Instagram Stories - How to use them effectively & why you should!

Friends, friends, friends, HELLO!

If you follow me on the gram you might have seen that I hosted an Instagram Workshop this past weekend. It was a 3 hour immersive course where we talked about everything from improving the aesthetic of your feed to EXACTLY what you should be posting, how to use hashtags annnnd Instagram stories. It was a super fun morning with lots of takeaways for the guests and completely lit the fire under my but to start creating some more long form content.

So today I’m here to talk to you about Instagram Stories! I’m going to break it down to how to use them and why you should. I have to physically restrain myself from posting more stories sometimes, I don’t want to annoy anyone ya know? I just have lots to say and happen to love rambling to a large audience of mostly strangers who I consider my friends..sue me!

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WHY YOU SHOULD ALWAYS HAVE AN INSTAGRAM STORY ACTIVE

If you didn’t know Instagram stories automatically delete after 24 hours unless you save them to a highlight. However, if you have a business account you can see all of your past stories in the ‘archives’ for your reference BUT only you can see them there.

You want to have an IG story live at all times so that that pretty little pink and orange ring is around your profile picture. B CUZ..when someone visits your profile page and they do not follow you they will most like glance at your feed (without physically clicking on a post) and then click on your story! Now its go-time and you have one more chance to grab their attention and show em your charming personality. Instagram stories are the most candid moments we get on Instagram these days. Remember when you had to take your photos through the IG camera and it was literally ‘insta’gram? Yeah well those days are gone and now our feeds are curated to the max but humans still want that ‘insta’ feel which is why stories are so popular. It’s our way to find out what someone is up to in real time.

Stories don’t have to be stressful! They are actually way easier then posts that go on our feeds which require having a nice photo, editing and thoughtful caption writing. Stories can be simple and messy. Your coffee, your breakfast, a product you love, a product you’re trying for the first time, behind the scenes of your business, you teaching the audience something by talking to them or just you rambling on about your day with really no defined purpose other than showing up.

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GETTING YOUR MAXIMUM REACH WITH STORIES

GIFs are fun and all but these aren’t the stickers that will increase the exposure your story could get. Use the location sticker whenever possible for a chance to be on the location story. For example if you are in Instagram and click the search tab and enter Winnipeg under places you will be able to see the Winnipeg story. Note that the posts that get on the story don’t necessarily have “Winnipeg” but may have various businesses within Winnipeg such as “Bell MTS Place” or even a restaurant. IF you have a great story that makes in on the Winnipeg story you might just have some new visitors to your page!

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You can also add hashtags to your stories. I wouldn’t say these are a great method for exposure but it doesn’t hurt. If you go through the sticker route and chose the Hashtag sticker it will only let you add one. BUT if you type the hashtags just like you are typing text you can add up to 10. Sometimes I like to be sneaky and make them super small so that I can get the added exposure without it taking up room on my story. he he he (evil laugh).

HOW TO TALK TO THE CAMERA

You know when you try to talk to the camera and then you immediately feel super awkward, bail, delete the video, delete your account, throw your phone out the window, crawl into bed and hope you never ever try and do something so silly again?..We’ve allllll been there.

I talk to the camera a lot and the only way I got better at it was practice. I’d actually cringe if I saw the first talking video I put up. I’m sure I sounded like some bad actor reading over re-hersed lines like a robot. But, it gets easier.

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Think of it like this, you are talking to a friend on Facetime. Talk naturally exactly like you would to a friend (maybe not your best friend cause you know how weird we all our with our best friends..but like a good friend you feel comfortable around). You don’t need to speak like you are presenting a research paper in university just keep it chill and let it flow. If you forget what you were saying, or stutter or freeze you can delete it and try again, duh.

And don’t think that your daily rambles aren’t important to people because they are. Think about the stories you watch most, it’s probably some girl (like me) talking about random stuff that happened in her day, what she’s up to or what she’s making for dinner. Why is this stuff so enthralling?! Because it’s relatable and it makes us feel connected.

CREATING STORIES AHEAD OF TIME

There are a couple of reasons we might want to create our stories ahead of time:

  1. We want to enjoy the event/day we are at so we’ll snap some picks during it and upload them later

  2. We don’t want to have 5 minutes of space between each story when we are trying to talk to the camera because we are too busy re-recording a bunch of times

  3. We want to make the content one day but post on another

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How to do it:

  1. Now that IG lets us post stories from anywhere in our camera roll you can take your pictures/videos and upload them at any time. IG will give you a little date sticker but you can just delete that little sneaky guy. *Posts a video series in full hair and makeup 3 days later when she’s sitting on the couch looking like a potato*

  2. You know how you’ve seen accounts where the video seems to flow seamlessly between clips. “Um excuse me miss, are you a robot?! How did you not move?! How does your thumb reach the post button..”. There’s actually this nice little app called CutStory. You film yourself with your camera app (not IG) then upload that video in CutStory, save for Instagram and it will save 15 seconds clips to your camera roll which you can then upload through your stories! ($1.99 to get the watermark off, #worthit)

  3. If you want to make photos or graphics for your instagram story ahead of time keep in mind that an IG story is 1080 x 1920 so if you are using an app like Canva.com (free basic graphic design website which is 10 times more user friendly an desktop than phone) and you want to create a custom design enter these numbers and it will fit perfectly to your story!

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Alrighty guys thats my shhhpiel on stories! Make them daily, talk to the camera, connect with your audience, have fun.

Chat soon,

xx.

Jo