HOW TO TELL A GREAT INSTAGRAM STORY
Instagram Stories are a great way to connect with your audience - it's a much more intimate place.
Naturally me being a storyteller, I thought this was a great topic to write about. I recently listened to a webinar by Melyssa Griffin and she hit the nail on the head for me when she said, "Social media and particularly Instagram has become so pervasive that we’ve really begun to crave authenticity. To me this is why video and Instagram stories have become so popular." Stories are a great way to connect with your audience -- it’s a much more intimate place where we’re sharing little moments of our life throughout the day as opposed to posting one beautifully curated Instagram photo (which I think is still important to post - but more on that later). Plus, they’re just really fun!
From a business perspective, it’s so important to humanize your brand; that’s really the only way to connect with your audience. Utilizing Instagram Stories can help you do that. I always say, “There’s a method to the madness” meaning, there’s a strategy behind it all and I'm sharing that with you today. Whether you’re a brand looking to build your community or someone who likes beautiful content, read along to get my tips and tricks on how to tell a great Instagram Story.
BUY A STYLUS TO WRITE & DRAW WITH
Literally the first thing I did when Instagram Stories launched was buy a stylus. Sounds silly but I knew I would be utilizing the writing feature a lot. With so many accounts to manage, I knew a stylus was going to be my best friend. It took a while to get used to but I love it! It’s much easier to write and draw with than with the tip of your finger and looks much cleaner. It’s a super cheap investment and most double as a pen so you’re getting a two in one kind of deal, win win!
NARRATE YOUR STORY
Unless you’re sharing a panoramic video of a beautiful landscape or something hilarious your kid just said, we don’t really know what it is you’re trying to tell us in the story. So give us a little narrative. Use your “voice” -- it doesn’t have to be a clever caption but just a little something to help us understand why you’re wanting to share this with your audience. If you’re a brand, sharing behind the scenes snapshots of your work studio and a project you’re working on with a little narrative is one of my favorite things to see. Your audience gets an insider’s glimpse of the BTS magic and they love it.
STAY ON BRAND
There are a ton of stickers, font features and colors to choose from when posting an Instagram Story, which can be overwhelming. You may want to use ALL THE THINGS but it’s important to keep in mind that your brand (whether you’re a business or have a personal account) has a look and feel. You want to stay consistent with that brand so that people know it’s your story immediately when they view it. They’re following you for a reason which likely means they like the look and feel of your brand and content. So keep it consistent and cohesive.
USE SOLID COLORS AS BACKGROUNDS
Don’t underestimate the power of a solid color with text. It’s great to use in between photo stories to make an announcement, to list things like ingredients in a recipe, or even write a short note to your audience like, "looking for some recommendations on where to eat & what to see while in Italy next month." This is also where you can use your stylus for writing! Remember to stay on brand here as well -- use your brand colors and save the background so you can keep using it for future posts. If you don’t use a platform like Planoly where you can upload your stories, you can just keep taking screenshots of the background to use again and again.
USE STICKERS, LOCATION GEO TAGS & HASHTAGS
Like I said, there are a ton of stickers to choose from, but if you want to stay on brand then choose a few to use and be consistent with them. I like that the location and weekday stickers can be changed from color to translucent. I play around with them to see what looks better with a given photo. For me, I'm big on using the hashtag and geolocation stickers. It’s a great way to be added to that location’s story where more eyes can see your post and it informs your audience on a place they maybe never knew existed and might want to visit.
TWO TONE YOUR TEXT
One of my favorite ways to use text is to “two-tone” it. It’s basically typing a word in one color and then typing that word again in another color and overlapping them so it looks two-toned. I’ve noticed that when I see this effect in a story, I’m instantly more drawn to it and take a screenshot as an inspo reminder. I tend to use colors that pair well together and pair well with the photo I’m using. Again, it’s always about being consistent and staying on brand. Don't be afraid to play with your text sizing and placement too.
INTERACT WITH YOUR AUDIENCE
If you’re a brand, pay special attention this. You want to engage with your audience, keep them interested and offer them information. A great way to do that is to interact with them. For those of you who have a business account with 10K+ followers you can add a link to content outside of Instagram ( the swipe up feature) -- like your blog for example or a link where your audience can sign up for your newsletters. If you don’t have 10K+ followers -- you can still be interactive by asking questions, and can still get your audience to visit your site by telling them to click the link in your bio.
FILL IN BLANK SPACE WITH TEXT
A busy photo with too much text doesn’t make for a clean and clear story. If you can, find blank space in your photo to add in copy. Play around with the size of your text and text boxes to fit in that space. I try to follow the naturals lines in my photos too to add in text, a hashtag or location but only if it makes sense. Another thing to keep in mind is to use the same color palette for your text as the photo you're using. It keeps the story cohesive.
If you follow my stories you know that I love me a boomerang especially when I’m having a boozy brunch with my girls (insert the “BASIC” sticker right here)! They are so fun to create and really make your story personal and real. There’s really no trick to them except to keep them simple.
HAVE FUN WITH IT
It’s easy to get caught up in trying to maintain a good story. But that can take the fun out of it. Yes, it’s important to stay “on brand” and be cohesive but once you’ve got the basics down, the stories are easy to create and they really are a ton of fun. So be silly, show off your personality and have FUN with it! Another pro tip: never take your photos in the actual story camera of Instagram; always take it in your regular camera app. It's a much better quality photo. Boomerangs can be taken in the Boomerang app as well.
If you’re looking for some great inspiration or just want to watch some funny stories these are some great accounts that I follow: @thewhalingclub hands down has the best cocktails and Dan the founder, is an amazing and pretty funny story teller. @justinanderson is laugh out loud hilarious. He’s my go to when I need a good laugh throughout the day. @monicawangphoto is an incredibly talented photographer who specializes in interiors -- her feed is beautiful and her stories are equally beautiful and so cohesive to her brand and personality! She’s definitely a great source for clean and well created IG stories plus she visits some pretty great restaurants in the LA area if you’re ever looking for new places to try. Kim Lapides of @eatsleepwear is probably my favorite blogger Instagram storyteller. She gets incredibly personal and shares so much of her life with her audience and she's funny. You get a real glimpse into her daily life - the ups, the downs, the silly moments -- all the things. Plus, she has the cutest little minnie Aussie named Lola who’s a total scene stealer. For all things food and hilariousness, you have to follow @whatsgabycooking. She’s also laugh out loud hilarious and she takes you on the best food journeys and creates the most delicious and beautifully plated recipes EVER! I pin like every single one of her recipes!
Well there you have it friends. I hope this was informative and helps you get a better grasp on this whole world of social media and storytelling. If you have any questions, shoot me a DM on the gram @storyplace.media or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you!