I’ve been embracing and loving Instagram stories the last few months and pushing myself to get back into giving a unfiltered real look into the behind the scenes of my business and life.  So far the feedback has been great and if it helps even one person take a step towards doing what they love for a living then I’ll consider it successful.

If you’re not already following me on Instagram come on over (@annawithlove)

Here are some easy quick tips to up your IG story game:

1. Subtitle your (talking) stories

There is one person who has done this from the very beginning and that’s my girl Alex Beadon – its so easy to watch her stories even if I can’t have the volume on.  I can quickly read what she’s saying or get the gist of what’s going on in the video to follow.  Give this a try and see how it goes!

When I would use this: On important IG stories you really want people to watch / stick with till the end!

This was a video of me talking about my editing process. I also added in a written summary of what I was talking about.

2. Hi-Light your Highlights

The second Instagram released their hi-lights feature on Instagram Stories I was excited to see how creative everyone was going to get here! I immediately saw so much potential – Instagram could pretty much be a mini blog at this point.  You can create your own “cover image” for each section like I did (see below) or snag a set at Creative Market.

I’d love to see Instagram roll out an option to “pin” a hi-light to the front (like the way you can pin a post at the top on Facebook) – this way you could essentially have a “WELCOME” hi-light that would work similar to a youtube channel trailer to give potential new readers a quick taste of what they can expect on your feed. Oh the possibilities…

Not sure how to apply this to your profile? no problem. Here are some examples to get your creative juices flowing:

Nutritionist: Recipes, Snacks, Desserts, Grocery Bag (would be cute to show what you buy at the grocery store!)

Life Coach: Mantra, Inspiration, Motivation, Quotes, Life Lessons (fill each of these with your unique message you want to put out to the world)f

Lifestyle Blogger: Style, Beauty, Under $100 (for your finds!), Decor, Work, Tips, Home Tour, Daily Life

Shop: On Sale, Sign Up, Reviews, New Products, Featured Products etc.

Photographers: Folio (this can be a mini website to showcase your work!), Behind the Scenes, Equipment, Inspiration, Photo Tips

Here are some of my favourites I’ve seen:

My little icons @annawithlove

One of the first people I saw do these icons: @marianna_hewitt

My girl always ahead of the game, @stephsterjovski

New Mama’s you’ll love her! @courtney_shields

My long time friend, @manoloxtendo 

How cute are these, @krystin_lee

I adore how real Rachel keep is & love the words as “cover photos” as well @girlconfident

And if you don’t want to use the cover images, I love how my friend Ana added emoji’s in the title @bluebirdkisses

3. Use Polls

This has quickly become a favourite of mine to post and interact with on others stories.  If you think about it it’s never been possible to get real time feedback from your audience so quickly.  This is a complete game-changer.  You don’t have to wonder, worry or guess what your readers prefer you can quickly ask them (people love giving their two cents and feedback).  For example I asked if everyone wanted to see a BTS of how I created this image and almost everyone said yes!

Have fun with this feature!  Survey your readers and get them involved.  I personally love when people I’m following do this because like everyone else I love giving my feedback and casting my vote in!

Below I did two survey’s one (more fun) to name my new blanket & the other to see if my readers found my editing / behind the scene video helpful.

4. Be Real

I’ve always had a pretty curated and styled Instagram feed.  I am a photographer after all, so I’ve used this space to showcase what I do – be it with my branding photoshoots or with my spin on daily life.  This is very much ‘real’ in regards to my work and my profession but its not what my day-to-day looks like. I like that I can pop onto Instagram stories with no make up, casual and show the real behind the scenes.  My work, my family, playing with J and being mom to prepping for photoshoots and what’s inspiring me.

There was a while there I would hold back from posting because I felt a pressure for it to look just as nice as my feed.  I missed snapchat because I would post all the real BTS there.  I’m glad I got over it because since ‘going for it’ and showing parts of my real life I’ve connected with SO many of my readers who are amazing, talented, love to create and share my sense of humour!

Be real, share your wins but also your failures what didn’t work – share what you love and what you’re struggling with – give people a real look inside your world.  Trust me, we’re all thirsty for some more real-ness these days!

5. It’s a peek into your day not a play by play

For those of you thinking “I don’t have the time to think about posting on IG stories on top of EVERYTHING else we have to do and remember” Good news! It’s easy and doesn’t take a ton of time.  Think of it more as a sneak peek / day in the life preview vs. chronicling every moment.

Truth bomb: I’m not good at posting in the moment.  I really suck at it actually. What I am good though is capturing things quickly in the moment.  When I’m with Yianni the last thing I want to be doing (or he wants me to be doing) is sitting there decorating my videos and photos to post on Instagram stories.  I usually go about our day and do our business capturing whatever I want as it happens.  As parents – we’re all taking a million photos / videos of our kids anyway – As biz owners you’re always doing/working on something in your business – stop for a second take a photo/video of whats happening and move on.

When J goes down for a nap or in the evening when I have a spare second then I’ll batch post from my camera roll.  Figure out what works best for you and do it.  There aren’t any rules here, just make it fun and enjoyable!

While I was in NYC + GREECE last year I would post everything once we were back in the hotel room and J was asleep for the night.

I like to think of Instagram stories as a “Day in the life” kind of article. You’re re-capping moments of your day not chronicling your entire day.  It’s also completely okay to skip a day or two and just share other things – screen grabs – new people to follow / who’s inspiring you or funny memes (always welcomed!) or post nothing at all.

6. Give sneak peeks to your blog posts + new posts

Gone are the days where people would flock to their blog rolls on their computer or laptop with their coffee’s in hand…well, I’m still one of those people (I’m sure I’m not the only one?).  I love when people I’m following give a little tease on what’s inside their feed or whats new on the blog.  If I’m curious or interested enough I’ll click through to see.

I would tease your readers and give them a reason why they should swipe up or go to your profile to read your blog post.  For new blog posts you could post a few excerpts or a little enticing blurb about that the post is about. For a new Instagram post share what’s going on or whats inside it.  Make it intriguing and fun.

Here are a few examples:

Did you find this helpful? Leave a comment and let me know!
Would love to hear from you.

If you’d like me to cover any other topics you can email me anna@annawithlove.com or leave a comment below!

Lots of love, Anna