Instagram dramatically stepped up its game this week with the launch of Instagram Stories, a new feature within the app that allows users to upload photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours. Sound familiar? Many agree that the new feature is a lot like Snapchat Stories, only for a whole new demographic. Snapchat has become increasingly popular with teenagers, whereas Instagram is more frequented by adults. So obviously, Instagram Stories may offer more opportunity for businesses, considering their target market is an adult. So how does it work? The new feature has been rolled out on many iPhone and android devices already, and will be available to all Instagram users in the coming weeks. To create a story, simply pull up the app and click on the icon in the top left-hand corner or swipe left.
The camera will open, and you can take photos, videos or even selfies. Add text or hand-draw anything on them, and they are automatically saved in your profile for 24 hours. Anyone who wants to see your stories can simply click on them and open them, and your photos won’t fill up the news feed. Just keep adding photos or videos throughout the day, and all of them load into your story.
1. Show Creativity
Businesses have traditionally been forced to adhere to standards of social media, such as only posting once or twice per day, and posting only the best images, since they are in the news feed. With the addition of stories, these businesses can be creative and compile various photos and videos throughout a day or at an event. Also, followers have to seek out the stories to view them, which means a video or photo isn’t thrown in their face in their news feed, which can be annoying to some users if they view it as ‘over-posting’ or excessive.
This screenshot shows how you can see which of your Instagram connections has a story to view. They will always appear at the top of the app, above the news feed. Your own story will always be the first one listed on the left, and you can view or edit your story as well by clicking on it.
2. Show Authenticity
One of the best things brands can do to strengthen their relationships with their followers is show authenticity. A great way to do this is to show a different side of their business, such as the ‘behind-the-scenes’ footage in your office or showroom, or a video showing ‘the making of’ a new product or service. A local business owner in Dallas posted this pic of herself without makeup, another great way to pull in followers who want to connect with real people just like them.
3. Collaborate and Listen
Another great opportunity for brands is to collaborate or partner up with other brands. Suppose a local coffee shop creates an Instagram Story all about a new coffee drink they are advertising. A great partner might be a local business that creates coffee mugs, and they choose to share the content in the story and add to it. There will likely be a lot of this happening as Stories becomes more popular.
4. Experiment and Learn
A lot of brands are hesitant to post something risky or experimental, whether on Instagram or Facebook. They are constantly reviewing analytics to see which posts attract the most views, which gain new followers or likes and which turn their fans off. What’s great about the new Instagram Stories feature is that everything posted in your story disappears after 24 hours. So even if you aren’t sure something will work for your business, you can feel liberated to try it out, knowing that if it goes ‘viral,’ you’ll know what to use in your social media campaigns. And on the flip side, if it doesn’t get any views at all, you have an idea of whether or not to launch something similar. This can be gold for social media managers and business owners, especially those with extravagant ideas or thoughts.