Step-by-Step Tips to Creating Impactful Social Media Stories

Do you even know all the features?

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

The world is more mobile-oriented than ever before, but with so many people and businesses using social media to sell their products or lifestyle content, it can be difficult to know how to stand out.

Instagram introduced a Snapchat-inspired Stories feature in 2016, with Facebook adopting a similar feature in March 2017 (a move that led many commentators to observe Facebook’s habit of stealing ideas it likes from its competitors). Over the last few years, the storytelling features of these platforms have flourished and there are now over a billion stories published every day.

Unlike Instagram or Facebook posts, stories are only displayed on a person’s feed for 24 hours (unless a person manually adds them to their highlights on their profile), which reduces the pressure for a post to be ‘picture perfect’.

But just because they aren’t permanent, doesn’t mean that your stories shouldn’t be carefully thought out posts. So, how do you create an impactful Facebook or Instagram story?

Important Info

You can create stories that are plain text (using type mode), photo or video snippets, and you can inject your own personality to your posts by using filters, stickers, text, and GIFs.

Sometimes if your photo isn’t the best quality it can be redeemed by using one of the built-in filters. Just swipe left or right to select from the different filter options after you’ve imported your photo or video.

There are many great photo editing apps out there, such as Adobe Lightroom. If you want more freedom, why not edit your content elsewhere first and then import it into your story?

Simply the Text

Any text you add to a story should be short and sweet, preferably with a clear call to action. This way your customer or subscriber knows what you want them to do next, e.g. read your latest blog post, vote in your poll, or buy your product.

To add text, tap the ‘Aa’ (text) tool and start typing. Choose which font you want, and decide whether to align it left, right or centre. To move the text, tap and hold it, and move it to where you would like it to be on the screen. You can also pinch and twist to tilt and resize.

Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

Swatch what you’re doing

People love colour coordination, and you can play up to this by using the built-in custom colour swatches. To do this, click the eyedropper tool on the left-hand side that appears when you add text and drag it to the colour in your photo you want to match. It will automatically change the font to match the colour of this part of your image once you release your finger.

You can also click and hold a colour dot to reveal a colour spectrum. Slide your finger around the spectrum until you find one you like. Then, release your finger to select it.

You can also apply a background to the text if there’s quite a lot going on in your image and you want to make it easier to read. To do this, select your text and tap the colour blocking icon in the top left-hand corner, choosing a colour for your text background.

Story Seems to Be the Hardest Art

If you’re good at art, you might want to add hand-drawn elements using either your finger or a stylus to your stories. If you’re not very good at drawing, then avoid using this feature unless you’re drawing simple lines or arrows (and even then there are ready-made stickers you can use for this purpose).

You can choose your brush size and colour, and use the eraser tool to get rid of any failed attempts before you post your story.

Photo by Alex Holyoake on Unsplash

Sticker It to the ’Gram

Stickers can be a fun way of injecting fun or a bit of colour to your post. They catch peoples’ attention when they are mindlessly clicking through their feeds.

You can use them to add polls, tag a location, convey feelings, include a call to action or emojis. But don’t overdo it. Unless you run a kawaii cutesy blog, less is definitely more.

If there’s something specific that you’re looking for, use the search function to find it. Otherwise, just scroll and see what takes your fancy.

Video Made an Instagram Star

There are a number of cool features such as Boomerang or the rewind camera that you can use to create entertaining posts, and a number of face filters you can apply to videos if you’re camera shy. The best way to use these tools is to play around with them so that it becomes second nature for when a perfect opportunity to use them presents itself.

You can also pin text, stickers, emojis, and GIFs into videos so it appears as if these elements are attached and move with the video subject. To do this, record or import a video. Add a sticker, emoji, or text and tap and hold the object to enter pin mode. Use the video scrubber to choose where you want the pin to appear, and tap the pin in the bottom right-hand corner.

The Grand Reveal

You can use the screen fill tool to cover part of a video or image with a solid colour using the eraser tool to reveal a portion of a photo or video. This trick is a great way of encouraging your followers to engage more with your posts, as you can use it to encourage interaction, e.g. guessing what you’ll reveal in a subsequent story. If you’re creating a ‘tap to reveal’ sequence, make sure you save a version of the images at each step, which you can then add in the correct consecutive order to your story.

This is something that not a lot of people know how to do, so using it will help you stand out from the crowd. To do it, you need to add the image or video you want to show just a part of and tap the drawing tool. Choose a colour, and tap and hold anywhere on the screen until it fills with your chosen colour. Add any text or other features that you want.

Then, tap the eraser tool and remove some of the colour block to show a portion of your video or photo underneath. Don’t worry, if you go wrong, you can tap undo until you get the desired effect.

Written by

The Indiependent Founder, NCTJ qualified journalist, Oxford University grad. Interested in tech, political communication & data ethics. Tweets: @BettyKirkers

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