How to: Instagram Stories

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Confused about the difference between an Instagram post and an Instagram story and what the benefits are of each?

You’re not alone. Instagram stories are another tool in the social media toolbox and learning how to use them well can be overwhelming. However, unlike learning to fly a magic carpet, Instagram stories are relatively easy to create and highly beneficial when used correctly!


What’s the difference?

An Instagram feed refers to the collection of posts that make up a profile. These appear in followers’ newsfeeds directly following posting and can be viewed at any time by viewing a profile. Feeds are often carefully curated and show only the best photos and videos as they don’t disappear. The goal of a feed is to present the business in the best light as this is likely where potential customers will go first to get an impression of the brand, the products and the people.


In comparison, an Instagram story is a full-screen photo or video which is a 15 second fleeting moment shared only for 24 hours on the Instagram platform. They appear at the top of follower’s feeds and can be tapped through to view. Once the 24 hours has passed the story can no longer be viewed. This allows for a more natural, informal and off the cuff approach.


Both Instagram posts and Instagram stories add value. Posts were designed with the aim to increase brand reach and allow new followers to discover the brand, while stories were designed to build engagement, possibly through the use of questions and polls which followers can engage with directly. Both add value to a social media strategy and increase customers likelihood to discover a brand. Feeds are well established and generally follow a strategy, while stories are a great way to experiment with ‘real time’ content.


How to use Instagram stories

Creating an Instagram story is easy and can be done in just a few steps.

  1. In the Instagram platform, open the camera by swiping left or click the + button in the top right-hand corner. Once you have opened the camera you can take a photo or video directly in the app or you can select one from your camera roll by clicking the icon in the bottom left.
  2. The next step is to spice up the content using the tools Instagram provides through the stories feature. These include:
  • Filters
  • Text and draw tool
  • Stickers
    • Location
    • Hashtag
    • Account tag
  • Questions and polls
  • And so much more!!
  1. Once the story is complete, share it instantly by clicking the account profile picture in the bottom right.


Creating content for stories

Creating stories is simple, however, due to their short lifespan, they need to be interesting and eye-catching to maximise their impact. This is easy following our top tips:


  1. Be authentic – make sure it is on brand and relevant to the audience
  2. Keep it simple – simple graphics or videos are more likely to be viewed
  3. Be consistent – it’s easier to create stories quickly if you use consistent layouts, fonts and colours
  4. Use interactive stickers to drive engagement – give followers a reason to interact through quizzes and polls
  5. Try using design tools – to take stories to the next level try using an online tool, we love Canva
  6. Create interest – when posting multiple stories, use the most exciting frame first
  7. For maximum engagement post between 1-7 stories a day depending on the audience and what is likely to be expected from the business


Stories are a great way to feature products/services, tell the business story, share testimonials, profile staff and create tutorials.


Instagram highlights

If you want a story to last longer than 24 hours don’t fret. There is a way. The ‘Story Highlights’ feature allows them to be saved to a profile permanently. Highlights appear at the top of a profile and are a collection of stories saved together. Multiple highlights can be created to highlight different types of stories, for example ‘how to’, ‘tips and tricks’.


Creating a new highlight is simple and can be done using the following steps:


  1. Click the “New” circle at the top of the profile
  2. Choose one or multiple stories from the archive
  3. Select a cover photo and name the highlight
  4. To edit or remove the highlight just hold down on the highlight


Both Instagram stories and posts have their place in the world of social media, with each offering a different way to interact with followers and potential customers on the Instagram platform. Whether your business is small or large, everyone has something to gain from using Instagram stories. And if you feel you’re out of your depth, the team at Purple Giraffe are happy to help.

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Caitlin Pink

Caitlin Pink is an honours student at the University of Adelaide with a passion for family business and small enterprise marketing. Undertaking an internship with Purple Giraffe to widen her knowledge of the marketing landscape. While also completing a degree in the science field. As a graduate, she hopes to find a way to combine both her degrees and pursue both passions.

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