16 little known Instagram hacks all creators should use


Instagram tips

The world of Instagram is always changing, from algorithm updates to new features. There’s just so much that you can now do on the platform as a creator compared to when it first launched in 2010. (Anybody remember the simple days of snap-and-upload in seconds?) That’s why it’s easy to overlook the coolest and freshest little Instagram hacks. Luckily, we’ve spoken to some creators who are in-the-know to help you level-up your Insta game and become a platform leader in 2022.

Instagram Reels

Photo of an Instagram Reel

Following the success of TikTok during the pandemic, Instagram was keen to introduce a similar concept where creators could share and watch short-form video content on one feed.

Reels has come a long way since its debut in August 2020. That said, it’s still considered relatively new so there may be a few insider secrets you’re not yet aware of.

1. Nailing transitions

Did you know that having movement in your Reels makes them more engaging? Transitions are extremely popular for showing transformations through a “before” and “after” shot.

However, if you don’t know how to do transitions, they can leave you scratching your head.

Open the Reels section of the Instagram app and record your “before” shot. Then select the align button in the shooting mode (two squares overlapping) to record the “after” shot.

“The key is to line up the shot,” Katie @trendytouristuk explains. “Make sure the distance of the subject is the same in the before and after.”

She continues: “Keep it simple for a better effect. Snap your fingers or cover the camera with your hand or foot and release it. Start small and then build up your confidence from there.”

Use the trimming tool to cut down the start and end of both the “before” and “after” shots. This will make the transition look seamless. 

You can even opt for audio with a good drop beat to enhance the transition and “wow” factor.

2. Using nifty effects

Effects like transitions can often get overlooked by Reels creators—especially those who are new to the platform. There are actually so many effects that can take a Reel from average to amazing in no time at all.

Head to the effects library by clicking on the stars button on the left-hand side of the screen when you open Reels. You will then find the below sought-after effects by typing their names into the search bar.

  • Green Screen by Instagram: This effect allows you to record yourself in the foreground with an image, screenshot or video playing in the background. It’s ideal for explaining or educating.
  • Pop-Up by Instagram: This is the same effect as Green Screen but with yourself in the background and the image in a small window on the screen. It’s great for when you want to take center stage while referencing a funny meme or screenshotted comment.
  • Window by Instagram: This effect is similar to Pop-Up but you are in the small window on the screen with your media in the background. Like Green Screen, it’s a helpful effect for video commentary.
  • Zoom In by Instagram: This effect zooms in on the subject as you’re recording in a number of different ways (slow, fast, shake, or cut). It can be rather entertaining for comedy videos or sketches.

3. Finding trending audio

Audio on Instagram Reels

Want to be let in on a little secret? (Come closer…) Finding and using trending audio for your Reels can increase the visibility of your content.

If a certain Reel’s audio is trending, more users will be searching for that sound and reviewing the Reels that use it. In other words, it can lead to more views, likes, and click-throughs to your profile.

Simply scroll through your Reels feed to spot patterns of audio. Click the bottom right audio icon and then “Save Audio” at the top of the next screen or “Use Audio” at the bottom.

While you’re on this screen, if you spot a little gray arrow to the left of the number of Reels using this audio, it means the sound is trending and you should use it in your content ASAP.


Instagram Stories

Stories are an effective way for creators to interact solely with their followers. This feature helps you to establish a personal one-to-one connection that builds trust and loyalty, which is probably why approximately 86.6% of Instagram’s users post Stories every single day.

Stories may have launched in August 2016 off the back of Snapchat’s success, but they continue to evolve with new features being introduced regularly.

4. Creating a washed-out background

The draw button on Instagram stories

Something creators are doing more and more these days is showcasing background images with the transparency turned down so that overlayed text is easier to read. It looks pretty professional and modern if you know how to do it right.

  • Upload a photo or video to your Story and click the three little dots in the top right-hand corner.
  • Select “Draw.”
  • Tap the highlighter button at the top of the screen and choose your color either from the selection at the bottom of the screen or the image itself.
  • Tap and hold the screen until a layer of opaque color covers the image.

You can then add text over the top so that your words are the main focus.

5. Adding multiple images to one Story

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t just have to display one image in your Story. This used to be the case before Instagram developed the image sticker.

Nowadays, you can use the image sticker to add as many pictures as you want. Even so, have you noticed that the corners of your pics are rounded off when you use the image sticker? And also that the shapes don’t look consistent?

Not to worry—you can avoid this with the below handy hack.

  • Upload your background image in Stories and shrink it down to the desired size.
  • Head over to your camera roll, select another image you want in your Story and “copy” it.
  • Go back into your Story, select the text tool, and tap to “paste” the image.

You can do this however many times you want for as many images as you want.

6. Hiding your hashtags

You may not realize this but you can use up to 10 hashtags in one Story to boost reach and engagement. Most creators are reluctant to use all 10 because of how spammy it may look—and because it takes up valuable real estate on the screen.

Having said that, what you can do is put all the hashtags in one text sticker. Pinch the text so that’s small. Then put another sticker or image over it so that it’s hidden from sight.

In fact, Bonnie @bonbons.bakes recommends using a sticker because it’s important to “add an interactive element to your Stories to also increase reach.” In her experience, her Story views increase when she uses stickers such as polls or ratings—and several experts would agree.

7. Converting speech into captions

In May 2021, Instagram launched the captions sticker that efficiently converts talking audio to readable captions for your Stories.

The aim was to increase the accessibility of Stories, and also cater for the users who like to watch them with their sound turned off.

All you have to do is record your Story, click on the sticker button, and select the “Captions” sticker. This feature may not be perfect, but it’s a perfectly great idea so that creators don’t have to spend money on apps that do the same job and there’s more inclusivity.

Instagram monetization

Granted, not all creators will have access to the following monetization hacks. Although, Instagram is reportedly rolling them out slowly but surely.

8. Reels Surprise Content

The Reels Surprise Contest launched in November 2021. Essentially, it rewards up to 150 creators based in the US each week with up to $10,000 for posting inspiring and entertaining Reels.

You need to be 18 years old and have already published a Reel with at least 1,000 views to be eligible. If you meet the criteria, happy days—this is an extra way to make money via the platform.

You might be interested in: 8 ways creators can earn money on Instagram in 2022

9. Live Badges

Also launched in 2021, Live badges go hand in hand with the Reels Surprise Contest. All you have to do is enable badges to get paid for the Live content you create.

This concept is similar to Twitch and TikTok where you can receive tips during a live broadcast. Viewers can purchase multiple badges in USD 0.99, USD 1.99 and USD 4.99 increments and send them to creators as they see fit throughout the stream.

Keep in mind you can only use Live badges if you live in the US, are over 18, and have 10K+ followers.

To use Live badges in the UK, Australia, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Japan, Brazil, and Mexico, it’s invitation-only. Check whether you’re eligible by visiting Settings > Creator > Badges.

10. New branded content marketplace

In April 2021, Mark Zuckerberg announced during a live stream with Instagram chief Adam Mosseri that they are currently working on a new branded content marketplace for the platform.

The idea is to connect influencers and creators with sponsors so that they can land more brand deals and make more money.

There are some exciting new features that were being tested in the US in November 2021, such as a “Preferred brand partners” section where you can specify which brands you want to work with. Once you’ve made your selections, you will pop up in a brand’s app via a list of suggested creators to work with.

Additionally, there’s going to be a “partnership messages” inbox where you can manage all your business connections in one place.

Going hand in hand with this marketplace will be Creator Shops. This is like the existing Shop feature but it also allows creators to showcase all their favorite products in one place to drive affiliate income.

Further updates should be coming soon—fingers crossed!

Protect your Instagram account against hacks with Notch

Instagram usability

Most of us have had the Instagram app downloaded on our phones for over a decade. Even so, there are still things we’re learning about how to use the platform to achieve our goals.

For creators especially, it’s all about making Instagram work smarter—not harder. It’s important to allocate your time and energy to the activities that you enjoy and simultaneously elevate your income. 

11. New favorites feed

Add to favorites feed on Instagram

By default, each user’s Instagram account is set to show the “following” feed of people’s posts that they follow (in chronological order).

As of March 2022, you can also select up to 50 of your favorite accounts and only see their latest updates via a brand new “favorites” feed.

  • Tap the Instagram logo in the top left-hand corner of your feed and select “Favorites” to find your favorites feed.
  • Tap the three little dots on the right-hand side of a user’s post in your feed and click “Add to Favorites” to put that user in your favorites feed.

Now you can flick between feeds according to the accounts you feel like engaging with. Bonus points if you can get your followers to add your account to their “favorites” feed for enhanced visibility.

12. Accessing all saved posts

Saved posts on Instagram

Many Instagram creators still don’t know where to find all saved posts and audio. (Full disclosure: this was us until a few days ago…)

Go to the three little lines icon in the top right-hand corner of your profile and select “Saved.” Then click on the relevant collection to find what you’re looking for.

Getting your followers to “save” your content is just as opportune as getting them to “save” your content. Instagram will prioritize showing your content to the users that have previously saved it, thus increasing the virality potential of future posts.

Instagram account optimization

Optimizing your account has a knock-on effect when it comes to your content and monetization strategy. That’s why we’re thankful for the following hacks that will help you get the most out of your Instagram journey.

13. Improving content quality

“Filters quite often reduce the quality of your images and videos—just like using stickers on your Stories reduces the quality of your images and videos,” explains Samantha @samhopesocial

The solution? “Turn on ‘high-quality uploads’ in your data usage settings for top-quality content.” In our experience, it really makes a difference to the clarity and resolution of your Instagram pictures.

14. Reshare interesting content with friends

Share with friends on Instagram

As of March 2022, you can share a post that pops up on your Instagram feed with your connections without having to leave your feed.

This is helpful for two reasons: first, it doesn’t interrupt the scroll. Second, it means you can engage with your followers and build deeper, meaningful relationships. (And this is only going to encourage further interaction.)

Tap and hold down the share button underneath a user’s post to try it for yourself.

15. Uncovering Insights

Instagram insights

Instagram Insights are an instrumental tool for creators to see which elements of their strategy are working and which need improvement.

Bonnie @bonbons.bakes suggests “looking at your Insights to see what day and time is best for posting content to maximize your engagement and reach.”

You can find this information by clicking the three horizontal lines icon in the right-hand top corner of your profile:

  • Select “Insights”
  • Click “Total Followers”
  • Scroll right down to the bottom for the “Most active times” section that displays both hours and days

Riley @whatrileyeats says you can also see “how many of your followers are online at any one time” by using the following handy hack:

“Go to post a new Story then swipe across to Live and it shows you how many of your followers are active. For the highest engagement, try to post while this number is a high percentage of your following.”

“Go to post a new Story then swipe across to Live and it shows you how many of your followers are active. For the highest engagement, try to post while this number is a high percentage of your following" - @whatrileyeats

Screenshot of Instagram Live

16. Protection against hacking

Notch's data shows that a creator account gets hacked every 10 minutes on average, in the U.S alone.

And even security measures like two-factor authentication aren't enough to keep out hackers.

That's why we created Notch - the first insurance against hacks for Instagram accounts.


The takeaway

Instagram is similar to any other social media platform in the sense that it’s all about trial and error. It takes time to see which features work for your account and get the best response from your audience.

Don’t be afraid to venture out of your comfort zone. You never know which feature you’re going to have fun using or the little trick that’s going to boost engagement until you give it a go.

Insure your Instagram account with Notch

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