Instagram and Facebook Stories: Why and How to Use Them

Instagram and Facebook Stories: Why and How to Use Them

Instagram and Facebook Stories

What are Stories?

On both Facebook and Instagram Stories are an ephemeral feature that lasts for 24 hours, only to disappear forever after (Instagram allows you to save it as a Highlight). It can be a photo or video, full of filters, stickers, and other fun effects. You can run Story ads, too (more on that later).

Why do we even have “Stories”?

Humans crave connections—that’s a fact. It’s also a fact that texting another human isn’t going to serve up the same feelings as seeing a video of that person, or even a photo or GIF. Every time Facebook (or any other social media platform) offers a new feature, it’s always about new ways of connecting with others. Stories, because of their temporary nature, often feature more spontaneous content with behind-the-scene glimpses or interactive polls and questions, which invites the followers to either participate or feel like they’re developing a more intimate connection with you. That’s powerful stuff—engagement and connections are what brands strive for on social media. 70% of Instagram accounts use their Stories, so there’s no denying its incredible reach.

Story Placement

Instagram Story with rainbow circles around profile pictures
When you or another account create a Story, it appears on the top bar of Instagram, Facebook, and Messenger for 24 hours, in chronological order (as opposed to the FB algorithm deciding which account gets seen first in any one person’s feed). It has a colorful rainbow ring around the account profile picture when it’s a new Story and it turns gray after you’ve watched the Story. When the Story is tapped on, it opens it up to your full screen.

Story Key
Instagram story map

Tap left edge to go back

Swipe on right edge to jump to next Story

Tap middle of screen to advance within current Story (they’re 15 seconds)

Press and hold screen to pause a Story

Swipe down to exit the Story viewer

Story Features

-You can add text, emojis, and stickers to photos and videos
– Choose from brush styles and colors to draw on photo or video
-Filters for photo and video
-Boomerangs and Live are options too

You can save your own Story, but you can’t save anyone else’s Story. There are no public comments or likes, but you can comment by sending a private message.

How to Engage an Audience

Whatever industry you’re in, it’s important to invite your followers into it with informative or engaging content. Stories are the perfect opportunity to be more playful. Does your office hold an annual chili cook-off or even a weekly bagel day? Share it on Stories and get creative with the features—stickers, polls, filters. Don’t worry about being too formal or polished on Stories because that’s not what users expect or even want. Stories are all about being more authentic and in-the-moment. Besides, the Story disappears in 24 hours (never forget: screenshots are forever). A survey conducted in 12 countries found that 1 in 2 people who said they use Stories are making more online purchases a result.

Create a Story on Facebook App

  1. Go to your Page
  2. Tap on your Page’s profile picture
  3. Select + Create Story
  4. Choose your media type—Boomerang, New Image, New Video, or Camera Roll to choose existing photo or video. You can also choose a music selection to play along with your Story.
  5. Add effects like filters, text overlays, and more
  6. Share it when you press the + Page Story icon; Add to your Page’s Story; save it for later by tapping Save icon (otherwise it disappears forever after 24 hours); Tap Next button to publish it to your Story, News Feed, or both at the same time
  7. Tap your Page’s profile picture again to add more to your Story

Create a Story on Instagram App

1. Tap the blue + on your Page’s profile picture
2.  Choose your media type—camera roll, Boomerang, new video, live, superzoom, focus or hands-free
3. Add effects like filters, text, stickers, polls and more
4. Share it to your story or to select people

To Add More Stories

If you’ve already created a story and want to add another one but don’t see the blue + on your profile picture, hop over to your home tab and then swipe right to open Story creator–see video for how to swipe to find the Story creator.

Creating a Story Ad

There’s more than one way to run a Story ad, but here we’ll focus on using Ads Manager to deliver a Story ad on Instagram, Facebook, and Messenger. Make sure that your Instagram account is connected to your Facebook ad account.

Select “Create” in Ads Manager and then choose an objective: reach, brand awareness, video views, lead generation, traffic, app installs, or conversion.

Choose your audience and then decide where you want the Story to appear in Placements (Instagram and/or Facebook and/or Messenger). Set your budget and schedule next.

Under “Identity,” choose from Single Image, Carousel or Single Video as the ad format. If your ad format is carousel, you can add up to three carousel cards to your Story (Instagram only). Carousel ads in Stories require 9:16 creative and must run in a standalone, Stories-only campaign.

Add images or videos, choose a call to action and URL landing page if you want.

Fill in any more fields that are required or that you want to fill out, and then preview your ad. When you’re ready, publish it.

Story Ad Info

-They appear at Stories in the top bar, between other accounts’ Stories.
-They last longer than 24 hours—they will appear for as long as you set the campaign to run
-Videos display for 15 seconds and photos for 5 seconds
-Calls-to-action are available that direct people to a landing page

Why Run Story Ads?

Stories are engaging users on a different level, one that’s more intimate and playful. Creativity is a must and stats show Stories with motion or video receive more conversions—no surprise there—by a whopping 76%. More than half of people surveyed who use Stories said they use it daily. 68% said they use Stories on three or more apps at least once a week.

Story “Map” for Ads

Your profile photo shows up in the upper left-hand corner

At the top is a bar displaying how much time is left until the next Story begins

The bottom center has a CTA (choose from apply now, book now, download, and more)

Story Ad Requirements

Aspect ratio for Story Ads is 9:16

Resolution 1080 x 1920 px
Choose from single photo, single video, or Instant Experience. Instagram has additional choices: Native Stories Carousel and the Expandable Stories Carousel.

Video length is 15 seconds on Facebook and on Instagram there is an option for the user to “keep watching” up to 60 seconds. Photos are displayed for 5 seconds on Instagram and for 6 seconds on Facebook.

Above all else, remember to have fun with Stories. It’s about authenticity and losing some of that polish we all strive to present on social media. Keep an eye on our Facebook and Instagram as we share some fun, advanced Story tips and tricks over the coming weeks. Reach out to us if you’d like helping creating content for your Stories!


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