8 Hacks To Make Your Instagram Stories Stand Out

Thomas Mangan

August 2, 2020

Thomas Mangan

August 2, 2020

Instagram stories are a great way to capture people's attention and get them to engage with your brand. 

They bring together all the great elements of storytelling that get people hooked. They are only around for a short while, so users tap to avoid that FOMO; It’s bite sized content that has a much more personal feel than the main feed and they are always fresh new content that is the first thing you see when you open the app. 

Since they were released in mid 2016 Instagram stories have exploded in popularity with over 500 million daily users. If you are not already using stories for your business account then where have you been!

We’ve compiled a quick list of our favourite Instagram hacks that will get you using secret features, cool design tips and fun content ideas. 

Let’s get to it!


1. Hide your Hashtags or location stickers

We all know that using hashtags and location stickers can help your content go further and be discovered by more people. This also applies to Insta stories and can be a great way to target new and different niches as well as build a wider audience. You can use up to 10 hashtags on a story.

The only problem is that all those #s can ruin your aesthetic. Lucky our first hack has a cheeky way of getting round that. 

All you have to do is make the text small and cover it with a sticker. You can also achieve the same effect by using the colour picker to change the text colour to the same as the background - this only works on plain backgrounds however. 

2. Make your text more colourful

This neat little trick is great for adding a bit more colour to the text on your stories. It does take a little practice to get it right, but it is well worth it to dazzle your audience. 

Instagram gives you the option of 27 different text colours to choose from as a default. You can access more colours by long pressing on the colour options and a colour spectrum will appear allowing you to choose any hue you desire. 

But wait, that’s not the hack. 

You can create a colourful rainbow pattern by selecting all of the text and dragging your finger across the spectrum as you deselect the text with your other finger. You can see it in action below. 


3. Give your users a sneak peak 

Lots of brands use Instagram stories to give a quick look at their newest release. The short and sweet lifetimes of the feature make it perfect for generating hype. Even better, your audience gets a feeling of being in the loop because it’s not on the permanent feed. 

Use this to your advantage by pre-releasing your products on your stories hidden behind a colourful background. 

To do this select the pen tool and long press on the background to fill the screen, then by using the eraser tool you can hint at what's hiding beneath. 


4. Pin your text and stickers

Video is a great way to engage users. On the explore tab your stories will autoplay, this is really attention grabbing for people scrolling past. 

You can spice up your videos and keep your audience interested by pinning text, gifs or stickers to appear at a certain point. This can show reactions, give context or tell a story. 

It’s really simple to do, simply add the text or sticker like normal and then hold your finger down on the element. Adjust the slider and position until you are happy with when it appears and tap “Pin”. 

5. Use stories to post UGC

User generated content is gold for any brand that is looking to showcase it’s happy customers. Simply put, people love hearing genuine reviews and seeing what their peers enjoy using. According to Hubspot, people are 71% more likely to buy something based on a social media referral. 

Instagram stories are a great place to showcase your customers' posts about how great your products are. Sharing a post is easy, all you need to do is tap on the little paper aeroplane icon below the post and tap “add post to story”. Don’t forget to add a little bit of editing to make the posts consistent with your brand and help the content pop. 

Just a quick note, make sure to check with the original poster before putting other people's content up to avoid people getting upset or legal issues. 

Aussie Hair do a great job of this by regularly reposting their happy customers' pics to their story. 


6. Use templates to make designing your stories easier

It can be hard to constantly come up with great ideas for stories. Especially if you want to do text or graphic heavy designs. Luckily there are some great tools out there to help you. 

One fantastic free tool is Canva. This Aussie start-up provides an incredible amount of templates. You can use it on a desktop or mobile app, making it accessible on the go.

Search for Instagram stories in their library to pull up ready-to-post templates that can be easily adapted to whatever you need. 


7. Use questions to drive engagement

There are loads of really interesting features on Instagram that are designed to encourage engagement. The comments and replies to stories are private messages. This can create a much more intimate and direct line of communication between your brand and the customer. 

A really fun way of using this is to post polls, or ask questions, using the dedicated question sticker. This can get feedback on a feature, a direction for future content or it could be used to show your authority on a subject. 

This is how the team behind the Bondi based glasses brand, Bailey Nelson use their stories. They encourage their audience to write in and ask their optometrist team any questions they might have. They then feature the answers with engaging videos. This shows the humans behind the brand as well as making them a place where their target demographic (glasses users) can find information. 


8. Use Story Highlights to make your profile stand out

We are bombarded with visuals on instagram. So, when someone makes it to your profile you want to make sure that you make a great first impression. Along with the obvious profile picture, name and bio there is another great way to catch people's attention. 

You can add your Instagram stories to your highlights. This creates an album just below your bio. This way you can organise your reviews, Q&As or any other evergreen content that you don’t want to be missed. 

To add to the highlights simply click the highlight heart icon at the bottom right of your story. Once this is done you can edit the highlight album image by long pressing on the album and clicking edit highlight. There are heaps of fun ways you can edit the album artwork. Check out what Vogue has done with theirs. 


The takeaway 

Instagram is one of the most visual and creative social media platforms out there. It really rewards fresh and innovative expression. The best way is to get stuck in and play around. As you use the app you’ll find inspiration and discover what works for you. 

Use these hacks to stand out from the crowd and experiment with new ways of telling your brand’s story online. Remember that the stories only last as long as you want them too, so don’t worry about messing up or not having the same professional quality as your feed, that’s all part of the fun.

Have you got any great Instagram hacks that you use? Let us know below! If you need help launching your brand online, or even just some pointers of how to get the most out of the social media world get in touch and see how we can help.


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