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Episode 31: How to Dress Up Your Instagram Story With Text and Stickers

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I just have to warn you – in today’s episode, we are talking about something that is super fun and can possibly become very addicting. I’m not joking – it’s Instagram Stories.

In this episode, we are talking about how to dress up your Instagram Story with text and stickers. Yes, as if Instagram Stories weren’t fun enough on their own, today, we are talking specifically how to make them even better.

We’ll go over how to add a written message, how to add a sticker or one of those fun little animations – if you follow me on Instagram, you know I LOVE to dress up a Story with this kind of stuff. We’ll also talk about how to get rid of things you DON’T want in your Story, and a few other tips and tricks that will help you make your Instagram Stories amazing, fun and the absolute best they can be.

If Instagram is kind of scary, and you’re not really sure how to create stories or dress them up, I have LOTS of resources for you. 

Do you need to get familiar with the basics?  Listen to Episode 8.  You can also listen to Episode 16 and Episode 21 to learn even more about Instagram. That’s episodes 8, 16 and 21.

Instagram is an app that’s meant to be used on your phone, so you might find it useful to open up your Instagram app on your phone. 

Okay, let’s jump in!

So, first of all – why dress up an Instagram Story with text and stickers? Instagram is about entertainment. Yes, you’re using it to spread the word about your nonprofit organization and to build relationships with your donors and the people you serve, but wouldn’t you rather hear a message that is compelling and entertaining? 

Here are some reasons to use text and stickers in your story:

  • Dressing up your Instagram Story is an opportunity to make it entertaining. To make it pop. Stand out. Memorable. 
  • Since a lot of people view Instagram Stories without sound, stickers or text could inspire them to listen or alert them that they need to turn their sound on to hear your message.
  • You can add a call to action. For example, if you’re having a fundraiser, you can tell people they can donate using by adding the text “link in bio” or “link in profile” You can also add a couple sentences of text to help describe your fundraiser, or the name of your fundraiser. 
  • There are hundreds of stickers you can use on Instagram Stories - like animated arrows, squiggly lines, sparkling stars… You can add these to guide the eyes of your Story viewers where you want them to look. 
  • Engage with your followers with stickers! There are stickers you can use to ask your audience questions or to participate in a poll. You can also have a countdown to a specific event coming up.
  • If you have a compelling, entertaining story, you are more likely to get reactions from your audience. They can send you a quick emoji reaction to let you know how they feel, or they can send you a whole written message. It’s a great opportunity to get feedback from your audience when you use Instagram Stories.

Okay so, now that you know the basics of why we should dress up an Instagram Story with text and stickers… Let’s talk about how to put text and stickers into your story.

Open up your Instagram app on your phone and start creating a new Story – tap that little camera at the top left corner of your feed.

You’ll see the camera open up and already, you’ve got options. You can add a picture you’ve saved on your phone or take a new picture or film a new video. 

Let’s use an example:

Let’s pretend we have a picture of Pamela on our camera, our pretend receptionist at our pretend nonprofit. In the picture, Pamela is sitting at her desk and this is going to be a post encouraging people to make appointments at our organization this week.

So, we add this picture of Pamela at the front desk but as soon as it pops up on the screen where you can edit the Story, there is a big date across the picture – the date the picture was taken. Instagram automatically adds the date, so let’s get rid of that date before moving on to the next step. To remove the date, simply tap and hold down on it with your finger and start sliding it to the bottom of the screen. A trash can will appear – simply drag the date into the trash can. 

Next, we’ll add some text.  Tap the two A’s (Aa) in the top right corner. Now you can start typing, or you can paste in text from a note in your phone, or that you’ve emailed to yourself. 

To grab something you’ve already written, just open up your Notes app on your phone, or your email app, and for most smartphones, you just tap or hold down on the text you want to copy – a little button will show up that says COPY. Just tap COPY and go back to Instagram and paste it into the Story like this: just tap the two A’s in the top right corner, and tap where you want to put the text, then select PASTE when it appears.

Don’t worry – if you open up your email or your Notes app while the Instagram app is open, you won’t lose the work you’ve done so far on your brand-new Story.

Since in our example, we want people to make appointments, type in “Appointments available this week!” Experiment with trying out the different fonts, highlighting text or justifying it right, left or center by using the tools at the top of the screen. You can also adjust the font size by using the little slider bar on the left.

When you’re finished writing, tap “Done.” Don’t worry – you can go back and edit it by simply tapping on the text again once you’ve closed out of it.

To move things around on the screen, like text or anything else you add to a Story, just tap and hold down on it with your finger. Then you can slide it around wherever you want on the screen.

Next, we’ll dress up our post with a sticker. Just to add a little pizazz to Pamela’s desk.

Try this - tap on the little square smiley face at the top and a menu will pop up.

Try searching for something in the search bar at the top – we’ll type in “sunshine” for our example.

Depending on what word you search for, you see a bunch of results. You scroll through different stickers and emojis – I like to scroll all the way down to what is called the GIF or the GIPHY section.  These are my favorite things to add to Instagram Stories. 

We’ll pick out a little animated sun with a smiley face to add above Pamela’s desk… and let’s add some flowers – so we’ll search for spring, or flowers. We’ll select a couple flowers that we like and put them in front of Pamela’s desk.

Okay, so next, we’ll want to add something very important that I highly recommend adding to all your Instagram Stories – the location tag. 

Tap that little square smiley face again, and this time, when that menu pops up, select the little icon that says “Location.”

Then, type in the town or city that your nonprofit is in. By adding a location, your Story will be found more easily by people in your local area who are looking at posts near their location – even if they aren’t following you. It’s a pretty handy little tool to reach a brand-new audience!

Again, I just want to remind you – if you don’t like something that you’ve added or you made a mistake, or you feel like you’ve added too many things – just tap and hold down on any of the text or stickers and drag it to the trash can that appears. You can also tap and hold down on any item to move it to a different area. You can change the size of the item by pinching it with two fingers into a bigger or smaller size. Play around with it and see what looks good!

You can add hashtags to your Instagram Story, so it can be seen by more people. We talked all about hashtags in Episode 8 if you need a refresher on what a hashtag is and how to use it. You can add hashtags in a couple of ways, but I suggest just typing them in with their own little line of text. The “Instagram rules” today say you can use up to 10 hashtags in an Instagram Story.

If I am using more than 1 or 2 hashtags, I usually opt to shrink them down – you can make text bigger or smaller by pinching them with two fingers. I shrink them down and hide them behind a sticker or highlighted text or sometimes I make them the same color as some other area of the Story. 

The goal is to add things to your Story to make it entertaining and compelling and get people’s attention – but it can be easy to overdo it. Don’t add so many things that your audience’s eyes don’t know where to look. That’s why I like to hide things like hashtags, so my audience isn’t distracted by it. Hashtags still do their job even if you can’t see them.

Okay, so far, we’ve added text, stickers, a location and hashtags. And we’ve saved the best for last – the little games for engagement!

So, you have a few options for these fun engagement games. You’ll find them in the menu that pops up when you tap that little square smiley face. There’s the slider poll – this looks like the white bar with an emoji sliding back and forth. If you tap that, you will be prompted to ask a question. For example, you could ask, “How much do you love Fridays?” Then your audience will slide the emoji left or right on the scale as their answer. The more they move the emoji to the right, the more they agree. Try to make your poll question relevant to what your post is about. It’s meant to be a fun little game and it’s easy to use – so experiment and see what happens!

You can allow people to give you open ended answers by going back to the square smiley menu and tapping the questions icon. This will bring up a box where you can type in a question and your viewers will respond by typing in an answer. That is always helpful for gathering feedback, or just for fun, too.

And finally, the last quiz game that is the most helpful for a nonprofit is actually depicted by a little white box that says “Poll.” Here you can type in a short poll question and give people 2 answers to choose from. For example, you could ask, “How do you like to book appointments?” One answer could be “online” and the other answer could be “phone.” Your viewers can vote based on the choices you’ve given them. It’s just another fun little way to engage with them.

Now, if you are looking at all your options on the square smiley menu, I’m sure you’ve noticed there is an icon for donations. 

Yes, you can raise money through donations in Instagram Stories – you have to be a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit in the US, have approval from Facebook to use their charitable giving tools, and have an Instagram business account.

If you want to go through the trouble of setting up your nonprofit to accept donations through Instagram Stories, I’ll put a link to instructions on how to do that in the show notes for this episode. I’m going to tell you though – most donations to your nonprofit are going to be earned over time and through relationships you build with your donors. And if you want to give them a place to donate online, direct them to your website by adding the text “link in profile” or “link in bio.”

One last thing – if you accidentally post a Story you didn’t mean to, just go to your nonprofit’s profile, view your story by tapping on the profile picture, and then when your Story appears, tap the three little dots on the bottom right corner and hit DELETE. 

There you have it!  Experiment. Have fun! 

Instagram Stories are a great way to stay in the forefront of your audience’s mind and grow your relationships with them. It’s also a great way to be discovered by new people. and a fun way to pull back the curtain and let people see your organization

This might be a little out of your comfort zone, but that is where the most growth takes place! You can do it! You are capable of far more than you think! I know you can get the hang of all this – and you’ll have fun learning!

If you have any questions – I’m right here for you! Ask away! Send me a message on Facebook or Instagram or send me an email through and I’ll happily write you back with an answer!

Remember to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes, Stitcher or your favorite podcast app, or get episodes delivered straight to your email by subscribing at  Follow Nonprofit Potential on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest for special content released throughout the week, too.

Until next time, my friend

Links Mentioned in This Episode

Episode 8 - Instagram 101

Episode 16 - How to Use Instagram Stories

Episode 21 - Your Questions Answered!

How to set up your nonprofit to receive donations through Instagram Stories: How can my nonprofit raise money on Instagram?

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