5 Ways to Create Better Instagram Stories

how to create better instagram stories

Update: This post includes an overview of Instagram story features/tips as of June 2018 but we'll try to come back and keep up if there's anything major going on!

Many of us have left our Snapchat accounts (or at least spend less time on them) to get on Instagram stories because not only are many of the features on Insta stories super dope but our audiences are already there. When Insta stories first launched, many social media gurus were predicting that it would surpass Snapchat in popularity and it did! Snapchat still has cool filters but there's still a "young kid" factor to it that screams high schoolers. For whatever reason, Instagram stories and live feel a little more mature and more millennial.

A while back when Instagram stories were still pretty new, I did a live series on Instagram on 5 Ways to Create Better Instagram Stories. We all know how popular Instagram is and how video content is taking over the world so, if you haven’t hopped on the Instagram stories train, you are definitely behind.

To reiterate the importance of using Instagram stories, for one work week on Monday-Friday mornings, I created tiny tip videos for my Instagram audience and then went on to my Facebook group, The Hustle Hive, to create full length video tips on how to better utilize the stories feature! Because stories disappear, here are the spark notes and a snippets that you might have missed in bullet form:


Day 1: Use Your Personality to humanize your brand

No one wants to be sold to all day long. When people see that you’re human and not a sales machine, they’re more likely to trust you and eventually purchase from you and join your tribe.

  • Show tidbits of your life and daily routine to break up all of the promotions
  • People love people so, humanize your brand!
  • Once you humanize, you create trust. Continued trust later creates sales.
  • You can create story takeovers to give your brand some personality from another person or brand, like a recent one I did for Glambamn’s account:
  • Use your story highlights to tell a story about you or your brand. If you have no idea what to use as your highlights, get some ideas here
  • Go behind the scenes and talk to your audience like they are your actual friends. There was a story I told on TBH's Instagram about how I thought that THE Kofi Siriboe had commented on a recent post. It ended up being someone else but just because of the hilarious story, more than 10 people sent direct messages responding to it!
  • Share your music using the Spotify option, screenshot your fav podcasts, record your screen and let your followers in. 

Day 2: Generate Conversations

When you tag people, use hashtags and comment back to others who send you messages, you’re creating conversations. 

  • Use your stories to create conversations using tags and hidden hashtags (You can put a gif, type in white or type over it if you don't want hashtags to be seen on your story.) 
  • Conversations create connections and connections can create collaborations (challenge: how many c’s can you put in one sentence LOL)
  • Once you create conversations, you create more engagement and hopefully conversions.
  • More engagement means more (paying) opportunities. Many influencers use their stories as another paid avenue for collecting coins.
  • Using the poll, sliders and encourage messages when you can! There are a lot of different ways you can use the polls and sliders to gauge what kind of content your audience wants to see.

Day 3: Bring Attention back to your profile

When people see your stories, they should want to check out your brand! The goal is to keep your followers circling through your content.

  • Connect your story to your latest post and share it directly from the post or send a teaser story that connects to it 
  • Extend your selling points from your profile to your story
  • Include #BTS (behind the scenes) info from a recent post within your story
  • Use the urgency of stories to create exclusive content and promote on your page (like this series)
  • Use your highlights wisely!! If you have over 10k followers, you have the "swipe up" feature and can imbed links within your stories and once they're in your highlights, people can always slide up. If you're still in the micro-influencer category and don't have as many followers, you'll have to use bit.ly links, switch out your bio link, or create a link page on your site or use a program like Link Tree. I personally prefer to switch the link or create my own link page just so I can have a better handle on analytics and clicks. 

Day 4: Educate your audience

When you give tips and tricks, you are setting yourself up as an authority figure within your niche. Teach us what you already know!

  • Share quick tips through your stories. A few accounts I follow that are amazing at this are @beefells and @thefinancefemme.
  • Productivity hacks and anything that saves time and money are always easy to share
  • Some tips can spread across niches and live forever (i.e. tips for a productive day) and these would be great for your highlights
  • Solve problems and become a leader within your niche = becoming a voice that should be heard.

Here are the snippets from day 4’s Facebook broadcast:

You have to join the Hustle Hive for the full video and all of the extended content within this post:

Day 5: Showcase your brand through positive examples

Sometimes people want to see receipts. Give us testimonials, examples and #BTS of how we should interact with your brand and what people who do interact have learned for themselves.

  • Screenshot testimonials and examples of your audience using your content/products etc.
  • Give #BTS of you using your own content/products
  • Show off press and user generated content (i.e. people who hashtag your brand)
  • Tell a story and give more insight on the “how and why” behind your brand

Along with these tips, I also created a Google Docs worksheet to give my group members within the Hustle Hive! If you want the worksheet to implement these tips and the full length videos, make sure you join!

***Note: Once you’re in the group, the live videos made me lost within the timeline so, use the search bar and enter “Instagram stories” and all of the threads and videos will appear.

Author: Shay Duriel Davis, the Creator of The Bronze Hustle and Hustle Hive Elite