There are many compelling reasons Instagram Stories should be part of your school’s marketing mix.
Instagram is the most used social media channel for students and their parents these days. It’s mobile-friendly and offers amazing advertising opportunities.
Instagram Stories are becoming more popular than Snapchat for students and parents. What was initially seen as a copycat feature with elements similar to its competitor, Instagram Stories are increasingly the preferred story-sharing platform for the younger audiences.
In terms of marketing potential, Instagram has a wider reach than Snapchat and it’s much easier to find your target audience. Also, Instagram allows direct links and hashtag integration. Instagram Stories are higher quality than those on Snap, and Instagram gives professionals more insights that can help them fashion laser-targeted campaigns.
If you’re unfamiliar with Instagram Stories, they are very simple. You use your social media content to share bite-sized pieces of content – photo or video – in a format similar to a highlight reel. After the content is viewed, it disappears. The content is only available for 24 hours.
The idea of Instagram Stories is to share content that is raw, authentic and interesting – but not perfect. That’s what makes them so interesting and compelling – they are creative and fun but not meant to last.
Want to be an Instagram Stories pro? Here are 13 Instagram hacks you can use to make your Instagram Stories irresistible.
Customize your pen colors.
You’re not stuck with one color – you can tap the pen icon in the upper-right corner of the screen to change the color of text you want to add to an image. You’ll be shown a rainbow of colors. Drag your finger until you find your desired hue. This hack works for captions too.
Enhance the font with a drop-shadow effect
You can add a drop-shadow effect to your text, giving it a more professional look. This hack also makes the lettering stand out. I recommend using a neutral color – like white, gray or black – to add the shadow effect. Basically, you write your text twice using the same font and size (there’s a font sizing tool) and then you position one like of text over the other, offsetting it slightly.
By saving your images with text, you can layer them one over the other. Tap the “Save” arrow in the lower-left corner of the screen and tap “Your Story” icon to add the image to your Story. Next, select the image you just saved from your cameral roll to add to your Story. Layer a second caption over the first. Repeat as much as you desire.
Custom caption shapes
You’re not stuck with square captions. You can use the pen tool to draw different shapes, such as circles, ovals, hearts, kidneys, etc. and then place a caption over your new shape.
Having to press and hold when recording a video in Instagram Stories can be awkward. It also makes it almost impossible to switch between your front and rear-facing cameras while recording. Many people don’t know that you can swipe right to open the Instagram Stories camera, scroll through the Options menu at the bottom of the screen until you see the Hands-Free feature. Tap the record button at the bottom of the screen to start recording. To stop recording, either let the maximum video recording time run out or tap the circle again.
Solid Background Colors
A solid background is nice when you want to share a canvas with drawings and/or text instead of an image or video. Tap the pen icon in the upper right corner of the screen and choose your color. Then, tap and hold on the screen for 3 seconds until the screen if filled with a solid color.
Pro Tip: You can adjust the transparency of the background by choosing a different brush style. The Marker or Neon Brush will give you a solid fill whereas the chisel-tip brush will give you a translucent background.
Instagram users love stickers, which is why Instagram offers so many different sticker packs. However, many Instagrammers don’t know that there is a hidden fun feature called “selfie stickers”.
A selfie sticker lets you take a picture that becomes a sticker that you can edit and use for later!
Just tap the sticker button at the top of the screen and select the camera option. Next, take a selfie and place the pic anywhere you like on the screen. If you tap the sticker, it will create a circular boarder around it. Tap it again and the border will disappear.
Zoom Feature Hack
It’s easy to use the zoom feature with a single finger. Just swipe right from your home screen to open the Instagram Stories camera. From there, hold down the capture button with one finger to begin recording. Slide up or down with the same finger to zoom in and out.
Mention Other Instagrammers
This is one big advantage Instagram has over Snapchat. You can tag other accounts within your story, making it more likely they will see your Story. It’s also a great way to give a shout-out to supporters, donors, teachers, administrators, etc.
Tap the “Aa” button in the upper right corner to add text. Type the @ symbol immediately followed by the username of the account you’d like to mention. Select the account you want to mention from the pop-up menu.
Pro Tip: You can mention up to 10 accounts in each of your Instagram Stories. When you mention someone, they’ll get a notification letting them know they’ve been tagged, as well as a direct message that includes a preview of your story.
Save Instagram Stories Media in Advance
It can be really tough to stay on top of a regular Instagram Stories posting schedule. One of the best ways around Instagram’s 24 hour restriction is to upload, store and manage your visual content using a third party app.
You can use any third-party app that lets you store media, such as Dropbox, Evernote, iCloud, Google Drive, etc. Just upload your media to your storage app and, when you’re ready to post to Instagram Stories, just open the app, navigate to the media library and save the photo or video to your Camera Roll by typing the ellipsis button in the upper right-hand corner of your screen and selecting “Save to Camera Roll.” When you download from your media library Instagram will add the current date and time.
Monitor Instagram Stories Performance
You can keep track of how well your Instagram Stories are performing with this little-known feature. Open your Story and swipe the screen. Instagram will display the names and number of people who have viewed each photo or video in your Story.
Hide Other Instagram Stories Accounts
When you follow hundreds of Instagram accounts, it can be easy to get lost in the plethora of Stories coming your way. Luckily, there’s a hack to hide irrelevant Stories from your feed.
Tap the home button to go to your Instagram feed. Navigate up to your Instagram Stories and then firmly hold down your finger on their profile picture and select “Mute [username’s] Story from the menu.
Save Your Instagram Stories to Your Camera Roll
While the whole point of Instagram Stories is to post content that disappears in 24 hours, every once in a while you will want to save a special Story. To do this, open your Story and swipe up on the screen. Tap the arrow using a circular motion in the top right corner of the screen.
Pro Tip: You can also save individual posts from your Story as you upload them by tapping the downward arrow icon in the bottom left corner. If you’ve already shared it, go to the photo or video you’d like to save, tap the 3 dot icon in the bottom right and select Save Photo.
Instagram is continually rolling out new updates, adding to its appeal. I hope you find these creative Instagram Stories hacks fun and useful as you explore this new way to engage your audience.
What Instagram hack is your favorite? Please share with the rest of the school marketing community below in the comments.
Also published on Medium.