Instagram Stories

The Complete Guide to Using Stories: Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories is a feature that lets users post photos and videos that vanish after 24 hours.

The feature feels much like Snapchat Stories, a Snapchat feature that was introduced in 2013 and a pivotal part of the company’s growth.

And like Snapchat, the photos and videos shared in your Instagram Story are ephemeral and can’t be viewed once 24 hours have elapsed. Content shared to stories also won’t appear on your profile grid or in the main Instagram feed.

What might this mean for business owner (and for social media)? We’d love to explore further, plus provide all the info on how Instagram Stories will work for you.N

How to use Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories appear in a bar at the top of your feed — and all Instagram accounts will be able to share stories, from your best friends to your favorite popular accounts. When there’s something new to see, their profile photo will have a colorful ring around it.

To view someone’s story, you simply need to tap on their profile photo, and their story will appear full-screen, showing you all of the content they’ve posted in the last 24hrs, the content will play in chronological order from oldest to newest.

Once you’re viewing a story, you can tap to go back and forward or swipe to jump to another person’s story. Unlike regular posts, there are no likes or public comments.

Tips on what to post in Instagram Stories: 5 ways your business can use Instagram Stories

Brands aren’t strangers to Instagram (If you’re not a big brand, learn how to make money with Instagram). We could see a large number jump in and start testing Stories over the next couple of weeks. Here’s our best estimate and what we may see from those first movers:

1. Behind-the-scenes content

If the Instagram feed has become a place for only the most polished, pre-produced photos and video, then Stories could be a way to add some authenticity to the content that appears in the feed. With Stories, brands have a chance to take their followers on a journey and tell the story behind the posts in their feed.

For example, a restaurant could post a picture to their feed on a new dish and then create a story with a well-known food blogger reviewing it. Or a real estate company could take you on a tour around a property they’ve just posted about. The possibilities here are endless.

2. Influencer Takeovers

Takeovers have become a big thing. If you’re not familiar with how it works, essentially, one brand will take over another’s Instagram account for a period and share content.

With Instagram stories, brands could begin to collaborate more with other brands or influencers.

4. A rise in 1:1 communication

When social media first hit the mainstream, there was a lot of buzz and excitement about being able to talk directly with your favorite celebrities and brands. Stories give brands the chance to get back to the roots of social media and engage with their followers on a 1:1 basis.

For example, we could see brands running Q&A sessions via Stories with people sending questions via Instagram Direct and the brand answering them within their story. We could also see stories being used to send 1:1 video messages to followers.

5. Live, timely content

There’s a lot of excitement around live video content at the moment. And Instagram Stories could give brands a way to produce live video content on the platform.

Live video is extremely engaging, and though Instagram Stories won’t allow for a long, uninterrupted broadcast like Facebook Live, it could allow brands to make their Instagram accounts the place to go for live, interactive content.

Over to you

This is certainly a big move for Instagram and one that could shift the platform a great deal. Snapchat has proven there’s a huge market for sharing fleeting, everyday moments of our lives and if Instagram can make stories work alongside its current offering, then this could be one of its most important updates to date.

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