The popular smartphone app Instagram has a new feature for some time, which many Instagram users do not use yet. Today I’ll explain the new Instagram feature and give you some tips as a guide. Instagram Stories started as a competitor to Snapchat and has already replaced it in terms of importance. Why switch apps when you can have everything in one app?
How does Instagram Stories work? What is Instagram Stories?
Instagram Stories is an additional feature in the smartphone app Instagram for short videos that are automatically deleted again after 24 hours. Instagram Stories is especially useful for those who like to show more of themselves without saving the footage permanently. It strengthens the bond with followers and usually shows the Instagrammer in a more personal and direct way than a normal Instagram post. Perfect is an Instagram Story for a short video, but also for an “imperfect” picture.
Instructions for Instagram Stories – step by step
If you want to use Instagram Stories, you first need the well-known app “Instagram” and an account or profile there. It’s best if you’ve had an account on Instagram for a while and have already made a few friends. Without followers, Instagram and Instagram Stories are not much fun. Stories can only be viewed by your followers or people who deliberately call up your profile in the app.
To upload Stories to Instagram, open the app and tap the small camera in the upper left corner instead of the lower center camera button, which you use for normal Instagram pictures. Alternatively, you can swipe from left to right on the feed screen.
The camera for Stories opens and shows either the front camera or the normal main camera. You can switch between the cameras by tapping the screen twice or by tapping the two arrows on the bottom right. On the bottom left, you can optionally activate a flash for photos. Some Instagrammers also use an additional separate pin light for videos or even have a well-lit video corner for these short videos.
Instagram Stories videos and photos capture
At the bottom center is the photo and capture button or button. Tap it briefly and a photo is taken – hold it down and a video is recorded. With the video function, you have 15 seconds to show or tell your followers something. The time that expires can be recognized by the circulating colored circle during the recording.
Recording in progress
Edit and caption Instagram Stories
After the video recording ends, it runs in continuous loop for review. Photos are also displayed for review. Now is the moment when you can edit the recording. For videos, for example, you can turn off the sound at the top with the “speaker icon” if you prefer to hide the sound (though some even use an external microphone for better sound).
With the “sticker button” you can automatically add the location, time and temperature indicator. Big hearts, hats and many popular smileys can also be added quickly here. Once you’ve selected an icon, you can zoom in and out, angle it, and place it exactly where you want it.
With the “pen icon” you can draw or write handwritten notes. You can choose between a simple pen, a slightly transparent highlighter and a neon pen with glow effect. The width of the brushes can be set at the bottom left of the icon with the three dots.
The font color is selected with the other colored dots that continue over three pages. For a very special color you tap a color a little longer and then you can choose from all possible colors. To leave the menu click on “Done” – the image will not be sent yet.
With the “Aa-Symbol” in the upper right corner you can put a printed text on the picture or video. Since many people will watch your videos without sound, it always makes sense to add text to the short videos. In this text you can also tag other Instagram users. Simply write @ and the Instagram name in the text. If the person can be tagged, they will appear as a circle for selection. The person will get a message about your story after you send it.
You can choose the font size again at the bottom left by the three dots, the font color with the dots next to it. At the top center you can choose a background for better readability. Here you can also change the colors, if this was just selected. To exit, click on “Done” again.
Filters for Instagram Stories
There are also a few filters on Instagram Stories. When editing the image or video, you swipe “from right to left” and get light color filters. However, it is not yet as exciting as Snapchat with face filters. However, I suspect we won’t have to wait much longer for it. If you see the usual Snapchat face filters on other Instagrammers, then the shots were filmed in Snapchat and only uploaded to Instagram later.
Sending the Instagram Story – Saving the Instagram Story
If you are done with the editing, you can now save the picture or video for later recording (bottom left – especially helpful if you currently have no reception or no wifi) or send it directly. To send it to all your followers, click on the lower button with the + and the squiggle “Your Story”.
If you want to send the story to only one or selected people, click on the arrow in the lower right corner. In the next step you select who should see the story (you can also create groups) – also in this step you can still post normally in your own story, if you have clicked the wrong way and do not want to send a private message to everyone, so as not to provoke an unfollow.
So much for the basics of creating Instagram Stories. But there are more features to get more fun with the little videos. For pictures, the default shot is perfect, but for videos, there are some nice choices.
Boomerang & hands-free on Instagram Stories.
Once you’re in shooting mode, the default appears to be “Normal” or just the selection you last used. By swiping “from right to left” in the lower image, you can select “Boomerang”, for example, and record small “back-and-forth” videos just like in the separate smartphone app Boomerang. You hold down the record button for two seconds and the loop video is calculated automatically. This recording is especially popular for jumps and turns, as well as fast movements.
The “Hands-free” selection is perfect if you know that you will be filming the entire 15 seconds, as you then don’t have to hold the record button, but only tap it once. This way you shake less and see better how long the video will continue to record. You can still stop the recording earlier if you wish. With both recording versions, you can edit the video again before it goes online, as mentioned above.
Start Instagram Live Video – Live Chat with Followers
The live video function on Instagram is quite exciting. You can tell that Facebook Live certainly has a small influence on it here, since the two programs are known to belong together. To select Instagram Live, swipe “left to right” in the lower part of the Instagram story screen. You now have the “Start Live Video” button and as soon as you click it, a connection is established. A number counts down from three until the start.
The beginning of the chat is always a bit unusual, because there is a time offset of about 30 seconds. It therefore takes time to see a few follower profile pictures added to the live video. However, they will also see your video with about 30 seconds offset. Most of the time, you just tell them about your day and get written questions from your followers. If you want to answer, you should repeat the question briefly so that everyone knows what you are answering. However, everyone can read what is written by the followers.
Followers can distribute hearts, which increases the value of your live video. It’s always nice to get a very personal contact with the followers and I’m always very happy when I see people there that I otherwise only know from Instagram.
However, you only see yourself or what you show your followers (you can always switch the camera from front to back and back again – double-click or arrow icon). If you have nice people in the chat, the time can fly by and you’ll be shocked how quickly half an hour is up.
How do you save an Instagram Live video?
The chat is not automatically saved after it ends. Until now, it was also not possible to save live videos. Recently, this has now changed. After the chat is over, you can see how many different people have stopped by the chat and can click “Save” in the upper right corner. Only now is the video saved and can be used further if desired. Finally, Instagram Live videos do not simply disappear again. You can, for example, use a recorded fashion show again in excerpts if you want to.
Block users and people on Instagram Stories
Just as you can generally block people on Instagram, you can also block some people from Instagram Live and Instagram Stories. When you open Instagram Stories, a dial for the settings appears in the upper left corner. Here you can specify and search for people who are not allowed to watch in the first item “Hide Story from”.
But you can also block annoying people directly during Instagram Live by tapping on the name in the chat. Also, when checking who has viewed a specific story, you can click the x to the right of the name and block the person from further stories.
Can you see when someone takes screenshots?
Unlike Snapchat, unfortunately you can’t see who is taking screenshots of you en masse. I know many who have blocked anyone on Snapchat who has taken screenshots. The shots are often shots that aren’t meant to last forever. With Instagram Stories, you can’t control this and are therefore more relaxed about others taking screenshots of your Stories. You don’t post anything you don’t want anyone to see – it’s as simple as that.
Allow or block replies to Stories
In the settings for Stories you can also set who and whether you can reply to your Stories with private messages. You choose between “Allow replies”, “People you follow” and “Off”. There will always be some people who like to reply to your Stories – especially if you ask questions.
Save shared photos in the camera
In the Stories settings, you can also generally set whether to save Stories to your album or gallery on your smartphone. If the slider is “blue”, everything will be saved automatically. If you only want to save one particular published story, first select the desired story and tap on the three dots at the bottom right. Now select “Save video” and the video will be saved for later use or archiving.
How to upload and post pictures and videos from the gallery on Instagram Stories?
One opens Instagram Stories and instead of clicking on the capture button, one swipes in the picture either “from bottom to top” or “from top to bottom”. Now you can choose from the last eight pictures and videos, as long as they were taken in the last 24 hours. If you want to post older pictures, you usually only have to take a screenshot of them and this picture is then also in the selection. It gets interesting if you want to upload a hyperlapse time-lapse video, for example.
How can I see who has viewed the Story on Instagram Stories? How do you delete Stories?
To see who and how many have viewed the Story, click on your own round profile picture “Your Story” in the feed overview on Instagram, where you can also see the Stories of your friends. Alternatively, click on the profile picture in the profile. Your own Story is already playing and you can see the number of views of the video at the bottom.
If you drag the picture upwards, you can see who has viewed the story. Double views of the same person are counted separately. Here you can use the first icon to save the video again, the second icon to post the video normally on Instagram, and the third icon to delete the story. The x in the upper right corner only closes the story and does not delete it. You can also delete any story before the 24 hours have expired.
More tips and hacks for Instagram Stories
Save data volume
Instagram consumes quite a lot of data volume. Instagram Stories and especially Instagram Live consumes even more data volume. Therefore, if you have a small data volume, you should rather post Stories only when you have a good wifi connection. You simply save videos from the road in your phone. However, you can only access eight videos or pictures and upload them later.
Post website links with Stories
How nice it would be if the function to post website links was already enabled for every user. So far, this option is only available for verified and large accounts. One gets in the Stories of these users below an area for “Show more” or “See more” and immediately gets, for example, to the online store of a shown and linked product. This feature is very interesting for companies in the long run. It will be interesting for us to see if this feature will also be available for everyone at some point.
Fast-forward, rewind and pause on Instagram Stories
Looking at Instagram Stories of your friends and subscribers on Instagram, sometimes you would like to fast forward, rewind or pause, for example, to take a screenshot. To fast-forward to the next story of the channel, you tap the monitor briefly during the story. To fast forward to the next station, swipe “from right to left”.
If you want to rewind, swipe “from left to right” to return to the last station. You can then watch the story of the next user again from the beginning. In general, you can watch videos as often as you want within 24 hours. In the case of direct messages, however, the video disappears after being viewed once.
To pause the video, you simply hold your finger on the monitor longer. The image stops and many then use this feature to take a screenshot of the scene.
How can you hide Instagram Stories from some Instagrammers?
Unlike in the normal Instagram feed, where you have to unfollow if some friends post too many pictures, you can choose who you want to see in Stories. Although it also evaluates whose Stories you like to see and interact with, you can “mute” annoying Instagrammers.
You simply hold your finger on the circle with the friend’s Instagram Story and get the choice between “Show profile” (here you could unfollow completely, for example) or “Deactivate XY’s Story”. With deactivation, the circle moves to the end of the Stories and turns gray. Automatically, the person is now no longer played.
How can you zoom in on Instagram Stories?
People had gotten so used to being able to zoom on Snapchat. In the beginning, unfortunately, it didn’t work with Instagram Stories. In the meantime, it has changed and you can zoom while filming. You select the “Normal” recording function, press the record button and then pull your index finger up to zoom. If you pull your finger down again, the zoom is over again. So like Snapchat. 🙂
Can I post anything I want?
Of course you can do whatever you want. However, like everywhere else, you should be careful with pictures that are not yours and with taking pictures of strangers. There are a few rules to follow otherwise if you want to become more successful on Instagram Stories:
stick to your Instagram profile theme, as that’s what your fans want to see from you
they say that eight Stories a day is optimal
Label all Stories, as people often watch them without audio
Think beforehand what you want to convey and show and make a kind of moderation with your “problem”, the “action” and the “solution”.
make an advance announcement for the next day
if you only talk in selfie mode, you should look for slightly different backgrounds so that the viewer can always “discover” something
tag companies and other Instagrammers when it fits
Snapchat or Instagram Stories? Who’s using what? What should you use?
When Instagram launched Instagram Stories a few weeks ago, the outcry in the community was relatively large. But what has changed and how do followers behave. Is there now more action on Instagram Stories, will Snapchat experience a slump, as feared, or will Instagram Stories be ignored? If you look at the first “official” figures (according to SensorTower) from the U.S., there is, to the first surprise, no big slump on Snapchat and Instagram Stories is also relatively well received.
In the first fourteen days since the release of the new features, both apps Snapchat or Instagram run almost parallel from the traffic and also the demand for the new features is relatively split. Many Snapchatters with a large network have directly called for a bit of a boycott of Instagram Stories and told followers right at the beginning that the video content will continue to be available only on Snapchat – other users tried out the function at least once. In addition to scrolling through one’s own Instagram stream, seeing some stories from the people one already follows in photos anyway sounds practical and is also used regularly.
Little drop in Snapchat – different user groups?
If you look at the two networks Snapchat or Instagram once parallel and take the current survey of BI Intelligence as a basis, it confirms exactly what for many months also tell me friends, acquaintances and followers. For young people (under 20), Snapchat is simply the most important medium for staying in touch with friends as well as celebrities and VIPs on a daily basis.
Instead of the former daily soaps on TV, Snapchat is watched and people are followed practically “live” in their “made-up” everyday lives. For older followers (over the age of 25), Instagram Stories is often the first exposure to this type of daily conversation from the people they follow.
While Snapchat is often difficult for many people to understand and people regularly search the internet for instructions on how to use Snapchat, with Instagram stories the “button” is right above the familiar stream and you can just let the videos play.
You already follow the person anyway, so you get the video entertainment as well. I too can accurately confirm the impressions on Snapchat or Instagram and would have expected a much higher drop in numbers on Snapchat, as many people follow me on both Instagram and Snapchat as well.
The switch from Snapchat to Instagram stories, however, is relatively small and both networks are building their own fanbase with me. Many people now look at my Instagram stories, who have not followed me on these channels at all and have little of the “current life”.
They tended to sit down on Sundays with their tablet and watch the latest YouTube video, but what I sent daily on Snapchat was primarily for the younger group of followers. These experiences are also confirmed by various other bloggers/influencers, as well as corresponding reports on Snapchat or Instagram from companies.
Instagram Stories is chosen by followers older than 20 years old Snapchat continues to be followed by followers under 20 years of age This is also how many companies are currently explaining the different reactions to Stories and Snaps, and I can also confirm the experience with me.
With Instagram Stories, people quickly look in once, but often do not see to the last Story, with Snapchat, the number of retrievals of the individual Snaps is significantly higher and longer and the reaction rate likewise.
Often, the number of views on Instagram stories is significantly higher among many users (also depending on Instagram followers), but the retention time is lower – on Snapchat, it’s exactly the opposite. One reason for this may be the different user groups and “fan bases” of the individual accounts.
Snapchat or Instagram Stories – Who will survive?
I’ve often asked myself the question whether I’d rather use Snapchat or Instagram and also recently asked my followers – whether I should rather do Instagram Stories or Snapchat and the answer was completely divided. The former young Instagram followers who migrated to Snapchat, Instagram only gets back with “cool” special features that are not copied from Snapchat but get a real added value, the older followers Snapchat can only convince if the app and following people becomes easier.
Wherever the path may lead, after a good five weeks, there is still no clear tendency to see whether prefer Snapchat or Instagram and both apps are currently running relatively smoothly side by side. For the various companies and also for me as a lifestyle and travel blogger, however, this currently means above all – to play on both networks accordingly, sometimes with different content – depending on the target group.
Conclusion – How does Instagram Stories work? Instructions, functions and tips
Meanwhile, there are hardly any differences in Instagram Stories compared to Snapchat. You can tell that some programmers have switched sides here. Except for the face filters, hardly anything is missing. If you would also like to try Snapchat and have not yet had any experience with it, I’ll link you here to my tutorial on Snapchat, since not everything there can be understood on its own. For companies, Instagram Stories has become more popular than Snapchat, because they can often already set links.
Stories is also the best solution for many normal Instagrammers, as you can combine everything in one app. Many followers that you have already collected look at Stories. With Snapchat, it’s harder to collect followers because you can’t be found as quickly. Instagram Stories was a brazen copy, but in the end it’s probably the user who decides which system they prefer that counts.
Instagram Stories and Instagram Live was a terrific addition to the already amazing Instagram app, before which some influencers today can already make a very good living from a posted picture. I’m glad if I could help you with my tips and I’m super happy if you stop by and say “hello” to me on Instagram sometime. Have fun and see you on Instagram @vanessa.pur