It’s story time! Enthral your friends and followers with these top 5 tips for social media Stories across Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat…

Though your pics may disappear after 24 hours, the ‘Stories’ feature found across some of the world’s biggest social media apps is here to stay. Now a key function of Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat (where it all began), Stories let you share your everyday moments without filling your followers’ feeds.

But just because your pic or video may not warrant a permanent post, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put your best face forward. We caught up with the UK’s most subscribed tech influencer Arun Maini of MrWhosetheBoss (900,000 subscribers and counting) for tips on how to make the most of Stories and gain those all-important views. From setting the scene to blurring the background, here are his top five, especially for those of you with a brand new iPhone X…

1. Blurring

Rather than taking photos directly from your social media apps, Arun recommends using your default camera app to take portraits instead.

“Doing so allows you to blur the background, while retaining clarity on the subject to give your Story a professionally-shot aesthetic.

“Once you’ve taken your photo, there are many different ways to blur your images. You could blur the background, add sparkling bokeh, create motion blur or add a soft blurred vignette.” All of these effects are available in apps like Tadaa SLR, iColourama on iOS and Snapseed on iOS and Android.

2. Duration

When filming a video for your story, short and sweet is key. Arun says aim for between five and ten seconds for maximum engagement.

“Shorter than this is not long enough to show a situation, while longer is likely to make your followers and friends swipe away. If you take a video using your phone’s inbuilt camera application, you can then hit the “Edit” button, and trim the file to keep the best 5-10 seconds to post.”

3. Lighting

When taking a photo or video of yourself for your story, Arun recommends making sure there is more light in front of you than behind.

“This will prevent your face from becoming a silhouette. The front and rear cameras on Apple’s new iPhone X excel in low-light conditions, but if you still don’t have enough light available you can now use flash on the front camera. This will make your display flash the moment you capture your photo, illuminating your face just that little bit more.”

4. Orientation

“Forget what you’ve heard about vertical video. Social media is flipping the old rules on their head, with most people now holding their phones in portrait orientation most of the time.

“If you take photos and videos in landscape, your audience will have to rotate their phones to view your story, which is likely to increase the number of people who skip it. Where possible, remember to shoot in portrait orientation to keep your audience in on the action.”

5. Zoom

“It’s true, the best zoom will always be your feet, but if you have an iPhone X you’ll be amazed by its rear cameras. Capable of 4K video recording – that’s four times as many pixels as Full HD – these allow you to zoom in on objects in the distance without loss in image quality.

“Again, if you want to edit or cut your footage, it’s best to film in your native app. This will also help you achieve the best possible image quality. However, if you are recording within Snapchat or Instagram, you can hold down the record button and swipe and down to zoom in and out.”

Now you know the secrets, it’s time to get the tools. Pick up your very own iPhone X for even better Stories from £56 a month and £299 upfront at Vodafone UK, or take a look at our Winter Sale for amazing deals on smartphones, tablets and more.

New Year, new phone?  Get all the latest apps for Android and iOS in our January round-up.

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