins! You have the option to:

  • Take a photo

  • Take a video

  • Upload a photo/video from your camera roll

  • Type a message


If you’re brave (which we know you are), you can even go live with your video! 


If you’re looking to create something funky, you have some cool video styles to choose from:

  • BOOMERANG: takes a burst of photos and stitches them together into a high-quality mini video that plays forward and backward

  • FOCUS: blurs the background while keeping someone's face sharp

  • SUPERZOOM: zooms into someone’s face and adds audio

  • REWIND: takes a video and plays it back in reverse

  • HANDS-FREE: allows a single tap to start recording a video

  • STOP-MOTION: takes individual photos and combines them to make a video


And of course, you can shoot just a Normal video as well! 


Once you’ve got your photo or video all set, you can now go ahead and jazz it up with some text, a doodle, or a few stickers. You can resize these objects by tapping and zooming out or in with your fingers. You can delete objects by clicking on them and dragging them down toward the bottom of the screen (a trash icon will appear when you do this). You can also add filters to your photo or video by swiping left or right. 


Featuring another brand or special guest in your Story? Use the text tool to @-tag them! 


After your masterpiece is complete, simply click the “+ Your Story” button at the bottom of the screen. Later on, you can check back on your Story and swipe up to see who has viewed it! 



Remember how we said Stories stay live for 24 hours? Well, Instagram recently created a way to archive them with Highlights.


To add a Story to your Highlights, go to that Story by clicking your icon on the home screen. When the Story appears, click "Highlight" at the bottom of the screen. 


If you haven’t already created categories for your Highlights, now’s the time you can do that. (Think of categories as folders … a neat little way to organize all of your different Stories.) Click the “+New” button and simply type the name of a new category and the Story will be archived there. You can also add a Story to a pre-existing category by choosing the icon for that category in the pop-up menu that appears after selecting Highlight. Highlights will appear underneath your profile info on the home screen.


The Takeaway

Stories are meant to be fun! Use them in a playful and creative way to showcase the personality of your small business. Snapshots from office parties. #FoodPorn from the lunch room. Boomerang videos from Bring Your Dog To Work Day. The opportunities are endless. So go for it!


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