The problem with Instagram Stories is, everyone’s doing them. But they’re great for marketing because surveys show the popular app draws 200 million Instagram users to at least one business every day. So how do you make yours stand out from the crowd?

If your Stories until now have consisted of nothing more than a series of photos with captions, try these hacks to spark them up.


Play with the features

One great thing about Instagram Stories is that they don’t have to look professional. They are by nature ephemeral and meant to provide a fun glimpse into you and your business. In addition, the fact that you can switch formats—from photos to live video to Boomerangs, to short video—will keep your Stories from feeling static (i.e., boring).

Adding effects from the numerous Instagram Stories available filters can also perk up your Stories. For example, you can:

  • customize your font or pen size, background, and color
  • mix videos and images
  • use the StopMotion, Hyperloop, and Rewind features to create unique videos
  • include stickers (caution: it’s easy to get addicted to these and overdo them)
  • add fun filters like halos and glitter to amp up your story (see caution above)
  • and more . . .

Feel free to play with the various features until you achieve the effects you like.

Then, to save yourself some time in the future, once you narrow down these various effects to a few favorites, you can save them for future use simply by tapping the name of the effect and selecting “save effect” in the pop-up. Using the same effects across all your Stories will also lend them consistency, giving them the same general look and feel, and linking them subliminally to your brand.


Tell stories with Stories

The classic example of the difference between reporting and a story goes like this:

Reporting: The king died, then the queen died.

Story: The king died, then the queen died of grief.

All of a sudden readers’ emotions are engaged, because in the second instance we have two characters we suddenly care about, and we can imagine their whole backstory, from their first meeting to their tragic ending.

Therefore, don’t just give a bland visual tour of your store. Show your fans the behind-the-scenes story of your employees working together to have fun while unpacking merchandise, or how you sanitized every surface of your shop so you could safely reopen, or how they can use a particular product you sell.

Even so, short and sweet works best. According to a 2018 study, the top Instagram Stories performers average 2.8 seconds in length. So get in, tell your story, and get out quickly. If you have more “story” to tell, consider using a series of consecutive photos, which will allow you to get in all the text you want to use.


It’s all about sales

While you’re having all this fun, one thing to keep in mind is that you’re using your Instagram Stories to promote your product or service. Fans should be able to easily distinguish between your personal and business Stories.

How to do that? By keeping your Stories fun and engaging, with a consistent look that keeps your brand front and center, and through extensive use of features that have been proven to increase engagement and, most importantly, to induce fans to swipe up.

Some of the more popular Instagram Stories topics include:

  • Instagram Stories’ built-in poll feature
  • giveaways (everyone wants free stuff)
  • announcements of upcoming products/services/sales
  • how-to guides involving your product or service
  • stories showing people using your product or service
  • “backstage” glimpses of you and your employees



Finally, as always, pay attention to your fans. If they’re asking questions or making comments about a Story you’ve posted, be sure to answer them with another Instagram Story.

If you feel you don’t have the time or enough ideas to make your Instagram Stories truly stand out, let us help. Our social media marketers are current with all the latest tricks to capture fans’ attention and—more important—convert that engagement to sales.