Digital Tidbits 002: Instagram Story Tricks

There are a few cool tricks I’ve came across for Instagram stories. They’re an excellent way to engage with more of your audience and expand your reach further. Also — they’re more non-committal than a feed post, so you can experiment much more with content, time of day, and so on. You even have fun features like polls that encourage interaction and the ability to add swipe-up links for business accounts with over 10k followers.

Refer to my other post regarding optimal Instagram image sizes. Remember: for stories they should be 1920 pixels high and 1080 pixels wide, which represents a 9:16 ratio.

Stacking Hashtags and Locations

Hashtags and locations are important. They give you exposure to people who don’t follow you, since stories also show up on the Explore page. I’ve had lots of new views from simply adding the right hashtags to a story. However, they can disrupt the aesthetic, and seem a bit spammy when there are too much. What do you do? You have two options. First, you can stack them.

Add some hashtags and add a location (these elements are in layers with earlier instances behind newer instances). Finish up with the caption you were going to type anyway, and make sure you enable the background color fill. Then place it over — and you’re all set.

Hiding Hashtags and Locations

Another way to hide hashtags and locations that I particularly have been using a lot lately is by just hiding them off to the side. This is great when you just want to showcase a full image unspoiled by hashtags, locations, and text, yet you still want the benefits associated with including them.

Use two fingers to make the hashtag or location sticker super small, then just swipe it to the right. On the second image, the hashtag is still there, but it’s so far off to the right that it’s invisible.

Filling the Screen with Color

Before I figured this out, I used to just scribble all over the screen to create a certain color. Or, I’d download an image of that color from Google Images. Maybe I was the last person to realize this, but you can actually fill your screen with a layer of whatever color you want.

Open up (or take) any image, and select the pen tool in the top right corner. Pick any color.
Press and hold your finger anywhere on the screen for a few seconds, and there you go! Full screen color. Bonus: you can also use the eraser to create cool compositions by taking advantage of negative space.

Know any other tricks? Reach out to me or comment below. Would love to hear them!


I’m a digital strategist and occasional photographer living in New York City. Follow me at @andreikorchagin on Instagram, or visit me at andreikorchagin.com.