Instagram Stories: what they are, and how they work

Instagram Stories burst onto the scene in 2016 and are now the main tool people and companies use to promote products and services. The latest information released by Instagram tells us that around 87% of companies or individuals post stories daily.

Precisely for these reasons, stories on Instagram must be very engaging to stimulate interest within one’s community.

I will now clarify how stories on Instagram work and give you information on how to post. Furthermore, by taking social media marketing courses online, you can ensure that your passion for social media does not remain relegated to your spare time.

What are Instagram stories?

Instagram stories (or ig stories) are photos and short videos to be posted on one’s profile, from limited publication up to 24 hours later. They are content that is updated as a kind of diary. They were born in the summer of 2016 but are constantly evolving and, despite the insidiousness of Instagram TV, born a few months ago, are the most used medium by users.

When you post a photo or video at the top of your Instagram feed, your profile picture will be lined up at the top of the feeds of the ones who follow you, and they only need to tap on it to view your story. You can see who has watched your photos and videos by scrolling up.

You can make your story private after setting your account to private so your story will only be visible to your followers. You can also hide your entire story from anyone. Publicly shared Instagram stories can also appear in the ‘Search and Explore’ tabs. 

Furthermore, if you have added a hashtag, location, or location-based sticker, it may also appear in hashtags or location pages. You can reply to Instagram stories with a text message and a photo or video. When looking at a story, you can take a picture or record a video by pressing the camera button at the bottom of the screen. 

You can move and resize the image of the story you reply to and insert it into the picture. From there, apply filters or stickers, and when you’re done, press send to share your creation with your friends, who will receive your answer in the mail, along with the thumbnail of the original story.

With emoticons, gifs, filters, and even the latest addition of questions to answer, Instagram stories can be done in so many ways. The main thing is not to annoy or bore your followers. In this article, I will explain how to make great ig stories in your profile.

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Useful tips before posting Instagram stories 

Before publishing ig stories, it is advisable to observe some rules:

1) Vary the content: not just videos, photos of kittens or puppies, or selfies. Make your photo gallery colorful, original and give it your personal look & feel!

2) Audio is important, as is the quality of the pictures: if we are at a concert or in the middle of a crowd, our stories will surely be challenging to hear and see. Better to post a few stories, but ones that can be enjoyed without problems.

3) The posts to be made every day should be varied. Only on important occasions, such as weddings, exceptional events, and public holidays is it advisable to share more stories; otherwise, having more than 8/10 stories could be boring for our followers. These tips are valid for common accounts, while it is different for influencers, who need to post a lot more for work reasons. Then it is up to us to decide whether to look at them or not.

4) Enrich your Instagram story with music, stickers, photos and videos, gifs, and polls. Post them not only on Instagram but also share them on Facebook. It is now very easy to post them on this social network.

Instagram stories, what and how to upload?

Stories are created by clicking at the top of the Instagram home page; the image indicating them is that of a camera.

The screen that appears resembles a smartphone camera, so you can choose whether to take a photo by pressing the button at the bottom or record a video by holding down the same button. You can add the flash, which you find next to the main button.

instagram logo stories

Following these steps, you can create content to share and enrich it with filters or stickers. In addition to videos and photos, Instagram allows you to make live streams, reverse videos, Boomerangs, or just text documents.

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What to add: writing, tags, and lines

In the video or photo, you can add sentences. At the top of the screen, an A points to the text area. Four available characters are selected by clicking on the text that appears at the center of the top of the screen:

Typewriter, bold, classic, modern, or neon. The letters can be colored by choosing from the palette that appears at the bottom; they can be enlarged or shrunk. To do this, swipe two fingers across the screen.

You can decide where to place the phrase by moving it around the screen, for example, to the top left. While writing Instagram stories, you can tag a profile by pressing an acronym before the account name, which will appear automatically; those who are tagged receive a notification when they post.

what are stories in ig

You can also use lines to draw on the photograph or video to compose Instagram stories. From the main screen, just select the icon with the brush; it is located next to the letter A. At the top, there are coarse, fine, glitter, and neon tips.

There is also an eraser with which to erase in case of a mistake, but also to erase parts of the image that you do not like and on which you can perhaps write (it is better to use white or black to erase). Each line can have different sizes, which you can change, by pressing on the slider on the left side of the page.

You can decide on the color by choosing from the palette at the bottom of the screen or by selecting the white brush at the bottom left and pointing it at a colored spot on the image to add the gradient. Adding links to Instagram stories is also possible, but not everyone can do this.

Music: new feature in Instagram stories

Instagram stories continue to be enriched with new elements, and in the last few months, the function allowing songs to be added directly to stories has arrived.

Facebook, which owns Instagram, knows how eagerly this feature has been awaited and has made a deal with some record companies to create numerous songs available on the app so that stories can be personalized directly from the Music sticker. Adding background music to stories is very easy thanks to the dedicated button.

Once you have chosen the video or photo to post, tap on the sticker icon in the top right-hand corner, the same one that allows you to add GIFs, hashtags, and emojis just before publishing the story.

add music to instagram

On Instagram stories you can insert music, just tap on music and you can insert the song you want, either by searching for it from the search bar at the top or by choosing it from the track lists.

Once the song is selected, you can listen to it and choose the part to be played and its duration, from a minimum of 5 to a maximum of 15 seconds.

The selected song will appear as a sticker on the story, will show the title and name of the artist, and can be resized and moved wherever you like. Before recording a video or reel on Instagram, simply operate the camera and scroll down to the music item, which is located between boomerang and portrait.

Filters for selfies and photos 

To make videos and photos even more beautiful, you can give your imagination free rein by using Instagram’s exposure and light filters: eleven different colors, from black and white to a vintage effect. You can select them by sliding a finger across the screen from left to right or vice versa. Add selfie filters to these if you wish.

To the right of the main button are two arrows forming a circle, symbolizing the transition to the selfie frame. Before shooting or filming, you can choose from 24 filters that appear automatically in a bar at the bottom of the screen.

Hearts that fill the face, sunglasses that change shapes and colors, faces that break up, and ears and snouts of various animals, you could spend hours editing your content. There are numerous apps available for Instagram; among many, there is a photo editing app, an app for stories, an app to increase followers, and an app for hashtags.

Polls, Questions, and Gifs

There are infinite phrases you can add to your story. Also, from the main screen, scrolling up from the bottom, a new menu opens where you find items such as time, degrees, geolocation, gifs, and emoticons.

The list of emoticons never seems to end; they update very frequently, so open the drop-down menu often to find out what’s new. Some more features include polls or questions to ask your followers.

Views and comments

How can you check how many views and which profiles have opened them? Simply click on the sticker with our photo on the home screen and scroll the screen from bottom to top.

As seen in the image below, we will see the number of views, indicated by an eye, and underneath the accounts. We can also delete posted content from this menu if we notice mistakes or uncomfortable images.

Stories can also be commented on. When viewing them, there is a space at the bottom of the screen for phrases to be sent to the account owner to report inappropriate content or to send immediate reactions such as hearts, applause, tears, or amazement.

And that’s not all, because you can reply to a story with a picture: the camera symbol for taking a picture is among the options. It is then up to the recipient to decide whether or not to open the comments.

Advertising of the future: Instagram stories

There are 250 million users who create, check, save and come into contact with Instagram stories every day. As we have already mentioned, Instagram stories are mainly video content published in the last 24 hours.

Inspired by Snapchat, Instagram stories combine storytelling with fleetingness and narrative with a sense of urgency: they are to be checked frequently because tomorrow they will be gone. So why would a company invest in something that will last so short a time?

First of all, the stories are viewed voluntarily; they do not appear in the feed and, therefore, immediately establish a special relationship with the user. They last 20 seconds but are full screen, thus allowing greater user immersion with the proposed content, creating a very high level of engagement.

future instagram advertising of stories

Having an advertising potential, Instagram stories are pushing companies to experiment, prepare and risk new and creative solutions. There are no rules or secrets to be revealed yet; there is experimentation and risk.

This pushes the ingenious minds of advertisers to give their best, creating small masterpieces lasting up to 20 seconds. Stories also allow a very high level of interaction between the brand and the user.

The level of interaction is also increased by the possibility of polls using Sticker Polls. The fact that the poll, competition, and quiz are only available for 24 hours makes the race to win even more hectic and effective.

In psychology, this effect is called FOMO: Fear of missing out. It is the principle of scarcity that drives us crazy on limited offers or special days like Black Friday. It is the principle that if something is rare, it is high-quality, at least in our minds!

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