Seven Instagram Story Hacks You May (or May Not) Know About!
Most everyone has an Instagram account nowadays, whether it’s for personal use, business use, influencer use, etc. Furthermore, many people tend to curate a personal brand with their instagram feed content. Unfortunately, building a personal instagram feed brand can be restrictive. What do you do when you have content that you want to share with your followers but it just does not go with your aesthetic?
You put that content in your Instagram Stories!
Stories are a great way grabbing attention because more and more users view stories. They’re a way to bring traffic to your page, express your personality, and share that random meme or video that would ruin the look of your feed. Or, you can post daily updates, tag brands, or share your location. What you may not know is you can a little pizazz to your stories using the Instagram Stories built in platform.
I, personally, just found out about all these hacks, and let me tell you, they are a game changer! Rather than just sharing a random post, slapping down some text, and adding a sticker or two, I now take a little extra time to make my stories visually appealing. I’m trying to built a personal story brand so when someone comes across my story while they are mindlessly tapping through stories, they take a pause to see what I’ve posted or what I’m saying. While my colors change depending on the picture I’m sharing, my general background and font choice remains pretty much the same.
My hope with this consistent layout is to make people pause. It’s colorful yet clean and simple…at least to me. The larger text draws the eyes and the short phrases are easy to read. When I come across a cohesive and aesthetic story, I know I always slow down, read what the person has to say, and am more enticed to click on the post they have shared. I hope the hacks I share can help you develop a personal brand on your stories that can help drive traffic to your Instagram feed, which could then lead them to your blog, other social pages, or affiliate programs.
Seven Game Changing Instagram Hacks
Hack One: Solid Background
Before I found out out this hack, I hated the gradient backgrounds. I felt like they took away from the picture or post I was sharing. Or, I had to get strategic with my text placement because my text would disappear and I didn’t want to add a background to the text. To get a solid background, follow these steps.
- Either take a random picture or select a post to share.
- Select the drawing tool. Choose whether you want an opaque background (marker icon) or a transparent (highlighter icon).
- Select the color you would like as your background from the color palette.
- Tap and hold on the background until the background changes to a solid color
If you choose an opaque background the entire picture/gradient will disappear. If you choose a transparent background, you will still be able to slightly see the picture beneath. Just having a solid background for the pictures you share in your stories can really make a difference with drawing your eyes to a particular picture, post, or piece of text. With solid backgrounds, you don’t have to worry about placing your text in a certain area or changing your text to a particular color because it disappears or is hard to see with the gradient background.
Hack Two: Choosing A Custom Color!
Before I found out about this hack, I was either using the color picker to try and match the colors in my post or finding a sticker with the color I wanted and pulling the color from that. Now, I know I can choose from a HUGE range of colors! You can do this for your text and your solid/transparent backgrounds! To get a color of your choosing, follow these steps.
- Type the text you would like to change or select a specific word you would like to change.
- Tap and hold on the color palette and the color spectrum will appear. Make sure you don’t lift your finger.
- Move around until you find the color you like and release the palette.
- Click done and move the text into place!
If you’re wanting to do this with a background, after you select the drawing tool and choose the marker or highlighter, rather than just tapping on a color, follow the steps above to select your color and then tap and hold on the background.
Getting custom colors can give you a wide range of options for your stories and can take it to the next level!
Hack Three: Gradient Text
I absolutely love this option, even though I don’t utilize it all that often. Rather than having a solid color for an entire word/sentence, make your text gradient! You can choose to cover the entire spectrum, or you can stay within a certain color family. However, I must warn you that this hack takes a little practice and coordination and can get a tad frustrating at times. To get gradient text, follow these steps.
- Type what you would like to be gradient.
- Select all of the text.
- Pull up the color spectrum like you did in hack two.
- While holding one finger on the spectrum, hold another finger on the cursor on either side of your text.
- At the same time, move your fingers from left to right or right to left. Go slow if you need to but make sure your fingers remain on the palette and on the cursor. Any slight movement off and your text will change to the color of the background (*insert hissing in frustration here*)
- Also, keep the last letter highlighted while you select its color or all your coordinated color select will be for naught. (See warning above).
You don’t necessarily have to do this as the same time; you can go letter by letter. But, to get a really nice gradient, you will need to move your fingers at the same time and same speed. Once you get it down, it’s pretty simple; however, I still have trouble sometimes. It may or may not have taken me about 4 times to get the screen recording you see here.
Hack Four: Drop Shadow
This may be one you already know and use! I knew I could do this with text because I use to do it all the time in Adobe Illustrator; but, I never even thought to add drop shadows to text in Instagram Stories! Adding a drop shadow can really transform your text and add a little spice. The key to a good drop shadow is to make sure your text is the same size! If it isn’t the same size, the shadow just won’t work properly. To create a drop shadow, follow these steps.
- Type what you would like to have a drop shadow
- Select the base color for the text.
- Place text.
- Type the same text and resize to make sure it matches the shadow text.
- Select the top color for the text.
- Place text.
I love the way this looks! You can make your drop shadow appear from what ever angle you choose depending on where you place your top text.
The only caveat I should add is that placing/moving the top text can get a little tricky because sometimes you can accidentally select the bottom text, which will bring it to the top. One wrong move and…BAM…you have to start over and move everything around.
Hack Five: Vortex Text
It’s time to combine your custom color selector skills and a little bit of your drop shadow skills. This hack can get frustrating on so many levels, but the results are awesome! With vortex text, your base color needs to be the lightest (maybe the darkest if you choose) and you gradually get darker (or lighter) with each word you add. Also, the base text needs to be the largest and each word you add needs to get smaller and smaller. To get vortex text, follow these steps.
- Type the word you would like, change the color, select the size, and place it where you would like.
- Repeat these steps making the text either lighter or darker, smaller than the base size, and placing it in the center of the word underneath.
- Do this until you have the desired effect.
Like the drop shadow, this hack can get a little frustrating because one wrong move and you can select the text underneath what you’re trying to place and it will mess everything up. What is easy about messing up, especially if all the text is the size that you want it, is you can just spread the words out and replace everything.
My example isn’t the best but hopefully it shows you the effect that you can achieve. This is a more time consuming hack.
Hack Six: Picture Reveal
This one just looks neat! You can reveal a whole picture, write a word, or just give a picture an interesting aspect. You can do a picture reveal with a solid or transparent background; unfortunately, you can’t do this hack with a shared feed post. It has to be just an added photo from your camera roll. To do a picture reveal, follow these steps.
- Open stories, add the picture you would like to “reveal” to your draft, and resize it to your liking.
- Employ your solid background knowledge (see hack one) and choose whether you want as solid or transparent background.
- Once the picture is completely covered, select the eraser tool and set the size of the eraser.
- Start to remove the background! You can erase large areas, small dots, or write words.
This hack is especially neat if you screen record it and upload it to your stories as a video. I did this for a giveaway I had about a month ago.
Hack Seven: Adding a Picture to the Background of a Shared Feed Post
This hack is slightly more involved, but the pay off is so worth it. In my corner of instagram, I haven’t run into anyone doing this story hack…yet. I kind of want to keep it for myself, but why would I do that? There are precise steps that need to be followed to make sure that you’re successful in setting a picture to be the background of a shared post. If you don’t do it correctly, you will have issues. It took me roughly six screen recordings before I realized I was doing a crucial step wrong. Also, you will need to download the app Over (Apple download here and Google Play download here) to have the necessary tools for this hack.
Before you get started, you will want to find a picture you would like to use. You can go to Pintrest and search for Instagram Story Backgrounds, you can google Instagram Story Backgrounds, use your own picture, or use one of the free ones in Over’s app. I found that it’s easier to know which background you want and have it saved to your phone (if needed) before you get started. I also found it’s easier to screenshot the backgrounds and crop it and then save to your camera roll, rather than saving the photo directly to your camera roll. For some reason, I’ve had major issues with photos that I’ve saved. You can also create your own through Canva! If you don’t start with step one, you
will have a lot of issues getting your won’t be able to get your post on top of the picture. To set a picture as the background of a shared feed post, follow these steps.
- Go to the post you would like to share. Select add post to story and make the post as tiny as you can make it. But stop in the editing stage. Don’t go through with fully adding it.
- Open the Over app. Select New Project (yellow dot with a plus sign in the middle).
- Select Transparent background (this is the first crucial step). If you don’t select transparent, you won’t have a clear background.
- Select Instagram story for the size of the background.
- Select Image and then add your picture. Flip (if needed), resize it, and move it into the position that you want to cover the entire transparent background.
- Find the Mask tool and select it. Go to the area you would like to remove and remove a circle. Not too big though because you want your post to cover the hole without having to make it too large. But, if you make it too small, it won’t register and you won’t be able to bring your post to the front.
- Once satisfied, click the check mark in the upper right corner, then click Export (yellow square with arrow in upper right corner).
- Go to Export Settings and make sure PNG is selected (second crucial step), then save the picture to your camera roll.
- Next, go to your camera roll, select the picture, click the share button, and click copy photo.
- Go back to your stories and “Add Sticker” should appear. Click the sticker. Resize the background and place it. Make sure you can see your post through the hole.
- Tap your post to bring it to the front and then resize and place where you would like it to go!
This process is rather finicky at times and requires some trial and error, but the paid off is awesome! Also, I’ve only done this hack on an iPhone, so I’m not 100% sure if the steps will work for Androids. If you have an Android, try these steps and see if they work and let me know!
That’s all the hacks I have…for now!
I hope these help you with building your stories and you can start to blow your followers out of the water with your Insta Story making skills. If you know of any other hacks, please let me know! I’d love to add them here.
Make sure to follow me on Instagram!