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Instagram Stories Basics .

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    Ready to up your Instagram game?

     You don’t have to be a business or a brand to use Instagram effectively.  But here are a few tips to catapult your Insta Stories to a whole new level.

    First off, Stories are images (photos or 15-sec videos) that once posted ‘disappear’ from view on your account 24 hours later.  Of course, ‘disappear’ is relative.  Stories can be highlighted to keep them accessible to your followers.

    You can add text, GIFS, filters, mentions, stickers and a myriad of other overlays to your photos and videos to increase interest in your content.  You can even draw or handwrite over your story post.

    Instagram is always adding features to Stories to keep us interested and engaged.  Some of the best features include polls and share posts to Stories.

    To get started with Stories, click on Your Story with the plus sign in the top left side of your Instagram app.  To get started quickly, just press the big circle.  To get deeper into the feature set, keep reading. 

    You can control many Story settings by clicking on the gear icon on the upper left corner.

    At the bottom of the screen are several options, so many that you need to swipe left just to see the full menu of options available.  

    The first square in the lower left is our camera roll.  Tap here to see the last 24 hours worth of videos and photos on your device.  To the right of that square is a lightning bolt trapped in a  circle, these are your standard light/flash settings.  Hit up the two arrows to the right of the Record button to switch to/from selfie view.  Then feel free to add filters and effects by tapping the cute face with two plus marks icon.  This will launch a new menu with more options, enough to make your head spin.

    Below all of that is another menu.  This menu includes Type for text-based posts, Live to ‘cast’ your content in real time, the ever popular Boomerang and additional features like Superzoom, Focus, Rewind and Handsfree.

    Once you’ve created your original content, you can post to Your Story or just share with Close Friends.

    Wait, we are not finished yet.  You can then swipe up for stickers, graphics, GIFs, sliders and polls.  Sliders and polls are a great way for your followers to interact with your posts in addition to liking and messaging, which are additional features.

    Then, let’s not forget that you can share Instagram posts to your story.  You can share your own timeline posts or shout out to another Instagrammer by sharing their post to your account.  To do this, click on the paper aeroplane at the bottom of the post you wish to share.

    Instagram archives your Stories by default, so you can always have access to them which is really helpful if you wish to highlight your post so that all your followers can view all time.  These highlights come up on circles just above your timeline photos.  Feel free to highlight individual stories and group stories into collections.

    And imagine, all of this related to but one feature of Instagram - Stories.  Go forth and tell your story on IG.