Instagram story beginner

More than 500 million people on Instagram use their Instagram Story daily. What an incredible number!

If you ever thought about using Instagram Story to increase your reach, now’s the time!

In our Instagram story guide we explain how to use the story function correctly, and we will accompany you from your first story to advanced strategies.

Let’s start…

What’s the Instagram story anyway?

Unlike normal posts, you can use Instagram Stories to post photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours. With Instagram Stories you can also capture the little moments of your day that you don’t necessarily want to keep on your profile forever.

This function allows you to share several photos and videos in a kind of slideshow. The clue: After 24 hours these photos and videos disappear. You can even add text, stickers or drawings to them to give your stories a personal touch.

Where do I find my Instagram Story?

Instagram Stories appear in a bar at the top of your feed. Here you will find all the stories that your friends or famous instagrammer have shared within the last 24 hours. Whenever there is something new to see, the profile photo of the respective account is marked with a colored ring.

To see the story of a particular person, just tap on their profile photo. The story will then open in full screen mode and all the content of the last 24 hours will be displayed in sequence. The photos and videos are shown in chronological order from the oldest to the newest version.

As soon as you watch a story, you can scroll back and forth by tapping, or jump to the next person’s story using a swipe motion.

Unlike normal posts, you can neither link stories nor leave a comment. If you still want to react to the story, there is the possibility to write a private message to the respective person.

How can I create an Instagram Story?

To create a story on Instagram, you need to tap the camera icon in the upper left corner or swipe left briefly.

Once the story camera is open, you can take a photo or record a video as usual. You can then use text, emojis or a series of filters.

instagram story how to

Create an Instagram Story by adding existing images

There is a cool Instagram Stories feature that allows you to upload content that you shot a long time ago.

Just tap the camera icon in the upper left corner again and swipe up.

Now you can see all your photos in chronological order. Simply select the content you want to add to your story.

Turn your Stories into Highlights

If you want to keep your stories for more than 24 hours, Instagram Highlights comes into play.

But what are highlights anyway? You can think of highlights as an archive for your Instagram Stories. Stories that you publish are automatically stored in your archive and you decide which of them will be included in the highlights and thus permanently displayed on your profile.

So you don’t have to be sad when your stories disappear after 24 hours, because you can always retrieve them from the archive.

How you create an Instagram Story Highlight

Go to your profile and under “Story-Highlights” tap the circle “New” on the far left and select any story from your archive.

Create a cover for your highlight category and give it a distinctive name. For example, you could create a category just for Selfies.

instagram story highlights

As soon as you tap on “Add”, the highlight appears as a colored circle on your profile. Add as many highlights as you like, or delete them again.

Use Instagram Story Sticker correctly

Instagram Stickers add a playful touch to your stories and allow you to add context to your content.

To add stickers to your story, take a photo or video as usual and then tap the smiley icon at the top of the screen.

Now a large selection of stickers will open, which you can use to indicate the weather, the current time, or the place where you are at the time of the photo.

Instagram Story sticker

By the way, you can also move, rotate and enlarge your stickers by dragging them across the screen with one or two fingers and putting them in the right position.

Hashtags in Instagram Stories?

You should also always try to add a hashtag sticker to your Instagram story, in order to make sure your stories can be found via search.

But when it comes to hashtags in stories, less is definitely more.

You don’t want your pictures to be covered in hashtags.

Restrict yourself to one hashtag instead, which you should place on the free space of your photo. Be careful not to distract the attention of your followers from the center of your images.

Instagram Center of Image

Add a poll to your Instagram Story

Using voting stickers you can ask your followers a question and share the results in a separate post.

To add a poll element to your story, all you have to do is think of an interesting question and adjust the voting options.

Instagram Poll

As soon as a user has voted, the results of your poll will be displayed.

He can return to the story at any time to see how the survey is developing.

Create some tension with a countdown sticker

You would like to draw the attention of your followers to a certain event and to heat up the anticipation a little?

Simply add a countdown to your story!

instagram sticker story

Give your countdown a name and specify the date and time of the expected event.

Once you have created your countdown sticker, you can find it in your saved stickers and reuse it in future stories until the countdown is complete.

If one of your followers taps on the countdown, they will also receive a notification when the countdown ends. Practical, isn’t it?

It’s time for some music

With the latest Instagram update it is possible to add popular songs to your stories. Facebook has signed contracts with all major record companies to do this.

You know what this means, right?

You are free to use countless songs to spice up your Instagram story!

instagram story music

Tips for using Instagram Stories

Be consistent with your stories

You should update your followers up to seven times via your Instagram Story. It is important that you post something every day to be remembered by your followers.

Try not to annoy your followers with banal content though, instead try to create exciting content.

If you don’t experience something divisible every day, you should stretch your photos over several days.

You should avoid more than 7 stories on one day, because your followers are more likely to simply swip to the next user.

Variety is the most important thing to keep your followers in line!

When is the best time to post my Instagram story?

Since the stories are only visible for 24 hours, you should make sure that as many of your followers as possible can see them.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to say in general when is the best time to post your stories, as each target group is active at different times.

However, there is a simple rule of thumb:

Most users on Instagram are active between 6 and 7:30 pm during the week, and on weekends at 11 pm, so make sure you schedule your posts accordingly.

Use Instagram Story ads to increase your reach

In general, Instagram Stories ads generate more clicks and new followers for less money than feed ads. Instagram Stories ads only cost a few cents per click.

If you’ve never created story ads before, the first thing you should do is create an Instagram advertising account.

Start thinking about who you want to reach with your ads.

Instagram ads story

Get your ratio right

The aspect ratio for your images should be 9:16. That means the ideal dimensions for Instagram Stories are 1080px x 1920px (width x height)

These dimensions will help you when you want to create a custom video or graphic to highlight your Instagram Stories.

Keep it simple, stupid!

To create a successful story, you should think about what you want to tell and then deliver the message as short and crisp as possible.

Authentic images and videos with a clear message and few hashtags are better suited for Instagram Stories than any professionally produced video.

Stick to your own style

Find your style and stick to it.

If you have to rethink which filters, colors, hashtags and arrangement you use for each photo, you will have to reinvent yourself each time and your followers will recognize you less often.

Experiment with interactive stickers

Instagram offers three categories of stickers that you can use in your Instagram Stories to engage with your fans: Questions, polls and emojis.

These stickers allow your followers to interact with your story. Try them out and see how many of your followers react to your story.

Present your own products

With the “Swipe Up” function you can use your Instagram Stories to draw attention to content outside of Instagram.

In addition to your own products, you can also use it for competitions or your latest videos on YouTube, which might be of interest to your followers.

Be aware that only verified accounts can use this function.

Make sure your Story pops up in the “Discover”-Section

The Discover button in the form of a magnifying glass is one of the most important places on Instagram.

Here you will find a large selection of posts and stories selected by the Instagram algorithm and displayed to users. If your story appears in this area, it means for you:

  • greater reach and
  • more commitment
instagram discover

So how do you now increase the chance that your stories will show up in this section?

According to Instagram itself, the interest of the users plays a major role.

If your stories are similar to the content of other people on Instagram, then chances are good that your stories will be shown to the followers of those people.

Here are a few tips to get your stories in the Discover tab:

Post videos: Videos get more attention because they are played automatically. However, the following applies in principle:

good photos > mediocre videos

Scratch the text: Visually appealing stories that do not contain much text are usually more successful than stories that consist mostly of letters.

Use reposts sparingly: Even though the benefits of reposting are undisputed, you reduce your chances of showing up in the discovery section when promoting other people’s stories.

Mention other users on Instagram

Mentioning other people on Instagram is a great way to increase your followers and attract the attention of bigger Instagrammers.

Whether you’re reposting content or collaborating with other users, you rarely go wrong with tagging.

Just make sure that the people marked match your story. If you tag people just for attention, you will soon be blocked.

Check who watched your story

You can always check to see who was looking at your story.

All you have to do is tap on your own story and swipe up on the screen. Check the number and names of people who have seen your story while you’re at it.

By the way, you can also find out who viewed your stories afterwards: If your story is older than 24 hours, go to your profile and tap on the three lines in the upper left corner. Now you can select “Archive” and scroll to the story you want to know more about.

Determine who can see your Stories

If your account is set to private, the story is only visible to your followers.

Alternatively, you can hide your stories from certain users. This is especially handy if you have people following you who are not supposed to see your content…

Instagram Story controls