the ultimate beginner's guide to instagram stories.

The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Instagram Stories

Content Creation, Instagram

The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Instagram Stories

This post is dedicated to those of you who are either new to using Instagram stories or still feel a little weird about showing up in your stories. I’m going to give you a tutorial on how stories work, the best way to use them to grow your biz, and fun features to include that will make your stories more engaging for your audience. In other words, here is the ultimate beginner’s guide to Instagram stories.



A Complete Instagram Stories Tutorial

To create a story, click on the plus sign in the upper right corner of your Instagram home page. There, you will have the option to create several different types of content. Click on “stories.”

From there, you have the option to either add a previous photo or video from your gallery or you can record a new one. If you want to record, just hold down the white button and it will run for a full minute. If you want it shorter than that, just let go of the button and it will end the video. For anything longer than a minute, you will need to press the button again to continue your video. 


the ultimate beginner's guide to instagram stories.


Instagram Stories Drop-Down Menu Options

Dual: This is where you will record a video with the camera on you and a small rectangle will appear in the corner that is recording from the other side of your camera. You’d want to use this when you want to talk to your audience and show them something you are looking at at the same time. 

Hands-Free: This feature allows you to record a video without needing to hold down the white button for the entire recording. You’ll want to use this one if you want to use your hands in the video or just don’t want to hold the button down the whole time!

Layout: This is where you can do more than one video or picture at a time. You will see a grid icon with this feature, so you can choose which type of layout you want to use for your story. 

Boomerang: Boomerangs are super popular in stories right now. You use a boomerang mostly when you are doing some type of small motion and want it repeated. Example: doing cheers with a group of friends and you’re recording all of you clinking your glasses together. 

Create: This feature gives you a collection of pre-made templates you can use in your stories. You can scroll through these options and see which one you would want to use for your story!


Instagram Stories Effects

At the bottom of your screen, you’ll see circles you can swipe through that are different effects you can add to your video. The effects include different filters like a green screen, holiday-themed icons, etc. 

If you scroll to the very end of the effects, you’ll see a search icon. This is where you can search for a specific effect that you want to use in your story. From here, you can also view what effects are trending, aesthetics, and special effects. 

Using these effects in your stories is a fun and simple way to add some of your personality! When your stories look a little more jazzed up than what people are used to seeing, they are more likely to stay and watch! 


a step by step tutorial on instagram stories.


Instagram Stories & Reels Test Walk-Through

Let’s say you want to create a reel. Hit the plus button, and this time instead of clicking stories, you’ll click reels. You start the same way you would with stories by recording your video. Once your video is recorded, you should see different icons at the top of your screen. 

Volume/Mute: The first icon is a volume button, so you can click that and mute your video. This will make it so you don’t have to hear your audio over and over as you’re editing it. You’ll also want to use this feature when you want to post a reel without the original recording and want to play a song or other type of audio with it instead. 

Branded Content: The next icon is one you will click on if you are creating a reel or story for a brand you are partnering with. This feature allows you to easily add in the brand and other things to quickly create your ad. 

“Aa”: This icon is where you add text to your video. You can scroll through the text and pick which one you like the best. This is also where you find the option to add your location and mention an account. You can also play around with the color to pick which one you want your text and/or text box to be. (Hold down on the colors and it will give you more options!) 

Sticker/Smiley Face Square: You can do A LOT in this icon! Once you click on this icon, you’ll see an entire menu of options for you to add to your reel. The first few listed should be location, mention, captions, “add yours,” question box, music, etc. 

Take a minute and browse through this feature. There are GIFs and tons of other animations that you can add to your video to make it more exciting for your audience. 

I recommend using engagement stickers as often as you can in your stories. (E.g. polls, question box, etc.) This is how you get people to interact with you and form a relationship with you. And the stickers are a great tool for you to see how many people are watching your stories and engaging with you. 


how to use the features on instagram stories the right way.


Biz Pro Tip

It’s always a good idea to add captions to your videos. Your audience may not have the volume playing while watching your reel, so they rely on captions. (Remember, you can find these within the stickers icon.) Captions give them the option to watch your video and still know what you’re talking about. Without the captions, they’ll scroll right past. I like to include captions and a text box with a quick sentence about what’s in the video which will make people want to stick around. 


Publishing Your Instagram Reel and/or Story

Once you’ve uploaded your video to your stories, you have a couple of options. You can add it to a highlight or turn it into a reel. If you want to turn your story into a reel, click the create button at the bottom of your story and it will give you the option to do so. 

Highlights are the bubble icons you see at the top of people’s Instagram accounts where it’s a collection of stories on a specific topic. For example, let’s say you have a whole series of stories about skin care. You could create a highlight titled “Skin Care” and save all of your stories there. This is handy because your stories can live there forever rather than lasting only for 24 hours like they normally do. 


everything you need to know about using instagram stories.


The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Instagram Stories

Stories are one of the most powerful tools on Instagram. It’s a way for you to get in front of your audience every single day in an authentic way. Showing up on your stories will speed up the process for your audience to connect with you and trust you. Now that you have the ultimate beginner’s guide to Instagram stories, you have nothing holding you back! Can’t wait to catch you in your stories!

If there are things you’re still a little bit confused about, make sure to watch my YouTube video at the top of this post! Sometimes seeing it while I talk about it helps answer the rest of your questions! And make sure you’re following me on Instagram @iammichellegifford so you can keep getting the best tips for promoting your biz on social media and beyond! 


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