instragam content creation concept with smartphone, vertical frame with a lightbulb inside as a creative idea suggestion

How to Create Instagram Stories – The Basics

Instagram Stories: How to Create Ephemeral Content 101

Social media is changing as we speak and the transition is powered by one engine: storytelling. Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Whatsapp, and almost any other social network have injected a Story format into their platform. 

Not only that, but Stories are about to take over the feeds and throw them into anonymity says Facebook CPO, Chris Cox. That’s understandable. With today’s mobile prevalence, users are no longer inclined to scroll down in search of content. Instead, they are making a more natural gesture on their smartphones: swiping.

With that said, Story making is a new marketing skill that fills an entire chapter in the social network know-how. As such, don’t be left behind and start learning the creative process behind an engaging Story that makes visitors linger.

Instagram Stories Essentials

Before understanding how to create Instagram Stories, the following traits will help you understand its anatomy better. So far, a lot of brands (Under Armour, National Geographic, Game of Thrones, Buffer, etc.) discovered on their own how powerful this new content can be. 

Therefore, a lot of benefits are waiting at the finish line of a great Story production. Here are the elements that make this content unique:

  • 9:16 ratio format – This is an obvious choice, yet numerous users don’t stop from shooting horizontally. Always remember that Instagram Stories look good only with a portrait format;
  • Designed specifically for smartphones – If you take a look at feeds on small screens, you’ll notice how uncomfortable all its components feel. Images, captions, and comments look like they are PC elements squeezed into an undersized room. By contrast, Stories were born on miniature devices. How can this help you create better Instagram Stories? Using a smartphone can really make a difference in the feel of your profile which a professional camera cannot replicate.
  • A hybrid of text, videos, images, polls, questions, quizzes, etc. – Stories fit any of the mentioned categories as long as they stay true to its authentic nature: ephemeral thoughts and moments that are perfect in their imperfection. Users can turn to Stories to ask a question, show a spontaneous event, share a random idea or any other light type of content. 
  • Greater exposurePosts appear one after the other provided that users keep scrolling down the feeds manually. Stories are different. First, they appear at the top of the platform. Secondly, once activated, they automatically start unrolling as a slideshow until users interrupt it or until the end of your following list. As a result, Stories are easier to view and generate more traffic than posts.

Meet the Instagram Camera Interface

productlead showcases instagram camera interface

The entire process will appear straightforward the moment you understand how each button functions. Therefore, open your Instagram camera and familiarize yourself with its menu:

  • Photo Gallery (location: last icon at the bottom) – Opens an entire collection with all the photos you took in the last 24 hours.
  • Flash (location: fourth icon at the bottom)Tap it to take a photo or create a video with the flash on.
  • Camera Button (location: third icon at the bottom)Tap the button to take a photo for an Instagram photo. Hold it to make a video that ends once you take your finger off.
  • Reverse Camera (location: second icon at the bottom)Press it to activate your front camera for a selfie. Tap it again to return to your main camera.
  • Filter Menu (location: first icon at the bottom)Browse all the filters ever created with the Spark AR Studio program that Facebook made readily available to brands and creators. Choose a filter and snap a photo or record with the effects on.

Now that you know how to differentiate transient content from posts, it’s time to tackle the real matter: how to create Instagram stories from scratch.

 1. How to Create Simple Instagram Stories – All 3 Methods

a. Create a New Instagram Story from Scratch

Go to your Instagram app and open the camera feature located in the upper-left corner of your screen. It is marked with a camera icon. Once you’re in, tap the camera button to snap a shot. Remember, make sure you hold your phone vertically to ace the appropriate format.

If it’s a video you’re looking for, hold the camera button and release it when your footage is done. Keep in mind that Instagram Stories can show a maximum of 15 seconds at a time. Otherwise, footages longer than that are chunked down.

To broadcast a moment live, you’ll have to change the setting to Live. Swipe the menu under the camera button one slot to the left to start filming in real-time. 

Swipe left one more time to get to the last slot: Type. This will open a blank canvas for you where you can use words, graphics, and gifs to forge your enthralling Story. 

All the other slots located after the camera button are filters that help you create footages with a spin. These are the most popular filming modes for when you’re ready for the next level:

  • Boomerang (3-second looping GIFs);
  • Superzoom (a video that zooms in theatrically to add an edge of surprise, sadness, love, drama, and others);
  • Focus (blurs everything except the object/ person of interest);
  • Rewind (films in reverse);
  • Hands-free (liberates your finger from holding the camera button when filming).

b. Choose From Your Mobile Photo Gallery

You can always choose one of your old photos to post on Stories. While you are on your Instagram camera, simply swipe up. A local gallery with the photos you took in the last 24 hours will appear, and Instagram allows you to choose one of the visuals.

After you’re done with the selection, the editing part follows as usual. However, we’ll talk more about editing in a minute.

c. Turn a Post into a Story

Learning how to create Instagram Stories is quite straightforward with this second method. In other words, if you have a post that can stimulate engagement better as a Story, there’s a simple option for that.

Spot the visual in your feed and tap on the “Send” button below it that resembles a paper airplane. It will open a menu where the first option invites you to “Add post to your story.” You can also select users to send your post to in chat.

2. How to Wrap Your Instagram Stories

We’re halfway to finishing our tutorial on how to create Instagram Stories. From this point on, the process is all up to your creative flow. 

Once you’ve created or selected your visual, it’s time to add a dash of personality. Here are your options waiting for you inside the Instagram camera interface:

  • Aa Icon (location: first icon in the upper-right corner)  –  Adds a message to your Story. However, it doesn’t have to be just a blunt text. You can personalize it by changing the style in the menu above (Classic, Modern, Neon, Typewriter, Strong), adding a frame (the A button at the top), and changing color (bottom menu).
  • Pen Icon (location: second icon in the upper-right corner) – Make your Story unique by drawing something on top of it. You can choose different drawing styles from the menu above. Trick – tap and hold the touchscreen so that the entire screen gets covered in a color of your choice. Use Eraser to scrape some of the color off so that your visual comes out as a surprise.

productlead showcases instagram camera feature of eraser with a flower arrangement in the background

  • Sticker Icon (location: third icon in the upper-right corner) – Mention your location, an Instagram user, add a hashtag, ask questions, display the time or create a poll, countdown, and quiz. All these are possible with the special Instagram stickers. Not only that, but you can add creative stickers, emojis, and Giphy to spice up the entire image. If you change your mind about an item, grab and throw it at the bottom of the screen down the recycle bin icon.
  • Filter Icon (location: forth icon in the upper-right corner) – Filters are the main attraction of the Instagram camera. Chromatic Pulse, Bloom, Watercolor, 16-bit, Outline are some of the most popular filters. Nonetheless, there are so many other concepts made by Instagram and Spark AR partners.

3. How to Make Instagram Stories Work for Your Business

Basically, the new type of content is popular thanks to its authentic, spontaneous, raw, amateur nature. Can a business promote such an informal concept? 

Of course they can, especially since brands can connect better with their audience in this modern social environment. The following are some tips to show you how to create Instagram Stories suitable for a brand-customer relationship!

a. Settle on a defining template

Wouldn’t it be amazing if users could recognize your content at a glance? By branding your Stories under a personalized template, users will spend less time on identifying the origins of a Story and more time on enjoying its message.

There are a lot of visual strategies for this. For instance, you can choose between a specific color combination, frame, graphic or logo. Make sure all your Instagram Stories incorporate your unique template. 

b. Be a storyteller

When users turn to Instagram Stories, their mindset is relaxed and in search of inspiration. Through stories, brands can satisfy this mood and deliver an upselling message.

Therefore, the simplest way businesses can proceed in this new territory is through storytelling. Make the most of Instagram’s ephemeral slideshows and fill them up with spellbinding narratives. Make sure it’s always about your community, not products.

c. Cherish their time

Time is precious so make it worth it. Usually, people appreciate 2 types of content: entertainment and information.

You can add value to your Stories by sharing a fun moment or an intriguing fact with your community. By showing them that your brand is committed to quality content, your followers will keep coming back for more.

d. Stick to an internal content calendar

Having a strategy to guide your everyday activity on social media is always a transformative journey for your business. However, with a professional content calendar by your side, you get perspective, consistency, integrity, and cohesion.

ProductLead can help you generate infinite content ideas through its Creatives Automation feature. This is a smart visual engine that mixes design and copy elements to offer you an endless slew of visuals perfect for your Instagram presence. 

By mixing a pool of visuals with an organized content calendar, marketers’ job gets half done. This way, brand alignment, innovation, and creativity will follow your Stories from start to finish.

e. Boost visibility

Those Stories that are worth being seen can earn a promotion. Fortunately, Instagram allows brands to promote their Stories and unlock more exposure.

However, make sure to select only those pieces that speak volumes about the benefits of your business. The best ones tackle special offers, contests, giveaways, and other events of interest.

Final World

In closing, the best way to learn how to create Instagram Stories starts with familiarizing yourself with the Instagram camera interface. Locate each feature and test their functionalities time and time again. 

Ultimately, the purpose for which this new type of content was to augment social media. Brands that leverage Instagram Stories are fostering a better connection with their prospects and clientele and that’s empowering the sales funnel. 

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