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16 Instagram Story Hacks to Outsmart The Instagram Algorithm in 2021

Instagram is a social media platform that’s attracting an increasing number of users everyday. Instagram is also always adding features that allow Instagram users to interact with each other differently. 

One of the features that Instagram has introduced some time back is Instagram stories.

Instagram stories are short clips, lasting a few seconds each. And these short video clips can be in the form of short videos, or pictures that are displayed for several seconds – to max of 15 seconds.

If you put out an Instagram story, it will show up on the top of your follower’s feed, as small round icons.

Your followers can watch your Instagram story as part of the daily reel. Instagram stories have a lifespan of 24 hours, after which you can choose to archive it under a category on your page. Otherwise, it will be hidden from everyone.

This is how IG stories look like on any typical IG user’s account. Source: Digital Information World

How Has The Instagram Story Algorithm Changed Through The Years

Instagram stories are subject to the Instagram algorithm.

This means that the more a user interacts with your stories, like watching it or clicking on its links, the more it will show up on their story feed. 

Originally, Instagram stories used to be played in chronological order on users’ feeds.

This means that older stories will be played first and then newer stories later on. 

However, over the years, Instagram have made amendments to this display system. They’re continuously tweaking their algorithm so that the users’ favorite accounts show up at the beginning, rather than all the accounts at once. 

That’s why it’s important to outsmart the Instagram algorithm and make sure your story shows up more often. 

Understanding the algorithm gives you access to better control the different factors, so that you can create stories that your followers will interact with. 

The more your followers view, like, click links or save your story, the more your brand’s stories will appear on their feed on a regular basis.

Your job is to make sure that the maximum amount of followers have your stories appearing on their feed.

This way, you will be able to increase your Instagram story views, and your stories can be an effective tool to promote new products, highlight services and increase your brand awareness as a whole. 

Different types of IG stories have different impacts. Source: Pinterest

Instagram Story Hacks: 16 Instagram Stories Hacks & Features That Will Blow Your Mind

Instagram hacks may sound like a very complicated concept. However, there are many simple methods for you to increase the attractiveness of your stories. Making your stories more interesting, and making them stand out from everyone else 

As a company, Instagram stories are essential to increasing your brand awareness. It’s an easy way to let your followers know that you’re active and you’re thinking about them. It’s also a way to keep them updated with the latest news from your end.

These Instagram story tips will help you bring the quality of your stories to the next level, and thereby making your brand marketing more competitive;

Read also: 20 Instagram Facts & Statistic That You Need To Know

1. Learn How to Use All Those Instagram Story Features

Instagram stories allow you to publish either pictures or short videos lasting a maximum of 15 seconds.

If you choose to publish a video that’s longer than 15 seconds, the app will chop up to video in 15 second pieces.

There are many tools or ‘features’ you can use to spice up your pictures or videos.

New features are introduced by Instagram on a regular basis, so feel free to try them out. There are even Instagram story templates to help out first timers.

You can start with simple posts and designs, but try and experiment more as time goes on. The more you try things out, the more you’ll know how to use them.

As a brand, you should learn how to provide purchase links on your IG stories. Source: FarEastFlora.com Malaysia

2. Optimize Your Pictures And Videos for IG Stories

It’s actually very important to optimize your Instagram story size. The best resolution for a picture or video for Instagram is 1920 x1080 pixels. You can use other apps to edit your pictures or videos to fit this resolution and size. 

This size is actually optimized for smartphone screens, which is the platform where IG stories will most commonly be viewed.

To be fair, IG will adapt whatever resolution you have to fit the window. However, you should ensure that you have the best resolution so that your image or video fills up the entire screen and viewers get a clear picture.

 It’s also important because you don’t want your images distorted or stretched. Any type of distortion on your images or videos should be avoided as this tends to give the viewers the impression that you’re not IT savvy enough.

Pro tip: You can choose colors apart from those available on your screen by tapping on the color you want to change and swiping up slightly. An entire palette of colors will appear and you can choose from them.

Fill up the whole screen with your image. Source: myBurgerLab Malaysia

3. Customize Your Color Scheme

When you post, the Instagram story algorithm will usually assign you a set of default colors.

It would be useful to learn how to customize the colors of the various elements in your story.

You can actually customize the color of your texts, brush markings, question boxes, polls and so on. 

One example of a local company who has developed their own color palette for their stories ( and posts) is Celcom. They’ve picked a turquoise color, and most of their stories have this color in the background in some way.

Celcom adopted a turquoise theme for their stories, which can be seen in their highlight section. Source: @celcom

Pro tip: To change the background color of your IG story, snap a random photo and press on it. You’ll get a solid color background you can pick from the palette. Here’s a video on how to do it. 

Source: Entrepreneur Academy

4. Try Out All of Instagram’s Fun Accessories

Accessories are a great way to make your Instagram story fun and interesting.

Using one of two stickers will bring out the humor and cuteness of any post. These accessories can include small animated stickers, GIFs and static emojis..

Pro tip: Make your emojis pop by selecting the Neon font, which will ensure they stand out when you’re in text mode.

Put a smile on your followers’ faces using stickers and GIFs. Source: Hamster Mood

5. Important Stories Should Be Saved to Your Highlights

Stories are transient posts that will only be played on your followers’ feed for 24 hours. After this time, they cannot be viewed unless they are stored as highlights under your profile.

These highlight stories are actually archives of previous stories that you have posted. Instagram allows you to group them and label them accordingly. 

Highlights are a great way to let new followers find our more about your brand and products, as they will be able to view these stories when they visit your page.

Digi keeps stories from their previous marketing campaigns as highlights, under their profile. Source: digitelco

6. Post At Least Once Every Day

It’s important to post on a daily basis in order to stay at the top of your followers’ story feed.

Plan at least one story each day so that your followers will continue interacting with your post.

It’s important to remain consistent on a daily basis so that you don’t fall off from the radar. Keeping up appearances will ensure your brand stays within your followers’ consciousness.

Pro tip: Did you know you can create rainbow texts by selecting the text, then dragging and highlighting it?

IG stories should be there every morning for your followers . Source: PiecesByRaeesa

7. Increase Engagement Using Questions and Polls

The Instagram story algorithm works by pushing stories from accounts that users interact with to the top.

This means that if a user comments, messages, swipes or interacts with it in any way, future stories from this IG profile will show up at the front of their story feed.

Read also: Best Instagram Grid Ideas to Level Up Your Insta Feed

Therefore, you should include as many opportunities for your followers to engage with your posts as possible. Rather than just posting pictures, include polls, question boxes, swipe links, comment boxes and more.

Include questions and polls to encourage interaction. Source: @sophia_roe

8. Plan Several Stories at Once

In order to maintain the consistency of your brand voice, plan a series of several stories at once. 

This can take the form of a marketing campaign too.

For example, you may want to promote a new product by having a competition.

You will have to plan several posts explaining the competition rules, and then start the competition, as well as post its closing date.

Use the same theme for the entire campaign, so that you create coherence and even use the same recognizable theme to raise brand awareness.

Educating followers on your products with a series of posts. Source: @sweetbakes_bytrixie.

9. Get Feedback on Your Stories Using Analytics

If you switch to a Business profile on Instagram ( which you can do for free), you’ll be able to gain access to analytical data about your stories.

This data includes who is viewing and interacting with your stories the most, including their gender and age group.

You’ll also be able to see which stories performed better in terms of attracting views.

All these will allow you to plan your content better, and use the feedback to produce stories that will appeal more to your followers.

Learn which IG stories performed better with analytics. Source:Elise Darma

Read also: Top Tips on How To Use Instagram for Business

10. Put Out IG Story Ads

Normal Instagram stories only reach your followers, while Instagram story ads appear on the story feed of users who are not your followers.

In short, IG story ads reach out to those who don’t know about your brand, and you can determine the age group, gender and location of users you want to target. 

IG story ads is your chance to reach out to the general public to build brand awareness.

They usually appear in between a user’s regular story feed, so you’ll be asked to provide a link which the user can click to learn more. 

Reach more users with sponsored IG stories, a.k.a IG ads. Source: @visitsaudi

11. Add Hashtags and Location Markers

One way to allow more people to search and find your Instagram stories is to use hashtags and locations tags.

You don’t have to use too many – one of each will do, and at most two.

Both hashtagged and location tagged stories will show up when that particular hashtag or location is searched by the user. 

An example of a location tag in an IG story. Source: @dae.janji

12. Link Your Instagram Story

There are many IG stories out there that are just pictures or videos. As a brand, you have to know how to use Instagram stories to increase awareness about a product or service you have.

The initial image or video clip might be there to attract views, but after that you want the viewer to take action.

You can do this by providing more information, and that information should be in the form of a link. Usually, IG stories will allow you to place your link after a swipe up motion. 

Alternatively, if you have a business profile, you can place links on your IG stories directly to your shopping platform.

The ‘See More’ button at the bottom encourages users to swipe up and be linked to more information. Source: @tealiveasia

13. Make It Easy For Your Audience to Interact

Do all you can to encourage viewers to engage and interact with your post, as this is the main element that will push your story to the forefront. 

Making it easy means putting links where they can be seen easily, and not hidden. Any question boxes, polls or links should be placed in a visible area, and should be large enough for users to see clearly and type or click on them. 

Make sure any polls you place are large enough and clearly visible. Source: @mybankrakyat

14. Repost the IG Stories of Others

Whenever another user tags you, features your brand in their stories, or makes a short review, you can repost their stories.

This way you can let others know that your brand is being mentioned by others, and this will inadvertently increase your brand reputation.

Sharing other peoples’ posts about your brand increases your brand reputation. Source: @myinsidescoop

15. Use Many Types of Video in Your Instagram Story

The most basic type of IG story involves a short 15 second video clip of a short action.

However, with the tools IG has given you, you can actually create all sorts of creative and out of the box clips. These tools can include various face filters, the Boomerang tool  and more.

Source: Sara Kay

16. Create Your Own IG Filter

Creating your own IG filter may sound complicated. However, you can use other apps like Lightroom, PicsArt, Spark and others to turn presets into IG filters.

Once you use it on IG, you can choose to let others use it too. 

A good idea is to make a filter that’s related to your brand, so that when others use it, they’re indirectly marketing for you.

One example of a brand-related filter is the filter game created by Häagen-Dazs Malaysia, where they award free vouchers every week to those who answer their questions correctly using the filter.

Instagram filters like the one from Häagen-Dazs increase brand interaction. Source: @haagendazsmy

Instagram Stories: It’s About Being Brave and Experimenting

When it comes to creating IG stories, it’s all about being willing to experiment.

There are many tools and apps, on and off IG that will help you create one of a kind content. 

Due to the transient nature of these Instagram stories, you only have a brief moment to make a powerful impact. As such, you should go all out to create an impression. 

To find out more about how you can up your Instagram marketing game, check out new instagram updates and features that you need to know in One Search Pro

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