In the last lesson we learned all about hashtags and how to use them effectively to grow your audience.

Today we have an entire lesson devoted to Instagram Stories.

OK, let's get to work!


I think one of the biggest frustrations for my business clients is the fact that social media is changing constantly.  

Stories only have a 24 hour life span (unless you make them a highlight - we'll talk about this later).  Because stories are short lived, these should be easy and not overly-curated.  Today, I'm going to give you actionable, bullet points that will help you either publish your very first story, or ideas to make your stories even better.

Important Notes:

  • Everyone has access to Instagram Stories

  • You can see who watched each segment of your Story

  • Stories play chronologically as you add content

  • Stories are divided into 15 second segments and are made up of photos, videos, or both

  • Story content cannot be liked or commented on by viewers, but they can send direct messages or respond to polls



1. Plan.

Just like you learned in the Captivating Captions lesson, a good story has a beginning, middle, and end.  So think about the story you want to tell.  Don't worry - this doesn't have to be live.  You can upload video and images to create your story.

2. Create

  • To start your story, tap the camera icon at the top left on your Instagram Feed. Alternatively, you can swipe left from the feed to get to story options.

  • Tap the circle at the bottom to take a picture, or hold it down to take a video.

  • Swipe left and right across the bottom for other options such as a live video, text only, etc.

  • OR you can add media from your phone's library by swiping up, or choosing the small image icon. Remember - you can only add media that is less than 24 hours old.

  • Once your media is added, swipe left and right to change filters, and add text or stickers by using the icon at the top.

3. Jump In

Most user engagement falls off after 4 seconds so jump straight in and grab your audiences' attention.

4. Shoot Vertically

Stories are all shot vertically so keep this in mind when taking images or video for your story.  No squares here!

4. Geotag

Use geotagging in your story.  Posts that have geotags get 79% more engagement plus now your story becomes visible in that geotag's story feed.

5. Swipe Up

Currently, the swipe up feature is only available to Instagram accounts with more than 10,000 followers, but if you have this option be sure to use it!

6. CTA

If you don't have the Swipe Up feature yet, make sure you include some kind of Call To Action.  Whether it's a poll or a call to visit your link in bio, harness the power of CTAs and ask your audience to do something.



Organizing your stories into highlights makes your profile more interesting and helps convince visitors to hit that "follow" button.  To do this:

  1. Go to your profile and tap Story Highights below your username and bio.

  2. Tap the + sign.

  3. Tap to select the story or stories you want to add to highlights, then tap Next.

  4. Choose a cover photo and enter a story name for your highlight, then tap Add (iPhone) or Done(Android). You can add more photos or videos to your highlight at any time by tapping Edit Highlight.

Note: Stories you add as highlights remain visible as highlights until you remove them, even after the original story has disappeared. Keep in mind that those you've allowed to see your story can also see your highlights. 


  1. You can use a tool like Cut Story to cut long videos into shorter, 10 second snips so that your story flows nicely.

  2. I like Unfold to curate a beautiful story if it resonates with your brand's theme.

  3. I've linked to several templates in Canva that you can also use to create a story with graphics and images.

  4. This article, also from Canva, steps you through how to create those cute Story Highlight Icons in case you want to get extra special.


There are SO many options with Instagram Stories.  Don't get overwhelmed.  Take 5 minutes to jot down a few ideas and pick ONE to try this week.  Tag me at #IGFastrack so I can spread some love your way!

 Questions? Shoot me an email below!

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