Knowledge Base

Up your Instagram story game with these 5 tips


Instagram is up there as one of the most popular social networks because it’s great for sharing photos, short videos and spreading brand awareness. These were initially done by posting on your feed but Instagram ripped off Snapchat’s Story feature (and did it way better) and now that’s a second but important tool to use. 


It’s crucial because Instagram changed their algorithm, which means your followers may not even see your posts when you publish something to your feed. Yeah, I know, it sucks big time. Fortunately, your story is another gateway to gauge interest and the ideal way to let people know that you’ve got a new post up or even just to share something that isn’t worth putting up on your feed. It still needs to look good though; I think aesthetics are key because they help draw attention and that’s what you want. So, out with the messy stories and in with the neat, clean and awesome ones.


5 tips to help you up your Instagram Story game


Text-based story


If you don’t plan on sharing a photo, you’ve still got to take a picture to use as a background for your story, which is somewhat annoying. But the good news is that Instagram has a background fill option, so you can pick a solid colour to sit behind your text and GIFs, whatever it is you want to add. Simply select the pen icon, choose your colour and then press and hold down to fill; it’s so much better than trying to take a photo of a plain background. 


The classic (default) font type may look rather dull sometimes but you can jazz up your stories by choosing one of the other four font types. There’s typewriter, strong, modern and neon. With the former two, you can choose to add a background to the text and of course choose any colour. It’s pretty neat. 




The story editor provides guidelines to allow you to position elements neatly. As you hold and drag your text, GIF or anything else, you’ll notice some margins appear at the top, bottom, center and sides. You’ll want to make sure you don’t go outside of these lines. It’s especially important for the top and bottom because your username displays in the top left hand corner when users view your story. So, you don’t want anything placed above the top margin. The same goes for the bottom as the ‘send message’ field sits there. I’ve seen stories where text has been added so far down the top and bottom that they get in the way and it just looks really messy. So, remember to use the margins Smiley Wink 


Colour picker


There is a selection of colours to choose from as you’ll be aware of but the colours are limited. Fortunately, you can expand the colour selection but it’s not really obvious. Press and hold down on a colour to reveal a colour palette where you’ll get to choose almost any shade of colour. Simple yet effective. 


What’s even more cool is that on the far left of the colours available is a colour picker. Upon clicking it, you will be able to select anywhere on your photo and it will grab that colour for you to use. This is perfect if you want your text to perfectly colour co-ordinate with your photo.





The second tool from the left is the highlighter and it’s pretty cool. It works similar to the background fill, except instead of a solid colour it provides an overlay of colour with a lowered opacity. It’s almost like a transparent layer on top of your image. I think it’s a cool way to provide viewers with a sneak peek to a new post you may have posted on your feed. This may lead to viewers clicking on your profile, which of course is what you want. 


You can also use the eraser tool on top of this, to show certain parts of the actual image underneath. You can really get creative with it, especially when you can adjust the size of the eraser.


Share directly from your feed


Instagram lets you share photos from a feed to your story; whether it’s your feed or someone else’s. It’s pretty cool and really easy to do.


  1. Go to the post
  2. Tap the share icon
  3. Click ‘Add to your story’


This will show the thumbnail of the post in a square and a gradient background will be added automatically, based on the colours in the photo. The username of the post owner will also appear automatically, which is good because credit should be shown where it’s due. 


If you tap the photo, you’ll see a rounded square like shape of the image instead with a preview of the caption. So, you can display it in two different ways; just take your pick. 


The benefit of sharing a live post this way is that viewers can tap the image on your story and click the link that appears to go directly to the post. It’s perfect for sharing other’s posts or even your own.




Let’s call this the bonus tip. Sharing photos directly from your feed or from your camera roll is pretty standard. If you want to be different and make your stories even more eye-catching then I’d recommend using templates. Over is a great app for this, I reviewed it last week. It has a bunch of really cool free templates that you can use and you literally tap to replace the image/s and text with your own. It’s an easy way to show off your photos in an interesting and visually appealing way. Not to mention your stories will be different. 




Instagram stories are a big part of Instagram now. They help give you even more exposure so it is good to make those stories look good. You want people watching, reading and viewing them, not swiping away. These tips are a good way to start and hopefully you’ve learned a thing or two, whether you’re new to Instagram or an active user. 


Do you have any other tips for making your stories stand out and look good? 


Be sure to share your thoughts and thank you for reading Smiley Happy 




Sadia produces tech reviews, tech tips & tutorial videos at XALIRATE and posts here on Wednesdays and Saturdays






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Useful tips. Haven't really got into Instagram. Just don't have enough time in the day to be into everything so Instagram is towards the end of a pretty long list. Something has got to be last!


@seanalert Smiley Happy Yeah, I get that. Instagram is my main social media platform, along with YouTube, so I use it on a daily basis.