Have you heard Instagram has rolled out a new feature called Stories.
This feature is similar to SnapChat if you are familiar with that channel. If you aren’t, Instagram Stories, allows you to share videos and photos to your followers that disappear after 24 hours.
Before you get frustrated because you haven’t had time to figure out SnapChat and now you have to figure out how to use Stories hold on. While there are similarities between these two channels Instagram Stories is much more intuitive and easier to use. Plus with Instagram Stories it’s not a new channel you don’t have to start building your audience from scratch! Which let’s face it is awesome, I don’t know about you but anytime I don’t have to start from scratch I’m happy.
The Stories feature was only released on August 2 so it’s still new. Here is some more information on how this feature works and how it’s displayed in your newsfeed.
Stories allow you to create content that will disappear in 24 hours, so go ahead a try it out play around with it, it’s not there forever. There is no limit to the number of videos or photos you can share, if you’re at an event and have a ton of images you want to share but not all of them are the perfect Instagram picture now you can share them through stories.
Each story is 10 seconds long, if you are using the video option it might take you a few videos to get your point across. With each story you create there are no likes or public comments that people can make. What your audience can do is send you a direct message that shows up in your Instagram inbox. What is cool about the messages is when you get sent a direct message you can see exactly what photo/video they saw that got them to reach out to you.
For tracking at this point, it’s limited, what you can see is how many people viewed your individual story and a list of their Instagram handles.
The other interesting thing about stories and why you should seriously consider using them is that they are all placed at the top of users newsfeeds.
Right now I follow just under 300 people and so far less than 20 of them have started to use stories, so I am seeing those who are using stories very frequently.
Now that you know what Stories are, let’s talk how to create your own Stories.
First of all, go into your phone settings and select Instagram, make sure you have enabled your microphone so that it will record your voice.
To create a story once you are in the Instagram app you can either click where it says Your Story at the top left in your Instagram app. Or you can swipe right when you are in your newsfeed and then you’ll be able to start creating.
Now you can take a photo or record a video. If you are taking a video you will need to hold down the button for the duration of your video.
Once you’ve got your content recorded or photographed you will be able to add to it with a few options in the top right corner. You can write on your image with the text button (the Aa) or you can use the pen, highlighter or neon tool which is the pen button to add to your story.
To make your text bigger or smaller just enlarge the text area once you’re done.
Then if you want to add a filter to your photo or video swipe right, there are currently just a few to choose from. Then once you’ve edited it you can hit the checkmark and off it goes to Your Story.
How to Use Existing Content for Stories
What if you have a really awesome picture you already took or a video you already created, you can use those too! To do that when you are in the area where you would record your video or take your picture pull down from the top and there you will see the photos and video you have done in the past 24 hours. That is the only constraint with existing content is that you can only see the past 24 hours. To get around this either resave your image or resend it to your phone.
If you are using SnapChat you could also take your SnapChat videos or pictures with your geofilters and use them on Instagram Stories. If you are worried that this addition means more content, perhaps take a look at what you already have that you can repurpose.
Benefits of Stories for Your Biz
I have only been playing around with Instagram Stories for just over a day, so there is still lots more I’ll be learning and sharing in this area coming up. However, there are some really cool ways that I can already see Stories enhancing what you’re already doing on social media and helping with calls to action.
We all know that getting people to click on content on Instagram can be tough as you can’t have a clickable URL in your posts, so you always have to refer people to the link in your bio. One cool thing you could do with Instagram Stories is that you can also use it to promote content on your website or other channels. How you ask? Use the text overlay to leave a URL for people to visit on your story. Then tell your audience to screenshot your image so they have it and can go check out your new post, YouTube Video or any other content you want to direct them to.
What about offering a flash sale, your photo is only up for 24 hours so what if you wanted to do a limited offer to your Instagram community where you would give them a code to use to get perhaps something for free or a discount on a product or service you offer. You could put your code on the image, and make sure they know when the Story expires so does the offer.
I follow a lot of my social media mentors on Instagram and I often reach out and comment on their social posts and while some of them reply back it’s nothing crazy. However with stories I have directly messaged some of them and I have had personal responses back within 12 hours, that’s crazy! It made me realize that this tool will help with gaining access to people and brands that you haven’t built a relationship with. Which lead me to think that perhaps Instagram Stories will help with reaching influencers for your business. I haven’t tried this out as a tool to reach influencers, but as I mentioned I’ll keep trying out new tactics and will keep sharing what I’m learning.
If you want to follow a brand that’s doing some very cool things with Instagram Stories check out Nasa.
Follow me on Instagram if you want to keep up to date on what I’m trying out. If you have any specific questions when you start trying out Stories send me a message on any social channel or email me Lindsay@thesocialconnection.ca.