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 2021:
Instagram Stories Hacks You Need to Know in 2021
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 Stories Hacks #1: Change Your Instagram Story Background Color
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.
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:
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.
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: Use an Image as Your Instagram Story Background
When you share a feed post to your stories, not only can you change the background color but you can also add in an 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.
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:
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.
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.
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!
Instagram Stories Hacks #5: Add Your Brand Fonts 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.
Start by downloading the GoDaddy Studio (formerly known as Over) mobile app. Once downloaded, AirDrop your font’s .OFT file to your mobile device.
Select “Over” from the menu that pops up.
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.
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.
Next, use the eraser tool to remove parts of the zig-zag 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.
Next, use the color picker tool (the pipette icon on the left-hand corner of the screen) to sample your desired hue:
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.
Instagram Story Photo Hacks
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.
To change the shape of the image, tap the image and select from a circle, star, rectangle, and more.
#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.
Double-tap the screen to pull up the “Paste” option.
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.
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.
Instagram Story Sticker Hacks
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.
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.
Open that screenshot and create a second story using a different question sticker response.
Repeat this until you have multiple question stickers on a single story.
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.
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.
Here are some of our favorite keywords to search:
Latergif (Later’s very own GIFs!)
The Uncommon Place
Instagram Story Video Hacks
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, 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.
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.”
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.
Once you’re done, upload your new GIF to Instagram Stories!
Instagram Stories Hacks #16: Use “Hidden” Instagram Story Filters
Did you know there’s a bunch of hidden Instagram Story photo and video effects? To access Instagram Story effects, open up your camera and swipe all the way to the end and select “Browse Effects”.
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: Include Music in Your Instagram Stories
Adding music is a great way to make your stories 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.
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!):
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.
Other Instagram Story Tips and Tricks
Instagram Stories Hacks #18: Automatically Add Closed Captions
Thanks to the new Captions sticker, it’s easier than ever to automatically add closed captions to stories.
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.
At this stage, you can choose from four different text formats, move the text around the screen, and change the color.
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.
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.
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”.
This will take you to a screen with a list of public reshares that are currently live.
You can tap one of the reshares to see it live on the user’s account.
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.