I’ve been playing with it and the results are fun, so far I’ve created a “documentary” of a Dutch summer (5 seconds of sunshine on my living room floor), and a progress report of a cup of coffee. Here are the basics on using Instagram stories.
My personal tips to add.
(1) Text is always white, so if your photo is very light it won’t show up, you can get around this by adding a bar of colour in the background. The pen function is always added behind the text, so you can add it before or after typing.
(2) Stories disappear from the story bar after 24 hours, but if you share them to your Instagram timeline (or Facebook etc), they’ll stay in your feed forever.
(3) If you share video create in Stories to Instagram it will be cropped as a square in the middle of the screen. So if you’re planning to share make sure the action and any additions you’ve made are in the centre the screen.
(4) You can upload photos, existing video, Boomerangs and Hyperlapses to Stories, just swipe down on your screen to reveal a gallery of content. Note it will only allow you to select content added in the last 24 hours, you can “trick” it into allowing older images by taking a screenshot of an old photo (for example).
(5) Engagement on Instagram Stories is pretty hard to measure. While the Story is live you can see comments (and respond), and see who has viewed it by clicking on the tally of viewers at the bottom of the screen.
Once the story disappears so do the comments, and so do the view numbers. If you need this data you’ll need to collect it manually BEFORE the story disappears.
If you share the Story to Instagram you will see the number of video views, but likes are not collected. You can look back through the feed under the heart button to count them, but that seems laborious.
(6) Audience is only your followers, and anyone who looks at your profile. Stories only works within the mobile app, there’s no search and no hashtag discovery. You could exploit this with a “follow us for exclusive stories” to build your audience.
Businesses Are Telling Stories
So far the stories I’ve seen have mostly been from individuals often playing with adding stickers, text and drawing to the image. They’re playful, which makes sense given the ephemeral nature Instagram stories. Most brands aren’t active on Instagram stories, only one of Hubspot’s 16 best brands on Instagram boasts a Story on their account. Similarly only one of the 12 Best Brands on Snapchat (according to FastCompany) has taken to Instagram Stories so far.
But brands are getting into stories, from my Instagram feed it seems to be mostly travel brands but others have entered the fray;
- GE, already used to snapchat, came up with a series on Volcanos, and another on cloud computing and transportation (see screen grabs below).
- Wholefoods is making special offers on Instagram Stories
- E!News uses Instagram Stories to promote, well, news stories
I’m looking forward to seeing what brands do with this new tool. What’s the best you’ve seen? What’s your story?
Instagram of aquarium by MrMarttin, used with his kind permission