The Best Instagram Story Tricks: How to Make Instagram Stories for Free in 2020, 4 Easy Steps

By: | February 3, 2019 | Tags: , , , , , |

How to Use Instagram Stories

Do you know how to make Instagram Stories?

One billion people are on Instagram.

However, there are other ways you can get exposure by using the site.

Why Stories?

According to the Social Media Examiner, 400 million people watch Instagram Stories daily.

That number is staggering, but what are the benefits for you?

Why should you take your time to make an Instagram story?

There are many advantages to using Instagram. Making Instagram Stories is gaining popularity over feed posts.

There are many advantages to Instagram Stories:

Instagram Stories enable you to

Grow your brand

Advertise for free

Get feedback that will help you plan more heavily trafficked blog post content

Grow your Instagram engagement

By the end of this article, 

You’ll know how to make Instagram Stories

Free Instagram Story tricks

How You Can Use Instagram Stories to market your products or services even without an advertising budget. 

If you don’t know how to make Instagram Stories, you will when this article is over. You’ll also discover how to use the engaging Instagram Story tricks that come with Instagram Stories.

What is an Instagram Story?

There are many advantages to using Instagram. Using Stories is one of them.

An Instagram Story is a feature that lets you post photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours. Good news: If you add your Instagram Story to your Instagram Highlights in your profile, your Story will stay there until you remove it.

How to Make Instagram Stories

Step 1: Send the video or still image to Instagram.

Open your Instagram app on your mobile device.

Swipe right. This will activate the camera.

Hold the big white button in for a video. Let go of the button when you’re done with the video.

Tap the video when you’re done.

I record the video on my iPhone and upload to Instagram from there.

I make sure to hold my phone vertically since you need Portrait Orientation for videos on Instagram Stories.

In addition to videos, you can have images. Make sure they are portrait orientation since Instagram stories are long.

Step 2: Add text.

Click “Aa” for the font. You can type and change the colors.

Step 3: Add filters.

Swipe either right or left for filters.

Step 4: Add emojis.

This is where I have the most fun. I routinely add hashtags, polls, a live link, the “Swipe Up” GIF so people have a Call to Action, and I just discovered Sliders.

Swipe up for emojis or click the Emoji symbol at the top of the page. You can change the size.

How to make Instagram Stories

The slider is handy when there’s isn’t a clear-cut Yes or No answer to your question.

You can use this feedback to plan your blog post content. For example, if everyone answers to the far right, they most likely wouldn’t read my blog posts explaining how to get more comfortable.

Did you notice my red Call to Action on the right? I linked to my blog post about video making.

In addition for the chance for traffic, you’re getting valuable feedback from your online audience.

I’ve used the Question feature of Instagram Stories to ask what people want to see a blog post about.

Tilt anything you’ve added by pinching the element.

Instagram Tips and Tricks

This is an example of a poll I made. Notice Instagram allows you to highlight your text for easier viewing. Click the box containing the letter at the top of the screen to highlight your text.

If you wish to save your Story, click “Save” at the bottom of the screen.

Choose who you wish to share with. If you want your Instagram Story at the top of your Instagram feed, click “Your Story.” Everyone will be able to see. If you want to share with individuals, click “Next” and choose those individuals from your contacts.

How to make Instagram stories

Although many of these Highlights of my Stories indicate I am busy using Stories to market my brand, the arrow to the right lets people scroll through my older Highlights and see they are not all advertisements for my products, services, and blog.

Remember to save your story to your Highlights so it doesn’t vanish in 24 hours. Call your Highlight an interesting name so intrigued people will click.

Apps to Make Instagram Stories

So many tools make Instagram Story templates. Canva is a popular choice.

This post is full of tools to use on Instagram

Do You Need an Instagram Quote Maker? Here Are 35 Free, Easy Tools

Tip #21 gives more information about using Canva to make Instagram Stories.

Many free, easy-to-use video making tools are available for you to use to make your videos. You can upload them to Instagram to use in your Story, your feed, and other social media sites.

Other tools I use to make Instagram Stories: PosterMyWall, Spark Post, PixTeller (information about how to use PixTeller can be found here PixTeller: How to Make Dazzling Inspirational Images), and Snappa.

Just last night I discovered the app called Slice. It’s like Spark Video. Unlike Spark Video, Slice lets me add music from my own iTunes library.


Are you aware Instagram Stories are only shown for 15 seconds? I don’t let the 15-second limit on video length stop me.

I use the Storeo app which divides the video into 15-second segments so you can post as many as you want in order. The Storeo app is free.

UPDATE: Instagram might be dividing the video for you now.

How to Make Instagram Stories and Make Money

I put the link in and I can even check my link so when people “Swipe Up” it takes them to my blog post. You can even Swipe Up to your email optin, your blog’s signup form, your Amazon sales page, your Hire Me page… any page.


Unfold enables you to put a collage on your Instagram Story.

Step 1: Click Tap to Create an Instagram Story. Name your story. If you change your mind later and want to rename your Story template, you can. Templates will appear; choose one. If you want to make a collage, scroll until you see a template with multiple image boxes.

Step 2: Choose images from your photo library. You can also take a new picture with your phone’s camera. Note: Unsplash free stock photos is built into the app! Choose Unsplash to select stock photos.

Note: The dominant graphic for this post was made with Unfold. I chose a one-image box template and a selection from the Unsplash library.

Step 3: Add text by clicking the “T+” symbol. Modify the text as desired.

Step 4: Save. You’re given the option of sending directly to Instagram.


how to make Instagram Stories

I chose a 2-image template.

I inserted my two book covers into the image boxes.

Still using Unfold, I typed the message that the books are available on Amazon.

Once I uploaded my Story to Instagram, I put the bitly link to my books on Amazon so people could go straight there with one swipe. Amazon has long links, but bitly is a link shortener. Bitly has analytics so you can see how many people clicked on your link.

I used the Swipe Up GIF to let interested readers know they could buy the books if they swiped up.

Did it work? Did anyone “Swipe Up” and go to my Amazon book sales page within the 24-hour time-frame my Story was visible?


Instagram Story Tips and Tricks

You might feel 5 clicks is not a lot. However, keep in mind I was selling two books. I could have sold 10 books with five clicks.

How I use the live link in my other Instagram Stories: I put the link in, and I can even check my link to ensure it works so when people “Swipe Up” it takes them to my blog post. You can even link to your email optin, your sales page, your book page, your Hire Me page… any page. Remember to use the “Swipe Up” emoji so people know that’s what you want them to do.

Note: If you don’t have over 10,000 followers, you can still use a live link in your Story. However, it needs to be a link to an IGTV you made. Make it with the IGTV app.

Also, I used the “blogging tips” hashtag so people would know what my books were about.

Do you see I’m marketing two books with one Instagram Story without spending a dime?

After uploading to my Instagram Story, I saved this to my Highlights so after the 24 hours elapsed and my Story was gone, my book marketing would still be visible on my Instagram profile.

You can create a Call to Action that evokes a sense of urgency in your story when you promote your business: “Act now,” is an example. Remember the FOMO acronym: People have a fear of missing out.

Did it work? Did I sell any books that day with this method? 

Yes! Look: 

Instagram Story Tips and Tricks: How to Make Instagram Stories

important Note: I made money that day without methods relying on blog traffic or an advertising budget. Now you know how to make Instagram Stories that make money for you.

Marketer Jay Baer advises not making every Instagram Story about marketing your product or services. You’re trying to engage your Instagram community and increase your brand awareness. Don’t turn the Story into a brochure for your business, he warns.

Important Takeaways: How to Make Instagram Stories

In closing, there are many advantages to using social media for business. Using Instagram Stories is one of them.

This is free advertising for you. 

Many businesses spend a fortune to market their products and services.

Stories enable you to

grow your brand

advertise for free

make money

get feedback that will help you plan more heavily trafficked blog post content

In closing, making Stories is free and takes little time.

Stories also increase your brand awareness and help grow your Instagram following.

I have fun making Instagram Stories. It generates awareness about my blog and services, and making them helps me grow my Instagram community and make decisions about my blog post content.

I enjoy the chance to be creative making Instagram Stories gives me. This post highlighted the Instagram Story Tricks I use. There are actually more GIFs and Instagram adds more regularly.

Using Stories is fast and free. Definitely a return on my ROI.

Have fun making Instagram Stories!

What ideas do you have for making Instagram Stories?

I look forward to your views in the comments section. What other Instagram Story tricks can you suggest? Do you know how to make Instagram Stories with additional strategies?

  1. Lisa Sicard

    Hi Jan,great tips! When you use swipe up with stories don’t you have to have 10,000 followers or has that changed? I can’t believe how many tools there are now to use Instagram with. Catching up or surpassed Twitter tools. Thank you for sharing this with us. I see you rocking it over there on Instagram!

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Lisa,
      Thanks for the compliments on my post. Yes. You need 10,000 followers to use the “Swipe Up” feature in an Instagram story to take people to a link outside of Instagram. However, you can still use the Swipe Up feature to take people to your IGTV video link where you might have promotions. Thanks for writing.

  2. Jeanette S. Hall


    Shared this informative post on FB, Twitter, Pintrest, then flipped it so that when I write new posts I can refer to it.

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful information with the rest of the blogosphere!

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Jeanette,
      I’m so glad you find my post on Instagram Stories valuable. I appreciate you sharing on social media. Bookmarking on Flipboard is a great idea! Thanks for writing to tell me.

  3. James Richard

    Hi Jan,great tips! Hopefully this will work for us in establishing our online business

    • Janice Wald

      Hi James,
      They say that Instagram is all the rage for marketers today. As you read in my post, I was able to make a sale with no budget and little effort. Have fun and good luck at Instagram. Thanks for the compliment.

  4. Trupti Patel

    Instagram stories are the best feature ever, it’s so easy to upload pictures and videos instantly.
    I really enjoy uploading stories.
    Great Post, Keep sharing more of such Post.

  5. Trupti Patel

    Instagram stories are the best feature ever, it’s so easy to upload pictures and videos instantly.
    Great Post.

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Trupti,
      Thanks for the compliments. I agree. Instagram Stories are easy to use.

  6. Certificate Attestation

    Nicely descibed instagram features. It will help to increse business connections also.

  7. Kyra Rodriguez

    Planning to use instagram for my online business. AND THANKS AGAIN FOR THIS!!!!

  8. Kishan

    Hey Janice,

    Great content on Instagram.Full informative. Love to read more such stories.

  9. Davida Chazan

    This is great but… if there are no clickable links in Instagram, I still don’t see how posting things there can increase your blog traffic. Beyond me, the whole thing. I’m about to give up on it altogether!

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Davida,
      Thanks for commenting on my post.
      You are allowed a clickable link in your bio. People use LinkTree to have a “tree” of links people can choose to click on when they go to your bio.
      Also, if you use Instagram Stories, you can promote whatever you want there and then have a clickable link to your Instagram Story.
      Finally, if you use bitly, you can customize the link to make it easy for people to copy

  10. Philip V Ariel

    Hi Janice,
    This is indeed yet another informative share.
    Though I have an account there I did not know about the Instagram story.
    Thanks for sharing this step by step tutorial on how to create an Instagram story.

    P S. I found this post on the pages of Bizsugar.

    Thanks Janice.
    ~ Phil

  11. Hannah Lagdameo

    There’s a lot of ways to maximize the use of social media to our benefit. This is just a great example. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Hannah,
      Where did you find my Instagram Story tips post? Was it Google, may I ask? I always wonder. If yes, do you remember what you typed into Google to bring up my post? Thanks for commenting and for the compliments.

      • Hannah Lagdameo

        Hi Janice,

        Yes I found this article of yours in google. I’m really looking for write ups relevant to digital marketing, advertising and SEO, good thing I found yours. It was indeed informative.

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