How Do Instagram Stories Work

Instagram Stories are an effective way to share photos and videos that don’t necessarily fit into the traditional Instagram feed. To understand how they work, it’s important to know what features they offer and how they differ from regular posts. This article discusses the basics of Instagram Stories, from optimizing your posts to understanding the latest updates and tips for making the most of the platform.

1. Overview of Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories provides users with an opportunity to create a video post with a lifespan of 24 hours before it disappears. It was initially launched back in August 2016 and it has become one of the most popular features of Instagram.

As Instagram stories, you can showcase different types of content such as photos and videos, polls, quizzes, questions, GIFs, emojis, stickers and more. By tapping in the middle of the story you can activate interactive options. In addition, you can add music, editorial content, even use hashtags on Instagram stories, making them even more interesting.

You can also add creative effects, text, artwork and boomarks to stories, or use the Story Highlight feature to save your stories for future viewers. One of the greatest benefits of this feature is that it lets you engage with your audience by tracking metrics like impressions and reach.

  • 24 hour life span for posts
  • Supports multiple formats
  • Interactive options
  • Can add music, editorial content & hashtags
  • Add creative effects, text, artwork & boomerangs
  • Story Highlights feature
  • Keep track of engagement metrics

2. Benefits of Using Instagram Stories

Easily Reach Your Target Audience

Instagram Stories can help you reach your target audience in a fun and engaging way. Through a quick swipe, you can easily discover users who are interested in you and your brand, and they can also get to know more about you and your products or services. Plus, you can customize your Story with creative visuals, music, or other interactive elements to make it more interesting.

Showcase Your Products and Services

Instagram Stories can be an incredibly powerful tool for showing off your products and services. You can upload photos, videos, and even polls to attract potential customers and generate greater interest. Plus, you can add stories to your profile with links to your website or other online stores. This allows you to further promote your products or services and make them more visible to potential customers.

It’s a Cost-Effective Way to Reach People

Instagram Stories can help you reach a larger audience without having to spend a lot of money. The stories are free to create and promoting them is easy. Plus, you can also use sponsored stories to get your brand in front of your target audience. This is a cost-effective way to get the word out about your products or services.

3. Steps for Creating an Instagram Story

Creating the Content

Starting off, decide what type of story you want to create. Do you want to share photos, videos, or a combination of both? When choosing your visual content, keep in mind what will attract the attention of your followers. Once you’ve decided on that, you can move on to the next step.

Do you plan to add text to your story? Adding text can be a great way to draw attention to the important points of your story. Instagram offers an array of fonts, sizes, and colors for you to choose from, so experiment with the various options and find the combination that best fits your aesthetic.

The last step is to add interactive elements, if you wish. You can add polls, music, gifs, and even a “swipe up” function which links to an outside website or app. Utilizing these interactive elements can make your story more interactive and engaging for your followers.

  • Decide on the type of content to include in the story
  • Consider adding text
  • Include interactive elements, if desired

4. Tips for Enhancing Your Instagram Story

Include Interactive Elements

Interactive elements help add an extra layer of engagement to your Stories and gives you the ability to interact directly with your followers. You can add polls, quizzes, questions and more that help boost engagement. You can also use the “swipe up” feature when a story to your website and create simple but effective calls-to-action. These elements make it easy for you to quickly spot what stories have been viewed, interacted with, and shared by your followers.

Make the Most of Music

Adding music to your stories is a great way to create energy and emotion. Instagram allows you to choose from thousands of licensed songs to ensure your stories stay on track with copyright regulations. Experiment with different music to drive engagement and the best part is, you don’t even need to be a musician to make it work.

Utilize Hashtags & Geotags

Hashtags and geotags are essential for getting your stories seen by more people. Hashtags can help categorize your stories, while geotags can help people depending on their location. Use unique hashtags whenever possible to bypass the clutter in popular tags. You can also create your very own hashtag to help identify your work. Make sure to include the right relevant tags to ensure your stories get the best reach.

  • Include interactive elements like polls and quizzes
  • Choose from thousands of licensed songs
  • Utilize hashtags and geotags to get more reach

5. Platform Constraints for Instagram Stories

Limits on Clips, Videos & Photos

  • No clip, video or photo can be posted to an Instagram story longer than 15 seconds.
  • 120 seconds is the maximum length for an Instagram story.
  • A user can add up to 10 photographs and videos to one Instagram story.


  • All videos must be in portrait mode with 9:16 dimensions.
  • For photos and videos, you can use various textures, sizes, ratios and cropping.

Limits on Texts and Links

  • Only 2200 characters can be used in a story, including emoji’s and hashtags.
  • Users cannot paste a link into their stories, however, they can use the ‘Swipe Up’ feature, which works by leaving a link in the user’s bio.

Overall, it’s easy to see how Instagram Stories work and why people are increasingly choosing to use them. From the ability to share multiple photos and videos over a 24-hour period to the numerous tools for adding visual effects and filters, Stories provides a great way for both individuals and businesses to share highlights of their daily lives.