4 Ways to Get More Out of Instagram Stories

Picture of Aliza ShermanAliza Sherman is a web pioneer, author, and international speaker. Sherman is the author of 8 books about the Internet including The Everything Blogging Book, Streetwise Ecommerce, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Crowdsourcing and Social Media Engagement for Dummies.

4 Ways to Get More Out of Instagram Stories

If you’re using Instagram to promote your business, you’re probably seeing Stories highlighted at the top of your app, but may not yet be using this publishing format. Or maybe you’re using it, but you are looking for ways to improve your use of this multimedia feature.

Instagram Stories combine photos, graphics, and video along with embellishments. These added graphics are called “Stickers” and range from word art to emoji to animated gifs of animals and people.

When planning to publish to Stories, the first thing to keep in mind is that Instagram Stories – like Snachat and Facebook Stories – disappear in 24 hours. While it may seem strange to some that the content they worked so hard to produce will go away, this type of online messaging called “ephemeral content” is quite popular among younger audiences. But don’t despair: there are ways to save your Stories.

Here are 4 ways to leverage Instagram Stories, and not just on Instagram.

1. Save Your Stories and Reuse Them

Instagram lets you save Stories in several ways. First, you can go to your Settings under Privacy and opt to automatically save them to either your Camera Roll or to an Archive in the Instagram app, or both. No more worrying about losing the content you create.

You can opt to save individual Story posts manually or save an entire series of posts – the entire Story – that is currently in your Story feed. These files are saved to your mobile device’s Camera Roll. The latter collection is saved as a video that runs through each entry automatically until the end of that particular series of posts.

You can repurpose saved Instagram Stories on your Instagram feed or on other social networks. Story videos can be archived on YouTube, for example. Images created in Stories with added word art and stickers can be posted to Facebook, Twitter, and even Pinterest. The look of an Instagram Story is distinctive so make sure posts from Instagram Stories fit your overall brand image, look, and feel.

2. Post a Story to Your Instagram Feed

Get more visibility for Stories when you’re just starting to post them by adding them to your main Instagram feed. From the Story you want to share, tap “More” and then choose “Share as Post.” You can edit the Story before posting it with the usual effects and filters, and then publish it.

3. Cross-Post Instagram Stories to Your Facebook Page

If you connect your Instagram Business account to your Facebook Page for your company, you can then opt to automatically or individually post to your Facebook Page Stories. To set it up to automatically post, go to a Story and click “More,” then choose “Story Settings” and turn on “Share Your Story to Facebook.” Once on, you can still opt not to cross-post to Facebook by clicking and holding the tiny Story and Facebook icons on the bottom left side of your Story before you post it, and turn off the sharing option. As long as you are using Instagram Stories strategically with on-brand messaging and images, also posting them to your Facebook Page will vastly increase visibility.

4. Add Story Highlights to Your Instagram Account

To add selected Stories to your Instagram profile, click on “Story Highlights” under your username and bio. Tap the available Stories you’d like to add to a specific highlight, then choose a cover image and name the highlight. These highlights then appear toward the top of your profile.

If you want to add new stories to an existing highlight, click on the highlight in the Instagram app, then click the “More” option and choose “Edit Highlight.” The first screen you see will be the images you’ve already highlighted. Click “Archive” or swipe left to see the images that have been archived if you turned on the archiving feature (see #1 above). Note that it will take 24 hours for your Story to appear in Archive in order to add it to an existing highlight.

As you can see, there are a number of ways to get more out of Instagram Stories by simply saving the content and leveraging them on other platforms. Make sure to view other people’s Stories and other companies to get a sense of the different ways to use Instagram Stories creatively.