How to create your own Instagram story

An Instagram story about Miles to End Polio using sound on and clock stickers.

By Ashley Demma, social & digital specialist for Rotary International

As a social media team here at Rotary headquarters, we are encouraged to see a growing number of clubs adopt social media to promote Rotary and tell their stories. We realize that keeping up with all the changes to social media can be challenging. So I wanted to share one of the exciting new features we have been using to tell Rotary’s story, and give you a few tips for creating your own.

Instagram stories are any piece of vertical content, either a photo or video or text, that disappear about 24 hours after you create it, similar to Snapchat. You can extend how long a story is viewable by adding it to your highlights. Stories tend to get more engagement than your regular grid posts, making them a powerful publicity tool. Here’s how you do it:

First, open up the Instagram app on your mobile. (If you don’t have it already installed, you can download it from the Apple App Store, Google Play for Android, or App for Windows Phone Store.)

Click either the camera icon or the Your Story profile near the top of your screen.

Select a photo from your existing gallery (icon on the bottom left), take a new photo or video, or scroll through the options at the bottom of your screen to add “type.” You may have noticed that in addition to type, there are other options you can select such as Rewind, which allows you to play videos in reverse; and Boomerang, which captures a short burst of video and loops it backwards and forwards.

These tools are fun and creative, so play around with them. For Boomerang, I have found they work best with half rotations. For instance, I went to the archery range and had my husband shoot a Boomerang as the arrow left the bowstring. The final product looped the arrow off the string and back. If he had shot the arrow going all the way to the target, it would have been too fast and wouldn’t have looked as good.

Now that you have your desired content, click on the square smiley face in the upper right to bring up a variety of additional features that will enhance your story. Here are a few creative ones to try:

  • Poll – good for having your followers cast a vote. In a recent story, we had followers choose between their interest in different types of Rotarian fellowships like surfing vs. yoga or cycling vs. chess.
  • Questions – good for getting follower feedback or crowd sourcing opinions. We use this feature ahead of live interviews like with President Barry Rassin to gather questions Rotarians would like us to ask him on camera.
  • Gif – there’s a gif for almost any search term. We particularly like using gifs to animate photos; for instance: adding bicycle gifs to the Miles to End Polio story made those photos come to life.
  • Countdown – get your followers excited with a countdown to big events like the Rotary Convention, district conferences, or even your next club meeting. I entered 1 June for Rotary’s annual convention and it auto calculates how many days are left from now until then!
  • Hashtag – be sure to include #peopleofaction in your stories as part of our public image campaign. The social team monitors new uses of the hashtag to look for club content to re-post. But if you don’t tag your work, we won’t see it.

A bit of advice on layout. All these features sit on top of your content. Stick to blank spaces around your photo, and avoid covering a face or placing a feature at the very top where your account information will block it.

Social media is meant to be fun! Don’t be afraid to experiment with these new features and see how your followers respond.

For a quick overview of all social media, read the blog post 7 tips for creating compelling social media content. Follow Rotary on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and more. Email with questions.

9 thoughts on “How to create your own Instagram story

  1. I think I lost my question. Suggestion. Can you offer a basic, hands-on social media training at RI Headquarters? There about 100 Rotarians that meet in the building weekly.


  2. It would be more understandable and believeable if the picture of the cyclist had not been photoshopped and inserted in reverse. Look at his logo and the number on his hlemet, Sorry – you made me switch off.


    • Hi David,

      Actually what you’re seeing is what happens when you use the front-facing camera on your phone; all text gets mirrored. Very common with selfie photos and videos!



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