8 tips to better instagram stories

Instagram has grown dramatically over the last few years and has become a powerful channel for brand promotion. Instagram Stories have been an amazing addition and are really just short films, wedged in between a whole lot of other short films in an Instagram feed. It’s a great way to draw followers in and introduce them to your brand’s personality and values. Instagram Stories also help keep brands relevant and since algorithms were introduced to Instagram feeds they can help to keep your brand top-of-mind.

So how do you stand out? How do you create a lasting impression? How do you get people to eagerly anticipate your next story? 
Here are a few tips on how I think you can, based on my experience of creating TV ads as an Art Director.

1. Subject matter

Ensure that your subject matter is impactful, interesting or at least funny. Rather don’t post anything if you are just posting for the sake of posting something. 

2. Composition with text

When shooting video or a still picture, consider the fact that you might want to add text. Ensure that your picture has areas within the frame where you will be able to add text without much background interference. Your text must be seen clearly. Too often I see stories where the text is an after thought, placed on a “blob” which tends to take away from the footage being shown. If not that, the text is placed at strange angles, which tend to look arbitrary unless the footage or picture is shot at an angle. 

3. Filters

“#no filter” is overrated, unless you are in the Greek Islands or Maldives. There is an entire array of filters and editing tools to enhance your picture or footage. Ensure it looks the absolute best you can with the tools you have available.

4. Information 

For the segments/scenes in your film containing only text, consider capturing interesting backgrounds that won’t disrupt the text too much, but that link to the video footage in the previous segment. For example, rather than a plain black background, if you have been shooting a scene on the beach, take a close up shot of the sand or if you have been shooting in a garden, take a close up shot of a leaf, etc. This will give your story an overriding theme. Emoji’s are good... tasteful application is even better. Be discerning.

5. Typography

If you have the handwriting of a doctor and you want to use free-hand, rather use the text tool to type. Writing over a picture or a video will detract from your footage, so consider the size and placement. 

6. Boomerang

Boomerang videos are fun and based on motion within the frame, so use it for this purpose. Jerky pans from left to right OR tilting up and down on a still frame however, is not a Boomerang. So when doing a Boomerang make sure that it is going to be worth seeing the reverse motion of the subject. Another thing, I don’t recommend following up a Boomerang with a super-zoom, as too many of these motion filters in one story will give your viewers motion sickness and a bad taste in their mouth. 

7. Voiceover

Not all videos require sound. Unless the ambient sound enhances your footage, remove it. Nothing spoils beautiful scenery more than voices chatting away in the background or the sound of the wind blowing. 

8. Segments

Keep your stories short, impactful and memorable. With your viewer’s attention being limited, it is best to keep your segments down to viewable chunks. Too many segments just get swiped through.
Hopefully, the tips above will help you enhance your Instagram Stories and reward your viewers for taking the time to view them. Happy posting! 
Written by Ronwyn Hughes

Do you have a brand that needs a look that will stand out in the crowd? Drop him a note at ronwyn@fludium.com

A Calisthenics enthusiast, lover of impressionist art and a bookworm who enjoys anything by Malcolm Gladwell.  
Ronwyn is a brand and communication designer at Fludium, a Dubai-based strategic branding agency.

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