While Instagram remains virtually unchanged from its humble origins as a quirky photo-sharing app from seven years ago, one interesting feature has made it a darling of creative social media influencers and marketers everywhere. This feature, called Stories (which was introduced in 2016), allows users to share photo and short video sequences that go away after 24 hours.
It might not sound like much, but everyone is using it, and Stories is definitely here to stay. If you want to learn how to step up your Instagram Stories game for your brand, better read on.
Change Up Your Font and Pen Sizes
Instagram automatically defaults to a mid-range size/thickness font whenever a user chooses the pen or text tool. This works well for most cases, but there will be times when you would want to change the default font to a thinner or smaller one for creative or aesthetic purposes. Thankfully, Stories has a feature that can easily change that.
Just check out the slider on the left side of the screen.
Simply drag the small circle-shaped slider up or down depending on how you want your text's size to be. Slide it up if you want to make the pen or your chosen font bigger or thicker, and vice versa if you want them smaller or thinner.
Customize Font Colors
Adding text to your Instagram Stories is extremely easy. After adding a photo or a video to your Story, just tap on the Aa icon located on the upper right hand corner of the screen.
The first obvious method in changing the current font's color is through the color choices that immediately pop up beneath your photo or video. Didn't find the color you're looking for? Then simply scroll through the right for more color options. Holding down any of the color circles will bring out a color bar so that you can further fine tune the color that you like for your story.
For those who want to have a consistent color theme in their Instagram Stories, you can simply tap on any pixel on your image to immediately change the default font's color to that particular pixel's color. This is especially useful if you want to emphasize your brand's colors among multiple images or videos in your Stories, and maintain a more cohesive and consistent branding color scheme.
Try Using Longer Text-Only Stories
The main drawback of Stories is that each image is played for only seven seconds. This is enough time to display a photo or play a short video clip, but it's barely enough for someone to read through a few sentences of text. Those who want to share a lot of text (for quick notifications or promotions, for example) are out of luck.
However, there is an easy workaround with which you can accomplish this. First, write a few words of your text on an image or plain background, and instead of uploading it, save it to your device first. Go back to the main Instagram page (click on Discard on the Discard Photo? prompt that appears after you tap on your phone's Back button), and tap on the Stories editor again. Open your previous photo and write your next line of text underneath the text that you have written before. Do this over and over until you've completed whatever it is you want to write about. Once done, you can then upload the series of photos one after another as a Story. Using this method, you'll be able to get your message read by your followers without feeling constrained by the seven-second time limit imposed by Instagram stories.
Use a Plain, Solid Color Background
Creative fun photos and quirky video clips are all the rage in Instagram Stories these days, but sometimes, the simplest and plainest images are still the best. And what image can be more plain than a solid color background?
Using plain backgrounds work if you want to emphasize your message and don't want images or graphics in the background to distract your viewers.
Creating one in Instagram Stories is extremely easy. First, take a picture of anything (and when we say anything, we really mean anything because the picture will eventually be colored over); this is needed because you need a photo to start the Story with. Next, tap the pen icon, select the color of your choice, and then tap on your image again and hold it for a few seconds. The image will be instantly covered up with your chosen color.
Use Plain Backgrounds and Images Together
You can also try experimenting with new creative image effects using just the pen tool.For example, try revealing parts of an image that is covered over by a plain foreground. First, take a picture that you want to feature on your Story (you can choose from your phone's Gallery or take it directly from the camera). Do the technique mentioned above for creating a plain background over it (but choose your desired color first). Next, you need to tap on the eraser tool (i.e. the small white icon that looks like the eraser tip on a pencil) that is located near the top of the screen. Using this tool, erase the colored parts away from the parts of the image that you want to reveal.
Use Videos Instead
Instagram Stories has a strict seven second limit on the video clips that you can upload through it. If you want your photos displayed for far longer than that or just want longer videos, then try uploading your content as videos instead. For photos, you can turn static images into videos by adding music, text, and animations.
Videos generally receive more engagement than photos, and uploading lots of them can greatly solidify your brand's social media presence. This is especially true for brands that use well-crafted videos that include music and various audio components on their Instagram profiles and Stories.
Instagram is more than just a photo-sharing app with lots of pretty filters for the artsy crowd. By taking advantage of Stories, one of its most innovative features, you'll be able to greatly elevate your social media game to the next level.