Everything you need to know about Instagram Stories features

Instagram Stories are a pretty well integrated part of the Instagram experience by now, but there are a lot of features to tap into and some are more well known than others.

With that in mind, we wrote up a quick guide to all of the existing features plus what we know is currently being tested.

Keep an eye on our Week in Social updates for new feature announcements, and as always you can find us on Twitter @UnionMetrics for any upcoming blog posts of ours or to ask us any questions you might have.

Existing Instagram Stories features

First, there are all of the different post types, most of which we’ve written breakdowns for:

  • Type (we wrote about when to use this here)
  • Live: Broadcast a livestream to your followers on Instagram; can add to your Story for 24hrs. Can’t add to Stories highlights on your profile, however.
  • Normal: Upload pictures/video from the past 24hrs or before (those come with a date stamp but you can delete that by dragging it to the trash can icon at the bottom of the screen)
  • Boomerang (we wrote about when to use this here)
  • Superzoom (we wrote about how to use this here)
  • Rewind (we wrote about how to use this here)
  • Hands-Free (we wrote about how to use this here)
  • Stop-Motion (we wrote about how to use this here)

Post types aren’t the only thing you’re working with when building your Story, however. Once you upload a photo or video or shoot a Boomerang or anything else, you can add more to it by hitting the Sticker icon in the upper right corner or swiping up from the bottom of the screen.

Instagram Stories features

With these stickers you can add time, temperature, location, a hashtag, you can tag someone (you can also just type that out in text but the sticker option highlights it a little more) add a picture within a picture, add some fun stickers (once you’ve added one, you can sometimes tap it to reveal more options like a different color scheme or the sticker flipping backwards) or a GIF and even run a poll.

Polls encourage engagement from your audience more than many of these other features, so use them when it makes sense for your brand.

As for everything else? Have fun with it! Stories are a great way to show a less serious and polished side of your brand, even if the rest of your Instagram presence conforms to a very strict #aesthetic.

What’s brand new and what they’re still testing

Instagram is always testing new features and right now they’re rolling out “portrait mode” in Stories.

Instagram Stories testing

It doesn’t seem to recognize non-human faces as faces so far, but human faces will be put into focus in a photo while softly deemphasizing the background.

What’s still testing? ‘Nametag’ scannable codes were reported earlier this week (very similar to Snapcodes) and a new Q&A format might be coming soon in addition to being able to share other people’s Story posts in your own (the only kind of “regramming” natively available, if it rolls out widely). The latter will be great for brands sharing fan and follower UGC on their Stories regularly; they won’t have to save and manually upload those posts.

Want to keep up with all of these changes? Keep an eye on the Instagram blog and our Week in Social posts for any upcoming feature announcements.

More tips and tricks

For even more, check out this piece from Mashable that includes some tips for your Story.

And if you’re interested in tracking your Story analytics, we can do that now!