No doubt you've seen and/or heard a ton about Instagram Stories in the past few days. In an effort to get users to share more content, and to compete with Snapchat's ever growing popularity, Instagram has launched a new feature, called 'Stories', which enables users to create a string of images and videos that disappear after 24 hours.
In this post I'll review how the feature works and how you can use it to gain more reach and engagement on Instagram.
Instagram Stories: How It Works
In a nutshell, Instagram Stories are (as I just mentioned) a string of images and videos that can be uploaded to a feed that's separate from your regular Instagram feed.
Here are some things to know:
- Your story plays chronologically as you add content to it
- The videos or photos in your story cannot be liked on commented on, but you can send the user a message directly from the Stories slideshow
- You'll be able to see exactly who watched each part your story
- You can edit your content with fun features like text, finger paint and emojis
- Swiping down on the Stories camera allows you to post content shot in the last 24 hours from your camera roll
- Feature a specific part of your story by using the share button to share it directly to your regular feed
- Everyone has access to Instagram Stories
Does all this sound familiar? It's because this is Instagram's answer to (or copy of) Snapchat Stories.
To create your own story, you tap on the plus sign on the upper left hand corner at the top of your feed. You'll be able to record video or snap a photo and add text, freehand draw or use emoji's. You then hit the arrow at the top right to share. Your story will be available for followers to click through with content vanishing after 24 hours.
Now that you have an idea of how Instagram Stories works, here are four ways you can use the feature for your business.
1. Tease Content/Build Buzz
Instagram Stories are a great way to take your followers behind the scenes and give them sneak peeks of what's to come. Tour your photoshoot set, let them see a few changes to your new site or get to know the team in your office.
These small peeks not are not only relationship builders, they help build buzz for your campaigns.
2. Drive Traffic/Awareness to Other Campaigns
Hosting a Facebook Live Video session? Need a few more registrations to your webinar? Instagram Stories is a great tool to remind your audience you have something going on today and that it's their last chance to get there.
Create a short video or image to drive last minute sign ups, or get some added traffic on other social media channels.
3. Gain Instagram Followers
How can you gain followers from Instagram Stories? Well, now you have Instagram exclusive content - an added bonus for anyone following you.
Perhaps you can announce rules to a contest via this new feature or simply let followers know you'll be frequently updating your Story with content that won't go anywhere else.
4. Extra Content
Who doesn't love to have extra content handy? Instagram Stories gives you the chance to not only create Instagram exclusive content, but if you wish, you can download your Stories' photos and videos and use them later. I can already think of ideas for some "throwback Thursday" or just "in case you missed it" posts to give followers on networks outside of Instagram an incentive to now follow you there.
Overall I think Instagram Stories is a great way to share more content with your audience without killing your feed (which may also help you beat Instagram's new algorithm). Brands and businesses can benefit from adding more context to the posts on their main Instagram Feeds - Instagram Stories paired with great content can open doors for businesses to connect and build more trust with their audience, enhance contests and campaigns and drive more engagement.
Brush up on your 12 Instagram do's and don'ts and you'll be on your way to Instagram success.
This post originally appeared on Dhariana Lozano's blog.