As part of the most recent DMEXCO event in Germany, Facebook ran a series of educational sessions to help promote it's Facebook Blueprint courses. One of the sessions covered Instagram Stories, and how to make best use of the option, and included some interesting tips on how to create more engaging Stories experiences.
You can view the full session, along with other Facebook sessions from DMEXCO here, but here's a listing of some of the key tips provided in the Instagram Stories education lesson.
1. Rainbow text
No doubt you're aware of the various text color options in Instagram Stories, including the ability to choose colors based on those already present within the image. But what you may not know is that you can also create rainbow colored text - here's how to do it.
- Pick 'Classic' or 'Strong' font (it works better with larger, more solid fonts)
- Tap the text itself, then choose 'Select all'
- Put your phone down onto a surface
- Press on the bottom color on the color tray with one finger, and press on the blue dot at the bottom of the highlighted text (so you need to use two fingers at once)
- Simultaneously drag across on both the color tray and the text
It's an interesting text option to consider, which not everyone would be aware of. And that could help make your Stories stand out.
2. Face filters on photos
A smaller tip which some users may not be aware of - Instagram's face filter tools also work on photos and still images, which adds another creative consideration to your composition. Really, that makes perfect sense - the system looks for facial features, which are present in photos. But still, it could be another way to make your Stories frames more appealing or interesting.
Did you know that you can add more than one filter or effect to each video you create?
To do this, you need to save your video after applying a filter, then re-open it and apply another. This enables some even more interesting creative effects.
Hang on, I hear you say, these examples are from Facebook Stories. That's right - this particular process is best done through the Facebook Camera, but you can also save content from the Facebook Camera and re-post it in your Instagram Story, further expanding your creative options.
4. Tap to Reveal
Here's an interesting, interactive option - though it does take a little bit of work to set up. Via your Instagram Story, you can create a 'Tap to Reveal' game, where you give your viewers a chance to guess the content of a photo before you show the full image.
To do this:
- Choose the image you want to use as your source/hidden picture
- Go the pen tool
- Pick the color you want the top layer (over the image) to be, then, once you've chosen the color, tap and hold on the image till the color covers the full screen
- Save the first image (tap 'Done' then select 'Save'), which essentially forms the first Story frame as shown in the sequence above (with text on top)
- You then switch to the eraser tool and you erase a section of the image - then save the image again
- Repeat for as many 'reveal' frames as you want, saving with each change
- You can then upload the sequence to your Instagram Story - now, when viewers see your story, every time they click, another section of the image is revealed
It's another way to add some interaction to your Instagram Story, and while it does take some extra composition time, it's not a heap, and the engagement benefits are likely worth it.
As noted by Facebook:
"If you tap and something happens, it's better than just watching a video - this is a mobile, we like to interact with it"
5. Motion pinning
Ever tried using a motion pin on Instagram Stories and it hasn't worked?
You're not alone - many people have issues with motion pinning, which enables you to attach a 3D object to something in a video, where it, ideally, remains in place as the video plays.
The problem is generally a technical limitation, as explained in the session:
"The problem is the colors [...] The camera needs to detect the difference between the object that you're pinning something to and the background"
When the system has trouble separating the surface you're pinning an object to and the surroundings, that's when the pins don't work, which means that you ideally need some level of contrast between the background and where you're pinning your object (you can see in the image above that the color separation is clear, in color terms, between the person's hair color and the background wall).
These are some interesting tips - most people who use Instagram Stories regularly would have some awareness of these options, but its interesting to note the specifics, which may also open your mind about the various creative tools you can use to create more unique, engaging Stories content.
You can check out the full Instagram Story School session for yourself here.