32 Instagram Story Ideas for More Views and Engagement

These ready-to-copy creative Instagram story ideas will help you fill up your content calendar and delight your audience.

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Once you post an Instagram story, it’s only up for 24 hours… but in internet time, that’s plenty. Ask any social media manager who’s posted something by accident: every minute matters.

500 million users access Instagram stories every day. That means that Instagram stories are an excellent opportunity for businesses ( 58% of users say they’re more interested in a brand after seeing them post a story, and stories generate a quarter of the platform’s total ad revenues) to make some serious cash.

Whether you’re using Instagram for your company or just for fun, stories are a key part of growing your audience. Posting a story is easy enough. But you don’t want viewers to just tap through your stories—you want them to hit that link button, answer your poll, maybe go to your Instagram shop and treat themselves or listen to your new song on Spotify.

Here are 32 Instagram story ideas you can copy to create high-quality, effective content that will get you more views and engagement .

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32 Instagram story ideas for more views and engagement

Cute instagram story ideas, 1. share a reel or feed post with a “new post” sticker.

You might notice that your stories are getting more views, likes and overall engagement than your Instagram feed posts are. Some users only view Instagram stories and don’t scroll through their feeds at all.

To make sure your content is still reaching those people, you can share new posts (or Instagram Reels) to your story — ideally, adding something like text or a sticker to make it more engaging. There’s plenty of “New Post” stickers that perfectly sum up that action.

share a post with new post sticker

Source: @happybudsbrooklyn on Instagram

Reels are cut off after 15 seconds, but if you want to learn how to share a whole 60-second Reel to your Story, you can check out this video:

2. Hide a new post with a sticker

Similar to the above, you can use a sticker to obscure a photo that you’ve posted or shared to your feed. This creates an intriguing image that is tempting to click on and learn more about—like a lift-the-flap book.

block a photo with a sticker

Source: @gggraphicdesign on Instagram

3. Share UGC with a sticker

Life hack: you don’t even have to make your own content to post a cute Instagram story.

UGC, or user-generated content, is a rich source of engaging content for brands and creators alike. For example, a fashion blogger that takes photos in a cool pair of shoes and then tags the shoe company has provided UGC for the shoe company. It only takes a second for the business to share the post, and it’s a nice change from the polished brand-generated content that’s usually on a company’s Instagram.

This kind of content doesn’t have to be too pretty, either. After a user shared a photo taken in IKEA Canada’s cafeteria and tagged them, the brand reshared the post with a fun sticker. It’s not the Scandi-cool vibe that IKEA is known for, but it’s fun and genuine. It also acts as social proof, subtly letting followers know that other users love Ikea’s meatballs.

share UGC with a sticker

Source: @ikeacanada on Instagram

4. Make a poll

Asking your followers to vote or state their preference using a poll is a great way to engage them, and it’s easy with Instagram’s built-in poll sticker. If your poll references a product, you can link to that product in the same story.

make a poll

Source: @cocokind on Instagram

5. Make a quiz about your content

Test your diehard followers (and get some valuable engagement) by using a quiz sticker and asking them questions about your brand. It’s a fun way for your audience to interact with you as a creator—and answering a question correctly gives all of us a little boost of serotonin, right?

For example, New York Magazine made a quiz about one of their feature stories: you’d have to read the story in order to get the answers. This is an awesome way to encourage followers to read the feature (and hopefully, other posts on the website, too).

make a quiz

Source: @nymag on Instagram

6. Say thank you to your followers

Without your followers, you’re just shouting into the void (which has its place, for sure, but is not really what we are going for from a social media marketing perspective). Show them some love by saying thank-you via your story.

say thank you

Source: @muchable.nl on Instagram

7. Share a coupon code and link

Saving money is cute, right? Sharing a coupon code on your Instagram story as well as a link directly to that product gives followers an incredibly easy route to getting a discount (and you, an incredibly easy route to getting some money).

share a coupon code and linkshare a coupon code and link

Source: @florianlondonuk on Instagram

8. Share content that inspires you

Whether you’re a business or a creator, chances are that you find inspiration somewhere—from a walk in the park, from an indie song, a cool vase you once saw, etc.

Sharing photos or videos of things that make you, you (and make your brand, your brand) is an effective way to communicate a genuine humanity to your followers. You’re not a bot, prove it.

This fashion brand shared photos from the founder’s trip to the fabric store—it’s interesting to see the behind-the-scenes and not just the final product.

share inspiration

Source: @by.ihuoma on Instagram

Cool Instagram story ideas

9. share a great product photo with a product link.

Text, stickers and emojis have their place, but there’s something to be said for a plain, clean, high-quality photo. If you have a great lifestyle shot of one of your products, consider simply sharing that with a link to the product. Effortlessness screams cool.

Hint: Fill in the “text” field when adding a link in your Instagram story to replace the hyperlink. Instead of your website, the tappable sticker can say something like “READ THIS,” “LEARN MORE” or “SHOP NOW.”

link to a product

10. Share an aesthetic photo with a tiny tag

Similar to the above, sharing a single photo that’s not so polished can also be super engaging. There’s a lot of visual pollution on Instagram—buttons, notifications, text, etc.—and creating a moment of peace as users tap through.

Adding a tiny link or tag is cool, too. Like a virtual Where’s Waldo .

share a single cool photo

Source: @savantvision on Instagram

11. Post your out of office message

When you’re going on vacation (you deserve it) you can let your followers know via an Instagram story. It’s an opportunity to share a more personal side of your brand, and to show off a cool vacation photo.

share your out of office message

Source: @mongeyceramics on Instagram

12. Share a photo from another Instagram account

It doesn’t always have to be about you. Sharing content from other accounts (with proper credit, of course) helps you to provide your followers with a more holistic experience, and might even foster some good relationships with other creators.

share something from another account

Source: @ocin on Instagram

13. Use a simple interactive sticker

Different interactive stickers require different amounts of brainpower (and overall effort) to engage with. For example, a question sticker is high-effort — it involves the user thinking of an answer and typing it out. A poll is slightly lower, as the user just has to read the answers and tap one.

A simple emoji reaction sticker like the example below is even easier to interact with. It doesn’t provide a lot of information to you as a creator, but it’s a fun and nearly effortless way for your audience to engage with you.

interactive stickers

14. Make a countdown for an event

Instagram’s countdown stickers are engaging because they’re dynamic—the clock changes every second. The countdown also generates a sense of urgency, encouraging your followers to get excited about the event.


15. Call out specific customers

It’s good to ask permission before doing things like this (some folks might not want to be tagged publicly), but calling out specific customers helps you create a connection with your audience.

This ceramicist tagged the person who ordered a specific piece in a progress photo, sharing cool behind-the-scenes look into her practice.

show progress pics

Source: @katpinoceramics on Instagram

Creative Instagram story ideas

16. give a sneak peek of a sale or special event.

Everyone likes feeling like an insider, and providing your followers with a little pre-event content helps to hype them up. This kind of story doesn’t have to be polished: give your audience an authentic look at what kind of preparation goes into your work.

For example, this vintage store owner took a video of themselves making posters for an upcoming sale.

Source: @almahomevintage on Instagram

17. Announce a contest winner

Hosting a contest or giveaway on Instagram is a great way to gain followers—but you can also create effective engagement when you’re announcing the winners.

Posting a contest winner on your stories is good for two reasons. First, it can help notify a contest winner that they’ve won, and second, it helps to prove the legitimacy of your contest to your followers. After all, how many contests have you entered and never heard back from?

Non-winners (or folks who didn’t enter in the first place) will be more likely to enter future contest when they are reminded that there’s actually a winner.

announce a contest winner

18. Share a positive review

You can advertise all you want, but nothing hypes your business up quite like a positive review. Share one on your Instagram story to humbly show your followers how terrific you are.

share a review

Source: @michellechartrandphotography on Instagram

19. Show off your craft

If you work in a creative industry, you can use the story sticker to flaunt your skills. This works best if you’ve got some time on your hands. (Binging a mindless reality show? This might be the time to get busy.)

For example, this artist devoted some time to doodling their followers’ suggestions, creating a really engaging lineup of Instagram stories.

show off your craft

Source: @vaish.illustrates on Instagram

20. Share progress photos

Rome wasn’t built in a day, they say, and if Romans had Instagram you can bet they would have been showing progress pics. Sharing several photos of the same thing in different stages can be super compelling (like this Porche illustrator ’s story).

show progress 1

Instagram story question ideas

21. ask for followers’ suggestions.

Take advantage of your follower’s wealth of knowledge and connections by asking them for suggestions. This can be something that’s related to your business or brand ( “What scent of candle should I make next?” ) or something personal ( “Hairdresser recommendations in Chicago?” ).

On top of gathering valuable insight, this has the added bonus of making your followers feel like you value their input—which, of course, you do.

ask for user suggestions

Source: @yelpmsp on Instagram

22. Encourage followers to ask questions about your event

If you have an event coming up, in-person or online, you can generate some buzz by asking your followers if they have any questions about it. This is also an effective way to gauge how well you’ve been delivering information (if you get lots of questions about what time it starts, for example, you might want to check that you made that info public in the first place).

Source: @greyscollective on Instagram

23. Create a specific “ask me anything”

“Ask me anything” or “AMA” is often used when creators ask questions on their Instagram stories.

But such a broad request can yield fewer responses. It’s better to be specific in your ask. For example, this artist challenged followers to ask his “Top 4 Anything,” which encourages them to really think about a question. (Top 4 dog breeds? Top 4 pizza toppings? Top 4 seasons?)

ask a question

24. Ask for anonymous questions or feedback

Full disclosure: the internet can be a very mean, very angry place, so make sure you’re in a good mental state when embarking on this sort of Instagram story question adventure.

Through the new NGL app , you can add a question sticker that allows anyone to submit a message anonymously. This can be fun for your followers and might result in some surprising (and brutally honest) feedback. It’s also an opportunity for your audience to ask questions without judgement.

answer anonymous questions

Source: @eunicechanphoto on Instagram

Instagram story layout ideas

25. share an aesthetic collage.

Not every story you post has to have an actionable component—in fact, posting too many stories with polls, question stickers and links can get a little exhausting for your followers.

Break it up by posting a beautiful collage (lifestyle photos of your brand, if you like, or even just a few pretty pictures from your camera roll).

share an aesthetic collage

Source: @tofinosoapco on Instagram

If you want to learn how to add multiple photos in an Instagram Story , this video will help:

26. Use a photo editing app to create a cool layout

There are thousands of photo editing apps that are designed specifically for Instagram. The options can be overwhelming (and expensive) but we’ve done a rundown of the best tools for Instagram in a handy dandy blog post .

use a program to make a graphic

27. Gather old posts under a new theme

Think of this like a quick and dirty Instagram Guide — you can share a bunch of your past content under a new theme for a fun, visually compelling story.

For example, Canada’s Drag Race shared past photos of drag queens under the theme of elements (Au for a gold look, etc).

combine posts into a theme

Source: @canadasdragrace on Instagram

Instagram story design ideas

28. layer one photo on top of another.

By using a pretty background photo and then choosing another picture from your phone’s album to layer on top of it (do this by finding the Camera Roll sticker), you can get a two-in-one look.

This is a great way to share tweets via Instagram—it’s much more interesting than the screenshot alone.

layer one photo on top of the other

Source: @thefilmscritic on Instagram

29. Share an informative graphic

Using Hootsuite’s free Instagram stories templates , you can combine photos and text into beautiful graphics that communicate valuable information to your followers (like what’s for breakfast).

share an informative graphic

Source: @thebeaulab on Instagram

30. Share multiple stories under one theme

If you have lots of photos to share, consider sharing them as separate stories instead of making a collage. The user experience is sort of like flipping through a book—your followers have to turn the page (tap the screen) to find out what’s next.

This vintage-inspired clothing brand showed off an outfit that can be worn four different ways by posting a separate story for each style. They introduced the quartet of stories with a cover, which is a clean way to ease your followers into the narrative you’re constructing.

share multiple stories under one theme

Source: @shop.lovefool on Instagram

31. Use an emoji to suggest tapping to the next slide

An emoji or sticker pointing to the right is a helpful hint to users that there’s more in store. This is a good strategy to use if you have a lot of information to communicate in your stories. It’s better to share info in small chunks, so your stories don’t get overwhelming.

use an emoji to suggest the next slide

Source: @poshmarkcanada on Instagram

32. Share a single photo with some educational text

This is an excellent way to share digestible bits of information with your followers. It’s simple and clean, so it’s pleasing to the eye. Pick a single photo and choose a few sentences to accompany it.

If the message you want to convey is too long, use several photos as separate stories, so the viewer has to tap through to read—that’s what Patagonia does in this story.

share company history

Source: @patagonia on Instagram

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Alyssa Hirose is a magazine editor, playwright, comedian and comic artist based in Vancouver, B.C. She attributes her great sense of humour to 9 years of braces and good ol' elementary school bullying (unrelated, unfortunately).

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Instagram Stories: What They Are and How to Make One Like a Pro

Sophia Bernazzani Barron

Updated: October 06, 2022

Published: July 12, 2021

These days, social media is all about documentation.


Where you go, what you eat and drink, who you see, and what's most memorable: These are the typical fodder of Instagram Stories — seconds-long glimpses of people's lives, shared on Instagram for only 24 hours.

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Below, we've created a guide for you to learn what Instagram Stories are, how to share them with your followers, and how to make sure those Stories are exactly what your audience wants to see.

We'll cover the following:

What are Instagram Stories?

How do instagram stories work.

  • Instagram Stories vs. Instagram Highlights

How long are Instagram Stories?

How to view instagram stories, how to make an instagram story, how to use instagram stories for business.

  • Instagram Stories Tricks and Hacks

Let's get started.

An Instagram Story is an in-app features that allows users to share ephemeral content available for 24 hours. With Instagram's current UI, recently posted Stories are denoted by a gradient border around the user's profile picture.

Your Instagram Story is published separately from your in-feed content. Although you might know the basics of sharing them, there are hidden tools within the app that can make the photos and videos you add to your Story more creative and engaging.

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When posting an Instagram Story, you can add stickers, time stamps, and doodles to each Story and apply certain filters and effects.

If your account is public, your Story is visible to anyone, but if your account is private, your Story is only visible to those who follow you.

Viewers have the option of directly responding to your Story via direct message (DM), liking it, or sharing it with their followers. You do have the option to disable replies in your app's settings .

You can also see who's viewed it by opening up your Story and swiping up on your screen.

instagram stories viewers

Instagram Stories vs. Instagram Story Highlights

Instagram Stories is a feature that allows you to post ephemeral content available for up to 24 hours. Instagram Story Highlights are collections of saved Instagram Stories that live on a user's profile.

instagram highlights brand example

Brands and content creators often use Highlights to give their content a second life and add another element of curation to their profile.

It's a great place to share user-generated content, customer reviews, and FAQs - essentially anything that doesn't quite have a place in the feed but is valuable to your audience.

Learn how to create an Instagram Highlight here.

Why should you use Instagram Stories?

Instagram Stories can drive a ton of engagement and value — whether you're sharing a Story from a brand account or your own personal profile.

Instagram Stories have fueled the growth of brands like Anima Iris and Glamnetic .

Whether publishers are trying to grow brand awareness, grow traffic to videos or newsletters outside of Instagram, or share sponsored posts, Instagram Stories allows them to publish fun disappearing content that infuses brand voice and personality without taking up too much of the average user's dwindling attention span .

That's why Instagram Stories are so short and why they only last a short while on the platform.

Instagram Stories last 24 hours on your profile before disappearing, but a video inside your Story can be up to 15 seconds long before cutting to the next piece of content. You can also use a third-party app to segment a longer video into 15-second increments to add to your Story.

Just as Instagram Stories only last 24 hours before disappearing, the photos and videos themselves have a time limit when users view and play them.

As a blanket rule, the individual videos you add to your Instagram Story each have a maximum roll time of 15 seconds. If you add a one-minute video to your Instagram Story, for example, it will be broken up into 15-second segments.

Instagram Stories appear at the top of your screen when you're on the Instagram mobile app.

Because they're often the first pieces of content users see when they open Instagram, these Stories can get a ton of engagement and help you advertise your regular Instagram photo gallery to more users.

Let's go over how you can view Instagram Stories.

1. Open Instagram and navigate to the home screen.

To start viewing Instagram Stories, open your Instagram mobile app and tap the home icon on the bottom-lefthand corner of your screen.

Once you've navigated to Instagram's home screen, you'll see a series of circular icons along the top, each of which represents the active Stories posted by the users you follow.

Your own Story is available for viewing on the far left of the Stories you follow.

Instagram Stories carousel in the Instagram app's home page

2. Tap on a circular icon to view that user's Story.

Each circular icon you see at the top of your home screen will have a gradient circle around it, denoting that the user has recently posted a Story.

Tap on it to expand the user's Story — it will play automatically and go to the next user's Story.

3. Tap left and right to explore a user's story.

A single Instagram Story can contain numerous individual photos and videos strung together in the order it was shared.

To see earlier Stories, tap the screen on the left. To see recent Stories, tap on Ithe right. You'll see Stories organized from oldest to newest.

Black menu of finger motions for watching Instagram Stories on a mobile device

If you want to skip some Stories, you can easily do so by tapping to the right.

4. Use an Instagram Story viewer to view Stories privately.

Did you know that you can use a third-party tool to view Stories without the user knowing?

You might want to do this if you're scouting freelancers and don't want them to see you first. Some Story viewers allow you to autosave copies of the Stories, while others will offer a paid option so you can automatically save copies of new Stories.

Inflact is one of those apps - Stories are available on the web, you don't need to download an app. You can search for any username, and copies of the Stories posted from that username will pop up.

Instagram Story viewer example

All you need to do is create an account. Here's what that looks like in Ingramer's Instagram Story viewer :

Additional tools you can use include:

  • Instafollowers.co
  • Insta-Stories.online
  • StoriesDown

Ready to start posting? Let's go over how you can create Instagram Stories step-by-step.

  • Open up the Instagram app on your phone and tap your profile picture near the upper left-hand corner. Alternatively, swipe right to open up the camera.
  • Choose a filter by swiping right and left at the bottom. You'll be able to preview each filter live.
  • Capture a photo or video using the camera.
  • Alternatively, skip the two previous steps and swipe up on your screen to browse your gallery. Choose an existing photo or video.
  • Add stickers, time stamps, or GIFs to the Story.
  • Once you've finished editing your photo or video, tap Your Story to share it with all of your followers.

You can make successful Instagram Stories too — but it requires a few more hacks and tips to make them look like the Stories big brands and influencers share.

But first, let's review the basics of how to share an Instagram Story.

1. Open up the Instagram app and tap your profile picture near the upper left-hand corner.

To start posting a Story, open up the Instagram app and click on your profile image in the top left corner. You can also swipe right or click the plus sign near the top right.

Options to open up the Instagram Story creator on the Instagram feed page

If you click the + sign, you'll automatically be prompted to create a post instead of a Story. To get to the Story creator, choose Story at the bottom right.


2. Choose a filter and image capture mode.

Once you start creating your Story, you can choose a filter by swiping right and left on the filter carousel at the bottom of the screen.

Filter options within Instagram Stories

Normal means choosing no option. It means what it says: Tapping once on the camera button will capture a photo, and holding down will record a video.

Instagram Stories can be 15 seconds in length, so if you want to share a video that's longer, film in 15-second stints, or split your longer clip into 15-second installments.

Create mode will take you to a screen where you can create a Story from scratch. On this screen, you can choose stickers, place gifs, and write text.

Boomerang mode films looping GIFs up to three seconds in length.

Layout mode will take you to a screen with four quadrants, in which you can capture four different photos. You can change the style of the grid.


Multi-capture mode allows you to capture photos and videos consecutively without needing to upload them separately to your Story.

Photobooth mode allows you to take four photos that then appear in consecutive order in your Story. There's a flash in between, giving the effect of photos taken in an actual photo booth.

Use hands-free mode if you want to set up your camera to film a video for you. Make sure you prop it somewhere stable before you start recording. We'll talk more about this feature in a minute.

The level option will overlay a grid over your camera so that you can accurately align objects so that they're straight. You can combine this option with other image capture modes such as multi-capture and photobooth.

3. Capture a photo or video using the camera.

Now that you've chosen your filter and image capture mode, it's time to actually start filming and creating content. Hold down on the button to film a video, and tap once to capture an image.

If you don't like the filter, you can change it. You can also add stickers, text, and drawings.

4. Once you've edited your photo or video, tap "Your Story."

You can also save your edited photo or video to your gallery by tapping the "Download" icon up top.

Finished Instagram Story

Knowing how to post to your Instagram Story is one thing, but knowing what to post is a different ... well, story.

For businesses looking to tell their story on Instagram , it's important to know who your ideal followers are and what they'd be interested in seeing on Instagram. Remember, Instagram is a visual platform, but that doesn't mean you can't teach or promote something in the process.

Below, we cover a few ideas for using Instagram Stories to attract followers and build a customer base.

  • Post footage of an office event.
  • Post breaking news about your industry.
  • Demonstrate your product.
  • Promote a company event.
  • Preview one of your company's blog posts.
  • Mention other companies who follow or work with you.

1. Post footage of an office event.

Sometimes, the best thing a business can do on Instagram is be as human as possible. One way to do this is to post a brief video of a company function.

Whether it's an office holiday party or an award banquet, posting footage of it to your Story is easy and in-the-moment entertainment for your followers. This content also shows people you're a relevant and friendly voice in your market.

2. Post breaking news about your industry.

Just as you might on your company blog, you can use your Instagram Story to report on the latest happenings in your industry. With the right design work, you can turn small news breaks — that don't merit an entire article — into a Story on your Instagram account.

This keeps users coming back to you to stay abreast with market trends. You can even ask users what they think, as shown in the Instagram Story by HubSpot below. We'll explain how Instagram "stickers" can help you do this in just a minute.

Instagram Story example sharing news

3. Showcase your product.

Your product might not be the simplest or sexiest product in the eyes of the layperson. Well, your Instagram Story is the perfect format for showing potential customers how that product is used. Post a long video, segmented into 15-second clips that show users what your product or service does and how it helps your customers.

If you sell software, for example, you might record a video of your computer screen, using a recording tool like Loom , that shows people how to log in, use the software's dashboard, and navigate to the various functions included in the product.

Just remember to modify your video's dimensions before uploading it to your Instagram Story. Remember, Instagram Stories' image dimensions are 1920px high and 1080px wide, with an aspect ratio of 9:16.

4. Promote a company event.

Does your organization host a trade conference or attend a big one every year? Use your Instagram Story to promote the event and tell your followers to look for you there. Work with a graphic designer, or do some artwork yourself, to illustrate an event flyer with all the information one would need to find you.

Most of this, you can do directly on Instagram. For example, use the native text options in your Story to add:

  • The event's name.
  • Where the event is located.
  • Dates you'll be attending.
  • Your booth number.
  • The event's official hashtag.

5. Preview one of your company's blog posts or videos.

Your blog posts and YouTube videos need all the exposure they can get. Even if social media isn't your blog's primary source of traffic, your Instagram Story can help readers discover that post or video for the first time and find it later.

In the screenshot below, Google Pixel used its Instagram Story to preview a video it published about a customer who used the device. When you tap all the way to the end of the Story, Google prompts you to swipe up with your finger, where it then links you to the full video on YouTube.

Instagram Story example sharing a new YouTube video

6. Mention other companies who follow or work with you.

As your Instagram following grows , you'll eventually pick up other business accounts that want to follow you as well. Whether those accounts are your business partners or simply fans of yours, consider giving them shout-outs on your Instagram Story.

This is a passive but effective way to nurture your relationships with the users that matter most to your business's growth. We'll explain how to link to other accounts in an Instagram Story in the tips below.

Now that you know the basics, let's run through tips and hacks for producing high-quality, clickable Instagram Stories.

Instagram Story Tricks and Hacks

1. use stickers..

Once you've captured a great photo or video, it's time to jazz it up with some fun stickers. You can access these by clicking "Create," then tapping the smiling sticker icon in the upper right-hand corner of your screen once you've captured a photo or video.

Here are some best practices after you choose a sticker.

Change the size of your stickers.

You can pinch the sticker once you've added it to your Story to increase or decrease its size. You can also tap and drag it around the frame to change its position.

Resized sticker in Instagram Story

Check stickers every day for new and unique ones.

Instagram releases unique Story stickers often — whether it's for a weekday, a holiday, or a season. Check this section every day for new and timely stickers to add to your Story.

Seasonal sticker in Instagram Stories

Add location, hashtag, poll, and selfie stickers.

Boost engagement on your Instagram Story by opening it up to other people doing the same things you are. Open up the stickers section, and tap any of these buttons to customize your Story:

Sticker options in Instagram Stories

Link Stickers

Instagram recently released a new feature that allows users to include clickable, external links in their Instagram Stories - a long-awaited tool desired by many users.

instagram stories link stickers

Location Stickers

Start typing in your location, and you'll be able to pull in a geographically-specific sticker to show where you are. When people view your Story, they'll be able to tap the location sticker and see other photos and Stories happening around the same place.

Instagram Stories posted with the location Atlanta Botanical Garden

Hashtag Stickers

Same concept here: If you add this sticker and type in a hashtag, your Story will appear in searches for that hashtag, and viewers will be able to click it and see who else is using it.

Hashtag sticker in Instagram Stories

Poll Stickers

You can add a two-option poll to your Instagram Story, and you can even customize the possible answers so they're more unique than "Yes" or "No." Use a poll sticker to gauge if people are really engaging with your content.


Selfie Stickers

Open up the Stickers menu, and tap on the camera icon.

Selfie sticker in Instagram Stories

You can also find stickers for:

2. Record a hands-free Instagram video.

If you're a frequent video recorder on Instagram, you know you need to hold your thumb against the record button for as long as you're recording. This can make it tedious when attempting dynamic and interesting videos that require more hand mobility.

But did you know you can record these video s hands-free?

Hands-free mode in Instagram Stories

3. Let viewers share your Stories.

Increase engagement and views of your Instagram Story by letting viewers share them with their friends — as direct messages (DMs).

To do so, navigate to your app's settings, then to Privacy , then tap Story .

Instagram Story settings inside the Instagram app

4. Use the pen.

Use the pen to add embellishment, symbols, or more text to your Story. If you tap the pen icon in the upper right-hand corner of your screen once you've captured a photo or video, you'll open up your options.

From there, you can adjust the thickness of your pen stroke or change the color you're writing with.

I like using the highlighter pen to add emphasis to words — or even to highlight my photo or video.

Highlighter tool inside Instagram Stories

5. Add a background color.

If you want to share a Story with a background color — like the images I've shared above — you can actually select it from the color palette.

Take a picture (it doesn't have to be a picture of anything in particular), and then tap the pen icon to open up the color palette.

Instagram Stories pen tool with a color menu at the bottom

6. Mention another Instagram account in your Story.

Sometimes, it's just not enough to send an Instagram Story to a particular person — you need to give them a shoutout in the photo or video itself. In these cases, Instagram allows you to tag up to 10 specific handles directly in your Story's photo or video.

To mention an Instagram account in your Story, shoot a photo or video and then tap the square "A" icon in the upper righthand corner of the screen.

Enter the account you'd like to tag, starting with the "@" symbol and the account's first letter. Scroll through the suggested accounts that appear below your cursor until you find the account you have in mind, and tap it.

Tagging another account in Instagram Stories

7. Have some fun with your text.

The text on Instagram Stories is pretty basic — jazz it up with these tricks.

Customize your colors.

If you're unsatisfied with the color palette Instagram offers, create your own from one of the colors in the photo or video you've captured.

Open up the text icon, and tap the eyedropper icon in the lower left-hand corner of your screen.

Use the dropper to sample a color from somewhere in the image you've captured, and use it when typing out text or using the pen tool.

Using the color picker tool inside Instagram Stories

Add a drop shadow to your Story's text.

If you want to add some extra drama to your text, add highlighting or shadowing by retyping or rewriting your text in a different color. I recommend choosing black or white to add emphasis to a bright color you've picked. Then, move the text above or underneath the brighter text to add some drama to your words.

Turn your text into a rainbow.

This one's tricky, but you can actually turn your text into a gradient rainbow.

  • Tap the text icon, and type out your message to add to your Story. Then, highlight your text.
  • This is where it gets tricky: Turn your phone to the side so you can hold one finger down on the right side of your text, and with another finger, tap on a color and hold until the color wheel pops up.
  • Then, slowly drag both fingers across both the text and the color wheel from right to left to create rainbow text. Go slowly, letter by letter until you've created a rainbow. (This one took me several tries before I nailed it, and I succeeded using both thumbs to highlight the text and the color wheel.)

Gradually add text to a Story.

Sometimes, you might want to add text or stickers to an image to build on it — perhaps to promote a content offer or event, or to encourage viewers to swipe up to read a link you've shared.

Start editing the photo you want to share, post it, and save it to your camera roll.

Then, swipe up on your screen to add the screenshot to the next installment of your Story — adding new text or stickers on top of the first photo. Keep doing this for as long as you want the Story to last. Just make sure to keep taking screenshots of your latest photo so you can add to it.

8. Dig into your Story analytics

Snapchat users have always been able to see which of their friends have viewed their snapped Stories over the 24-hour period that the Story is visible. Well, Instagram Stories can do the same thing, plus more.

Not only will you see who saw your Story, but also dig into the actions taken by viewers.

Start by navigating to the homepage of Instagram on your phone and click on the circular icon denoting your Story. Then, swipe up from the bottom of your open Story. This will pull up a list of all the accounts that have viewed this content plus actions they've taken.

Click on your Profile icon to view your own Instagram Story

This can range from stickers they tapped to profile visits, accounts reached, impressions, follows, and more.

9. Center your text and stickers.

When you're moving around text and stickers on your Story, you'll see blue lines appear vertically or horizontally in the frame. These are guiding lines you can use to make sure you're keeping everything centered.

Aligning elements in Instagram Stories

Don't put your text too high or too low on the screen.

That said, make sure you don't add anything to your Story too high or too low in the frame — or it will be cut off when viewers scroll through your Story, when Instagram adds things like your name and how long ago your Story was posted that could block out your carefully-crafted text.

10. Add music to a Story (or mute it).

This one's easy: Turn on music using your phone's native streaming app, and record a video Story. Once you get ready to edit and share, make sure the sound icon isn't muted so your viewers can jam with you.

Alternatively, if you'd rather your video be muted, tap the sound icon so a slash appears over it.

Muting sound in Instagram Stories

You can also add music from artists on the app by clicking on the music sticker and choosing which section of the song you'd like in your Story.

add music from artists

11. Upload Instagram Stories from your phone's camera roll.

Great Instagram Stories aren't just created through the Instagram app. You can also upload photos and videos from your mobile device's native camera roll.

To upload a photo or video for use as an Instagram Story, open your Instagram Story's camera lens and tap th e little square icon on the bottom lefthand corner. See what this looks like below.

Opening up your phone gallery from Instagram Stories

12. Schedule IG Stories Ahead of Time

How-to-Schedule-and-Automatically-Publish-Instagram-Stories-With-Later-Horizontal (1)

You can schedule Instagram Stories in advance with scheduling tools like Later . This can help streamline your process by allowing you to batch-upload content, be more consistent, and spend more time strategizing.

Post Instagram Stories to Grow Your Audience

We hope these tips help you post killer Instagram Stories your audience won't be able to stop following. There are lots of hidden ways to take your Stories to the next level — some we may not even have covered here.

Our best advice? Keep clicking around and see what you can do with the latest updates from the app. Happy 'gramming!

Editor's note: This post was originally published in November 2017 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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Instagram Stories Hacks That Will Blow Your Mind

22 Instagram Stories Hacks That Will Blow Your Mind

Ready to take your Instagram Stories game to the next level? Knowing the latest Instagram Stories hacks will keep your posts on point (and ahead of the trend!)

Ready to take your Instagram Stories game to the next level?

Knowing the latest Instagram Stories hacks will keep your posts on point (and ahead of the trend!)

From little-known design tricks to engagement-boosting strategies, we’re sharing every Instagram story hack you need to know in 2022:

Instagram Stories Hacks You Need to Know in 2022

Instagram Stories are getting a lot more creative — from responsive AR filters to interactive Instagram Stories stickers, there are tons of new features to experiment with.

Ready to get started? We’re sharing the best Instagram Stories tips and tricks you (probably) don’t know yet.

Discover the top Instagram story hacks in action! Watch the full YouTube tutorial here:

Table of Contents:

Instagram Story Design Hacks

Instagram story photo hacks, instagram story sticker hacks, instagram story video hacks, other instagram story tips and tricks, instagram stories hacks #1: how to change the background color on your instagram story.

To change the background color of an Instagram story, tap the draw tool in the upper right-hand corner of the screen, and select a color.

Next, tap and hold on the screen for 1-3 seconds. If you’ve shared a feed post to stories, the background will fill with your chosen color behind the post.

The background of an Instagram story is updated using the Draw tool

If you’ve created a new story, the whole screen will fill with color, creating a layer of color on top of your photo or video:

A layer of color is added on top of an image in Instagram stories

You can then use the eraser tool to create a “scratch card” effect to reveal part of your image or video.

Tap the eraser icon on the upper right-hand corner of the screen and select the size of the eraser using the slider on the left-hand side of the screen. Now tap or swipe on the screen where you would like to reveal the underlying image.

The eraser tool creates a preview of the story under the layer of color added to the Instagram story

And that’s it! If you’re looking to entice your audience and share just a tiny highlight, this Instagram Stories hack should come in handy.

Instagram Stories Hacks #2: Add a Background Image to Your Instagram Story

When you share a feed post to your stories, not only can you change the background color but you can also add in a background image from your camera roll!

If you want to add an image to your Instagram Stories background, here’s how to do it:

First, select the post you want to share to your Instagram Story and select “Add post to your story”.

Tap the sticker tray and select the Instagram “Add from Camera Roll” sticker. Scroll through your images and select the image you want to use as your story background.

An image of a bouquet of flowers is added from a user's camera roll to their Instagram story

Move the feed post to one side of your Instagram Story screen and expand the added photo using two fingers (in a pinch motion). While doing so, tap and hold the original feed post using your thumb. This will bring it to the front of the screen:

The background image of an Instagram story features a photo of a streetcar in Lisbon

Positioning the feed post on the right-hand side of the screen will increase the likelihood of taps — as people typically tap here as they browse through stories.

TIP: If you don’t have access to the “Add from Camera Roll” sticker in stories yet, use an Instagram Stories template app like Unfold or Storyluxe.

Instagram Stories Hacks #3: Access More Colors in Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories are the best place to show off your brand’s personality. But, what if Instagram doesn’t offer your brand’s color in its default color options?

Luckily, there’s a hidden Instagram Stories hack that lets you access every color you could ever need!

Open your Instagram Stories and select the draw tool. Tap and long-hold any of the default color options at the bottom of the screen to open the color slider. Then, swipe across the slider to pick a custom color for your story.

An arrow shows how to select custom colors on Instagram stories using a slider

BONUS HACK: Make a rainbow effect on your Instagram Story text.

To do so, open Instagram Stories and type out a message. Next, tap on text and tap “Select All” to highlight.

While your text is highlighted, press and hold one finger down on the color palette tool at the bottom of your screen (like you did before) to open the entire color spectrum.

A rainbow effect is added to text reading My Favorite View on an Instagram story image

With one finger held down on the color slider, and one on your highlighted text, begin to drag both fingers toward the left side of your screen at the same time.

You’ll see your text begin to change color, letter by letter, as you drag your finger across the color spectrum! You can move your finger faster or slower for additional color variations, or alternate the direction that you drag your fingers across the screen to achieve an entirely different result.

Instagram Stories Hacks #4: Add an Effect to Your Emojis

If you’ve ever wanted to make your emojis stand out more on stories, this Instagram trick is for you!

To add extra depth or a glow to your emojis, open your stories, tap the screen to open the text tool, and scroll through each of the fonts until you find the style you like!

Different Instagram story fonts create different effects on the smiling face with hearts emoji

Instagram Stories Hacks #5: Add A Custom Font to Your Stories

If you’re looking to make your stories feel a little more “on brand,” adding a custom font is a great option. Here's how to add a custom, branded font to your Instagram stories.

Start by downloading the GoDaddy Studio (formerly known as Over) mobile app. Once downloaded, AirDrop your font’s .OFT file to your mobile device.

The Futura Bold Condensed Oblique font is airdropped to an iPhone

Select “Over” from the menu that pops up.

An airdropped font is opened with the app called Over

Once you’ve got your custom font added, you can design stories in the Over app (there are tons of story templates to choose from) or you can write a line of text on a transparent background, save to camera roll, and then add them to your stories via the “Add from Camera Roll” sticker.

The Over app creates text that reads Hello Everyone in the brands font on Instagram stories

Looking for more ways to create Instagram Stories that match your branding? Check out our free video workshop on how to design captivating Instagram Stories!

Instagram Stories Hacks #6: Create Cool Effects with the Eraser Tool

Did you know you can actually use the eraser tool to create all kinds of cool effects on your Instagram Stories?

First, upload the photo of your choice and use the draw tool to draw an effect over the image.

Instagram story of a girl laughing by a river with a yellow line drawn on the girl using the draw tool

Next, use the eraser tool to remove parts of the zig-zag to create a 3D effect.

The erase tool removes part of a yellow line drawn on an Instagram story to create a 3D effect

This is just one of many ways you can use the eraser tool to create cool design effects on your Instagram Stories!

Instagram Stories Hacks #7: Add Your Brand Colors to Your Story

While Instagram’s full color palette is extensive, it can be hard to pick out an exact color.

Thankfully, there’s an Instagram hack for this.

Use the Instagram Stories “Add from Camera Roll” sticker to add an image with your chosen colors in it.

An image of a home office is added to an Instagram story with the Add From Camera Roll sticker

Next, use the color picker tool (the pipette icon on the left-hand corner of the screen) to sample your desired hue:

The color picker tool is used to add a color from the image in the Instagram Story to the editing tools

You can then use this color for your stories background, the draw tool, or your text.

You can remove your color reference by holding the image down with your finger and moving it to the bottom of the screen until the little trash can appears.

See more tips for branding your Instagram stories here.

Instagram Stories Hacks #8: Add Multiple Photos to Your Instagram Story

You can now add extra images to your Instagram story! Here’s how:

#1: Use Instagram’s “Add from Camera Roll” Sticker

To begin, tap the Instagram story sticker tray.

Once you’re in, select any photo from your camera roll, change the size, and place wherever you’d like.

The Add From Camera Roll sticker adds an image of a home office on top of an Instagram story of a city skyline

To change the shape of the image, tap the image and select from a circle, star, rectangle, and more.

The Add From Camera Roll sticker can add images in circle, heart, and star shapes to your Instagram story

#2: Copy and Paste an Image from Your Camera Roll

Start by opening a photo from your camera roll and tapping the “export” button.

Now tap “Copy” and head to your Instagram story.

An image of a yellow house is copied from an iPhone camera roll

Double-tap the screen to pull up the “Paste” option.

An image of a yellow house is pasted into an Instagram story

And that’s it! The photo you copied earlier should now appear on your story. Repeat this process for as many photos as you’d like.

NOTE: Only available to iOS users.

Instagram Stories Hacks #9: Turn Live Photos Into Boomerangs

ICYMI: You can turn live photos into fun Boomerangs!

Open Instagram Stories, swipe up, and pick a live photo from your camera roll (you’ll see the boomerang icon on eligible photos).

Once selected, press on the screen for a few seconds until you see the word “Boomerang” appear briefly.

A live photo taken on an iPhone can be turned into a Boomerang on Instagram stories

Now you’ve turned your shot into a Boomerang!

NOTE: This hack only works for iOS users.

Instagram Stories Hacks #10: Create Videos That Are the Perfect Instagram Story Length

If you add a photo to your Instagram Story, it’ll play for five seconds. If you add a video to your Instagram Story, it’ll play for 15 seconds.

However, there’s still a way to share longer videos to your Instagram Stories.

If you have a video that is longer than 15 seconds, the whole video will split into 15-second segments. However, you’ll have to add extra elements (such as GIFs, stickers, and text) to each segment. For more tips, check out Later's Ultimate Guide to Instagram videos.

Instagram Stories Hacks #11: Share Multiple Question Answers on a Single Story

The Instagram Stories question sticker has gotten a lot of love from businesses on Instagram — the only drawback is that you can only share one question sticker answer per story.

Luckily, there’s an easy workaround to share multiple responses on one story.

First, create a story where you share a response to your question sticker. Take a screenshot or save the image and exit out of the story.

A response to a question sticker is added to an Instagram story

Open that screenshot and create a second story using a different question sticker response.

A second response is added to a screenshot of a response to a question sticker on Instagram stories

Repeat this until you have multiple question stickers on a single story.

An Instagram story with multiple responses to one question sticker

And that’s it! Your followers will thank you for saving their thumbs!

Instagram Stories Hacks #12: Pin Stickers, Emojis, Text, and GIFs to Your Instagram Stories

Did you know that instead of layering design elements on top of your Instagram Stories, you can pin text, stickers, emojis, and GIFs into your videos and boomerangs — so they show up at the perfect moment?

To do this, simply record your video then add a creative element like text, a sticker, emoji, or GIF . Then tap and hold the element that you added.

Use the slider bar at the bottom of the screen to scroll through the video and find where you want to pin your creative element.

A sticker that says Wednesday is pinned to an Instagram story of a quiet city street

Once you’ve found the right location in your video, tap “Pin.”

Instagram Stories Hacks #13: Find On-brand GIFs

There are thousands of GIFs available to make your Instagram Stories more interesting.

In fact, there are so many that it can be hard to find good options.

A user searches for Latergif in the GIFs sticker within Instagram stories

Here are some of our favorite keywords to search in the app to find the best Instagram story GIFs:

Latergif (Later’s very own GIFs!)

The Uncommon Place


Instagram Stories Hacks #14: Use “Create” Mode to Add a GIF Background

Instagram’s collaboration with GIPHY has been a huge win for businesses and regular users alike.

To create a GIF background to your Instagram story, head over to Instagram’s “Create” mode by tapping the letters icon in the Instagram Stories camera screen, and scroll across to the GIF tab.

The Create Mode is used to add GIFs to the background of Instagram stories

From here, you can search from thousands of fun GIFs. They’ll either layer up or display in full length, depending on their aspect ratio.

This is a great way to share content with your audience if you’re running low on original content.

Instagram Stories Hacks #15: Create an Animated GIF with ImgPlay

If you’ve been looking for a way to create fun GIF videos for Instagram Stories, look no further.

The ImgPlay app lets you select multiple photos to create your own looping GIF.

To begin, download the app and select the source for creating your GIF — whether it’s photos, live photos, or a video — then tap “Make.”

Images are selected to create a GIF with ImgPlay

Once you’ve created your GIF, you can change the playback speed and duration, and add text, filters, and other customizations using the icons in the bottom bar.

GIFs are edited within the ImgPlay app

Once you’re done, upload your new GIF to Instagram Stories!

Instagram Stories Hacks #16: Use “Hidden” Instagram Story Filters

Did you know there are a bunch of hidden Instagram Story photo and video effects ? To access Instagram Story effects and add a filter to your stories, open up your camera and swipe all the way to the end and select “Browse Effects”.

Use the magnifying glass in the Effects Gallery to find Hidden Instagram Story Filters

Here you can scroll and find hundreds of fun effects.

Not sure where to start? Here’s a list of some of our favorite Instagram Story effects to search for:

“Presentation” by rendi_vendi

“Background” by luisgilson_18

“Greenscreen” by Instagram

“iPhone Screen 1” by pvikinga

“Presentation” by gulim.satekova

Instagram Stories Hacks #17: Add Music to Your Instagram Stories

Adding music to your Instagram stories is a great way to make your content more entertaining.

Make sure you’re using the latest version of the Instagram app, open the Instagram Stories camera, and take or upload a photo or video.

Once that’s done, select the music sticker at the top of the screen (or search for “Music” in the Instagram Stories sticker tray).

This will open the Instagram music library where you’ll find thousands of songs to choose from.

You can scroll through a “For You” tab of suggested songs, browse by categories, or search for a specific song.

Click the music note on the screen when creating an Instagram story to add music

When you’re happy with your song choice, you can fast-forward and rewind through the track to choose the exact part that fits your story. You can also choose how long you want the music clip to play for (the maximum is 15 seconds).

Finally, you can customize what the sticker looks by tapping it before publishing (there are six variations in total!):

Three variations of the music sticker for This Life by Vampire Weekend in Instagram stories

NOTE: If you have a business account, you may only have a limited selection of music due to Instagram’s licensing agreements .

If you don’t have access to music on stories, check out this blog post for our top trouble-shooting tips . Learn more about adding music to your Instagram stories here.

Instagram Stories Hacks #18: Automatically Add Closed Captions To Your Stories

Thanks to the new Captions sticker , it’s easier than ever to automatically add closed captions to stories.

Here’s how:

Head to the Instagram Stories camera and either record or upload a video from your camera roll.

Once uploaded or recorded, tap the sticker tray icon and select the “Captions” sticker.

An arrow to the Captions sticker for Instagram stories

At this stage, you can choose from four different text formats, move the text around the screen, and change the color.

Two of the different fonts available for Instagram captions

And that’s it! Your captions will now be generated on your Instagram story.

Be sure to watch and read captions before posting as Instagram may not accurately transcribe your audio.

NOTE: The Instagram captions sticker is currently only available in English and English speaking countries.

Instagram Stories Hacks #19: Schedule Your Instagram Stories in Advance

The most successful stories have a clear flow, a consistent aesthetic, and tell a strong story.

Which is why it’s a good idea to plan and storyboard them in advance !

By scheduling your Instagram Stories posts with Later, you can visualize how your posts will flow together.

Planning and scheduling Instagram Stories posts takes just a few minutes and it can all be done from your desktop.

When the time comes to make your Instagram Stories live, you’ll receive a push notification to your phone and with just a few taps, you’ll be able to share your posts with your followers.

Ready to start scheduling your Instagram Stories posts? Later’s Instagram Stories scheduler is available now on all paid plans . Upgrade now to get access or start scheduling stories!

Instagram Stories Hacks #20: Create and Share Multiple Stories at Once

If you want to add a number of stories at once, Instagram’s multi-capture tool is the way to go.

To access it, press the multi-capture icon on the left hand side of the screen.

Here, you can take up to 10 photos in a row. When you’re happy with the photos you’ve taken, you’ll see the photos in a lineup at the bottom of your screen.

The multi capture tool adds a number of images to your Instagram story at one time

At this stage, you can tap and edit each individual slide. You can change your story background, add text, stickers, music, or effects to each slide.

Instagram Stories Hack #21: Use the Correct Instagram Stories Size

Not sure the correct Instagram Stories dimensions?

Luckily you can share pretty much anything on Instagram Stories , as long as it has a minimum dimensions of 1.91:1 and a maximum dimensions of 9:16.

Because most people prefer their stories to take up the whole screen (no borders), we recommend using an aspect ratio of 9:16 with a size of 1080px by 1920px.

Instagram Stories Hacks #22: See How Many Times Your Post was Shared on Stories

Instagram collects a ton of great data about your post’s performance, like the number of impressions, saves, follows, and more. But there’s one piece of data you might be missing out on: story reshares.

You won’t find this in your Instagram Insights. Instead, you’ll need to tap the ellipsis in the top right corner of a post to pull up a menu with the option to “View Story Reshares”.

Click the ellipsis on the top right corner of an Instagram post to view story reshares

This will take you to a screen with a list of public reshares that are currently live.

A list of the accounts currently resharing your Instagram post on their Instagram stories

You can tap one of the reshares to see it live on the user’s account.

Later Medias post of a dog with a book on its head is shared on Linap Studios Instagram story

If you don’t see the option to see reshares, this either means your post isn’t currently being shared in anyone’s public stories.

This can be particularly useful for finding and replying to shares that you’re not tagged in.

Given the number of updates and new features on Instagram Stories, it can be difficult to stay on top of all the cool features at your disposal.

Hopefully, these Instagram Stories hacks help you create fun, artistic, and creative Instagram Stories that set you apart from your competition!

Start scheduling your Instagram Stories with Later today, available on all paid plans .

Jessica Worb

Jessica is a creative content writer and marketer. She lives and works remotely from Winnipeg, a city smack dab in the middle of Canada. Follow along at @jessicaworb.

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  • Instagram Marketing

How to Create an Instagram Story that Wows Your Audience

  • August 9, 2023
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how to make creative ig story

Can you imagine a time before Instagram stories? It’s hard to believe but these beloved 15-second shots have been around since 2016! Today, it’s hard to imagine a world where brands and creators weren’t focused on Instagram stories. They have become overwhelmingly popular with Instagrammers. 500 million people post to stories every day and 33% of the most viewed stories come from businesses.

Do you know how to create an Instagram story? Why is everyone so obsessed with making Instagram stories?

Well, for one thing, they work. They increase awareness. 62% of people say they have become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in stories . They also increase engagement. 1 in 5 stories gets a direct message! And let’s face it, they’re just plain fun.

So, let’s talk about how to how to create Instagram story strategies that help you with those goals of a bigger following or higher engagement rate.

Even if those aren’t your goals and you just want to have a little bit more fun with your Instagram story marketing and learn more about how to create content for Instagram, then this article is for you.

How to create an Instagram story

First things first, let’s double-check you know how to create stories on Instagram.

When you are on your Instagram home page, swipe to the right, or click on the little + in the top right-hand corner or the blue + symbol where it says ‘your story.’

Create Instagram Story

You will be taken to a screen where you have the option to upload a photo or video to story or select create mode (you’ll see it on the left of this screen) where you can write something or share a poll or quiz. It will look like this:

How to create Instagram story

Once you’re happy with your creation you can select the circle profile picture in the bottom left-hand corner which says ‘your story’ to upload it:

how to make creative ig story

If you use an Instagram business account linked to your Facebook page, you will have the option to share the content to your Facebook page too.

What content should you share when creating Instagram stories?

This is, of course, the first question everyone has about social media: what the heck am I supposed to talk about on social media?

You may be thinking about how to create content for Instagram people genuinely want to engage with. Coming up with consistent high-quality content isn’t easy but we like to create categories to build a well-balanced content plan and you can do the same!

Categorizing your content, like your Instagram stories, is all about identifying the core components of your messaging and brand.

  • What topics do you want to be known for?
  • What is your expertise?
  • What do you want your audience to feel, think, learn and do when they consume your content?

If you are struggling to come up with some ideas for content categories, we recommend referring to four goals of content marketing.

  • Educate – Share your expertise and knowledge.
  • Entertain – Share content your audience will enjoy. This will demonstrate you understand them for who they are as people, not just as potential customers.
  • Engage – Social media is all about interactions! You should be asking questions, having conversations and encouraging your audience to share their thoughts.
  • Inspire – Inspire people to take action, think bigger or try harder.

Here are some different categories for your story planner template we’ve used in the past:

  • Social Media Tips (Educate)
  • Polls (Engage)
  • Entrepreneur quotes (Inspire)
  • Behind the scenes shots (Entertain)
  • Content Ideas (Educate)
  • Quizzes (Engage)
  • Customer spotlights (Inspire)
  • Marketing Memes (Entertain)

When thinking about what you want to post, you should also consider the nature of stories. As opposed to posts in the main feed which can be one photo, stories are designed to be a sequence.

(S poiler alert! ) You’re telling a story so you should think about creating a beginning a middle and an end with your stories. The ideal sequence is 3-7 posts in your stories. Structuring your stories into multiple sequences can take a little bit of imagination but you’re sure to have a more quality story if you do it this way. Let’s look at two examples for some ideas.

We love this example from Harvard Business Review. They blend education with engagement and a little bit of inspiration before adding a call to action.

harvard business review story example

AirBnB is another great example of using the poll feature to engage their audience and creating a 3-sequence story out of it.

Airbnb Instagram story

Here are some other great examples of how to create Instagram stories well:

Share limited-time discount codes

Reward your most loyal followers with discounts for your products. Running an Instagram Stories deal is a great way to get your followers to click over to your website (where the real magic happens)!

Instagram story swipe up example

Not a big enough audience for See More ? No problem – just drop the link in your profile’s description!

Go behind the scenes

Throwing together a new recipe? Writing a fresh blog post? Skydiving in Antarctica? Whatever you’re up to, taking your followers behind the scenes gets them connected to the final product!

When Minimalist Baker Dana Shultz shares her behind-the-scenes Stories, her followers see that she’s putting tons of effort into her work, and it builds excitement for whatever recipes are going to appear on her blog next!

Instagram stories behind the scenes

(It also has a tendency to make us super hungry .)

Link to your brand from your personal account

Have a bunch of followers on your personal account, but trying to start a fresh new Instagram account for your brand? Link up that newer account with an @-tag, and your personal followers can click on over and give you a follow on your brand, too! (Tagging someone – including yourself – is ridiculously easy. )

Link to other brands

Speaking of @-tags in Instagram Stories, don’t forget to link to other brands – it’s a great way to branch out and embrace the community aspect of Instagram!

Check out how Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income did it in this example: he tagged another blogger and the conference they were both attending, which told his followers what he’s up to and who he’s hanging around with.

Pat Flynn Instagram Stories

(Hooray for making new friends, too!)

Make your product pop

Want to catch someone’s attention as they’re tapping their way through their Stories? Make your product pop by setting it in motion!

Instagram Stories allows you to share bursts of video up to 15 seconds long each, or to capture GIF-like moving images with its Boomerang feature. Try these options so you can show someone dancing in the clothes you designed, washing up with your all-natural sugar scrubs, or posing for one of your most sensational wedding photos!

Pump up events

Going somewhere?

Use Stories to take your audience from IG to IRL! If you’re attending or hosting an event for your brand, tell your followers where they can meet up with you in person, and score some real-life face time with you.

Katie Dalebout regularly meets up with her followers, and Instagram Stories is a great place for her to remind people when and where they can see her very soon:

Katie Dalebout Instagram Stories

(And remember, you can follow up by posting Stories of the actual meetup, too!)

Because Instagram Stories are temporary, they’re perfect for sharing things like this that you don’t necessarily want cluttering up your profile when the event has come and gone!

Share a goofy moment

Let’s be real.

(No, really.)

Behind every brand is at least one real, live human – or at least a fairly convincing animatronic one – and Instagram Stories is a great place to embrace that! Dance, play, sing a song – just do the things that come naturally to you. Your followers will love connecting with you on a more personal level, and that connection helps turn followers into customers.

Lewis Howes regularly hops on Instagram Stories and shares real glimpses into his life in a perfectly imperfect way:

Lewis Howes

Is it perfect for literally every type of business ? Probably not – but pulling back the curtain and getting a little lighthearted with the people behind your brand can go a long way when you’re forging emotional connections with your followers!

IG Story takeover

Instagram takeovers – where you give a special guest control of your account for a short period – have been popular for years. Hosting one as an Instagram Stories takeover can be an even better fit because the content is only available for about as long as the event lasts!

Invite another brand to take over your Instagram Stories for a day or so, so they can share what they’re up to with your followers – and you can do the same with theirs.

This can be more of a special occasion sort of event, because otherwise, it can get a little confusing – but if you’re looking for an in-depth guide on how to set up your own, this post from Social Media Examiner has you covered!

Promote other brands you love

Did you notice something going on with another brand that your followers just have to know about? They already know and trust you, and they’re tuning in to your Stories to hear what you have to say!

Point them to that must-know piece of info like The Everygirl does for their own loyal followers:

how to make creative ig story

(Just remember that if you do something like this as part of an affiliate marketing plan, offering full disclosure can make a big difference! )

Run a contest

Want to use Instagram to grow your email list?

Run a contest!

Use your Stories to show the prize, share the deets, and tell people how to enter – if you’ve got that Show More dealie we mentioned earlier, you can even use that to carve out a shortcut to the entry form!

You can arrange for people to enter via an email list signup, or even by following a certain account, like in this example from Studio DIY :

Instagram Stories Contest Example

(This slide doesn’t even say what they’re giving away, and we still want to swipe up!)

Going live on Instagram might sound nerve-racking, but it sounds a lot scarier than it is – especially because unlike Facebook, which automatically saves live broadcasts after they end, Instagram allows you to easily and automatically make them disappear.

Live video on Instagram makes your profile more discoverable in the Explore tab, and even makes you stand out to your followers in the Stories section at the top of the screen.

Once your broadcast ends, a few taps will allow you to publish that video to your Stories, where people who missed it can tune in for the next 24 hours!

Promote your blog

Want some front-and-center visual content that’ll get people curious about your latest blog posts? Instagram Stories is the perfect place to publish it!

Take a look at how Brit + Co uses multiple images in a series to promote their newest posts:

Put together a quick template that you can use week after week, and promoting your blog content via Stories will be a snap!

How often do you want to post?

After you figure out what you want to post and how you want to structure those stories, you have to determine the frequency of your stories.

Stories last 24 hours and you can always save them to your highlights for future viewing. This should give you a little leeway in the pressure to post.

The most important thing about determining your frequency is understanding your bandwidth. Posting five 7-sequence stories every week can burn you out quickly. When you burn out, your content tends to decrease in quality so it’s best to adjust your frequency.

If you find that you have extra creative energy, you can always share more stories but it’s best to start planning and scheduling at a lower frequency.

how to make creative ig story

How can you make creating and posting Instagram stories easier?

We get it. Managing social media is a ton of work and Instagram stories might feel like one more place you have to post.

But you can structure your planning, creation, and scheduling so that it’s much easier to manage all these social posts.

1. Follow content categories and create a set schedule Listen, you don’t need so much think work in your social schedule. Instead of over-complicating it, divide your content into categories and pick a day for each category.

Designate Tuesdays as your poll days, Thursdays as your tips, and Saturdays for your personal videos. Eliminating the guesswork of what types of content to post and when will free up your headspace for the actual creation of the content.

2. Use templates Using similar fonts and colors will give your stories a professional polish and using templates will cut down on design time ! You can use Canva, Crello, Photoshop, or any other design tool to create your templates and then you can reuse & repeat as often as needed! Pro-Tip for Edgar users: You can reuse templates and create different variations with each template for your stories! Learn more about variations here.

3. Prioritize engagement One way to feel excited about your Instagram stories plan is to prioritize engagement and get yourself in an engaging mindset when posting.

There’s no auto-post to Instagram story available so you have the opportunity to spend time messaging, commenting, and chatting with your audience when you post stories. You can be active in the app, which can improve your standing in the algorithm and increase your engagement. Not to mention, social media is just more fun when you’re engaging!

So how are you going to tell your story?

(Sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves with that one!) We want to hear your questions or ideas about Instagram stories! Do you have a preferred style of Instagram stories or find a certain content type that increases engagement? Let us know in the comments below or on social media @MeetEdgar.

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How to anonymously see instagram stories without showing up as a viewer.

Want to stealthily check out someone's Instagram Stories? Here's how to take your internet detective work to the next level.

Quick Links

Can you anonymously view instagram stories, can you view instagram stories without an instagram account, can you view instagram stories from a private account, how to view instagram stories anonymously, will someone know if you screenshot their instagram story, key takeaways.

  • Instagram does not officially allow you to view Stories anonymously, and your username will be visible to the user whose Story you view.
  • But one way you can view Stories without registering as a viewer is to check them out from adjacent Stories on mobile.
  • Another option is to create a separate Instagram account to view Stories without giving away your identity, but this only works for open profile pages.

When trying to keep up with all your friends, Instagram Stories are a great source of information about their lives. Stories can give you snippets of your friend's days , showing you know what they've been up to, and allowing you to quickly respond and start a conversation. However, sometimes you'd like to check on someone and keep that to yourself.

Normally, everyone viewing Instagram Stories shows up on a list of viewers -- but can you avoid that? The short answer is yes. But before you start screenshotting away (and giving yourself away), keep reading on exactly how to do so.

IG status

How to hide your Instagram online status

Natively, Instagram does not allow you to view stories anonymously, even with some kind of Incognito Mode . Given the platform values engagement, it doesn't come as much of a surprise. That's why the app even features quick reactions to stories and shows you who views them in the first place. Normally, once you play a story, it is instantly registered as a view, and you appear in the list of people who view that piece of content. There is no way to hide your username and no way to wipe your name from the viewed list.

Instagram photo upload how to, image of photos uploading to instagram on a phone

How I create an Instagram photo dump, and 3 tools you'll need to perfect yours

Sometimes, you'd really like to view someone’s content without them realizing it. Maybe you're trying to get over your ex but want to see their latest story without giving them the satisfaction, or just need to do a little bit of snooping on your crush - we’ve all been there. Fortunately, there are some ways of going through Instagram Stories without showing up as a viewer. They are a bit inconvenient and do not let you see much, but if you absolutely need to check a story out, they will surely scratch that itch.


First, you could quickly come to the conclusion that you might check that story out anonymously by just logging out of your account, or browsing Instagram in an anonymous window in your browser. Unfortunately for your sneaky needs, that’s not possible. Instagram only allows logged-in accounts to open Instagram Stories, which does make sense.

This is done to protect your privacy, so your content is only accessible to validated accounts.

Private accounts are for those who want to keep their Instagram profiles under the radar. If you want to keep things more personal , or just don’t like the attention of random people that start following other accounts, that’s a great way to go. On the other hand, if you want to check someone out on Insta and their profile is set to private, you might be in a bit of a pickle.

Private accounts lock their posts behind a mandatory validation from the profile owner, but their stories are also protected in the same way. There’s no way to check them out other than getting acceptance from the user first, so you cannot really do that anonymously. It would go against the idea of private profiles, so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise.

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Instagram carousel

As you can see, there is no native way to turn on some kind of incognito mode and check out people’s Insta Stories. However, if you need to see a post without the other side realizing you did, there are some tricks you can pull off to do so. Here are two of the best ways to do it, plus one that we wouldn't recommend at all.

Option 1: View adjacent stories without registering them

Probably the easiest way to check out a story without registering as a viewer is to check them out from adjacent stories. The Stories bar at the top of the main page is your best friend here. When you open one of them, after you see every story posted by one person, it scrolls to another person's stories. You can use that to check out the next post without registering as a viewer.

This method, however, only works on your mobile device, so you risk exposing your stalker status if you try this way on your PC.

It's a neat trick that has some limitations. You will only be able to see the oldest story, as there is no way to swipe further, and you will not see any videos 0- just a still picture. However, if you just need a quick glance at what someone is posting, this is our method of choice.

  • Open the Instagram app on your mobile device.
  • In the Stories bar at the top of the main page, tap on a story to the left of the one you want to check.
  • Once the story opens, tap on it and hold your finger to pause it.
  • Now, without lifting your finger, swipe slowly to the left to open the story that you want. However, be careful, as you do not want to complete that swipe. When the carousel view opens and you can see the two stories together - the one you opened and the one you wanted to see - pause again and do not lift your finger . Now you can check that story out.
  • Once you’ve satisfied your curiosity, slowly swipe your finger back to the right , coming back to the story you started with. When the carousel view closes, and you can again see just one picture or image, you’re free to close that post. Your view of the adjacent story will not be registered. Of course, as we've mentioned, if it was a video, you'd have no way of playing it, but it works great as a quick preview.

Option 2: Create another Instagram account

  • Open the Instagram app .
  • Tap on your profile picture in the bottom right corner.
  • Click on the menu icon (the three lines) in the upper right corner.
  • Tap on Settings and privacy .
  • Scroll all the way down and tap on Add account .
  • In the pop-up menu, choose Create new account .
  • Now you’ll have to pick a u sername . Once you're done and the app makes sure it’s available, tap Next .
  • The next step is setting your password . Choose one that's secure and tap Next .
  • Now you have an important choice to make. You should choose the Add new phone or email option, as this allows you to deal with your accounts separately. Once you do that, add all the missing info - a different email address than the one used for your primary account, as well as a new profile pic, bio etc.
  • Now your new account is set up, and you can use it to check out the stories that you wanted to see without giving it away.

Option 3 (but we don't recommend): Using a third-party site

There is one more alternative, but it's one that we do not recommend , so we'll just quickly mention it.

There are some third-party apps that claim you can browse stories anonymously while using them. These should work, however they often require access to your account or might be dodgy in some other way. Just to be safe and to make sure your account and other details are secure, we strongly advise against using such sites.

Pocket-lint nor its staff recommend using these methods for anything other than playful curiosity. We believe it is important for online users to remain respectful and kind online.

No. Instagram, unlike Snapchat or FaceTime video, does not (yet, at least) notify users when a screenshot has been taken.

To revisit this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories .

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17 Tips to Take Your ChatGPT Prompts to the Next Level

5 blue balls riding on 5 randomly arranged curved black tubes against a bright green backdrop

ChatGPT, Google Gemini, and other tools like them are making artificial intelligence available to the masses. We can now get all sorts of responses back on almost any topic imaginable. These chatbots can compose sonnets, write code, get philosophical, and automate tasks.

However, while you can just type anything you like into ChatGPT and get it to understand you. There are ways of getting more interesting and useful results out of the bot. This "prompt engineering" is becoming a specialized skill of its own.

Sometimes all it takes is the addition of a few more words or an extra line of instruction and you can get ChatGPT responses that are a level above what everyone else is seeing—and we've included several examples below.

While there's lots you can do with the free version of ChatGPT, a few of these prompts require a paid ChatGPT Plus subscription —where that's the case, we've noted it in the tip.

ChatGPT can give you responses in the form of a table if you ask. This is particularly helpful for getting information or creative ideas. For example, you could tabulate meal ideas and ingredients, or game ideas and equipment, or the days of the week and how they're said in a few different languages.

Using follow-up prompts and natural language, you can have ChatGPT make changes to the tables it has drawn and even produce the tables in a standard format that can be understood by another program (such as Microsoft Excel).

If you provide ChatGPT with a typed list of information, it can respond in a variety of ways. Maybe you want it to create anagrams from a list of names, or sort a list of products into alphabetical order, or turn all the items in a list into upper case. If needed, you can then click the copy icon (the small clipboard) at the end of an answer to have the processed text sent to the system clipboard.

Screenshot of ChatGPT

Get ChatGPT to respond as your favorite author.

With some careful prompting, you can get ChatGPT out of its rather dull, matter-of-fact, default tone and into something much more interesting—such as the style of your favorite author, perhaps.

You could go for the searing simplicity of an Ernest Hemingway or Raymond Carver story, the lyrical rhythm of a Shakespearean play, or the density of a Dickens novel. The resulting prose won't come close to the genius of the actual authors themselves, but it's another way of getting more creative with the output you generate.

ChatGPT can really impress when it's given restrictions to work within, so don't be shy when it comes to telling the bot to limit its responses to a certain number of words or a certain number of paragraphs.

It could be everything from condensing the information in four paragraphs down into one, or even asking for answers with words of seven characters or fewer (just to keep it simple). If ChatGPT doesn't follow your responses properly, you can correct it, and it'll try again.

Another way of tweaking the way ChatGPT responds is to tell it who the intended audience is for its output. You might have seen WIRED's videos in which complex subjects are explained to people with different levels of understanding. This works in a similar way.

For example, you can tell ChatGPT that you are speaking to a bunch of 10-year-olds or to an audience of business entrepreneurs and it will respond accordingly. It works well for generating multiple outputs along the same theme.

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Screenshot of ChatGPT

Tell ChatGPT the audience it's writing for.

ChatGPT is a very capable prompt engineer itself. If you ask it to come up with creative and effective inputs for artificial intelligence engines such as Dall-E and Midjourney , you'll get text you can then input into other AI tools you're playing around with. You're even able to ask for tips with prompts for ChatGPT itself.

When it comes to generating prompts, the more detailed and specific you are about what you're looking for the better: You can get the chatbot to extend and add more detail to your sentences, you can get it to role-play as a prompt generator for a specific AI tool, and you can tell it to refine its answers as you add more and more information.

While ChatGPT is based around text, you can get it to produce pictures of a sort by asking for ASCII art. That's the art made up of characters and symbols rather than colors. The results won't win you any prizes, but it's pretty fun to play around with.

The usual ChatGPT rules apply, in that the more specific you are in your prompt the better, and you can get the bot to add new elements and take elements away as you go. Remember the limitations of the ASCII art format though—this isn't a full-blown image editor.

Screenshot of ChatGPT

A ChatGPT Plus subscription comes with image generation.

If you use ChatGPT Plus , it's got the DALL-E image generator right inside it, so you can ask for any kind of photo, drawing, or illustration you like. As with text, try to be as explicit as possible about what it is you want to see, and how it's shown; do you want something that looks like a watercolor painting, or like it was taken by a DSLR camera? You can have some real fun with this: Put Columbo in a cyberpunk setting, or see how Jurassic Park would look in the Victorian era. The possibilities are almost endless.

You don't have to do all the typing yourself when it comes to ChatGPT. Copy and paste is your friend, and there's no problem with pasting in text from other sources. While the input limit tops out at around 4,000 words, you can easily split the text you're sending the bot into several sections and get it to remember what you've previously sent.

Perhaps one of the best ways of using this approach is to get ChatGPT to simplify text that you don't understand—the explanation of a difficult scientific concept, for instance. You can also get it to translate text into different languages, write it in a more engaging or fluid style, and so on.

If you want to go exploring, ask ChatGPT to create a text-based choose-your-own adventure game. You can specify the theme and the setting of the adventure, as well as any other ground rules to put in place. When we tried this out, we found ourselves wandering through a spooky castle, with something sinister apparently hiding in the shadows.

Screenshot of ChatGPT

ChatGPT is able to create text-based games for you to play.

Another way to improve the responses you get from ChatGPT is to give it some data to work with before you ask your question. For instance, you could give it a list of book summaries together with their genre, then ask it to apply the correct genre label to a new summary. Another option would be to tell ChatGPT about activities you enjoy and then get a new suggestion.

There's no magic combination of words you have to use here. Just use natural language as always, and ChatGPT will understand what you're getting at. Specify that you're providing examples at the start of your prompt, then tell the bot that you want a response with those examples in mind.

You can ask ChatGPT for feedback on any of your own writing, from the emails you're sending to friends, to the short story you're submitting to a competition, to the prompts you're typing into the AI bot. Ask for pointers on spelling, grammar, tone, readability, or anything else you want to scrutinize.

ChatGPT cleared the above paragraph as being clear and effective, but said it could use a call to action at the end. Try this prompt today!

Screenshot of ChatGPT

Get ChatGPT to give you feedback on your own writing.

In the same way that ChatGPT can mimic the style of certain authors that it knows about, it can also play a role: a frustrated salesman, an excitable teenager (you'll most likely get a lot of emoji and abbreviations back), or the iconic western film star John Wayne.

There are countless roles you can play around with. These prompts might not score highly in terms of practical applications, but they're definitely a useful insight into the potential of these AI chatbots.

You can type queries into ChatGPT that you might otherwise type into Google, looking for answers: Think "how much should I budget for a day of sightseeing in London?" or "what are the best ways to prepare for a job interview?" for example. Almost anything will get a response of some sort—though as always, don't take AI responses as being 100 percent accurate 100 percent of the time.

If you're using the paid ChatGPT Plus tool, it will actually search the web (with Bing) and provide link references for the answers it gives. If you're using the free version of ChatGPT, it'll mine the data its been trained on for answers, so they might be a little out of date or less reliable.

Your answers can be seriously improved if you give ChatGPT some ingredients to work with before asking for a response. They could be literal ingredients—suggest a dish from what's left in the fridge—or they could be anything else.

So don't just ask for a murder mystery scenario. Also list out the characters who are going to appear. Don't just ask for ideas of where to go in a city; specify the city you're going to, the types of places you want to see, and the people you'll have with you.

Your prompts don't always have to get ChatGPT to generate something from scratch: You can start it off with something, and then let the AI finish it off. The model will take clues from what you've already written and build on it.

This can come in handy for everything from coding a website to composing a poem—and you can then get ChatGPT to go back and refine its answer as well.

You've no doubt noticed how online arguments have tended toward the binary in recent years, so get ChatGPT to help add some gray between the black and the white. It's able to argue both sides of an argument if you ask it to, including both pros and cons.

From politics and philosophy to sports and the arts, ChatGPT is able to sit on the fence quite impressively—not in a vague way, but in a way that can help you understand tricky issues from multiple perspectives.

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Lucrative Ideas for Online Side Hustles to Make More Money in 2024

Source: Unsplash

Are you looking for a side hustle to generate extra income in 2024?  

Here are five ideas for lucrative jobs you can do online, part-time to make more money on a monthly basis.  

The best part? If you don’t have them already, you can learn the skills you need for all these options by yourself, online, mostly for free.  

Web Design 

To start with, one of the most lucrative online side hustles is web design.  

In 2024, every business needs a website to succeed. Statistics show that the vast majority of customers check out businesses online before visiting physical stores. Plus, a study by Stanford University revealed that 75% of consumers assess the credibility of a business based on their web design.  

The bottom line? There’s a high demand for web designers.  

And thanks to content management systems such as WordPress, and intuitive drag-and-drop website builders like Elementor, Gutenberg, and Divi, you no longer have to be a coding whiz to design a visually appealing website.  

The best way to go is to brush up your skills by following some of the many exhaustive YouTube tutorials and getting started by building a few sample websites for your portfolio. Then, you can launch your side hustle and start generating an actual income.  


Another online side hustle with a massive earnings potential is bookkeeping. While it may sound less glamorous, freelance bookkeepers are in high demand.  

If you’ve got a knack for math, juggling numbers, and organizing figures, bookkeeping may be the perfect side hustle for you. Many businesses need help tracking their invoices and expenses, and balancing their various accounts.  

Plus, you don’t need formal qualifications to launch your bookkeeping business. While some bookkeepers have a specialized degree, many start their career with a high school diploma or some trade school classes. If you want to polish your skills, you can consider taking an online bookkeeping course before getting started.   

Ben Robinson, CEO of Bookkeepers.com, which offers bookkeeping masterclasses, says: “There’s no denying you can achieve a lot with this career path, and you can learn how to become a bookkeeper through training courses. You don’t even need related work experience to qualify for bookkeeping training. And, you don’t have to be a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). If you have no previous experience in the accounting industry, this means you need to pick your bookkeeping courses wisely. They should cover all the essentials you need to learn to be a competent and capable bookkeeper.”  

Video Editing  

Is your hobby making fancams for X? Running a YouTube channel? Or uploading edits of your favorite shows and movies?  

Then becoming a freelance video editor is a fantastic way to make some extra money online. With the surge in video marketing content – especially short-form, vertical clips for TikTok, Shorts, and Reels – many businesses are looking for editors.  

Skill-wise, you’ll need to have a solid grasp on editing software like Premiere Pro, Final Cut, or DaVinci Resolve. And you’ll have to be a pro at selecting the right cuts, effects, and animations to produce a captivating clip that fits the brand voice of your client.  

The good news? Many hobby editors have found that the transition to being a well-paid pro is fairly smooth. In fact, most video marketing clients are less demanding than YouTube’s comment section.  

Social Media Management 

Are you hooked on social media? Completely in tune with the conversation on X? Up-to-date with the latest TikTok trends?  

Then you’ve got a great shot a launching a lucrative career in social media management. Like having a website, maintaining a presence on social media is a key element in establishing a business’ online presence. Still, many marketers struggle to get their brand voice right and become part of the conversation without seeming artificial.  

That’s where social media managers come in. You’ll need to pinpoint how to best reach a business’ target audience – which platform and content type to leverage to generate the most engagement. And you’ll need to create content, from TikTok videos to Facebook posts, that is custom-tailored to resonate with that audience.  

If you’re a social media junkie with multiple viral posts under your belt, then this should be a breeze for you. Especially if you also study up on social media strategy by following some of the many specialists out there who’re sharing their knowledge on their own accounts.  

Search Engine Optimization  

Finally, another lucrative side hustle idea is search engine optimization (SEO). SEO describes a set of practices that help websites rank in the top spots on Google.  

A large part of SEO is doing research on what search terms people use to look for products or services – and then writing custom-tailored website copy and blog posts to target these keywords. Another part of it is making sure that your customers’ websites are fast enough, and that other sites link back to it (“backlink building”).  

Sounds complicated? With a little practice, it’s really not. If you’ve got some experience as a writer and some time to study up on SEO best-practices, you’ll be all set to start looking for your first clients.  

Plus, there are countless free online resources to stay up to date with the latest SEO trends and learn from the best.  

The Bottom Line  

Launching a side hustle can seem daunting, even if it’s tempting to make an extra income in 2024.  

Ultimately, the key is to pick a side hustle that builds on your strengths, and involves tasks that you genuinely enjoy – from writing SEO-optimized texts to editing videos that are perfectly on-beat.  

Go through the list above, assess your own strengths, and launch yourself into your side-hustle adventure!  


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U.S. Moon Landing: How to Watch and What to Know

If all goes as planned, Odysseus, a private spacecraft, will touch down on the lunar surface on Thursday. It will be the first U.S. moon landing in more than 50 years.

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A view from a spacecraft camera showing its machinery, with a component covered in foil that has the NASA logo, an American flag and the Intuitive Machines logo on it. Earth can be partly seen in the distance below the spacecraft.

By Kenneth Chang

Visit The Times live blog for the latest information on the Odysseus moon lander’s journey , including an updated landing time.

On Wednesday morning, a robotic lunar lander launched by a Houston company got closer to reaching the moon.

The company, Intuitive Machines, announced that its Odysseus spacecraft had fired its engine for six minutes and 48 seconds, slowing it enough to be pulled by the moon’s gravity into a circular orbit 57 miles above the surface.

On Thursday, it is scheduled to touch down on the moon. If all goes well, it will become the first private spacecraft ever to make a soft landing there and the first American mission to arrive there since Apollo 17 in 1972.

When is the landing and how can I watch it?

Odysseus is expected to land on the lunar surface at 4:24 p.m. Eastern time on Thursday. (Late Thursday morning, Intuitive Machines announced it was moving up the landing time by about an hour, noting also that it had raised the spacecraft’s orbit.)

Although it is a private mission, the main customer is NASA, which paid $118 million for the delivery of six instruments to the moon. NASA TV will stream coverage of the landing beginning at 4 p.m. on Thursday. The Times is providing updates on the landing live in a blog.

Where is the spacecraft going to land?

Odysseus is aiming for a spot in the south polar region, a flat plain outside the Malapert A crater. (Malapert A is a satellite crater of the larger Malapert crater, which is named after Charles Malapert, a 17th-century Belgian astronomer.)

The landing site is about 185 miles from the moon’s south pole.

Some of those craters in that region remain in perpetual shadow, and are a particular area of interest because water ice has been detected in them. Previous American moon missions have landed in the equatorial regions.

How will Odysseus land?

The spacecraft will fire its engine so that the circular orbit changes to an elliptical one, and will drop to within about six miles of the lunar surface. From this point onward in the landing sequence, Odysseus will operate completely on its own. After coasting for an hour, the engine will start up again, and the spacecraft will begin its powered descent. It will have to slow down from its initial speed of about 4,000 miles per hour.

Odysseus will track its position through cameras, matching the patterns of craters with stored maps and measuring its altitude by bouncing laser beams off the surface.

About 1.2 miles from the landing site, the spacecraft will pivot to an upright orientation, with sensors looking for a safe spot.

For the last 50 feet or so of the descent, Odysseus will rely solely on its inertial measurement units, which act as the spacecraft’s inner ear, measuring the forces of acceleration. It will stop using the camera and the altitude-measuring laser to avoid being fooled by dust kicked up by the engine’s exhaust.

What will the lander do on the moon?

Because solar panels provide the spacecraft’s power, its mission will last only about seven days until the sun sets on the landing site. That’s when a two-week long, frigid lunar night begins, and Odysseus was not designed to survive those conditions.

The six NASA instruments carried to the moon by Odysseus and what their tasks are:

A laser retroreflector array that bounces back laser beams.

A LIDAR instrument that precisely measures the spacecraft’s altitude and velocity as it descends to the lunar surface.

A stereo camera that will capture video of the plume of dust produced by Odysseus’ engines during landing.

A low-frequency radio receiver that measures the effects of charged particles on radio signals near the lunar surface, providing information that could aid the design of future radio observation on the moon.

A beacon, Lunar Node-1, that will demonstrate an autonomous navigation system.

An instrument in the propellant tank that uses radio waves to measure fuel levels.

The lander is also carrying other payloads, including a camera built by students at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla.; a precursor instrument for a future moon telescope; and an art project by Jeff Koons .

How’s the mission going, so far?

Mostly very well.

On Feb. 15, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket sent Odysseus on a trajectory toward the moon. After the spacecraft separated, it successfully turned itself on. An initial engine burn to test the propulsion system was postponed because the liquid oxygen propellant took longer to chill down than ground-based tests had predicted.

Engineers adjusted the ignition procedures, and the burn was successfully performed on Feb. 16.

Along the way, the spacecraft transmitted photographs taken of both Earth and the moon.

Flight controllers fired the engine twice more, on Feb. 18 and Feb. 20, to fine-tune the spacecraft’s path to the moon. The second effort was precise enough that the flight controllers decided to skip a planned third correction.

How big is the spacecraft?

The Intuitive Machines lander is a hexagonal cylinder with six landing legs, standing about 14 feet tall and five feet wide. For fans of “Dr. Who,” the science fiction television show, the body of the lander is roughly the size of the Tardis, the time-traveling spacecraft that, on the outside, looks like an old British police telephone booth.

At launch, with a full load of propellant, the lander weighed about 4,200 pounds.

Why isn’t NASA running this mission?

Odysseus is part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services program, which allows private companies to send experiments to the moon and spares NASA from building and operating its own moon landers.

The space agency hopes this approach will be much cheaper, letting it send more missions more frequently while it is preparing for U.S. astronauts to return to the moon as part of its Artemis program.

Kenneth Chang has been at The Times since 2000, writing about physics, geology, chemistry, and the planets. Before becoming a science writer, he was a graduate student whose research involved the control of chaos. More about Kenneth Chang


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