Instagram Stories: What Your Brand Needs to Know

In an effort to encourage users to share everyday content on the social media platform, Instagram has introduced Instagram Stories.

So what exactly is an Instagram Story? It’s a feature that allows users to share content that will only be viewable for a limited amount of time (24 hours to be precise). You may be thinking that this new feature sounds similar to another social media platform, and you wouldn’t be wrong. Snapchat Stories were introduced in October 2013 and have been a key component for the platform’s success.

Instagram is sometimes known as a place for beautifully polished photographs that were not taken ‘in the moment’. However, Stories could eradicate this thinking and install the authenticity back into content sharing on social media.

Stories on Instagram will mean that pictures can be brought to life with text, drawing tools and, of course, emojis. The feature will appear at the top of a feed and to view, users simply tap one of the circular avatars. Thanks to the Instagram Stories algorithm, users will be shown their favourite accounts first. When there is new content to see, the account’s profile picture will have a colourful ring around it.

All accounts will be able to publish Stories, including personal accounts and brands accounts. Although some users are already making use of the new feature, it will be rolled out globally in the next few weeks.

Could the future now be uncertain for Snapchat?

The Instagram community is growing to 500 million accounts, with more than 300 million daily users. This is more than twice the 150 million people using Snapchat per day. If the platforms provide the same features, will there still be the need for both?

The answer is, it depends on your audience. Make learnings from testing content on both platforms to see what works for your business and where time and effort should be invested. 

How to use Instagram Stories

To create a story, click the + sign in the top left hand corner.

The creation of a Story begins with tapping the + icon at the top left-hand corner of your screen, or by swiping left to open the camera.

Instagram Stories content posting

Once your content is captured, different filters, text and drawings can be added. After you have added your desired customisations, you are ready to post.

After you have posted the new content, you will be able to go back and check on some basic analytics. You can measure the amount of times each post in a Story has been viewed and who has viewed it.

What will this mean for brands?

You may be asking, as a brand, how this new feature will benefit you? Well, with the use of Stories, there could be a higher rate of brand awareness and engagement.

Providing behind the scenes content may help you connect with your audience as it could give insight and understanding to a user. The content being available for a short amount of time could also enhance a feeling of exclusivity.

Some ideas of how brands can use Instagram stories include:

  • One to one interactions
  • Q&As
  • Advertising new content
  • Behind the scenes exclusives
  • Engaging with your audience

Although this feature doesn’t allow for lengthy broadcasts, like Facebook Live or Periscope, the feature does allow you to provide live and interactive content, again increasing brand awareness and engagement.

You can encourage responses by including call to actions in your content. For example asking for comments, via direct message, will engage your audience and could also provide you with valuable feedback.

Allowing replies on Instagram settings

(You can allow message replies within your settings)

Will you be using Instagram Stories? Let us know in the comments below.

If you would like us to help your business drive better results from your social channels, contact our inbound team today.

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