This post stems from my most-asked question in my Instagram DM’s:
How do you do your stories? What app do you use? What font is that? Do you use a stylus?
I get this question about once a day but I’m super flattered by it and it doesn’t bother me at all – it tells me that my stories interest you and you like how I do them and that’s so awesome! Thanks so much! I do put thought into them so I appreciate you even asking.
Today I’m here to go in depth into how I create my stories. It’s not groundbreaking information, but I think it will resonate with those who are curious about what do to in their stories, or just the story behind how I do my own stories. In another post I’ll also share how I approach Instagram, what I do for my photos and how I edit them, how I plan my posts, and how to grow an engaged audience that you love connecting with on a daily basis. This can apply for both people with accounts that are for their businesses or those that have an account for just sharing their personal lives with their loved ones.
1 – Stories are meant for exactly that : telling a story
When I go on stories, my intention is to inform, inspire, educate, connect, or reveal. I want to tell you about something I am really loving that you might too, or reveal my normal or crazy schedule of a day so that if you have a normal day or a crazy day happening, too, we can connect on you thinking “SAME!” Rather than a place to just dump a bunch of random information in no particular order, stories are the perfect place to bring your followers along on a story that you might not otherwise be able to do in a post on your feed, or even on your blog. You can talk about something fun and light or deep and serious and either way you can do so in a way that is more personal and candid. But in order to get your point across, it’s important that you are mindful of how it flows, what information you are presenting and how you are doing it. Yes, stories are meant to be unedited, raw, intimate, of-the-moment captures of your day – but imagine watching an uncut version of a movie vs. the final cut. Obviously the final cut is going to tell the story better. Remember that you can still be authentic AND curated at the same time.
2. Be consistent in your content and your visual presentation so people know it’s you
People have asked why my “selfie” videos I take are sideways. I started doing this this past year because I personally think sometimes when I watch others’ selfie videos it’s a little too in-your-face. Literally, a face is the entire screen and I feel like it’s a bit up in my face. Nothing wrong with that at ALL, honestly, but just from my personal comfort level when I create videos I want to distance myself a bit so that you pay attention more to what I’m talking to you about – not my face in your face. You know? Again, nothing wrong with that and you’re probably doing everyone a favor while I’m probably causing everyone to have a pain in their neck from doing videos sideways! But I do this because I want you to listen, read any of the text, but not necessarily look. Anyway, the point of all of this is that my videos are visually consistent every time. I may change this again at some point but for now, if you see a sideways video and there’s script writing on it, you probably know by now it’s a video from me.
3. Don’t let the text, filters, and icons and emojis distract from the story you are telling.
Everything you add onto your story images should complement it, not distract from it. I definitely see this now more often as people caught on that you can change the size and style of your text on there, and I think it’s great because now you can see more of what they’re trying to show you and get the point of what they’re telling you without feeling visually overwhelmed. I’m all about being subtle.
4. SO. How DO I do my stories?
Here’s specifically what I do :
- Lagos filter, almost every time. Again, for consistency. I like it because it lightens.
- Rio De Janeiro filter when I have something dramatic and silly to share, usually a disaster or fail
- Classic font, all caps, double spaced. Lines are double spaced. I did this before they started adding all the new fonts but just stuck to it because I think it just looks clean.
- I like to left align most, but sometimes center it
- I pinch it to make it smaller (IG’s recent update allows for pinching and making the image itself smaller, which to me is super problematic and now it takes longer to do stories…)
- I stick to white, black, sometimes pink, and then sometimes use the droplet feature to source a color from the image itself
- The script font is my own handwriting, and perhaps the only remaining sign that I was once a teacher – my handwriting is good because I had to practice it. I use my fingertip; I don’t use a stylus.
- Sometimes I’ll use the modern font, and for saying the day of the week I’ll use the neon font without the capital on the first letter (I don’t know why, that’s just how I’ve always liked it.) I’ve been using these three fonts for a while now and I don’t think I could change over to the others now. I’m committed haha!
- I think of the “rule of thirds” in photography when I snap the pic and when I think about where to place my text.
- I try to “announce” new posts on my feed on my stories (because people watch my stories more that they look at my feed.) I recently have been showing just my “squares” with a little heart over the square with the new post (If you follow me, you know what I mean!) To take away the visual noise of everything else, I use the paint brush feature, slide it up all the way to the top to be the thickest size, and paint over what I don’t want to see in white. This takes a bit of practice to get the lines clean. But for anytime you want to erase items and create more negative space/white space, this is how I do it. I don’t use an app.
- I try to keep a good pace for the day and not inundating people with it (although sometimes I feel like I am!) Somedays I’ll go over because when I do a series of stories that thematically go together to make a point, it adds up. I generally aim for anywhere between 3 and 10 stories a day. When I see the the little lines/dots up top start to add up, I know I need to wrap it up.
- I don’t use any outside apps to create templates for my stories. There are some accounts I absolutely love that are using them and are using them really well, so I think it’s something you can totally explore to see if it’s a good fit for you! I just found that I could create a simple look that fit with my aesthetics using just IG stories.
More importantly that all of the above is to FIND YOUR OWN STYLE and once you find it try to STICK TO IT. Play around, find what speaks to you, try new features and start developing your own style. There is no right or wrong combination, and I personally love seeing what visual themes and looks people come up with in their stories! As Instagram as evolved and I have personally evolved, I have picked up little strategies, ideas, and tools along the way and applied them to my posts on my feed and in my stories. But if you go back in my old posts on both my feed and archived stories from when stories even started, you’ll see it’s overall generally consistent with how I do everything today. If I had to pick one word to help boost your stories, it would be consistency 🙂
Hope this was helpful! I realized as I was typing this up that I have a lot to share on this topic. In fact, the original title of this post was Instagram Tips but I changed it after I went on and on about stories alone – if I went into photo editing, posting schedules and content calendars, engagement, growing, etc. it would be SO long.
So – for next time!