How to Use Instagram Stories?

Instagram Stories are everyone’s favourite quick-content sharing platform. But what exactly are they, and how can they be utilised?

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If you’ve not heard of Instagram stories, or are yet to use it, now is the time to take notice and catch-up. Launched in August 2016, the Stories feature of Instagram has since wiped out it’s competition. In 2017 The Verge reported that Instagram stories had overtaken it’s rival Snapchat in terms of daily users – and the rise didn’t stop there, stories are now used by 500 million users a day.

With no signs of slowing down, Instagram Stories is a tool every brand and business should be taking full advantage of, in whatever way you can. If you’re looking to do just that, but need some pointers in the right direction then don’t worry, we’re here to help! Scroll down to get up to speed with Instagram Stories

What are Instagram Stories?

If you’ve been on the Instagram app since Stories has launched, it is likely you’re already aware of Stories. Instagram Stories sit within the classic Instagram app, right at the top – making it pretty hard to miss!
Stories allow a user to upload an image or 15 second video to their ‘story,’ which can then be viewed by any of their followers for 24 hours, before disappearing. Since their launch, a lot of updates have been released, improving the experience and interactivity of an Instagram story. This includes options to ‘Highlight’ a story, meaning the story will be pinned to your user profile, this means the story can be viewed by anyone who visits your profile (unless it is deleted.) Other updates include the options to include a Poll in your story, which anyone who views it can vote on, or the ‘Ask Me A Question’ feature, which gives followers the opportunity to ask questions. The questions can then be answered in another story post.

These features are particularly useful in helping brands and influencers gauge what it is their audience want to see, or to measure their opinion on a specific subject.

How to Create an Instagram Story

Creating an Instagram story is just as simple as uploading to your traditional grid.
To begin, simply tap the Camera icon in the top left-hand side of your screen, or swipe left from the homepage. This will take you to an in-app camera, from here simply press the circle to take a real-time image or swipe up from the bottom of the screen to access your gallery and upload an image from there. This allows you to edit a photo or video before uploading it to Instagram.

Once a photo is taken, it is possible to add text, draw on your image, or add stickers or miscellaneous interactive features such as music or GIFs to your story using the icons at the top of the screen. The best way to get to know these features is through practice!

What Are the Dimensions?

If you’re pre-preparing content for your story, or just curious, it can be good to know that the dimensions for an Instagram story are 1080px by 1920px. That means that whether you are producing an image or a video, it should typically be 1080 pixels wide and 1920 pixels in height. For those familiar with aspect ratios, this makes it 9:16.

How Are Brands Using Instagram Stories?

Now you know how to make an Instagram story, you need to know what to put in it exactly. Luckily, many brands have already delved into this territory, and given you some footsteps to follow in. Whether you’re in need of inspiration, or just interested in what the competition is up to, carry on reading for some real-life examples of brands using this feature.


Brands like NFL make best use of Instagram stories by offering behind the scenes insights into their matches and pre/post-match content or interviews with their players, which can’t be found anywhere else.

This helps boost their social following, as those that are already fans of the game will come to watch their Instagram Stories for more content, and those curious about NFL may come to their profile to find out more and see a more humanised, accessible version of the brand. This is an example of how behind the scenes content can improve brand awareness.

Image source: @NFL


Airbnb are not only masters of affordable travel accommodation options, but they’re skilled in utilising Instagram polls to their advantage too!

Image source: @Airbnb

Creating fun, interactive polls/quizzes such as this is a great way to make your audience feel involved with your brand, develop a tone of voice – as well as giving them travel inspiration, which can push them to shopping your products!

If you don’t have the time or resource to produce any other interactive content, an Instagram poll is quick, easy and free.



If you’ve got the means and resource, Instagram stories are the perfect way to advertise a competition.

Up market free range egg provider Clarence Court Eggs holds a competition for special occasions. In this instance, they held a competition to coincide with World Egg Day where the winner would win a years supply of eggs. 

Proper Tasty

Proper Tasty are the perfect example of this, showing viewers how to quickly create a simple snack. This can be done through multiple short videos on a story or used to push your audience to a longer content form, such as Instagram TV.

Proper Tasty uses celebrity chefs like Gino D’Acampo to share recipes via Instagram Stories.


Image Source: @proper_tasty

Instagram Stories is An Effective, Easy Connection Tool

So, what should you be using Instagram Stories for?

Hopefully, after reading this article, you understand that Instagram Stories is a highly engaging way to connect with your followers. With much less pressure than other posts, as they only stick around if you want them to, Stories is somewhere you can show off your fun-side and give your brand a personality, which is crucial to building a customer relationship.

It is also a platform which can be used to educate your followers on what it is you do best, with small snippets of content. With short, snappy, Stories that can be consumed on the go, or whenever they have a free minute, if you can master the art of creating a high-quality, interesting story, you’ll have your audience hooked.

But don’t forget, it works two ways, using polls or other interactive features, you can learn what it is your audience want from you…

The IIEPD provide a diverse range of CPD accredited digital marketing courses. Unlike other digital marketing training programs, IIEPD provides learners with a host of different digital marketing training resources including access to the IIEPD Influencer Affiliate Program, the IIEPD Influencer Network and subsidised digital marketing services from Pie Analysis.

For more information, get in contact with IIEPD today.


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