A mobile phone with Instagram open
PHOTO: Shutterstock

With new features, twists and turns being added to platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter on what seems like a weekly basis, it’s tempting for brands to ignore new tools and focus on what’s been working for them historically. But Instagram Stories is a feature you can’t afford to ignore.

To help you publish Instagram Story posts regularly, here’s a quick guide on how to publish your first Instagram Story — along with a few Instagram Story hacks you may not have been aware of. It all begins with the downloading of the app and setting up of your account. Once that's done the fun can begin.

Step 1: Tap the Story Button On Your Instagram Feed

Head over to your Instagram feed, where you typically view posts from the accounts you follow.

There, you'll notice a line of circular icons listed horizontally across the top of your feed, with your own avatar on the far left.

Go ahead and tap your own avatar to get started. Alternatively, you can tap the camera icon directly above your avatar, in the top left-hand corner of the screen

Fig 1: Click your avatar on the Instagram feed.

Related Article: 17 Enterprise Tech Companies Killing It On Instagram

Step 2: Take a Picture or Record A Video

You should now be seeing Instagram’s camera interface. You can either tap the large white button to take a picture, or hold it down to record a video. Don’t worry about the other options for now — we’ll revisit those later.

Step 3: Add Captions and Stickers

Once you have an image or video captured, you can tap the sticker icon at the top of the screen. Adjacent to that icon, you’ll also notice the text icon, which allows you to add captions to your image or video. You can add stickers related to your location, the weather, your mood or even just because it’s your favorite emoji. 

Instagram stickers

As for the text, you could type up a call to action, tag friends or businesses, and —  if you have over 10,000 followers — you can also add an external URL to your post, which viewers can swipe up to access.

Related Article: 5 Instagram Marketing Tips For Businesses Without Visual Content

Step 4: Tap the Publish Button

Once you have selected and placed your stickers (and maybe even some text), you’re ready to publish your first Instagram Story post. All you have to do is tap the “Send To” button at the bottom of the screen.

Instagram Send To button

Step 5: Share Publicly, Or Privately With Your Followers

Finally, you now get to choose where your Instagram Story post will be published. You’ll want to click the “Share” button next to “Your Story” at the very top of the list. The rest of the list consists of accounts who follow you — so you could send it to them as a private message, too. And that’s all there is to it! Your first Instagram Story post is now live for everyone to see, comment on and share.

Instagram Story Sharing

5 Quick Instagram Story Hacks

The following Instagram Story hacks can all be made via the initial camera interface seen in Figure 1.

  • You can publish images and videos from your camera roll, so there’s no need to open Instagram whenever an Instagrammable-moment occurs.
  • You can add filters to each Instagram Story post
  • Instagram Stories come in a few different forms; from "Normal", to "Boomerang" to "Superzoom", all of which are listed horizontally at the bottom of your screen when you go to post a new Story update.
  • You can hide your Story posts from certain accounts that follow you.
  • You can auto-save every Instagram Story you publish, so you never lose any content.

How are you planning to use Instagram Stories in 2018?