Instagram stories have over 500 million daily users, so it’s no surprise that Zuckerberg et al. are pouring all their time and attention into generating swanky new story features to make this part of the app better than ever. However from a IG user perspective – whether you are a brand, business, freelancer, influencer or day-to-day user – the number of new features that are popping up left right and centre can be a little overwhelming. Fear not! I am here to shed light on the latest features and hacks available on Instagram stories and how to rock them for your business to make your products and services shine… I will also be revealing a few BIG and JUICY Instagram updates that are on their way in the near future!
To add a quiz sticker, simply take or upload a photo onto your story, hit the dashboard button and select the quiz sticker icon. Then you can add your question, write out your multiple choice answers, select the correct answer AND change the colour of the quiz box to match your branding.
Why will a quiz help my business on social media I hear you cry?! Here are three awesome ways you can utilise this feature…
- Educate your followers on your brand by asking them questions about you, such as: Where are we based? How many people are in our team? Who founded our biz? What is our mission? What do we love to do most? What’s our favourite product? What are we releasing next? What’s our best seller?
- Find out more about your followers and customers by asking them questions about themselves, such as: What skincare product can’t you live without? What piece of make up would you take to a desert island? Which dish is your favourite? Which song do you love most on our new album? What fashion style best describes you?
- Use the quiz stickers as a promotional or informative tool, e.g. Question: What offers are we currently running on our website? Answers: BOGOF, free shipping, 20% off all shoes… Or: When is the launch of our new collection?
Simple, yet effective. Add a countdown sticker to your Instagram story by selecting it from the dashboard, enter the event title and date, then customise the colour to match your branding.
These are a great way of generating hype around an important date for your business or brand, e.g. website launch, collection release, new album drop, latest blog post, new vlog, new Instagram post… the list goes on. What’s even more fabulous about these stickers is that followers have the option to continue to follow your countdown outside the story by generating a reminder in their phone for your big reveal.
Ever wanted to colour the whole background of your Instagram story but couldn’t be faffed to scribble away with the pen tool? A very basic but massively time saving hack… select the pen tool and your colour of choice, then instead of scribbling just hold your finger down for 1-3 seconds and the whole background will block out with your chosen colour!
If you want to get even fancier, upload an image to your story then layer it up with a colour block on top. Now select the eraser tool and reveal little snippets of the image behind the colour block. This is an awesome technique to use if you are giving your customers a sneak peek / product reveal / location teaser.
If you are sharing someone else’s post or story to your story (which I’ve covered in a previous blog post here: Instagram Stories 101) you can apply the block background colour to this as well, which makes it look a lot more swish than the greyish tones IG automatically uploads behind them.
Consistency in your branding across all of your socials is one of the best ways to create a rock solid, easily identifiable and beautiful brand. The new colour tools on Instagram stories means that you are able to achieve this consistency quicker than ever! Whether you’re using coloured text, creating a coloured background or using the pen tools, next time you go to select a colour try holding down one of the coloured circles until the colour slider appears. Navigate your way through the slider until you’ve found the perfect colour match for your branding. Voila!
Take your colours even further by having coloured text written on a different coloured text background. After writing your text across your story, select the colour for the background of the text by using the colour slider mentioned above. Now highlight the text using your cursor and select a contrasting colour for the text.
Multiple image uploads
Copy and paste – maybe the oldest hack in the book?! But with this easy peasy method you can now upload multiple images to a single Instagram story. First upload your background image to your story, then exit the app. Now head to your camera roll and select the image you want to add on top of your background image. Copy the image, navigate back to your Instagram story, tap the screen and press paste. Hello multiple image uploads!
These are fabulous if you are spoilt for choice with content and want to show off a few images at once, e.g. showing different angles of a product, different ways to style an item, multiple dishes your restaurant makes, a few teaser images from a shoot etc etc. You can use the copy and paste method as many times as you like, so collage til your hearts content. If you want to make your multiple image stories look even snazzier, try using collage apps such as Unfold or Canva.
Hidden hashtags and geotags
As I mentioned in my last IG story blog (Instagram Stories 101), adding hashtags and geotags to your stories is an amazing way of increasing the number of times you are seen which boosts your reach, brand awareness and chances of getting more followers and customers. This is because when you add these tags, you end up on the stories of that location and that hashtag search. Check out the example below where I’ve pulled up the search results for the hashtag #Sydney and the geotag Currumbin Alley. You can see the stories associated to all these hashtags/geotags by clicking on the circle icon on the top left of the screen.
Having these tags on your stories is all well and good for increasing exposure, but they can be a bit of an eyesore. There are a couple of easy hacks to help you resolve this. Firstly, you can blend the tags in with your background by making the text writing the same colour as your background by using the colour picker. The colour picker is the pipette style icon on the far left of the colour reel, once you have written your text and selected that icon you can then tap any area on your screen that you want the colour to be lifted from. The other alternatives are to shrink your tags or cover them up with GIFs or stickers.
So there you have it, a few simple but effective hacks and features to use on your Instagram stories to help you get seen by those 500 million daily users! For more information on why you NEED to get on board with Instagram stories for your business if you’re not already doing so, click here.
Facebook recently held their #F82019 conference and revealed some juicy new updates for the app that are heading our way this year…
- Donation stickers for stories are coming soon! NFP’s and charities rejoice.
- Create mode is on it’s way, a brand spanking new format to create Instagram stories, which promises to make it easier than ever to discover all the available tools and tricks to spruce up your stories.
- Creator profiles are coming. Similar to business profiles but these are aimed at influencers and will give them access to a massive range of analytics including a specifically dedicated ‘Instagram Creator Studio’ on desktop revealing detailed engagement stats and insights into their audience and demographic info. It will also allow them to enable more DM filters to ensure they don’t miss messages from important brands or contacts AAAAND they will have access to follow / unfollow data to see exactly what content is triggering certain reactions from their audiences.
- Shopping tags will soon be available for influencers, creators and public figures to apply onto their posts, allowing influencers to act as real ‘sales people’ on behalf of other brands.
- Facebook will be launching a Spark AR studio to allow anyone and everyone to create their own Instagram story filters in a few months time.
- And the biggest one of all… Instagram is removing numbered likes! This is currently being trialled in Canada to a select audience over the next few months to measure impact and response. Instead of a number appearing underneath a post e.g. ‘@katyclapham and 103 others liked this’ it will instead say ‘@katyclapham and others liked this’. Users are able to see who else has liked a post by clicking on the text ‘others’, and if they have the time – they are able to count the likes themselves. Businesses and creators will still have access to this information in analytics as well, which will help them to continue measuring their engagement. What’s the big idea behind it? “We want people to be less interested in how many likes a post gets, and focus more on connecting with other people.” – Mark Zuckerberg. Personally I think this will be a fantastic change for the app as it will encourage a whole lot more authenticity, creativity and connection – and a lot less unhealthy competition and fake engagement. Plus it will mean brands and businesses pay more attention to the analytics that ACTUALLY make them money such as website clicks and conversions, rather than like counts! Watch this space…
As always if you have any questions, get in touch!