10 Instagram Stories Hacks You Wish You Knew Sooner

If you’re not using Instagram stories as part of your Instagram marketing approach, you’re missing out. In 2016, they launched the feature as a way to compete with Snapchat. Two years later, Instagram Stories has twice the daily active users than Snapchat. This is all fakes to the user-friendly interface and features that Instagram continues to add.

While many of the features are visible to the eye, others are hidden inside menus or gestures. Take a look at this list of ten Instagram Stories hacks to help you make the most of your Instagram stories with your audience.

1. Turn live photos into Boomerangs.

Let’s start our list with one of the lesser-known Instagram stories hacks. For this to work, your live photo needs to be taken within the last 24 hours.

Open Instagram stories, swipe up and select a live photo from your camera roll. Press firmly on the screen for a few seconds until you see the word Boomerang appear.

Now your photo is a boomerang.

2. Record in hands-free mode.

Rather than having to press and hold the record button, you can record short 15-second videos hands-free. Open the Stories camera and swipe right along the bottom until you get to the hands-free option.

Hit record and then allow the video time out to stop recording or hit record again to stop. This feature works with both the front and rear-facing cameras

3. Post Stories longer than 15 seconds.

If you post a lot of stories to your account, it’s likely you are annoyed by the fact that Instagram will not let you post one longer than 15 seconds.

Essentially, all you have to do is cut your video into smaller videos. The best thing is you don’t have to do it manually. There are a number of third-party apps available to handle it automatically. If you use Android, download Story Cutter for Instagram. If you’re an iPhone user, download CutStory.

4. Share posts to Stories.

Like your own or someone else’s post, you can include it in your story. You don’t have to screenshot it because Instagram provides an option to do once you share it in your story, the post is clickable meaning users can go directly to the post through your story.

If you want to do this, make sure the profile is public because you can only share posts from those profiles.

 Look at the post you want to share on your story. Tap the “Send to” icon. on that screen, you’ll see the option to add the post to your story. This option and then you’ll be taking to the story edit screen. From here, you can doodle on it, or add stickers and text.

 You also have the option to prevent others from adding your post to their stories.

5. Regram Stories.

 If someone mentions you in their story, you will receive a notification in your direct messages. If you want to, you can share the story on your profile. Once you receive the message that someone has mentioned you, tap on the “Add to your Story” option.

6. Add Your brand fonts.

Instagram Stories is full of great fonts choose from, but there’s nothing better than having the font you used in your branding as an option. If you want to add a little more of your brand to your stories, using your brand font is a nice touch.

Download the Over mobile app. Once you’ve downloaded it, send your font file to your mobile device.

Choose the program to open the font with. Select “Over.”

Now when you design a story in Over, you’ll be able to include your brand fonts.

7. Get more colors.

Though Instagram Stories is a wonderful place to show off your brand personality, it is still important to reflect your brand’s aesthetics, style, and tone. One of the easiest ways to do this is to integrate your brand’s color palette but if Instagram doesn’t offer your brand colors and its default options, it can be a little frustrating.

The good news is, there is a hidden Instagram stories hack that allows you to access nearly every color you could possibly need for your text.

Open your Instagram stories and select the brush tool. Now tap and long hold any of the default color options at the bottom. It opens up a color slider where you can choose any color you can imagine. You can use the color picker tool to select the exact brand color you need

8. Add a glow effect.

Want to make your emoji stand out? Use this hidden trick to give them a glow effect.

Open your stories, tap the screen next to the open textual and choose the neon font. Add your emoji and you’ll see a slight glow behind it.

9. Hide hashtags.

Hashtags are great but they can sometimes ruin the aesthetic of your Instagram story.

If you want to hide the hashtag stickers in your Instagram Stories, type out your hashtag and then pinch them to make them smaller.

place an image sticker or GIF over the hashtag text so it is hidden. Alternatively, select the color tool from the text option and choose a color that perfectly matches your story background. This trick is better used when you have a solid background.

Either way, your hashtag content magically blends into the background but still remains searchable.

10. Use Giphy to share GIFs directly to Stories.

Instagram’s collaboration with GIPHY has been a huge win for Instagram users and businesses, but there’s more than one way to add GIFs to your Stories. You can use the GIPHY app!

After you have downloaded and installed the GIPHY mobile app on your phone, open it. Press the Instagram icon located under any GIF and it will automatically open Instagram.

On the next screen, you’ll see two options. You can add the gif as a post to your feed or add the GIF to your story.

Why is this useful? In Instagram stories, you can only search for and post GIFs. With the GIPHY app, however, you can create albums of your favorite gift and then share them when the time is right. This way, it is easier to be intentional with the GIFs you share.

Which of these hacks will you be incorporating into your strategy first?

8 Tips to Master User-Generated Content on Instagram

Sources say millennials are 50% less likely to trust material from traditional sources compared to user-generated content. That means marketers have to work harder to build relationships with their target market.

Even though it doesn’t seem like that, the unwillingness of millennials to trust and engage with content that comes directly from a brand presents a huge opportunity for marketers. The only issue is time.

Most content marketing professionals worry about how to keep up with demands on their time but there is a solution – Instagram.

Instagram may not seem like the best platform for content creation, but there’s always more content to create and seemingly never enough resources to get it done. Even worse, the content we do create sometimes fails to produce any kind of result whatsoever.

Leveraging the distrust for brand content is the answer because it encourages them to create their own content that you can share for marketing purposes. it’s true that many people using the web today are disregarding marketing messages but they’re actively generating content, engaging with it, and sharing it with others.

The same source that tells us millennials are less likely to trust brands that your content also tells us that they spend as much as five hours every day consuming user-generated content is easy for marketers to benefit from. Instagram, is one of the best platforms to do it.

Use these eight tips to help you make the most of it.

1. Focus on your hashtag for submissions.

One of the quickest and easiest ways to get users to give you content is to encourage them to tag their photos with a specific, branded hashtag. That makes it easier for you to search through all of them and find the best ones.

Once you find a group of the posts you like the most, you can reach out to the users to get their permission to share them to your own account. You can do this repeatedly with different hashtags specific to the various campaigns you’re running, though it’s always wise to have a standard branded hashtag people can use all the time.

2. Provide mutual benefit.

If users don’t feel excited that you’re interested int heir posts, they aren’t likely to submit them to you. Because of this, you have to be able to offer an incentive. It doesn’t need to be financial or product-based compensation, though it can be.

All that matters is that you offer them something in return for their efforts. It could be as simple as following their account, giving them a shout-out from your account, or sending them a coupon.

As soon as users figure out it’s in their best interest to share their high-quality and creative posts with you, you’ll never run out of user-generated content to work with.

3. Collaborate with Influencers

If you’re just getting started as a brand, it can be difficult to get the user-generated content machine off the ground and running. Instead of waiting for it to start coming to you, get out there and work with a handful of micro-influencers who can start spreading the word. This way, you put the wheels in motion, spread brand awareness, and start building community.

You can reach out to Instagrammers with a comment or direct message asking them to post. Most users will be flattered by the invitation and help you willingly. Once you have a few of the user-generated content posts in your feed, other users will be more likely to submit their own.

4. Continue creating your own content.

Though user-generated content is simple, effective, and affordable, it’s not a good idea to rely solely on it for your Instagram performance. If you have plenty of it coming in, still take the time to occasionally post something that starts with you.

This not only creates more of a balance but keeps you in better control of the narrative, as you’ll be able to keep your audience up to speed about any upcoming events or anything else you deem newsworthy.

5. Make your product Instagrammable.

If you’ve already got a product that lends itself to Instagram, you’ll have no problem getting user-generated content to share with your audience. But, if your product or service isn’t naturally sexy, you must work to find a way for users to add value to it.

If you can’t do this on your own, there are marketing agencies out there that specialize specifically in Instagram that can help you determine the best way to make the products or services you offer more social media friendly.

However you decide to it, you must remember that user-generated content is about adding more voices to the conversation.

6. Foster engagement.

If you want people to post content you can use, they need to know your profile is interesting and be willing to become a follower. You do this by creating engagement. When someone takes the time to like, comment, or share your content, you’re producing something they find valuable. When you reply, they know you’re listening.

This creates a sense of belonging and is important to building a community for your brand. This encourages people to become part of the community, and as it grows in popularity, this will become easier to do.

Increase engagement through interaction with your followers, posting fresh, quality content, and stay abreast of trends to help you reach more people.

7. Leverage Instagram contests.

This is a wonderful approach if you’re just getting started and don’t have a lot of user-generated content to work ith. You can hold a contest to increase the number of posts you have to work with.

Just make sure you’re creating a contest that abides by Instagram’s contest terms and conditions so you don’t run into any negative PR issues later.

Those rules inform your participants on how to participate in the contest and how to claim their winnings.

Running a successful Instagram contest engages your audience and inspires people to create content for you in the future. It also helps you gain followers and build brand awareness.

8. Keep low barriers to entry.

For user-generated content to work out well for you, you can’t just share anything that has your hashtag on it. Be selective about what you choose to share. If you don’t see the post speaking to your audience and getting high engagement, leave it alone.

With that in mind, remember that anyone could potentially be featured. Companies that are making user-generated content work for them are those actively encouraging anyone and everyone to submit photos. Limiting it to just influencers or photographers defeats its purpose.

Becoming a master of user-generated content will not happen overnight. Start by building an engaged following of people who are part of your target audience. Once you see your reach starting to increase, that’s when you should start reaching out for user-generated content to use.

7 Tips for Creating Engaging Instagram Captions

Engagement is crucial to social media success, regardless of the platform. These sites exist as a way for people to connect. Whether you’re a business, brand or influencer, one of your end goals in social media use is probably to engage with potential customers and fans.

When it comes to Instagram, engagement is even more crucial because Instagram’s algorithm is partially based on users’ rate of engagement. Higher rates influence order in users’ content feeds.

If you want more people to see your photos and videos, you’ll want to try to get more users involved with your content. One great way to do that is through your captions.

There are lots of things you can do to make your captions stand out and to invite people to interact with you. Continue reading for seven tips on creating engaging Instagram captions.

1. Know your target demographic.

Instagram is the second most popular social media platform, behind Facebook. There are millions of users. It’s not possible to appeal to them all.

Your goal is to target those who are likely to be the most interested in what you have to offer. You want to connect with people who will find value in your product or service.

It’s important to know who your intended audience in order to find the folks who are most likely to engage with you. Knowing your audience also helps to guide your social media strategy. You can’t write captions that invite engagement without having an understanding of your target audience.

Consider building an audience persona, or archetype, of who your ideal customer is. Knowing things like age, sex, geographic location, hobbies, work, and leisure interests will help you to better formulate a marketing strategy.

You’ll be able to write captions that better speak to your audience when you know who they are.

2. Develop your brand voice.

Your brand voice is made up of several things. It’s the values you hold, your vision and the ways people feel when they think of you.

You want to convey these things in every caption that you write. This helps to make your brand identifiable and relatable.

So, if you haven’t already, take some time to think about what you want your business to represent. Write down adjectives that embody your brand. Strive to set a mood or a tone that is reflective of your brand, as well.

3. Choose caption length wisely.

In today’s fast-paced world, people are used to scrolling quickly to find the information they need. That’s why brevity is often best. Keeping your Instagram captions short and to the point.

In fact, if you want your entire caption to be seen, keep it below 125 characters and three lines of text. Anything more, and your audience will need to click “more” to read the entire caption.

However, there is a time and a place for longer captions. If your image has a story behind it, feel free to tell that story. People love a good narrative. Long-form captions can add great value and give readers a sense of who you are as a brand.

4. Use your hashtags wisely.

Hashtags are critical to the Instagram experience. They help users find content that is relevant to their interests and provide a roadmap for people to connect. However, they should be used wisely and strategically.

Otherwise, they’ll crowd your caption and cause a distraction from the content. You can add extra returns if you prefer to move your hashtags behind the “more” page break. It’s also possible to skip hashtags in your captions. Instead, add them to the comments section.

5. Have a call to action.

A call to action, or CTA, is a sentence or question at the end of your caption that encourages your audience to take some sort of action. You can ask them a question and invite people to respond to your comments. It’s also possible to request that users share your content or that they weigh in on a poll.

You’d be surprised how willing people are to comply with these requests. CTAs are an effective way to increase your social media engagement. Be sure to close your captions with one if you want to see more audience interaction.

6. Shout out to your followers.

People appreciate being recognized. You can do this by giving a shout out to your followers or other individual users with whom you’d like to engage. It’s easy to do.

You simply add an individual’s username to your caption, and they’ll receive notification of the mention. This is a fun and easy way to get someone’s attention and invite them to engage with you, but it has to be done with genuinely positive intent. You don’t want to overdo it and have people think you’re spamming them for attention.

You can give a shout out to a user’s whose content you genuinely like and feel would be appreciated by your followers.

Feel free to add someone’s username to your caption if you want to recognize them as a valued customer or to thank them for including your product in their post. Get creative. Shout outs increase engagement while building relationships.

7. Use emojis.

That’s right. Emojis add a bit of fun, whimsy, and personality to your posts. Don’t be afraid to stick them in when you want to convey a feeling or mood to your audience.

You may worry that these animated icons aren’t professional. In most cases, they are completely acceptable. Instagram posts tend to be casual, not formal and stuffy. So, unless your brand voice is particularly sophisticated, feel free to drop some emojis into your captions for added effect.

An emoji can be a shortcut for entire words, saving you valuable space when you’re trying to be concise. They can also add emphasis to a message or simply set the tone you’re striving for in a way that words can’t. So give them a try next time you want to add some pizzazz to your captions.

These are a handful of ways you can use your Instagram captions to improve engagement. Keep them in mind as you hone your voice and target your social media marketing strategy.

7 Keys to Building a Memorable Brand on Instagram

Instagram is the second most popular social media platform, only behind Facebook. With so many people sharing and viewing content, it makes sense to get in on this game when it comes to marketing your business. However, it’s not enough just to have a presence on Instagram.

You need to cultivate a following that is engaged with your business. This requires making yourself known and building relationships with users. You may be stumped as to how to do that.

No worries. Just keep reading for seven keys to building a memorable brand on Instagram. Soon, you’ll notice increased traffic to your website, more email subscribers and higher conversion rates in sales. Take a look.

1. Create a strategy.

You can’t build brand awareness without a plan. You need a strategy to follow if you want to get the most out of your marketing efforts.

Have some goals in mind of what you want your account to be or to do. What is it you want for your brand? Do you want more traffic in general?

Is product recognition important to you? Are you an influencer who wants to be known as an expert within your niche? Write down your goals and use them to guide your strategy with regard to building a memorable brand.

2. Foster community.

Building a community is the key to creating brand awareness. People have to be invested in what you have to offer and to feel a connection if you want them to invest in you. That means quality engagement is needed on your end.

As a brand, you need to put your image and reputation out there in ways that people relate to. There are lots of ways to do this. Post at times when your followers will see your content. This may take some trial and error, but it’s worth the effort.

Another way to easily gain engagement and build community is to ask for what you want. Ask users to give you a like if they agree with your post. Ask them to tag a friend who might relate.

Ask for a regram. Ask to check out your website. Ask questions or post polls. These actions all invite people to interact with your brand. As a result, they will likely remember you over brands who never make the ask.

3. Build your list.

You should be using Instagram to build your list, but many marketers are ignoring this step. Email marketing is crucial to a successful business, and it can work quite well in conjunction with your social media efforts.

You can use the link in your bio to send users to a page on your site where they can sign up for your email list and receive a valuable freebie.

An ebook, printable or white paper are all examples of common freebies used to entice people to subscribe to the list. The key here is that it should be something of value to your audience. Otherwise, they won’t opt-in.

4. Have a consistent style.

Part of brand recognition is being able to identify your brand on sight. In order to do that you need to stick with a consistent style and theme for your Instagram posts.

They should coordinate with and complement your existing brand identity. Colors, fonts and photo filters matter. You want to set the same mood across the board so that people instantly know they’re seeing your brand’s post. If you need some inspiration for creating a brand look, take some time to contemplate on your brand’s message.

What message do you want people to take away from your business? How do you want them to feel? Write down several adjectives that fit your brand and use them to determine the elements that will go into your brand’s style.

5. Use smart hashtags.

It doesn’t matter how much effort you put into your brand’s image or your content if no one can see your work. Hashtags are a critical element when it comes to being seen on Instagram.

They serve as a road map of sorts to help people find you. A hashtag that is specific to your niche and not too broad will draw the people you want as your target audience. Using only popular hashtags is always a bad idea because you will get lost in a saturated feed.

Check out what your competition is using. Research their followers’ feeds to see what’s trending among them. Play with hashtags to see which seem to draw the most engagement. These are the ones that will help build your brand awareness.

6. Work with influencers.

Do you want to expand your reach? Then you need to be collaborating with Instagram influencers. These users have built a following already within their niche.

They’re doing what you hope to do with your own brand. Working with them will allow you to piggyback on their existing audience to expand your reach.

You’ll have a good chance of gaining new and relevant followers when you have an endorsement from a trusted influencer. There are lots of creative ways to collaborate with these individuals. Typically, this isn’t free, but it is well worth the investment when it comes to results gained.

7. Create compelling content.

This one might seem like a no-brainer. However, sometimes it’s the most obvious things that are so easily overlooked. If you want people to remember your brand, you have to give them something memorable to associate you with.

That means your content must be compelling and interesting. It has to make them feel something, make them think or make them laugh. Your images must be beautiful and professionally done.

The text you use must also be engaging. You can tell stories in your captions that elicit an emotional response. Even asking smart, thoughtful questions is a good way to drive engagement and to stand out in the memories of your followers.

Funny content, when done well, is almost always worthwhile. Don’t forget to add your logo or watermark to your images. That helps to prevent others from stealing your content. It also associates your name with your content.

These seven keys to building a memorable brand on Instagram should help you to sufficiently make a good start on engaging your followers. Brand recognition won’t happen overnight.

After consistent use, however, these strategies will help you to grow your business and your brand in ways that weren’t possible before.

6 Mistakes You Need to Stop Making on Instagram

There are lots of tricks to the trade when it comes to succeeding on Instagram as a marketer. You definitely have to understand best practices in order to gain the most return on your investment in the platform. What may also be just as important is what not to do.

Making mistakes can cost your business in lost followers, decreased engagement and missed sales.

Keep reading if you want to learn about some of the top mistakes you need to stop making on Instagram so that you can start seeing better results.

1. Not using hashtags or using them wrong.

Hashtags are critical for successful Instagram use. They help people connect with your business if they’re looking for tags that are relevant to your brand. The keyword here is “relevant.”

Not all hashtags are created equal. It may be tempting to go online and look for the most popular #hashtags, but that would be a mistake. Those words are oversaturated, and you’ll just blend into the crowd. Instead, try to use tags that are particularly relevant or specific to your niche.

You can do this by researching your competitors and their followers. See what they’re using and which hashtags receive a lot of engagement. Give those a try. Strategic hashtag use is one of the best ways to gain new and relevant followers.

2. Failing to engage with users.

Social media is meant to be, well, social. If you’re not engaging with your followers, you’re seriously dropping the ball. It’s easy to get busy and allow your account to sit unattended.

However, doing so could cost you in missed opportunities. People don’t want to be ignored. They’ll be much more appreciative if you take time to consistently and quickly reply to their direct messages and like their comments.

Plus, Instagram rewards such engagement, ensuring you’ll be seen higher in people’s feeds. That’s how their algorithm works. More users will see your content as you increase your engagement. It’s a win-win.

3. Sharing low-quality images.

Instagram is all about visuals. The point of the platform is to share images, graphics, and videos for people to look at. People don’t want to see low-quality, blurry, fuzzy or out of focus photos.

They’re not interested in shaky videos. You don’t have to be a multimedia pro in order to use Instagram, but you do need to do a top-notch job of creating quality content. There are lots of tutorials that show you how to take good photos.

You’ll learn about focus, composition, lighting, framing and more. If you can afford to, use your marketing budget to hire someone to help. Your Instagram success is sure to improve, so it’s well worth the investment.

4. Failing to capture leads.

Lead generation is the key to solid marketing. You don’t want to forget about it when using social media. After all, using sites like Instagram comes with some risk. It’s always possible you could get banned from the site for some reason.

In addition, algorithms change frequently; you could find yourself not being seen in people’s feeds. Instagram could go away in favor of some new platform one day. When you rely on an outside source, you’re always taking a risk.

Therefore, it’s important to try to get followers to sign up for your email list so that you can continue the conversation no matter what happens on Instagram. You can do this by adding a link to your bio offering a free gift like an ebook or printout in exchange for subscribing to your list.

When you have subscribers, you control the communication. You can keep them updated on sales and new products. Send them free content and blog posts that keep them in the know, as well as keep your business at the forefront of their minds. Email marketing builds relationships.

5. Neglecting to optimize your bio.

Your Instagram bio is the first place people go to learn about your business and what you have to offer. It’s imperative that yours is optimized to achieve whatever goal you have in mind.

That goal may be increasing product sales, adding email subscribers, increasing your reach or attracting more blog visitors. Whatever the case may be, you need to write your bio in a way that reflects that purpose. Your bio is a place to share the most important things about your business.

Be sure to add a line that highlights your intended goal. Include keywords naturally and write concisely. You want people to clearly understand what you’re all about. Also, don’t forget to let people know why they should trust you. Facts, figures, and appearances in trusted outlets will help.

Finally, give them a call to action pointing to what you’d like them to do. It may be to click on the link to sign up to your email list and receive a free gift. Maybe you want them to check out your online store or to grab a discount code on their first order.

Take time to ask for what you want in your bio, and you just may be surprised to see how many users follow through.

6. Not working with influencers.

An influencer is an Instagram user who has a significant and engaged following within their niche.

Working with these individuals can be a real boon to your business. This does usually cost money, though sometimes the product is provided in exchange for a shoutout.

When you work with influencers, you can add their content to your feed. In addition, their followers will learn about you from someone they trust. This can result in increased leads, sales, and followers.

A positive endorsement from a trusted influencer can provide your business with social proof, leading others to trust you enough to give your product a try. Influencer marketing has so many advantages. You’re really missing out if you’re not utilizing it.

Keep these tips in mind with regard to what to avoid doing on Instagram. These mistakes can cost you a great deal. Take time to correct any of these errors so that you can start using Instagram to its full potential.

You’ll soon start to see increased engagement, followers and conversions by implementing strategic social media marketing techniques.