How to use Instagram Stories

How to use Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories and Business Use… Snapchat is the disappearing content pioneer, yet Instagram does not plan to lag behind the hottest social media trends.

Created on August 2, 2016, Stories is Instagram’s answer to Snapchat. Since its debut, Instagram has added a host of new features to strengthen its offering.

And other companies are paying attention.

What are Instagram Stories?

Instagram Stories is a disappearing part of the photo and video sharing app, allowing users to share photos and videos in a slideshow format.

Independent of perfectly organized user profiles, this application was created as a space to share more organic content in real time. Stories go beyond the common filter options, but there are filters too, and include options for text, drawing, stickers, and other features to encourage creativity.

Introducing Instagram Stories from Instagram on Vimeo.
In the Stories launch post, Instagram explained: “Instagram has always been a place to share the moments you want to remember. Now you can share highlights and in-between moments too ”.

With content that disappears after 24 hours and does not appear on your main profile, Instagram Stories is the answer to Snapchat.

Asked about the similarities between the two apps, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom told TechCrunch, “They deserve all the credit.”

He continued: “When you’re an innovator, it’s fabulous. Just as Instagram deserves all the credit for being on the cutting edge with filters. This is not about who invented what. This is about a format and how you use it on a network and make your own interpretation of it. ”

How to Use Instagram Stories: The Complete Guide for Business | Hootsuite Blog ES: Comparativo de las historias de Instagram

image courtesy of Delmondo.

A key element that makes Instagram Stories different from its rival Snapchat is the way it discovers content.

Viewing posts from Stories of the accounts you follow in the app is straightforward. And finding new accounts is easy thanks to existing search tools.

In addition, Instagram makes it easy to participate in the best content from the accounts you follow by displaying Stories using algorithms. The application’s algorithm decides the order in which the stories appear in the top bar of the users’ news, in which users interact with their Instagram and Facebook content.

Additionally, Instagram Stories appear in the Explore tab of the app, making it easy for users to find new Stories.

Why should you use Instagram Stories in your business?

Stories was introduced in August 2016, and it made a big impression on Instagram users. In less than six months, the feature had 150 million daily active users. It took Snapchat six years to reach those same numbers.

But people don’t just use Instagram Stories to connect with their friends. A third of the most visited Stories are from companies.

The platform also prides itself on its impressive numbers at the participation level. One in five Instagram Stories has a direct message from its visitors and approximately 70% activate the sound of the videos, a clear difference from the predominance of silence in the videos on platforms such as Facebook.

Of course, these impressive numbers are in large part thanks to the sheer popularity of Instagram. The app has 600 million users sharing an average of 95 million photos and videos and liking 4.2 billion posts every day.

But the rise of Instagram Stories did not happen in isolation. From August to November 2016, the average number of unique views per Snapchat Story decreased by about 40 percent, according to Delmondo creative studio CEO Nick Cicero. TechCrunch also reported other declines in views and engagement on Snapchat.

Regardless of whether you choose Snapchat or Instagram Stories, or are simply considering adding the new feature to your social media list, the bottom line is: with nearly 50% of brands using Instagram and many of them doing the Switching to Stories, we asked ourselves: can your brand afford to wait?

How to use Instagram Stories

Like Snapchat, not everything in Instagram Stories is intuitive. Although the basic functions of the platform are user-friendly.

How to have Instagram Stories

The good news is that if you have Instagram you have Instagram Stories, there is no need for additional steps.

How to post an Instagram story

  1. From the Instagram home screen (better known as your news), scroll right or tap the camera button at the top left of the screen to access the Instagram Stories camera
  2. You will see that the camera screen includes different options: LIVE , NORMAL , BOOMERANG and HANDS FREE
  3. It also includes options to deactivate and activate the flash and switch from a front camera to a rear one
  4. Once you’ve taken a photo, video, or Boomerang, you can use Instagram Stories editing features, such as text, drawing, and stickers to enhance your creation
  5. If you are not sure about your posts, hold and drag the items you want to delete on the trash can icon at the top of the screen and hit the X icon in the top corner left to delete post
  6. If you want to save the content in the memory of your camera, press the Save button indicated by an arrow and line in the lower left corner of the screen
  7. To publish your creation in your Story, choose one of the following options:
  • Press the + button circled in the lower left corner to publish the content directly in your Story
  • Or press the arrow button in the lower right corner of the screen to access submission options, such as SEND LIVE, which allows you to send the post directly to other accounts, be sure to check the circle next to Your Story to publish your post publicly

Features of Instagram Stories and how to use them


Like everything else on Instagram, you can fix your Stories with a filter. Once you’ve taken a photo or video, simply swipe left or right to see the available options.

Unlike traditional Instagram photo and video editing, Stories does not indicate which filter you are viewing and does not offer the option to change the intensity of the filter.


Instagram Stories offers different drawing options for you to unleash your inner artist. To access them, simply hit the bookmark icon in the upper right corner of the screen.

Draw on Your Story from Instagram on Vimeo.
This will display three tools at the top of the screen: marker, chisel tip, and fluorescent brush. Once you have chosen your drawing tool, you can choose one of the different default color options at the bottom of the screen OR click on any color to open the color presentation to choose what you want.

You can also click on the descending dots icon in the lower left corner to change the thickness of the lines.


Share your wits (or just some context) with the world by adding text to your Instagram Stories. How to do it:

  1. Click anywhere on the screen or select the Aa icon in the upper right corner of the screen, this will open the text editing options.
  2. Activate the lines option at the top center of the screen to choose centered text, aligned to the right or to the left (the centered option is the default).
  3. Choose the color options at the bottom of the screen or press and hold any swatch to open the color slide and choose from a wider range of hues.
  4. Click on the descending dots icon in the lower left corner to adjust the size of your font.
  5. When the text is what you want, press Done to save your creation
  6. Outside the text editor you can adjust the size of the text or rotate it with a simple pinch or using two fingers.

Unlike Snapchat, Instagram Stories allow you to add ALL THE TEXT YOU WANT. Think about it, just add the text, click done and repeat as many times as you want. There are no limits.


What is social media without emojis? Instagram Stories allows you to add graphics to your content and take it to another level with a varied offer of decorative stickers, in addition to the traditional options of happy faces.

Custom sticker options allow you to add context about location, weather, or weather to your content. The location option works the same way it works on your Instagram, with the option to choose or search for a location. When people see your Story, they will be able to click on the sticker to learn more about the location. Please note that your Story will not show the location page.

How to Use Instagram Stories: The Complete Guide for Business | Hootsuite Blog ES: Historias de Instagram Central Park

Image courtesy of Instagram blog .

Each of the personalized stickers offers different options. For example, the weather sticker can show the temperature in degrees Celsius or Fahrenheit with a simple text or with an icon in the form of a sun or cloud representing the current weather. Simply click on the sticker once it is in place to move between the options.

Other sticker options include photo enhancements such as glasses and hats and of course, emojis. Sometimes Instagram offers seasonal stickers for a limited time.

You can add all the stickers you want to your photo or video.


Not only can you share photos and videos through Instagram Stories, you can also take Boomerangs, clips in GIF form that repeat over and over again, to bring your Story to life.

To take a Boomerang, simply go to the Instagram Stories camera and activate the camera from the camera default setting NORMAL for BOOMERANG . Clever! Now you can make GIFs and impress your followers. Just tap to take multiple photos that Instagram will paste into a Boomerang.

How to Use Instagram Stories: The Complete Guide for Business | Hootsuite Blog ES:  Historias de Instagram

Image courtesy of Instagram blog .

If you’re feeling fancy, you can also create a Boomerang from the Apple Live Photo app.

Live video

Instagram Stories hosts the live streaming version of the app. To make it live, simply drag to the right from your news to open the Stories camera, activate the LIVE option in the format selector and press Start live video to start streaming.

Live Video on Instagram Stories from Instagram on Vimeo.
As you broadcast, the word Live will appear under your profile picture in the Stories bar at the top of your feed. Your friends can receive a notification to encourage them to watch the video.

How to Use Instagram Stories: The Complete Guide for Business | Hootsuite Blog ES: historias de Instagram

Image courtesy of Instagram blog .

Once you’re live, you can save a comment for others to see, or you can turn off comments entirely. Your audience can comment and like it as much as they want. You can live stream for up to an hour and once you’re done, your live story will disappear from the app.

How to Use Instagram Stories: The Complete Guide for Business | Hootsuite Blog ES: Efectos de las historias de Instagram dentro de la red social

Image courtesy of Instagram blog .

Live Stories can also appear on the Explore tab, to make it easier for other people to discover your content.

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Image courtesy of Instagram blog .


Unlike Snapchat, Instagram Stories allow you to mention other users in your Story.

It works in much the same way as traditional Instagram posts. Just hit Aa to add text and then type the @ symbol followed by a username. As you type, Instagram will provide a list of possible accounts. Press to select the person you would like to mention.

How to Use Instagram Stories: The Complete Guide for Business | Hootsuite Blog ES: Utiliza las historias de Instagram para incluir tus #'s y @ menciones

Image courtesy of Instagram blog .

When someone viewing your Story tags someone, they’ll see a pop-up window that directs them to the profile of the named user. When you are mentioned in someone else’s Story, you will receive a Live notification. Click on the preview to go to the Story. If someone you don’t follow mentions you, you’ll see the notification in your message requests.


Instagram Stories also have links. Or at least some have. Instagram is running a vet with verified accounts to add See More links to the bottom of some Stories.

How to Use Instagram Stories: The Complete Guide for Business | Hootsuite Blog ES: Escribe en las imágenes de las historias de Instagram

Image courtesy of Instagram blog .

People who view the Story can click See more or drag up to see the link within the application.


Like the content posted on the main wall, Instagram offers statistics on its Stories as well.

Brands using a business profile on Instagram have access to view their reach, impressions, responses, and outputs from individual Stories.


Instagram is also testing the ability to have full-screen ads in Stories. Ads will offer targeting, outreach, and measurement features.

Also known as “mid-roll,” ads play in the middle of Stories but do not interrupt individual Stories. According to Adage, video ads play for 15 seconds and sponsored photos for 5 seconds.

While the ads are still on trial with certain brands, it means that advertisers will have the ability to reach a highly targeted audience backed by Instagram and Facebook data on a highly immersive platform.

Best practices for Instagram Stories

Now you have the fundamentals of Instagram Stories, read more to know the best practices to use this fun feature.

Tell a story

This may seem obvious, but it’s amazing how many people and brands don’t follow this advice.

Your Instagram Story should be more than a bunch of random shots or video clips. Since the elements will be mixed together in a slide-like format, you need to make sure they have something in common. Use individual pieces of content to tell a more complete story.

Be authentic

Platforms like Snapchat and Instagram Stories are designed for content that looks current (even if it isn’t).

Your Instagram Story should be fun and engaging, but it doesn’t have to be as perfect as the content you post on your wall. This is a great opportunity for creativity and experimentation.

Provides value

As with all your social endeavors, it’s important that you make sure you provide value for your audience on your Instagram Stories. (like you do on your other channels, right?)

Whether your goal is to entertain, inform, or something else entirely, be sure to deliver so your visitors always come back for more.

Be creative

As we mentioned earlier, Instagram Stories offer many features to style your content, from drawing tools and stickers to text tools and filters. Use them.

Try a mix of posts within Story, Photos, Text, Slides, Videos, and Boomerangs to add variety and keep your followers engaged.

Plan and create content in advance

Instagram Stories allow you to post existing content from your camera’s memory as long as it is a photo taken in the last 24 hours.

Do you want to share something older? Simply open the content in an editing application and then save it back to your mobile device. Voila! Instagram perceives the content as new (and therefore you can upload it).

This show is a gift. Use it wisely. Think ahead, plan your content, and when possible, create assets for your Story before you publish them. This makes it easier to plan an engaging Story.

Hootsuite asked its own social media team to use this tactic to announce the acquisition of the social media ad platform AdEspresso. The company created images of the brand presenting the news, along with some statistics highlighting its meaning in advance to share the news.

How to Use Instagram Stories: The Complete Guide for Business | Hootsuite Blog ES: Crea ads sociales en las historias de Instagram con Hootsuite y AdEspresso

Images courtesy of Hootsuite on Instagram .

Records vertically

While this may go against the logic of advice typically offered for recording videos on networks, for Instagram Stories you should record everything vertically.

Why? Because people see content that way on their mobile devices. One report found that mobile users hold their device vertically 94 percent of the time.

Instagram Stories are, of course, a mobile-only offer, so it’s obvious that the best experience for your users is vertically oriented content.

Fill the screen

You may share existing content, but you can make it less obvious by ensuring that what you share in Stories fits and fills the screen. Prevent your followers from seeing content posts framed with black stripes.

Be different from other channels

Your Tweets are not the same as your Facebook posts, as such your Instagram Stories should not be the same as in your other channels.

While Instagram Stories is too similar to Snapchat, it would be a mistake to republish the same content from platform to platform. Each channel has a different audience and the two undoubtedly have different users.

It is important to note that while reposting content from Snapchat to Instagram Stories is technically possible (thanks to the handy posting feature of Instagram’s recording camera), it is not recommended.

You don’t want to be known as lazy for posting the same Snapchat content with your filters and lenses intact. Trust me, your followers will notice.

Promote your Story

Instagram Stories last 24 hours and during that time they will appear in the Stories bar at the top of users’ walls, as well as in the Stories profile. While these places are really promising, it doesn’t mean they are always possible.

We know that you dedicate time, energy and resources to your Story. Therefore, make sure that your followers see it by giving it a little promotion. Make sure to tell them in an Instagram post (preferably with relevant content) and see how visits increase.

Use the CTA

With whatever content you create, you should always think: what do I want my audience to do after reading / viewing / consuming this?

Instagram Stories are no different. Whether your brand has access to the link option See more To send your users to another site or make your tactics more DIY, be sure to end your Story with a call to action that fits your content.

Outdoor company The North Face had fun with the CTA on their Instagram Story on Valentine’s Day, using clever puns to entice followers to buy a new sleeping bag.

Image courtesy of The North Face on Instagram .

Meanwhile, these posts from NASA, Kijiji Vancouver, and Hootsuite do not use the Stories link functionality, but still manage to convey a clear call to action.

How to Use Instagram Stories: The Complete Guide for Business | Hootsuite Blog ES: Historias de Instagram Central Park0

Image courtesy of NASA , Kijiji Vancouver and Hootsuite on Instagram.

How to use Instagram Stories for marketing

1. Instructions and tutorials

Do you want people to use your product? Show them how and feel free to do it in an original way. When it comes to social media, people love how-to content and Instagram Stories are no exception.

A number of companies have already put this tactic to excellent use, including: Ketel One, which teaches how to make beverage recipes; Kijiji who likes to share DIY secrets with budget-conscious users and Etsy, who gives their craft-loving followers step-by-step instructions for making creative projects.

How to Use Instagram Stories: The Complete Guide for Business | Hootsuite Blog ES: Historias de Instagram Central Park1

Image courtesy of Etsy on Instagram .

2. Go behind the scenes

Whether it’s giving followers a tour of your office or taking them to an exclusive event, behind-the-scenes content is a popular pick for platforms like Instagram Stories.

Don’t you know what to do? Try to make a day in the life of one of your employees.

The New York Times took their fans behind the scenes of the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, but with a difference. Rather than talk about every aspect of the production, the NYT chose to document the details, getting up close and personal with each dog. It was an aspect that is rarely seen in proceedings and only seen by supporters of the NYT.

How to Use Instagram Stories: The Complete Guide for Business | Hootsuite Blog ES: Historias de Instagram Central Park2

Image courtesy of New York Times on Instagram .

3. Share a fun list

Lists are a simple type of content that has a clear promise that is easy to keep. And your audience will enjoy reading them.

National Geographic did a great job with this on their Instagram Story featuring the most visited national parks. Each park on the list was accompanied by stunning photos and Instagram mentions of each park for National Geographic Instagram followers to review each one.

How to Use Instagram Stories: The Complete Guide for Business | Hootsuite Blog ES: Historias de Instagram Central Park3

Image courtesy of National Geographic on Instagram .

4. Add value with Q&A

Your employees, ambassadors and clients are very interesting people. Use them. Whether you want to choose an individual or expert group interview to examine a topic, Q&A is an easy way to provide interesting and valuable content for your followers.

The New York Times used this tactic during the Standing Rock protests and shared interviews with the campers on their Instagram Story.

How to Use Instagram Stories: The Complete Guide for Business | Hootsuite Blog ES: Historias de Instagram Central Park4

Image courtesy of Community Journalism and Blogger Blog, PR Newswire .

5. Get comments from your followers

The nature of Instagram Stories means that it is easy for your followers to respond to your brand. Why not have a conversation?

The casual, real-time nature of Stories makes it the perfect place to solicit feedback from your followers. Ask them to help you decide what kind of User Generated Content (UGC) to feature on your brand wall or their opinion about your latest product launch.

A simple and hassle-free way to organize a poll (and get valuable feedback) is to ask your followers for a screenshot of their favorite option.

Taco Bell does an excellent job with this. The company regularly asks its audience what kind of content they want to see on the brand’s Instagram Story.

6. Organize a social media acquisition

If your company has a spokesperson or influencer, use them! Give the password to a (trusted) friend of the brand so that he can show his lifestyle according to your product (with a couple of product appearances for good measure).

During New York Fashion Week, Maybelline New York had influencer Jordyn Jones in her Story to give her followers a view of one of the exclusive catwalks.

How to Use Instagram Stories: The Complete Guide for Business | Hootsuite Blog ES: Historias de Instagram Central Park5

Images courtesy of Maybelline New York on Instagram .

Learn more about organizing a smart and successful social media acquisition in our guide on the subject.

7. Mention your followers

One of the great things about Instagram Stories is that it provides another place to share your business content. Because it’s less formal, it’s also a great place to credit and acknowledge your followers.

Whether someone is sharing great UGC content or running an unofficial contest for the most loyal customer, Instagram Stories is the perfect place to recognize them.

Starbucks did a great job with this during their #RedCupContest. The company invited users to share content that will feature the brand’s iconic red mug, then shared their favorites on their Instagram Story, making sure to give credit to its creators.

How to Use Instagram Stories: The Complete Guide for Business | Hootsuite Blog ES: Historias de Instagram Central Park6

Image courtesy of Starbucks on Instagram .

8. Provides special offers and coupons

Reward your most loyal followers by giving them an additional incentive to continue viewing your brand content.

Instagram Stories are the easiest place to offer your followers a special offer or coupon, they will feel like expert consumers and you will encourage them to sponsor your business more. Everyone wins.

  1. Crew did an excellent job with this by launching a new pair of sunglasses. Not only did they announce the products in their Story, but they also gave fans who saw the Story the first image of the glasses.

9. Spread news

Do you have news to share? Perhaps you are launching a new product, acquired another company, or an industry leader will join your senior management team. Consider using Instagram Stories first.

By making the announcement in Instagram Stories, you reinforce the idea that the people who see your content know what is happening. And this encourages your audience to continue viewing your future content (trust me, FOMO is real). Plus, it’s a great opportunity to keep your followers excited about your news.

Beloved ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s chose Instagram Stories as the perfect channel to share their news about their new flavors for their dairy-free products.

How to Use Instagram Stories: The Complete Guide for Business | Hootsuite Blog ES: Historias de Instagram Central Park7

Image courtesy of Ben & Jerry’s on Instagram .

Via: Hootsuite

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