I’ll be the first to admit that in the beginning, I was reluctant to get on board with Instagram stories, but since its launch, this feature has quickly become as big a player as the main Instagram feed itself. In fact, in January 2019, Instagram reported 500 million daily active Stories users worldwide, up from 400 million global daily active users in June 2018.

As we enter a new year the days of unedited, unfiltered Instagram Stories are long gone. Here are our tips on how to take your IG Stories to the next level in 2020.

Tell a story

Remember, they’re called stories for a reason! Simply uploading a photo of what you ate for lunch isn’t going to cut it.

Whether you are using Instagram as a personal account or a business account, if you want to grab people’s attention and cut through the selfies, you’ll want to harness the power of visual storytelling.

Take your followers along with you on a journey, beginning, middle and end. Think BTS, a day in the life, and break up information into multiple engaging and easily digestible slides.

Step outside the app

Instagram’s features (GIFs, polls, chat, countdown, quiz and questions) can be incredibly beneficial when used correctly, creatively and, most importantly, sparingly to tell a story and to boost engagement.

But in order to take your stories to the next level in 2020, you’ll need to step outside the platform to make use of a few of the countless editing and design tools available.

Unfold, mojo, creator HUB (one of the creators is Pangea Dreams sister @haylsa) and others can go a long way in making your Instagram Stories look both more professional and engaging for viewers.

Leverage copy & paste for your Instagram stories

In saying that, while there are plenty of apps to create image layouts and collages, you can also simply copy & paste from your camera roll directly onto your story.

Use the text tool for this hack.

Create a distinct color pallet for your brand

Just like your Instagram feed, incorporating your brand colors into your Instagram Stories will help followers immediately recognize your content (and stop them from swiping past!)

This can be as easy as saving a color swatch in your camera roll (Pinterest is a great place to find these!) to copy/paste and use with the Color Picker Tool (eyedropper icon).

Use hashtags and add a location to increase exposure through the discover feed

I bet you didn’t know you can use hashtags on Instagram Stories?

Hashtag pages now have an Instagram Story icon in the top left corner. Click on it and you’ll see a collection of Stories posts tagged with the hashtag from people with public profiles.

You can add up to 10 hashtags on a Story using the hashtag sticker or the text tool along with 1 location tag.

Hide them behind an emoji, sticker, or GIF.

Tagging someone in your story

Mentioning someone in your Instagram Story can be another great way to increase exposure if they repost your Story to their own.

One thing to keep in mind is that unless you tag them in every slide the one you tag them in might not tell the full story on its own, making bigger accounts less likely to repost.

Ensure the slide you’re tagging them in provides context as to why they’re being featured or mentioned.

BONUS Turn existing live photos into boomerangs

One little-known feature you can play with is turning existing live photos on your camera roll into boomerangs.

To do this, simply upload your favorite live photo to your story and press on your screen.

After holding down the image for a moment a circle will appear briefly before it says BOOMERANG across the screen, and your picture comes to life.

Now that you’ve read how to take your IG Stories to the next level in 2020 be sure to tag us in your story so we can see these tips in action!

The Pangea Dreams Instagram Story strategy is always evolving as new Instagram tools and trends arise and as our brand continues to grow. Hopefully, this was helpful and sparks some new ideas for your next Insta Story.

Blog post written by Pangea Dreams Social Media Manager and #PDTRBali Oct 2018 Alumni Mollie Brown. Find her on Instagram: @HelloMollieBrown