How to Use Instagram Stories: A Complete Guide

Snapchat is out, Instagram Story is in! It is quite obvious that Instagram made a rapid growth of monthly users in just a few years. They added quite incredible features and one of which is Instagram Stories. It has the same concept as Snapchat. How to use Instagram Stories, you ask?

It’s really easy. People take photos and videos, edit/decorate them, upload them into their Instagram Stories and it will be gone after 24 hours. Quite simple right? But did you know how to maximize its full potential to gain Instagram followers or get sales leads for your business? In this blog post, let’s talk about how to use Instagram Stories!

Why You Should Use Instagram Stories (Posts Vs. Stories)

You might think that uploading content to your Instagram Feed is better than using Instagram Stories. You’re partly correct. Both Instagram features are awesome and have their own advantages. Take a look at our comparison between Instagram Stories and Instagram Posts below.

Instagram Stories Vs. Instagram Posts

– Stories will only last for 24 hours unless you put them on your highlights. Posts will remain on your feed unless you delete them.

– Stories do not look like a spam when done in series. Posts that are posted individually at the same time may look like a spam to your followers.

– Stories are supposed to be a mix of everything (photos, videos, gifs, stickers, texts) to look creative. Posts are supposed to follow your established theme to make your feed look creative.

­Although both should look appealing, have value, be engaging, and creative, Instagram Stories feature is the best choice for brands and influencers to tell real-time updates about their life and/or products.

How to Use Instagram Stories

Like what we said, using Instagram Stories is easy!

First, launch your Instagram app on Android or IOS.

Instagram logo
Instagram’s Logo

Click on the Instagram Story icon on your homepage.

Take a photo, video, or choose a background. Just swipe to the right to change the feature you want to use.

Edit, decorate, or add filters.

Share them with your followers!

How to Plan Your Instagram Stories

To fully understand how to use Instagram Stories, you have to plan ahead. We recommend that you post at least one Instagram Story per day so your followers will know that you are active and that they can get valuable content from you.

Planning your Instagram Stories is easy, but it can be a little bit complicated if you don’t know your audience too well. This is where insights may come in handy. Make sure you know your followers’ demographics– are they mostly men or women, are they young or old, from which country/city are they, etc.  Knowing these basic facts about your audience or followers will help you determine what type of content, specifically Instagram Stories, is suitable for them.

Usually, Instagram Stories contain highlight/s of your day or the photos and videos on how your day went. You have to plan what are the exact times you want them to be posted, especially if your followers are not from the same time zone as you are.

Do I need to post daily Instagram Stories?

Yes, why not? It’s always fun to share your stories online- traveling, eating, experiencing something amazing, etc. Always remember that you are giving value to your viewers when you post your own videos. So if you are outside and traveling to a nice place, you can share 10-12 Instagram Stories depending on how exciting the trip is. You can always post more or less as you prefer.

If you are a business selling products or even an online course, you can post your offer once a day if it’s launching period. If not, you can post your product on Instagram Stories for 3-4 times a week. In our case, our Instagram Stories are mostly about our travel. We tell and show our trips to our followers, the places that we visit, places we stay at, how we move around and commute, and some personal experiences on our trip. This kind of Instagram Story series, uploading them from day to night, is really helpful for people who want to travel to that place too.

If you are just staying indoors and want to share something on your Instagram Stories, don’t worry because there are many things you can share even without going outside, like a series of informative Instagram Stories that might help your followers know you more or about a topic they might be interested in, cooking journey, workout journey, your kids, or even just storytelling on how your day was.

Tips on How to Use Instagram Stories Efficiently

Be Yourself.

Of course, we want to show our real selves online, especially on Instagram where millions of users may see you. Be respectful at all times and get to know your followers more.

Tell your stories, keep your followers interested and try to be active with their replies and comments. Engage your followers through making polls, asking questions, and even asking for some recommendations like what they want to see from your Instagram Stories and all those things.

Add Value.

Always add value to your posts and Instagram Stories. Every time that you talk or share your stories, the goal is to add value. If you are a businessman, share your tips on how to be successful or how to get started with the business like yours. If you are offering a product, show the best features of that product and be as informative as possible! Share how they can benefit from using your product and you can even add product reviews.

If you are a traveler like us, add value to your Instagram Stories like sharing helpful information like how the place looks and your real experiences in that place. This will have the people coming back to your account and re-watching your Instagram Stories.

Try to spread out sharing your Instagram Stories, though. Some people don’t want watching bulk Instagram Stories especially if the stories are too long. You can post at different times or however you like. If bulk-posting of Instagram Stories cannot be avoided, then try to be as interesting and lively as possible for your followers to keep on watching.

Be Original and Creative.

There are different ways you can be original and creative in your Instagram Stories. Try using a mix of emojis, GIFs, different fonts, colored pens, and filters. Don’t be afraid to unleash the inner artist in you when using Instagram Stories, ha! 😉

You can also use the following Instagram Features to be original and creative:

Features of Instagram Stories

· Using polls.

Polls are really helpful if you want to engage your followers. You can know their opinions about something and even ask for recommendations.

· Ask a question.

Since everyone can reply to your Instagram Story (if you allowed this in your story settings), you can ask them questions too! It’s another way to encourage your followers to engage in your Instagram Stories and be active.

· Let them ask you a question.

This new feature of Instagram is fun to use! It is where your followers can ask you a question and you can share both your answer and their question as a separate Instagram Story (but their names are hidden). Thanks to Instagram for another cool feature that lets you connect to your followers!

You can also use this for a helpful question and answer feature when you want to share informative things to your followers like how to grow your followers on Instagram, how to travel cheap, how to get clients online, how to do a workout routine, and many more!

· Use GIFs and hashtags.

If you really love being creative in your Instagram Stories, then use GIFs! There are funny GIFs you can add in your stories to entertain your followers and keep them watching. Oh, and don’t forget to use hashtags, too! It lets the public, even the non-followers, to see your stories whenever they search for the hashtag you used in your Instagram Stories. In other words, additional exposure!

· Always add a location.

Locations are important to your Instagram Stories. Like hashtags, it helps you gain more exposure!

· Play with Boomerang.

And when we say play, it means to have fun! Boomerang is an app from Instagram, but Instagram also has a built-in Boomerang feature in it. This is a great alternative to standard photos or videos. If you are not familiar with Boomerang yet, it lets you create a short video in which photos are playing in a quick succession, looping back and forth. See the videos below for Boomerang samples!

Boomaballet by @clarice_lantalilly

A post shared by Boomerang from Instagram (@boomerangfrominstagram) on

by @ray_healthy

A post shared by Boomerang from Instagram (@boomerangfrominstagram) on

· Let your followers “Swipe Up”.

For business pages in Instagram with 10,000 followers and above, they can attach a link in their Instagram Stories. When a website is linked to an Instagram Story, people can easily view the content of the website by just swiping up!

It’s the best way you can promote your website, your other social media sites, products, and to grow your e-mail list or a funnel. You can also encourage them to subscribe to your e-mail list or land them to your product link where you can give them discounts to make them more active in engaging to your stories.

· Do Live Videos.

Live Videos are videos you take and share real time with your followers. You can announce that you’ll have a live video on your chosen date and time to excite people and make them look forward to the content of your video.

In a live video, you can interact with your followers, announce a new product or website, or ask them any questions they have so you can answer them live.

Tools to make your Instagram Stories like a Pro


Get more creative with Unfold. It is an iOS and Android app where you can edit your photos into a collage and text. This app is made specifically for Instagram Stories so the size fits Instagram Story perfectly, without getting a portion of the photo cropped.

With Unfold, you can choose the font style and size you want for your photo.

You can also choose different formats for your Instagram Stories with Unfold.

(Apps to cut videos and add music.)

You can also use apps where you can edit your videos and photos to a creative musical Instagram Story. It will surely

Step up your Instagram Stories


Takeovers are a great way to increase your exposure in Instagram. It’s basically letting you log in to another account under the same niche or a brand you are working with to promote a product or just tell your stories. It will help you gain more followers in Instagram that are related to your niche.

Be creative in the takeover. Explain what you do and show them 10-12 stories of your day or you can give the followers some advice that will make them follow your account.


Instagram Stories are helpful in giving and getting shoutouts to and from related accounts or accounts under your niche. It will bring followers to your account for sure!

You can ask nicely for a “shoutout for shoutout” from other accounts, where you can exchange a shoutout for them in your account and a shoutout for you in their account. It’s basically a win-win situation!


Instagram Stories can also be your channel to announce a giveaway and give gifts to your followers! You can announce the mechanics in your Instagram Stories, the process of choosing the winner, the chosen winner, and how he/she can get the prize! Giving away stuff will let your followers be engaged and interested in your future Instagram Stories because who wouldn’t like some free stuff, right? 😉


If you want a story or a set of stories to be featured for a longer time, why not use Instagram highlights? You can put some of your favorite Instagram Stories in highlights that will be included in your profile as long as you like it! You can even choose a cover for the set of highlights so be as creative as possible in making the title and adding the highlight cover to attract more viewers!

Behind the Scenes

To share more things about you, you can post behind the scene videos or pictures while you are working during a long trip, before working out, opening a product, planning something, before a meeting, or even while taking photos for Instagram.

People love casual videos to see and know more about you. Be creative and use GIFs, emojis, boomerangs, and colorful texts.


And the last but not the least, you can show your reviews of a product or testimonials in your Instagram Stories! If you are an influencer, tell an honest review in your stories so it will help people with their decision to buy or not to buy the product. Tutorials can also be shared in Instagram Stories, sharing informative things to your followers on how to use a product, applying makeups, workout routines, and the like.

If you are a company selling a product, you can share in your Instagram Stories the testimonials of the influencers or people who have tried your product. Be open for questions and inquiries from people. This will help you get trust from possible buyers.

Did we answer your questions on how to use Instagram Stories? Let us know what you think of these tips! Don’t forget to share our blog post about how to use Instagram Stories to your friends and happy grammin’!

Read: 20 Tips on How to Get More Followers on Instagram

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