Our Guide to Instagram Stories.

Photo by  Clem Onojeghuo  on  Unsplash

Who doesn’t love a good story?

Whether you’re hearing, watching or telling a story, there's no denying that stories are woven through the very fabric of our lives. Some stories are based in fact, and some are simply for entertainment. Some are passed on from generation to generation while others are new age and current. But no matter where you live in the world, no matter how old you are or what stage of life you’re in, a good story can pull you in and connect you with the author, the creator or the storyteller. Because stories share pieces of what we’re all made of. They create connection, trust and understanding.

And just in case you were curious, Instagram Stories are no different! The intention behind Instagram Stories is to share the pieces of your daily story as an individual or as a business. These daily tidbits, teasers and pieces of connection can help you build your following through commonalities, authenticity and relatability.

Because Instagram stories only last for 24hrs after you post them, they’re a great way to share quick, off-the-cuff moments that you don’t want to live forever on your profile (if you do want them to last longer though, you can turn a story into a highlight! Read more about that here). Stories also give your audience insight into your unique personality that may not always be reflected in your regular posts.

As of April 2017, Instagram stories boasts over 250 million daily active users, including businesses. In the same article, it’s noted that 1 in 5 organic stories from business get a direct message to learn more or connect. That’s pretty wild!

If you want to learn more about Instagram Stories, including how to create a story, customize it, delete it or save it, we've got you covered!

1. When I share something to my story, where does it appear?

When you post a photo or video to your story, it appears in the following places:

  • On your profile: A colorful ring will appear around your profile picture, and other users can tap it to see your story. Photos and videos from your story don't appear on your profile grid.

  • At the top of the home feed: Your profile picture will appear in a row at the top of your followers' feeds, and they can tap it to see your story.

  • In the home feed next to posts you share: When you share a post, a colorful ring will appear around your profile picture in the home feed. Other users can tap it to see your story.

Stories shared by public accounts may appear in Search & Explore. If you've added a hashtag, location or location-based sticker to your story, it may also appear on hashtag or location pages.


2. How Do I Create An Instagram Story?

If you’re new to the Instagram Story world, your first step is to understand how to create a story. Below I share the different ways to post to your story including in-the-moment photos/video or using a photo/video from your library.

2.1 Launch your story:

From your Instagram profile:

  • Tap on your profile photo in the top left corner to add to your story

  • Once you have a story posted, you'll see a "+" icon slightly overlap on your profile photo, which indicates you can add to your story


From your Instagram home feed:

  • Tap the camera in the top left corner of your screen, or

  • Tap on your profile photo just below the camera icon, or

  • Swipe right anywhere on the home screen and be brought to your camera directly



2.2 Take a photo/video or chose one from your library:

Once your camera is launched, you can choose to take an in-the-moment photo/video or use a photo/video from your camera library. The option you choose here will dictate the number of customizable options you have to personalize your story. Typically, photos or video that are taken in the moment can be more widely customized. Below I highlight your options when it comes to taking a new photo/video or pulling one from your camera library.


If you're taking a new photo or video to add to your story, you have tons of options to customize. Below I list all of the options that are available in the camera screen: you should see each option displayed at the bottom of your camera screen, starting at "Normal" and choosing other options by swiping left or right.

Type is a great option when text is the focal point of what you want to share because there is no photo or video required to share your thoughts. There are a few solid background colour options to choose from, or you can tap on the camera icon to take a photo with a coloured filter. Swipe right on the bottom of the screen to choose Type.

Live video is an awesome way to connect with your followers in real time. The live video will disappear once you’re done filming, but you’ll have the option to download the video and can then add it to your story or personal feed.

Normal gives you the option to take a regular photo or video, no fancy filters or additives. To do this, tap the grey circle in the bottom middle to take a photo, or tap and hold the grey circle to take a video.

Rewind allows you to play a video in reverse - what a twist! Tap and hold the grey circle to take a video, or tap once to record hands-free


Boomerang is a cool option to jazz up a fun moment. Tap Boomerang at the bottom of the screen, then tap the circle to take a burst of photos that loops forward and backward.

Superzoom video automatically zooms in on an object and plays a dramatic sound (it’s one of Natalie’s favourites). Tap anywhere on the screen to select an area or object to zoom in on, then tap the circle to start recording.

Hands-free is sweet for recording video without having to tap and hold to record. All you do is tap once and it takes care of continuing to record.

Stop-motion is a way to create video from a series of photos. Tap the circle in the middle to take as many photos as you want to add to the video. Tap Done when you’re finished to check out your video.


The option to post to your story from your camera library is awesome for those instances where your reception might not be ideal, or you want to enjoy a moment and think about posting later. To post to your story from your camera reel swipe up anywhere on the photo screen to pull up your photo library. Tap on the photo/video you'd like to add. If the photo or video you choose doesn't fit on the screen at first, pinch to change its size.


3. How Do I Customize My Instagram Story?

Once you’re happy with the type of photo/video you want to share, it’s time to get crafty with some customization. In conjuction with the different photo/video options in section 1, there are almost endless different combinations to customize your Instagram Story, so the following options are certainly not exhaustive:

3.1 Add text

Adding text to your Instagram Story can help give context or extra information to your audience. Alternatively, you can also use the text option to add hashtags or mentions to your photo/video.

  • To add text to your photo or video, tap on the "Aa" in the top right corner of your screen

  • Here you can add your text, and change its colour, size, alignment and font type using the options at the top of the screen

  • Once you’ve added your text, you can move it anywhere on your screen by tapping and dragging with your finger

  • You can also adjust the size or angle of the text using two fingers to pull the text open, pinch it shut or angle it (typically the thumb and index finger!)

  • There is no limit to the amount of text you can add to a single post, but be mindful that your post isn't too busy!

  • To add a hashtag or mention, take the same steps as adding text, but simply add # before your hashtag and @ before tagging a person or business.


3.2 Use stickers

Stickers can be used for so many different things including hashtags, mentions, location tagging, polls, etc.

  • To add a sticker, tap the sticker icon at the top of your screen (the ittle square happy face) and choose the one you’d like to add from the options

  • You can add as many different stickers to a photo/video as you’d like

3.3 Draw

  • If you’re in the mood to draw on your photo and add a ~personal touch~, tap on the marker icon in-between the sticker and text icons at the top of your screen

  • Here you have a bunch of different drawing options from a pen, to highlighter, to some neon stuff and more! Dabble, test and figure out which you like best!

  • If you draw something you don’t like, no sweat, just tap “undo” and we’ll pretend it didn’t even happen

3.4 Add filter

  • To add a filter to your photo, swipe right until you find the filter that works for you! There are quite a few options here, so just keep swipping.


Here is an example of an Instagram Story I made for this blog post. I swiped up to see my picture library and chose a photo I had taken over the Easter weekend when I was visiting my family in PEI. I used the Neon text font on the bottom of the photo with some purple colouring behind it that I added with the draw feature. I also used the draw feature to make an arrow that pointed to Dory, my #1 niece. I used a sticker to tag the location as PEI, which could potentially show up in any geo searches that other users make for Prince Edward Island. I used the text option, instead of a mention sticker, to tag Marcel and finally capped it all off with a little filter action.

Personally, I think the photo is a bit busy for my liking, but I wanted to showcase multiple options for making your Instagram Story more personal.



4. How Do I Delete a Photo or Video From My Instagram Story?

If you realize there’s a video or photo on your story that you don’t want there anymore, or you added it to your story before you were ready to reveal it, fear not!

  • Simply tap on your profile photo on either your Instagram profile or home feed

  • Tap on the three little dots in the bottom right hand corner

  • From the menu that pops up, choose “Delete”



5. How Do I Save a Photo or Video From My Instagram Story?

If you’ve shared a photo or video to your story that you love and want to save it to your phone, follow the first two steps above for deleting a photo/video.

  • Once you tap on the three little dots in the bottom right hand corner, choose “Save…” instead of “Delete”

  • Then choose to save the video or photo


If you're just getting started with Instagram for business, check out our FREE GUIDE: 10 Days of Social Media Posts.