Cool Instagram Story hacks are hard to come by because digital marketers and influencers are constantly on the hunt for the latest tips that can give them an edge.
Plus, with all of the updates to Instagram Stories, it’s hard to stay on top of all the amazing features and Instagram tools at your fingertips.
And as if Instagram for business hadn’t already been exploding in popularity, in 2021, roughly 58% of people say they have become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in an Instagram Story.
So what are we waiting for? Let’s jump straight into the Top 20+ Instagram Story hacks of 2021!
The Best Instagram Story Hacks of 2021
- Auto-reply to mentions in Instagram Stories.
- Add a link to Instagram Stories.
- Create a Boomerang on your Instagram Story.
- Dig into Instagram Story insights and Instagram Story analytics.
- Start creating Instagram Reels.
- Become a master Instagram Story editor.
- Make eye-catching Instagram Story backgrounds.
- Create Instagram Story Highlights for your account page.
- Make awesome effects with Instagram’s Eraser tool.
- Run a giveaway using your Instagram Story.
- Create what is known as a “progression” post.
- Sell your products with Instagram Stickers and Shopping Tags.
- Get familiar with all of Instagram Story accessories.
- Hide hashtags and mentions when it benefits your post.
- Save the best Story effects for quick access.
- Share your Instagram feed posts as Stories.
- Answer questions during a live Story.
- Capture the contact info of everyone who mentions you on Instagram.
- Use the best Instagram marketing tools.
- Get Larry Kim’s Top 10 Instagram Hacks for 2021!
- Send automated drip marketing campaigns to your new Instagram contacts!
#1. Instagram Story Hacks: Auto-Reply to Mentions in Instagram Stories
Customers.ai’s Instagram Story Mentions tool will start a chat conversation when someone mentions you or your brand in their Instagram Story.
#2. Instagram Story Hacks: Add a link to Instagram Stories
Our 2nd Instagram Stories hack is actually the second function of the Instagram Story Mentions tool from our 1st Instagram Stories hack.
In the chatbot dialogue that’s instantly triggered when your brand is mentioned, you can add a link to a landing page of your choice. Essentially, this is a brand new way to add a link to Instagram Stories!
Adding links to your Instagram Stories is a guaranteed way to increase your conversions, boost organic engagement, and make it easier for your followers to access the content you want to share.
Before Customers.ai released Instagram marketing tools that allow you to easily add links to Instagram Stories, the Instagram Swipe Up tool revolutionized the way companies and influencers reached their audiences and gained more followers by allowing them to add links directly to their Instagram Stories.
Here’s the catch when it comes to Instagram’s Swipe Up feature: There are certain requirements you need to meet before you’ll have access to it.
To use the Instagram swipe up feature you must:
- Have your profile set up as a Business Profile, and
- Have over 10,000 followers
- Have a verified account (The blue check next to a profile that means Instagram has confirmed that an account is the authentic account of the public entity the account represents).
Workaround this problem if you don’t meet the requirements using Customers.ai to add a link to Instagram Stories.
#3. Instagram Story Hacks: Create a Boomerang on Instagram Story
You can turn your own live photos into Boomerangs in Instagram Stories. You just need to know how to do it.
And as far as Instagram Story hacks go, this one isn’t as widely known.
The reason for that is in order to work, the live photo needs to be taken within the last day (literally 24 hours).
Here’s how to do it:
- Open Instagram Stories, swipe up, and pick a live photo from your camera roll.
- Once selected, press your finger down on the screen for a few seconds until you see the word “Boomerang” appear briefly.
You’ve done it! Your picture has now been turned into a Boomerang where you can see the motion taking place in your photos!
#4. Instagram Story Hacks: Dig into Instagram Story Insights and Instagram Analytics
Instagram collects a ton of great data around your Instagram post’s performance, like the number of impressions, saves, follows, and more.
However, there is one metric you might be missing out on: Story Reshares.
Here’s how to find your Instagram Story Reshares:
- Tap the ellipsis (three dots) in the top right corner of a post.
- Select View Story Reshares from the menu.
- This will take you to a screen that includes your public reshares.
Note that if you don’t see the option to View Story Reshares, that means your Story isn’t being shared. Yikes…hate to break the news to you like that, but yeah. 🤷♂️
So, let’s say that you’re launching a new product or have a big announcement on Instagram and want to share all the UGC (user-generated content) on your Instagram Stories.
This is a great Instagram Story hack to quickly reshare how your followers are reacting and to increase the reach of the big news!
#5. Instagram Story Hacks: Start Creating Instagram Reels
Instagram’s new Reels feature is clearly an attempt to get in on the TikTok action, but it works, and that’s all that matters.
Create a 15-second multi-clip video with music, special effects, and stickers and wow your followers with the other Instagram Story hacks you got up your sleeve.
You can share Reels on your Stories, but they’ll appear on the Explore page as well, so you can impress even more folks with your Story skills.
By incorporating more video content into your content strategy, you’re almost guaranteed to increase engagement on your Instagram profile.
But creating video doesn’t need to feel daunting — in fact, video content can be really easy to make and can drive a lot of attention and engagement to your Instagram account.
Just take a look at how our CEO, Larry Kim, was able to get +10,000 views on his first ever Instagram Reel!
#6. Instagram Story Hacks: Become a Master Instagram Story Editor
Learn the different Instagram editing features
This might not seem like a hack, but it’s simple: If you’re posting an Instagram Story, you should also be taking the time to make edits that make it more interesting for your audience. Period. There are so many ways you can make your images, text, and colors stand out on Stories. Now, let’s run through them!
Here’s a quick breakdown of the six edit icons available in the Instagram Story interface and how they work. Starting from the left:
- Save: The save icon allows you to save the image you are working on, whether it’s just the image itself or if it includes the edits you’ve made. If you’ve added in any gifs or music, it will automatically save as a video!
- Filter: The filter icon allows you to add in some of the VR filters that are available while taking the image or video after the fact – helpful if you don’t know which filter will look best!
- Linking: The linking icon in the row allows you to link something to your story, which can be helpful if you’re talking about a particular topic you’d like people to have the option to navigate to externally. Unfortunately, Instagram doesn’t allow users with lower than 10,000 followers to use this feature unless you’re linking to your own IGTV video.
- Accessories: The accessories icon allows you to add in additional engagement features and stickers, which can also be accessed by swiping up from the editor screen.
- Drawing: Next up is the drawing icon, which allows you to add in handwritten text or drawings using a couple of available brushes and erasers. You can use color selection tools from here!
- Text: Finally, the text icon allows you to add in text, also accessible by tapping anywhere on the screen.
Familiarize yourself with these tools so you can make your stories more appealing and interactive.
#7. Instagram Story Hacks: Create Eye-Catching Story Backgrounds
For our 7th Instagram Story hack, we’ll cover the hack itself, and then cover some more of the details, such as the proper Instagram Story dimensions.
Add your own background when sharing a Feed Post on Instagram
Did you know you can change the background color on an Instagram Story? Okay, you probably knew that.
But did you know that it’s a good idea to add a background when you share a feed post in your Instagram Story?
This Instagram Story hack is asked about quite often. Adding your own background when sharing a feed post to Instagram Stories. Here’s how to do it!
- Download one of the many great image editing apps such as Canva for desktop or the Over mobile app. The key is that you have a tool where you can remove the background or make the background transparent.
- Use the proper Instagram Story size dimensions, which we’ll get to in a minute.
- Now you’ll need to add a background from your mobile. You can find tons on Pinterest and Unsplash, or Canva for desktop.
- Once you have it, resize it so it fills the space.
- Finally, export the image as a PNG.
Now when you share a feed post to Instagram Stories, simply copy and paste the background image from your camera roll.
To do this, start by tapping the “Add post to your story” button on a post. And then open your camera roll and copy the background image.
When you re-open Instagram Stories, the background will pop up as a sticker. All you have to do is drag it across the screen and then tap the feed post through the circle to bring it to the front.
Know your Instagram image size for Stories
The optimal image size for Instagram Stories is 1080 x 1920 pixels.
You have the option of either taking a photo directly in the Stories editor and editing from there or taking the photo on your normal camera app on your phone and importing it.
A few important things to note: If you take the photo on the Stories editor and get right to editing, you’re confined to using Instagram’s presets and image editor, though the images will be in the exact size that stories require (1080px by 1920px).
On the flip side, if you take the photo in the camera app, you’ll have more options for editing in other editing apps or the app that’s built into your phone.
However, when you import the edited image into the Stories editor, it will need to be zoomed a bit to avoid a border on the outside. Hopefully, the photo is of high enough quality that when you upload it and zoom in, it retains its quality.
But here’s the solution you want to adopt: Take the photo in the Stories editor, then save it to your camera roll by tapping the download button, and edit it in an external app.
That way, when you import it again, your image size is correct, and you have the creative liberty to use any editing apps you want to fit your aesthetic.
If you’re looking to edit within the platform, take your photo to start. Keep in mind lighting and focal points to optimize the look of the image. Once you have the photo, swipe to the left and right to show Instagram’s 12 preset filters and choose the one you like best.
#8. Instagram Story Hacks: Use Instagram Story Highlights
Instagram Story Highlights are collections of pictures, videos, and posts that you’ve posted to your Instagram Story in the past.
And even though Stories disappear after 24 hours, Instagram Story Highlights live permanently on your profile, allowing you to add or delete content from them at any time.
That means you can still highlight specific Stories and continue to share some of your most engaging content on Instagram. Think of it as your evergreen Instagram content.
If you’re not already familiar with Instagram Story Highlights, here’s an example from one of our favorite marketing tools, SEMrush:
What should you use your Instagram Story Highlights for? Here are some popular options:
- Showcase different products on your Instagram profile.
- Promote events.
- Show what you’ve been up to or “behind the scenes.”
- Create interactive content customers can continue to engage with, such as interactive polls.
- Answer your followers FAQs (frequently asked questions).
- Feature product tutorials.
- Highlight customer testimonials.
- Share sales and promotional discounts.
#9. Instagram Story Hacks: Make Awesome Effects with Instagram’s Eraser Tool
Here’s another one of the cool Instagram Story Hacks. The eraser tool doesn’t sound like one of the “cool” editing features, however, you can actually use it to create all kinds of cool effects on your Instagram Stories.
For example, you can use the drawing tool to draw zig-zag around a person or an object.
And then use the eraser tool to erase parts of the zig-zag to create a 3-D effect.
This is just one of many ways that you can use the eraser feature to create a cool design effect on your Instagram Story!
#10. Instagram Story Hacks: Run a Giveaway Using your Instagram Story
Ask participants to upload a photo of themselves using your product or service in an Instagram Story.
This is another easy opportunity to spread brand awareness, since your participants’ posts will be seen by their own network of followers and friends. You should ask participants to include your brand’s hashtag, or tag your brand, for optimal visibility.
And even better, if you ask the contestant to tag your Instagram handle in their IG Story, you capture their contact information using the Customers.ai Instagram Story Mentions tool.
Here’s an example of someone mentioning Customers.ai’s Instagram handle in their IG Story, and what happens afterwards:
Instantly, you receive a notification message from Customers.ai along with a text in the Messenger app.
Then, if you tap on the notification, the Messenger app opens automatically and a chatbot dialogue begins.
This is a great option for running a contest or giveaway because you can immediately thank the person for sharing news about your campaign and ask them to perform another action.
Furthermore, in your thank you note, let the contestant know how many points or entries into the giveaway they just earned. This serves as instant gratification, which highly increases the chances of them performing more actions to help spread the news of your giveaway!
Learn more about how to do a giveaway on Instagram!
#11. Instagram Story Hacks: Create “Progression” Posts
Build the anxiety and increase your engagement over several Story posts, by adding new elements to the same base image.
Here’s how to do it, step-by-step:
- Craft a Story post as usual with video, photos, text, stickers, or drawings.
- Before you upload it, click the save icon (the downward-facing arrow above a line) at the top to download your composition to your camera roll (if you’ve added any gifs or music, this will save as a video)
- Upload your story by clicking the Send To button on the bottom right corner.
- Next, start a new Story.
- Select Create, then go to your camera roll and select that first story you’ve saved
- Now, you can seamlessly build on top of that first story with additional elements..
- “Save” this new creation to your camera roll and upload.
- Repeat as many times as you wish!
#12. Instagram Story Hacks: Sell Your Products with Stickers and Tags
If you’re taking advantage of Instagram Shopping, you can tag your one product in each Instagram Story with a product sticker.
When shoppers want to learn more about that cool product, they’ll just click on the sticker and head to your Shop to begin their digital shopping spree. Learn how to set up your Instagram shop here.
How to do it:
- Build your Instagram story and tap the sticker icon.
- Select Product.
- Choose the item from your product catalog.
- Customize the product sticker to suit your brand.
Thanks to this feature, consumers browsing Instagram can complete a full buyer journey from discovery to purchase without leaving the app.
Shoppable Posts have been a welcomed change as most marketers are used to Instagram’s lack of links.
Most Instagram business accounts only have one link in their bio, which makes it difficult to get clicks to drive traffic to your website. With the addition of shoppable Instagram posts, qualified accounts have the luxury of adding multiple links to a single image that leads followers and fans back to their websites, or purchasing directly on Instagram.
#13. Instagram Story Hacks: Take Advantage of Instagram Accessories
Once you choose your images, select your colors, and set up your text, Instagram has a ton of additional features you can use to bring more life to your Stories.
Swipe up on the edit screen to show more options, including location, mention, hashtag, gif, music, time, polls, questions, countdown, quizzes, chat, stickers, and much more.
Notice the different stickers available for engagement. You can swipe-up again to get even more!
While you have the option to add in mentions and hashtags in the Stories format, you’re not confined to this option. You can also add mentions and hashtags in the same way you add text, and format them accordingly.
Questions, polls, and quizzes can be valuable tools for driving engagement through your Stories and a really great way to interact directly with your followers. Try out each format with different content to see what resonates best.
#14. Instagram Story Hacks: Hide Hashtags and Mentions
Let’s say you have an amazing image, but you want to increase your Story’s visibility by adding hashtags and mentions. However, you don’t want to muck-up your image.
Preserve your aesthetic vision by tucking unsightly hashtags or tags away. It’s the digital equivalent of hiding your electrical cords behind your desk or TV stand.
Here are two methods for how to do it:
Hide Hashtags and Mentions: Method #1
- Type out your hashtags and mentions.
- Hit the stickers button and select your camera roll.
- Add an image from your camera roll, which will be placed on top of your hashtags to obscure them.
- Resize your image to fill the screen: the hashtags are technically there for Instagram to read, but human eyes won’t be able to see!
Hide Hashtags and Mentions: Method #2
- If you start off creating a post with an image, add a text box on top and type your hashtags and mentions.
- With the text box still active, click on the rainbow wheel at the top of the screen.
- Tap the eyedropper icon.
- Tap a spot on the photo to change the text to that same color and blend in.
- Resize the text box if necessary.
#15. Instagram Story Hacks: Save the Best Story Effects for Quick Access
This is an exciting hack that many people do not know about: You can save your favorite Stories filters for easy access.
First, open up the camera within Instagram Stories and swipe through all of your filters until you see an icon that says Browse Effects. Tap that to open the Effect Gallery.
If you see an effect that catches your eye, tap it in the gallery to see a preview. Tap Try It at the bottom of the screen to try it in your Stories camera. You can also scroll the list of other effects at the bottom of the camera screen to see what they do.
If you see an effect you want to save, tap on the name of the effect at the bottom of the screen and choose Save Effect in the pop-up. All of your saved filters will appear to the left of the record button in your Stories camera for easy access.
Another way to find fun filters is by looking at the filters other people are using.
If you open the Story of someone you follow and they’re using a filter, you’ll see the filter name below their username at the top-left corner of the screen. Tap on the filter name to open a pop-up that will let you save the effect so you can use it yourself.
#16. Instagram Story Hacks: Share your Feed Posts as Stories
Is your feed post not getting as much engagement as you thought? Posting your important feed posts to your Instagram Story can help you get more eyes on the post and create the engagement you are looking for.
Similarly to when you want to boost a post on Facebook because it’s performing well, you now have another option. Take your Instagram posts with the most engagement and turn them into a Story.
Posting feed photos can also help when your audience needs a reminder about a specific event. That could include a giveaway, promotion, or important event coming up.
#17. Instagram Story Hacks: Answer Questions during a Live Story
Answering your followers’ questions on an Instagram Live Story is an amazing way to get super-high engagement on Instagram.
In order to answer questions during a Live Story, you need to:
- Prompt your audience for questions in advance of your Q&A with a Questions sticker.
- Once you’ve gone live, tap the question-mark icon at the bottom of the screen.
- Tap the question you’d like to answer, and it will appear on your Live screen as you broadcast.
- Questions will be greyed out once it has been selected so that you don’t pick it again.
#18. Instagram Story Hacks: Capture the Contact info of Everyone who Mentions you on Instagram
Remember Instagram Story Hacks #1 and #2? If not, quickly remind yourself of their greatness.
Now, if you want to capture the contact info of the people mentioning you in their Instagram Stories, here’s what to do. Use one of many Customers.ai chat widgets to capture and save their name, phone, email and more.
This is a great opportunity to make sure all your fans are added to your newsletters, SMS marketing, and other channel lists.
#19. Instagram Story Hacks: Use the Best Instagram Marketing Tools
To create great Instagram Stories, you need the best Instagram tools.
Grab 12 of the best Instagram marketing tools available in 2021, and learn the different use cases for how you should implement them ASAP!
Among the 12 use cases and numerous Instagram marketing tools in the post, you’ll find:
- The best chatbot for Instagram.
- How to do a giveaway on Instagram.
- Image and video editing software for Instagram.
- The best Instagram analytics for business.
- Software for selling more products on Instagram.
- Apps to create videos for Instagram.
- A highly coveted hashtag generator app for Instagram.
- The best Instagram tool to schedule posts on Instagram.
- How to add your Instagram feed to your website.
- Tools to run Instagram video ads.
- How to place a dynamic link in your Instagram bio.
- Instagram analytics apps to measure performance on mobile.
#20. Instagram Story Hacks: Get Larry Kim’s Top 10 Instagram Hacks for 2021!
Looking for more ways to increase engagement on Instagram and grow your following? Customers.ai CEO, Larry Kim, has found some new and shockingly effective Instagram growth hacks for 2021!
You’ll learn how Larry took his relatively dormant Instagram account at the beginning of 2021, implemented these 10 hacks, and got the following results:
- 130% increase in visibility (account reach).
- 72% increase in engagement (content interactions).
- 171% increase in impressions.
- 256% increase in profile visits.
- 250% increase in website taps.
Larry has been an influencer in the digital marketing world for over a decade now. Never has he been more excited about the potential for growth on a platform as he is in 2021 with Instagram. Top among his reasons for excitement, is due to using his own software to build influence on Instagram.
#21. Instagram Story Hacks: Automated DM Drip Campaigns
Perhaps the most universally appreciated Instagram DM tools by Customers.ai, are drip marketing campaigns.
Drip campaigns have been available to Customers.ai users on Facebook for some time now. Not surprisingly, drip campaigns are popular among Customers.ai users because they’re extremely effective in both increasing engagement on Instagram, as well as working Facebook leads down your marketing funnels.
Want a live demo on how Instagram DM drip campaigns work?
Check out Larry Kim’s Instagram page and click on the “Message” button.
Then, send Larry a direct message using the word “DRIP” to trigger the drip sequence! You’ll receive 5 helpful messages over the course of 5 minutes.
Want to learn more about Instagram direct message marketing campaigns, such as drip sequences?
Here’s how to create Instagram DM drip campaigns, step-by-step!
Customers.ai is a significantly upgraded version of the old Instagram follower bots, as well as one of the top 10 tools for Instagram influencers to grow their presence and increase engagement in 2021.
And for the latest Instagram tools to hit the market, learn about the latest 100% Instagram-approved chatbot and sign up now!
Then, get to learning more great Instagram marketing tips!
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Instagram Story Hacks: Important Next Steps
Adding Messenger to Instagram will create a 3.3 billion user network. Between Facebook Messenger users and Instagram Messenger users, that’s roughly 43% of the world’s population on one chat platform.
Frequently Asked Questions about Instagram Story Hacks
Q: Can I schedule Instagram Stories in advance?
A: No, Instagram does not provide a native feature to schedule Stories in advance. However, you can use third-party social media management tools or apps that offer Instagram Story scheduling functionality. These tools allow you to plan and schedule your Stories, ensuring timely and consistent content delivery.
Q: How can I add a swipe-up link to my Instagram Stories?
A: To add a swipe-up link to your Instagram Stories, you need to meet the eligibility criteria. Currently, only accounts with 10,000 or more followers or verified accounts can access this feature. Once eligible, you can simply tap on the chain icon at the top of your Story editor and enter the desired URL. Followers can then swipe up on your Story to visit the linked page.
Q: Are there any creative ways to enhance my Instagram Story engagement?
A: Yes, here are a few creative ways to enhance Instagram Story engagement:
- Use interactive features like polls, quizzes, or question stickers to encourage audience participation.
- Add location tags and hashtags to increase discoverability and engage with a broader audience.
- Create visually appealing and well-designed Stories using templates, GIFs, stickers, or filters.
- Share behind-the-scenes content, exclusive sneak peeks, or limited-time offers to make your Stories more valuable.
- Collaborate with influencers or feature user-generated content to foster community engagement.
Experimenting with these tactics can help boost your Instagram Story engagement and make it more interactive.
Q: Can I see who viewed my Instagram Story?
A: Yes, Instagram provides a feature that allows you to see who viewed your Instagram Story. Simply open your Story, swipe up, and you will be able to view a list of users who have seen your Story. Keep in mind that this list includes both your followers and anyone who viewed your Story via hashtags or location tags, depending on your privacy settings.
Frequently Asked Questions about Instagram Story Hacks
Q: Can I add music to my Instagram Stories?
A: Yes, you can add music to your Instagram Stories using the music sticker feature. Simply open the Story editor, select the sticker icon, and choose the music sticker option. From there, you can search for songs, browse popular tracks, and customize the appearance of the music sticker. This allows you to enhance your Stories with catchy tunes and create a more engaging experience for your viewers.
Q: How can I create visually appealing Instagram Story highlights?
A: To create visually appealing Instagram Story highlights, consider these tips:
- Design eye-catching cover images that represent the theme or content of each highlight.
- Use consistent colors, fonts, or visual elements across your highlight covers for a cohesive look.
- Arrange your highlight covers strategically to create an organized and visually pleasing profile.
- Ensure the content of your highlights is valuable, informative, or entertaining to engage your audience.
- Regularly update and curate your highlights to keep them relevant and fresh.
Following these practices will help you create attractive and engaging Instagram Story highlights.
Q: Can I promote my products or services through Instagram Stories?
A: Absolutely! Instagram Stories provide a great opportunity to promote your products or services. You can showcase your offerings through engaging visuals, videos, or product demonstrations. Utilize features like the swipe-up link (if eligible) to direct viewers to your website or product page. Additionally, consider using interactive stickers or engaging storytelling techniques to capture the attention of your audience and drive conversions.
Q: How can I use Instagram Story ads to reach a wider audience?
A: Instagram Story ads are a powerful tool to reach a wider audience. To use them effectively, follow these steps:
- Create an engaging and visually appealing ad that aligns with your campaign goals.
- Choose your target audience based on demographics, interests, or behavior.
- Set a budget and duration for your ad campaign.