Who doesn’t love a two-for-one special? BOGO—buy one get one free—is a great deal! Well, Instagram users now get a two-fer: two platforms in one app! First, there is the traditional Instagram feed, where images permanently remain on the platform. These are posts on which users can comment and like. Then, in 2016, Instagram provided users with another option for sharing content: Instagram Stories. This content lasts for 24 hours and has many creative possibilities, which adds to the allure of this fast growing feature. Instagram Stories were slow to catch on, but in 2018, the feature began to explode with popularity.
Upload + Create
The feature allows users to upload content such as photos, pre-recorded videos, live videos, and Boomerangs. One of the most alluring aspects of the content creation process is that Instagram provides the ability to manipulate the content inside the app. With Instagram stories, users get to create! They can add any number of enhancements to content that they upload, which allows an opportunity for creative expression. This is feature is a key to the success of the Instagram Stories portion of the platform.
Examples of features that can be added to Instagram Stories posts include:
- Tag Other Users
- Tag Locations
- Ask A Question
- Run A Poll
- Do A Countdown
- Add A Hashtag
- Swipe Up (Outbound Link To Website). Note that this option is only for users with more than 10,000 followers, so work on continuing to grow that following!
Apps To Help Create
Many users choose to create customized templates for their Instagram Stories. These templates help brands keep their unique brand identity while enjoying the robust Instagram Stories feature.
There are several third party platforms that offer templates for Instagram Stories, including:
- Adobe Spark
- Hype Type
- Font Candy
Publish + Share
When users share their content, they can send it to their Instagram Stories where it will remain live for 24 hours, or the can direct message it to other Instagram users, where it will disappear after it’s received and viewed. If users want to extend the life of content shared on their Stories, they can add it to their Highlights reel, a feature that allows users to archive their Stories. Highlight icons live on the users profile, just above the feed. Users can create any number of Highlights, each with a unique name and thumbnail image.
Repurpose Other User’s Content
Sharing is caring! Sharing content allows users to engage with each other and embrace common interest by sharing each other’s content. The platform offers users the ability to share any public post from the Instagram feed to a user’s Instagram Stories. Users enjoy the same content creation options when they share a post, meaning, they can add gifs, music, polls, and more.
Engagement is key. Interacting with other users is a key element of the Instagram platform. If an Instagram user is tagged in another user's Instagram Stories, the tagged user has the ability to share that content to their story. The more users are mentioned the more they can share!
Advertise A Story
As the popularity of Instagram Stories has grown; more and more users are viewing Stories on a daily basis. This has created a new opportunity for brands to expand their paid reach on the platform. Instagram is now allowing brands to place ads in the Stories section.
Anyone in marketing or sales loves analytics. The ability to determine the performance of any outreach campaign is vital. Instagram Stories offer Insights, which allow brands to collect follower feedback, and help determine an ROI.
Instagram offers the following statistics on their Stories:
- Number of viewers of each post
- Who viewed each post
- Results of user voting on a poll
- Responses to questions
Using Instagram Stories can be a tremendous amount of fun. It’s a great tactic to engage followers, educate them about your brand, and get feedback. Brands can use Instagram Stories to research what your followers wants and needs from your business while also keeping followers informed about current offerings. There is no shortage of possibilities to the type of content brands can publish.
You can learn more about Instagram Stories at the International, Esthetics, Cosmetics and Spa Conference in Chicago by attending a class hosted by Lipgloss + Aftershave founder's Barry Eichner and Jenni Nagle, titled “Breaking Down Instagram: Stories V. Feed,” on March 30th at 9:45 am.