Instagram Stories: A Complete Guide On What They Are And How To Leverage Them

As of 2023, there are about one billion accounts on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. Many people see these platforms as a reliable news feed. Just like Facebook, most people visit Instagram to upload or save pictures rather than just as a news feed. Of that one billion, about five hundred million use the app daily. And of that 500 million, only a handful can take advantage of Instagram stories to connect with their audience.

Why, though?

The answer is simple. They’ve not read this blog post. And it’s not that easy to understand how they work. Don’t worry; this guide can save anyone from looking like a novice in 2023. It takes hard work, experience, and a healthy thirst for knowledge to understand how social media works.

This post will save people with this problem and elevate their Instagram game to where it needs to be. It will also explore how to post an Instagram story, among others.

Table of Contents

  1. What Are Instagram Stories?
  2. How Do Instagram Stories Work
  3. Making Use Of Instagram Stories
  4. How To View IG Stories
  5. How To Make An IG Story
  6. How To Use IG Stories Stickers
  7. How To Use IG Stories Highlights
  8. Different Sizes Of Instagram Stories
  9. How To Set Instagram Stories Privacy Setting
  10. Instagram Stories For Business
  11. Instagram Stories Analytics

What is an Instagram Story?

Instagram Story

First off, it is vital to start with an essential question for starters. If a person is not familiar with this concept, he or she cannot know how to do an Instagram story.

If a reader is only familiar with Facebook but not Instagram, that is not an issue because of the comprehensive nature of this blog post.

What Are IG Stories Intricacies?

They are brief and are often a combination of text and photo. This means that they disappear after twenty-four hours. Now, the idea behind this feature is relatively simple.

People love to share moments from their lives online. And in many cases, these moments are not meant to be permanent. That’s why an Insta story gets deleted after twenty-four hours.

How Do Instagram Stories Work

If done correctly, an Insta story can have a massive impact on analytics. It is expected that low-quality versions would also have a significant effect. However, that is not the case. If it’s not done appropriately, it will have no impact whatsoever on analytics.

In 2016, a new trend started on Instagram. About 250 million people started sharing disappearing content on the site. This trend contributed to a considerable jump of average time spent on the app, and more people only joined it.

The nature of this feature means that information can be passed and understood easily. And that’s great news for everyone, especially those who want to take advantage of this platform for business. By using the right photo and text, they can convince their target market to patronise them.

Making Use of Instagram Stories

Making Use

It is natural for anyone who wants to leverage this platform for various purposes to be interested in how to employ stories. Users view them through a bar at the top of their feed.

How to Use Instagram Stories as an Individual

The understanding of how to use Instagram stories is vital to both an individual and corporations. There are various ways a person can leverage them.

Here’s where the most popular and the least popular accounts have them pop up.  Therefore, the number of people following the person does not matter.

On a personal note, there are various benefits to knowing how to leverage Instagram stories. It can be used to keep track of happenings across the globe in the life of exciting personalities. Besides, it helps to be abreast of current trends, which is a vital attribute to possess in the modern world.

Vital Hints

There are peculiarities about IG stories that need to be understood. When a new post has been uploaded, a colourful ring will circle the account’s profile. To view people’s stories, one only needs to tap on their profile picture, and it will appear, filling the screen.

This way, all the contents the account has posted in the last twenty-four hours will be on full display. Unlike with regular pictures and videos, people can’t like or comment publicly on an IG story.

How to View Instagram Stories

How To View Instagram Stories

It is crucial to understand how to view these posts. When the app is opened, one can easily find this part at the top of the screen. Since they are the first pieces of digital content that people see when they open the app, they usually get a lot of engagement.

By knowing how to view Instagram stories, an individual can be abreast of happenings around the world.

How to View IG Stories With Ease

To view them, follow this simple step:

  1. Open the app.
  2. Then tap on the home icon located at the bottom left-hand corner of the screen.

On the home screen, there is a series of circular profile icons along the top of the screen. Each icon represents what was posted by others that can be followed.

This can only work on the mobile site as they are not available on the desktop version.

How to Make an Instagram Story

How to make an Instagram story is probably one of the easiest things to do on the platform.

However, for people who can’t, here are the steps:

  1. First, open the app
  2. And then tap the camera icon on the upper left-hand corner of the screen. Instead of doing that, one may just choose to reveal the story camera by simply swiping left. Any way is good, as long as it takes the screen to the next stage.
  3. After that, just tap the white button at the bottom of the screen and take a picture or a video.
  4. Then, edit the picture and then tap “your story” or tap “Next” to share it to those who follow the account.

That’s not all. There are several ways to change things up when making a post.

Some of these formats include:

  • Type: These are text-based posts that are on plain or coloured backgrounds.
  • Live: This is a live stream mode where people can stream their current video to their viewers in real-time.
  • Boomerang: Effective for creating 1-second looping videos.
  • Rewind: This allows videos to playback in reverse.
  • Super Zoom: This makes it possible to zoom in on objects from afar. This is done dramatically, of course.
  • Hands-free: This tool ensures that people can record videos without having to hold down the record button.

Pro Tip: Those who need to add a picture or video from the camera roll just need to do one thing. They only have to swipe up after tapping the camera icon on the upper left-hand corner of the screen. Then they’ll see all their videos and pictures, and they can click on one and post.

How to Use Instagram Stories Stickers

Instagram Stories Stickers

Stickers are quite versatile, and they allow users to spice up their content. Note that many people are using the site daily. Therefore, it is vital to stand out among the crowd.

There is no better way to make posts catchy than by leveraging stickers. These stickers are often changing, but as long as they are employed frequently, they won’t get lost in the flow. They are interactive elements, which boosts marketing on this social media platform.

Note that there are various forms, including:

  • Donation
  • Quiz
  • Countdown
  • Music
  • Question
  • Poll
  • Location
  • Hashtag sticker
  • Time/weather sticker

Users who want to add a sticker need to follow these steps:

  • Take a video or photo.
  •  Then click on the smiley face in the top right corner of the screen.
  • After clicking it, they would be able to find customisable stickers to add to their content.

How to Add a Location Sticker

For location stickers, all that needs to be done is to

  1. Tap the stickers button
  2. Then click on the location option.
  3. Afterwards, a list of nearby locations and a search bar will appear on the screen.

People can take advantage of this search bar to help filter and find the right location and then use it.

How to Add a Hashtag Sticker

This process makes it easily discoverable. This is because the platform’s algorithm may select it to appear on the page for that particular hashtag.

There are two ways to do this. The first involves the following steps:

  1. Simply tap the sticker icon at the screen’s top right
  2. Click and customize the it
  3. Add it to the story

The second method is to employ the regular text function and add the # key. During this process, the site often suggests popular hashtags to push the story to a wider audience.

Location and Hashtag Stories on Explore

When people search for a hashtag or a location, something happens. Basically, a story ring at the top of the page appears. Those stories are usually those of accounts that employed that particular hashtag and location.
If an account is set to public, and a hashtag or location is added from that account, those stories may eventually reach the explore page.

How To Use Instagram Stories Poll

Polls on this platform are effective for driving engagement. If done right, it offers an almost immediate spike in analytics, which is satisfying.

Here are the steps to create an Instagram poll:

First, users need to share a photo or video to their post. To work with a blank background, all they have to do is employ create mode.

  1. Click on the sticker icon that’s at the top of the screen (the smile and folded corner give it right away).
  2. Select the poll sticker and enter the question.
  3. Then people have to enter their two potential responses. The default mode is often yes/no, but these can be replaced by up to twenty-four characters— including emojis.
  4.  Next is the actual posting. Once the post is online, it will run for twenty fours before disappearing off the face of the internet.

How to Add a Countdown Sticker

Those who want to build excitement to a huge project launch or milestone employ this feature to drive engagements and connect to audiences.

To add this feature, the steps below will be helpful:

  1. Pick countdown from the sticker tray that reveals itself after taking a video or picture.
  2. Set the countdown (add the name and set the end time or date. There’s also the option of customising the colour).

Other Sticker Options

The app has loads of stickers available for accounts.

Some of these stickers include:

  • Time: Adds the time to the story
  • Temperature: It adds the temperature to the story
  • @mention: To tag another user
  • Music: Helps individuals to share their favourite songs
  • Quiz: Allows the creation of multiple quiz questions for an account’s following to interact with
  • GIF: Allows people to send embed gif within stores.
  • Questions: This allows people to ask their audience questions
  • Emoji Slider: This makes it possible to sample opinions in a cool way.

How To Take Advantage Of Create Mode

People don’t always have pictures or videos that can serve as a base for their contents. Accounts with this problem can employ plain backgrounds to post.

  1. To post in Create mode, individuals only need to go to the bottom of the screen and then swipe left to find the create mode.
  2. Once there, users can start with a plain background and add whatever features they like. Some of these features may include “Questions”, “GIfs” and “@mentions”.
  3. People could also share throwbacks from their feed through the On This Day feature.

How to Use Highlights

For those who want to keep their posts online for more than 24 hours, there’s the highlight.

Each highlight can hold as many stories as the account would like. And as new content goes out, the account can even continue adding them to the highlights reel.

Here’s how to create a highlight:

  1. Open the story that needs to be highlighted.
  2. Tap the highlight icon In the lower right corner in the lower right corner
  3. Choose the highlight that the story should be added to or create a new highlight

Different Sizes of Instagram Stories

Different Size

For people who are editing or posting on Instagram or Facebook, they would need to keep a few numbers and proportions in mind.

These proportions are the sizes of IG posts.

  • Recommended Image Ratio: 9:16. All feeds support this ratio. Moreover, it maximises the stories format.
  • Recommended Resolution: 1080×1920. The minimum resolution is 600×1067, and there’s no maximum resolution.
  • Maximum File Size: 4GB for video and 30mb for images.
  • Maximum Video Duration: 15 seconds— if longer, the video will be split up.
  • Maximums Video Duration For Video Ads: 120 seconds.
  • Safe Area: Users should make sure to leave a 14% title Safe area at the top and the bottom area to avoid overlapping with the app’s interface.

Failure to select the appropriate story dimension will lead to creating stories that are not engaging. So, it is vital to select the right size to avoid generating stories that do not deliver results.

How to Set Instagram Stories Privacy Setting

Setting privacy settings is the means of deciding who can and cannot see any post on social media platforms. Therefore, it is not something to be neglected or treated as trivial.

Privacy Setting

Posts follow the regular privacy settings of the account they are posted on. If the account is private, the stories will be private. If it’s not, the stories won’t be.

Close Friends

For those who want their story only to be shown to a select number of people, they can create a close friends list. These individuals would have to go to their profile and click on “close friends” on the side menu.  Only the owner of the account can see this list, and outsiders cannot request to be added.

Instagram Stories For Business: 15 Different Tactics

Different Size

This section explores 15 approaches organizations can use to promote themselves on this social media platform. Instagram stories for business are about the best way for companies to connect with current and potential customers.

By leveraging IG stories, companies can increase their chances of significant sales. About half of the people on the platform employ stories. Interestingly, about 62% say they’ve become interested in a brand after seeing their story.

Brands have also responded to the popularity of these stories by posting an average of 2.5 stories every week. And as of January 2023, about 4 million brands are advertisers on stories.

It follows that intelligently that leveraging them may just be the catalyst an organization needs to grow and connect better with audiences.

And here are some of the strategies businesses can adopt to do that effectively.

#1. Create up to Eight Stories Daily

For businesses that want viewers to finish viewing their stories, they should make sure to post about one to eight stories each day. This generally guarantees a 70% completion rate.

Basically, companies that post between 1-8 posts will have about 70% of their followers stick around to the last post.

#2. Leverage Question Stickers

Question stickers instantly make a story more interactive than it would have been without the sticker. These stickers ensure that followers engage with the brand, and they are an easy way for firms to know some more about their customers.

#3. Take Advantage of Chat Stickers

Take Advantage of Chat Stickers
Last year, the site released chat stickers. These stickers can be used for setting up a quick chat forum with up to 32 participants. It can be a great tool for opinion sampling for businesses.

#4. Add Links to Stories

Brands with more than ten thousand people using the app can add links to their stories. If promoted well, these links can drive conversations and encourage the interests of the target market.

#5. Generate Incredibly Shareable Brand Assets

Brands that share branded visual assets can easily connect with their audience. For example, posting templates on their Instagram stories that can be screenshotted, shared, and personalised is a great start.

#6. Produce a Branded Gif

A great way for companies to connect with their audience is by creating a branded gif and adding it to the giphy library. When this is done, anyone will be able to search for the giphy on posts. This can be great for brands looking to reach new audiences.

#7. Direct the Target Audience to Stories

Enterprises that are posting new content on their Instagram stories should let their followers know about it. These businesses can only increase their story visibility by pointing these people to their stories.

#8. Consider Sound on And Sound off Designs

Most engaging Posts are with sound on. To fully cash in on the visibility that Insta stories offer, brands should design content that can both be enjoyed with sound on and off. It’s important that IG stories have a bit of both.

#9. Leverage a Story-telling Approach

Leverage A Story-telling Approach
One easy way for companies to connect with their audience is to tell a brand story. This method captures the imagination, curiosity, and excitement of followers, which increases engagement. That’s the reason why more businesses have started using this technique when posting their Instagram stories.

#10. Create Breaking News Posts About the Sector

No business or brand is an island. A great way to pique the curiosity of followers is to post news they’ve not heard before, or that is startling to them. If new things are happening in an industry, brands should be the first to break the news to their audiences through their IG stories.

#11. Upload Footage of an Office Occurrence

One of the best ways for brands to connect to an audience is to be as human as possible. A great way of doing this is by positing aspects of the company that the target market can relate with. And they may include interesting footages from work. These IG stories will help followers connect with this part of the business.

#12. Showcase Company Products

Some brands have products that are difficult to use. These brands will benefit from content showing people how to make these products work. For example, a company selling washing machines should try to post Instagram stories of people using their machines.

#13. Promote an Event Hosted by the Organization

Brands or enterprises that host events should try to promote these events on their Instagram stories. It drives engagements and shows people the human side of the business. Some companies could even encourage followers to show up for the event.

#14. Generate or Take Advantage of an AR Filter

With the opening up of Spark AR studio to the public in 2019, the site made sure that anyone can create and then submit an AR filter to appear on it. With a branded filter, businesses will be able to connect better with a wider audience.

#15. IG Ads

If a firm runs out of organic options for driving engagement, there’s always ads to fall back on. These ads are the perfect way for brands to showcase their products to a diverse audience. In fact, according to the site, about 75% of people take action after seeing Instagram stories ads. That should be a cue for organizations to take advantage of ads often.

Instagram Stories Analytics

Instagram Stories Analytics
Like with all media platforms, businesses need to know what they are doing right and doing wrong. That’s why analytics are important. They can help brands set KPIs and also allow them to measure strategy success.

Once Instagram stories are posted, users can easily check some analytics by watching them and then swiping up. Here, individuals will see who watched which video and when they did so.

The analytics of Insta stories can be found by tapping the insight button on the profile of business accounts. They offer data on the interaction of viewers with posts. A single slide shows a list of metrics, including the back, forward, next, story, and exits.


How Long Are Instagram Stories?

Being temporal, Instagram stories expire after 24 hours. This makes them brief posts that are effective for showing off moments and on the spot ideas that people don’t want to be on their account forever. Videos that are sent can only be 15 seconds long. If longer, they will be split into other posts.

How Can I Look at Someone’s Instagram Stories Without Them Knowing?

People think that it’s impossible to watch someone’s post without the person knowing. But that’s not true.

Those who want to watch Instagram stories without alerting the owner of the content can follow these easy steps to get it done by following these steps:

  1. Click on the story before or behind the story that really needs to be watched.
  2. While watching this totally unrelated story, press and it will pause. Yes. When individuals press on a story, it actually pauses.
  3. After doing this, all the person needs to do is to drag the story left or right and peek at the story they really want to watch.

Several accounts have tried it, and it really works. However, it’s important to be careful to avoid dragging Instagram stories all the way, as the platform would immediately record the account, and the user would be outed.

Can You Make Instagram Stories Last Longer?

Instagram story is filled with ephemeral content. After 24 hours, they all disappear into the digital wind. People who want their IG stories to last longer can add it to highlights. That way, even when it gets deleted from their stories, it remains on their highlights.

Vital Points to Takeaway

Once a person knows all about Instagram stories, what’s next?

These stories are very useful tools in the hands of users who know how to work with them. If used sensibly, they will drive engagements and improve general Instagram analytics.

The best accounts will be able to use this feature intelligently. And doing that will surely transform engagement into sales. Not so smart ones? Well, they may be left bumbling across the landscape of the social media platform.

If the information in this guide is applied well, users will certainly see a spike in Instagram driven engagements. This will eventually drive sales as well. Is this content beneficial? Feedback will be appreciated in the comment section.

Published: June 09, 2021Updated: June 10, 2021

Linda Andress

Linda Andress

Linda’s passion is turning ideas into a successful copy. She has worked for more than eight years in the publishing industry, providing unique and varied writings. She has experience in successfully implementing PR strategies and organization, including events and meetings (congresses, industry symposiums, and training workshops). When she’s not working, she’s reading (probably 3-4 books at a time), shopping for hours in bookstores and comic book stores, playing video games or volleyball, or spending time with her family, including her two dogs, Mickey and Pete.


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