How to Create Engaging Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories has been around for a while now and the medium is doing amazingly well. The ability use Stories to engage your audience in a full screen, sound-on experience should definitely not be underestimated. This post will highlight some examples of how you can push the quality bar of your stories.

First, Why Create Custom Video Stories?

I'm definitely not saying that all of your stories should have custom animations or professional video. There are plenty of ways to engage your audience without putting the extra time into creating more custom stories. However, sometimes you might want to create a story and the built-in tools on the Instagram app simply aren't enough. Or maybe you are like me and you like the idea of practicing your video/editing skills by doing quick projects.

If you are a more established brand, you're obviously going to want to make sure more-produced stories fit your marketing strategy and overall brand aesthetic and voice.

The Camera

Your camera really doesn't matter too much. What is important is that you keep in mind that Stories are vertical (1080x1920, not the typical 1920x1080 like with a standard HD video). This means that if you are not shooting at 4k resolution, you will want to make sure you are orienting your camera (or phone) vertically.

The Story Project Settings

Instagram Video Stories are 15 seconds in length and display at portrait (vertical) orientation. When you first create your project in your video editor, you'll want the project resolution to be 1080x1920 (24p or 30p are both fine options depending on the look you are going for)

If you have a 4k camera (I use a GH5) then you are able to film horizontally and crop in post. Just remember to compose your shot with that crop in mind.

Be Creative

Now you essentially have a video project that, when exported, will be able to be uploaded to Instagram Stories. That means that there is a lot of creative potential. You're also obviously not limited to filming only your phone, which opens up a lot of room for more produced or higher quality video.

Basic Inspiration

I selected three stories to give you an example of what is possible. These definitely fall on the more "basic" side of things (nothing too advanced at all), so they are a good place to start in terms of inspiration.

Don't Forget About Sound

The great thing about Instagram Stories is that a majority of people watch them with sound on. That contrasts with a normal Instagram video post where people often do not turn on sound.

Because of this fact, you'll definitely want to take advantage of sound when creating your stories. The basic recorded audio is definitely the least you could include. However, consider adding some music or some natural sounding effects to make your viewers feel more imersed and engaged.

Wrapping Up

The basic settings are really all you need to get started. Once I realized that the Instagram app would upload pretty much any project at the right resolution and length, well, you can see that it opens up a lot of possibility for people and brands beyond Boomerangs.

I hope you enjoyed this post and that it gave you some ideas or inspiration. Let me know if you've been doing similar stuff or have ideas for cool custom video stories. I'd love to hear about it.