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Tutorial: Instagram Stories and How to use them

Instagram stories let you post photos or videos to your followers that stay on your profile for 24 hours before disappearing. If your Instagram account is public, your stories are visible to everyone and can be reposted to other people’s stories. If your account is private, only your followers can see your stories and they cannot be reposted to anyone else’s story. You can post as many photos or videos to your story as you’d like each day, and each post will be automatically deleted after 24 hours.

To post a story, press the circular icon in the top left of your Instagram home screen that says “Your Story” underneath it. You can also go to your profile, and press the little “+” icon on your profile photo. Use the camera to take a photo or video, or choose one from your device’s library. Once you’ve selected it, press “Your Story” at the bottom left corner to add it to your story!

You also have the option of posting a story that only a select few of your followers can see. By adding followers to your “Close Friends” list, you give them access to story posts that are not visible to the public, or even to the rest of your followers who are not on this list! To add people to your Close Friends list, go to your profile, press to open the menu in the upper right corner of the screen, and then press “Close Friends”. This will bring you to a page where you can add people to your Close Friends list. Press “Get Started”, and add your close friends!

Instagram also offers a ton of tools to personalize your story posts. You can add filters, stickers, text, a box for your followers to leave you questions/comments, and even polls to your story!

When you’re posting to your story, swipe left or right to add traditional Instagram filters to your post. You’ll also notice a toolbar at the top of the screen. The second icon from the left, the face with a sparkle on the forehead, lets you add other more interactive filters to your photos! Here, I’ve added a fireworks animation to my photo.

The next button on the toolbar, the one that looks like a Post-it note with a smiley face, lets you add stickers to your post! Type a keyword into the search bar to find something specific, or simply scroll through the choices until you see one you like! For this post, I’ve added an “Outfit of the Day” sticker.

Another fun way to personalize your story is with text. Click the text button all the way to the right of the toolbar, and begin typing! You can personalize the color of the text AND the font by using the color choices at the bottom and tapping the font button on top.

You can even ask your followers questions or have them vote in a poll! When you click the same smiley-face-post-it button as you would to use a sticker, you’ll notice the options near the top:

To add a question, press “Question”, and a box will open where you can type in your question that viewers will be able to respond to.

To add a poll, just press “Poll”! As of right now, you can only have two options for voters to pick from. Type your question and your choices when the poll pops up.

Since Instagram is owned by Facebook, it’s super easy to crosspost your Instagram stories to Facebook, as well! To do this, first press the camera icon in the upper left corner of the Instagram homepage. Next, press the settings icon in the upper left corner, and scroll to the bottom of the page. Switch on the option to “Share Your Story to Facebook”, and connect your accounts if you haven’t already. Press done, and viola! Your Instagram stories will now automatically post to your Facebook story.

What are Instagram Highlights?

Instagram highlights are similar to stories, and you can create a highlight from your story! All the posts under a certain highlight will cycle through just like a story, but unlike a story, these highlights will stay pinned to your profile until you delete them manually. Your highlights will appear on your profile right underneath your bio, and you can even name each highlight!

Here’s how to create a highlight:

  1. View your story and press “Highlight” at the bottom right corner.

2. Name your highlight, then press “Add”.

3. When you finish, your highlight will be pinned to your profile!

If you ever want to delete a highlight, just go to your profile, press to view it, and then press the “More” menu in the bottom right corner. From there, you will have the option to remove it.

So you may be wondering, “Why is Instagram important for small businesses?”

Instagram offers TONS of tools for small businesses, with stories playing an important part! With stories, you can quickly and easily make multiple posts that don’t require your followers to scroll through their entire feed to see all of them. Posting an Instagram story also lets your followers quickly view and respond to different things you post about. For example, you can post a photo of two different products, and create a poll to see which one your customers prefer. You could also create a post asking for questions, and respond to each question in a video story post!

Instagram highlights are a great way to organize different story posts. For example, you could create a highlight dedicated to style tips, and another dedicated to new products! Hashtags are a great way to make your products or services visible to a larger audience, and sticker, filters, and text help to personalize your posts!

The possibilities with Instagram are endless, and these are just a few of the ways this platform can help you with your business. Next time you need to advertise or post about your products or services, try using these tools!

Need more assistance or want some one-on-one training? Book a free consultation with Promote Creatively here.

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