One of my sweet friends recently got an Instagram account and I know what you are thinking. I said the same thing, but she asked if I could help her set it up and if I knew how to do those “circle things up top”. 😊 I explained those “circles” are Instagram stories and that stories are a feature that let the users post photos and videos that vanish after 24 hours. The content shared to stories doesn’t actually show up on your profile or in the main Instagram feed. It is basically a way for Instagram to try and incorporate that Snapchat vibe without flat right copying them. After our conversation, I realized to anyone who hasn’t been on Instagram before or hasn’t created a story it can be a bit confusing so here some quick tips to help you with your Instagram stories.

Here’s how to create a story:

  1. Hit the plus button on the top-left side of your home screen or swipe left in your feed. You can also quickly launch stories by swiping right from the main screen.
  2. Hit the circle button at the bottom of the screen to take photos or tap and hold to record a video. You can also choose from the following:
    1. Type allows you to add text to a colorful screen.
    2. Live is just that, a live video of you.
    3. Normal mode lets you do a regular photo or video, similar to the kind you shoot with your phone.
    4. Boomerang is a looping GIF style video that plays forward and backward repeatedly.
    5. Superzoom lets you move in close dramatically on something around you.
    6. Focus, zeros in on someone’s face and softly blurs the background.
    7. Rewind is just a normal video played backward.
    8. Hands-free allows you to record a 15 sec video without hands
  1. To add photos or videos from your gallery, swipe up on the screen or tap the photo icon in the lower-left side of the screen. The app will automatically add a date sticker to your gallery photos, but you can remove it by dragging it down the trash can.
  2. Edit the photos or videos as you normally would.
  3. Tap done to save your story.
  4. Tap the add your story button to share to your story. You can also tap on the save icon to save your image or video on your phone.

Adding multiple images

Once you’ve got the hang of that you can also add more than one photo or video to your story so that it plays like a slideshow. Just keep repeating the previous steps. Each photo you add using the steps within a 24-hour period will be placed in your story.

An easier way

However, if that seems a little tedious for you there is an easier way to add multiple photos all at one time. Go to the icon of the stack of photos in the upper right-hand corner. Tap it, then tap on the photos you want to add. You can choose up to 10 photos at a time. To edit each photo, go to the edit screen and tap the photo you want to edit. You can decorate each photo up just like you would normally with text, GIF or emojis.

The meaning behind the colorful circle

Once you have those few steps done you should see a colorful circle around your profile photo to let your followers know you have a story for them to view and your profile picture will also pop up at the top of your followers feed. All they need to do is tap on your beautiful little face and they can see your stories.

Stories aren’t permanent

If by change you add something to your stories that you later regret don’t stress, they can be deleted. Tap on the three dots at the bottom right of the photo or video you’d like to delete hit delete and then confirm and wallah! No one will ever know you posted it. Instagram stories aren’t that scary and hopefully, these quick tips can help you get creative with the way you share your everyday life with your followers.

(Editor’s Note: Instagram has introduced the ability to save “highlights” to your profile, where you can combine multiple stories into one. To do this, visit your Instagram profile and click on the “New” button and select from your stories to create a permanent highlight.)