Social media has taken the world by storm in recent years and has become so popular that it is even becoming one of the main methods of contact between brands and their clients.
With more than a billion Instagram accounts currently on the platform, it’s hardly surprising that more and more companies are using this platform to share their story – and the personal accounts are also using this to their advantage.
What Is An Instagram Story And How Does It Work?
An Instagram story is a short post that can feature a photo, video or text and is displayed for 24 hours, after which time, it disappears. In this guide, we will be looking at the global craze that is the Instagram story in a little more detail and discovering why this feature has become so widely used.
If you’ve ever peeked into the world of Insta, you’ll likely have seen those little highlighted circles running along the top of your home feed – these are other users’ stories. Clicking on these icons will allow you to view the story which is a short snippet that may include a variety of media types and displays for 15 seconds. You can view the story multiple times within the 24-hour period in which it is on the platform. After this, the story disappears. Instagram released its Stories feature in the later part of 2016 and now a staggering 500 million users upload stories every day.
What’s more, each account is permitted to post as many stories as the owner would like but it is worth noting that the optimum number is 10 – this will keep your audience engaged without making them feel overwhelmed.
During the 24 hours that a story is visible, you will notice that there isn’t the option to add a comment. However, there is a feature that allows you to send a direct message or reaction in response to the story that only the account holder can see.
Once in the Stories section of the app or website, you have the option to swipe between the stories of various accounts that you follow or go back and rewatch one that particularly caught your eye.
How Do I Create An Instagram Story?
Whether you are a brand looking to reach its audience in a modern way, an influencer who wants to give people a quick look into your world or a personal Instagram user looking to expand your social profile, stories are a great way to do this.
Creating a story may seem a little complicated at first and there are hundreds of apps popping up on both Android and Apple that allow you to create some true masterpieces. But the great thing about Stories is that you can create them directly from Instagram without the need for any outside tools.
- At the top of your screen, you will see a camera icon on the left-hand side – begin by clicking on this. It will open up a camera. Note that this feature can also be accessed by swiping left whilst in the Instagram mobile app.
- You now have the option to record some footage or add a photo to your story. If you don’t want to take a live photo or video, you can upload a file directly from your device and use this as the basis of the story.
- Once you have selected your image or video, you will have the option to spruce it up by adding filters, text, GIFs, emojis and more – the only limit here is your imagination and it pays to let your creativity take over. You can even add your location and the current date and time.
- When you are satisfied with your story, you are ready to share it with the world and this is done by simply hitting the share button, but before you do, be sure to add it to your highlight if you want this story to remain on your profile after the usual 24-hour period is up. Furthermore, you should also set the visibility which allows you to select who can view the story.
- Once it is live, you will be able to see who has viewed your story which is a great way of seeing how it has performed.
Top Tips For Creating An Instagram Story That Gets Noticed
If you are looking to interact with your audience using Instagram’s Stories feature, there are some things that are worth keeping in mind.
- Posting too many stories can leave your audience feeling overwhelmed and this will be reflected in the completion rate – this is the number of people who watched your stories from the first frame through to the last. It is recommended that you post no more than 10 stories each day, with 7 being the average.
- When you post your stories will highly depend on when your audience is most active. Of course, you want maximum exposure so posting stories at optimum times will allow for this.
- Be sure to stay on top of your stories and ensure that your audience always has something new to look at.
- If you are running a busy business or simply don’t have the time to keep posting individual stories, there is a feature that allows you to bulk upload and schedule various stories to be posted at predetermined times. This is a feature that is widely used and it’s not surprising when you learn how much time it can save.
What Are The Benefits Of Using Instagram Stories?
Gone are the days of boring, static social media posts that get lost in the sea of competitors in the digital world. With your story being one of the first things that your audience is
exposed to when logging onto the platform, it won’t come as a surprise that the feature has many benefits.
There Are Always New Features
The advent of Instagram Stories saw a very primitive version of the feature compared to what we see today and the great about this is that there was plenty of room for the social media giant to add new aspects to Stories.
You now have the option to add a poll sticker to take your audience’s views, let people know your location, include hashtag stickers for a wider reach and much more. There’s little doubt that, over time, the Stories feature will become even more sophisticated.
Reach Your Audience More Quickly
A lot of people open their social media apps to kill a bit of time – on the bus, during a TV ad break and even in the bathroom. This means that many visits to the platform may be fleeting. Did you know that on average, an Instagram user spends around 53 minutes each day on their account but that this could be done over multiple visits? Each time a person opens the app, they may only spend a few minutes browsing before moving on to another activity.
For this reason, it is essential that you grab the users attention and don’t leave them searching for your content. Stories are a great way to do this and allow you to quickly reach your audience with a simple yet effective message.
Stories Are More Laid Back Than Permanent Content
There are some Instagram users who will spend hours crafting the perfect post or even designing an attractive feed layout that offers an impressive aesthetic. This is great, but if you’re looking to create content on the go then Stories is the perfect way to achieve this.
There are no airs and graces with Stories meaning that you can quickly put one together and reach your audience in a more laid back manner.
Not only is this often easier viewing but it also shows a more human side to you which is especially important for businesses looking to form a more meaningful relationship with their clients.
Always Be Visible
The average number of accounts that each Instagram user follows is 150 – although there are some out there that follow many more. This can mean that your content quickly becomes lost and will not get viewed by anywhere near as many people as you would like.
But using Stories means that your content will always be highlighted at the top of the screen as soon as the user logs in – never disappear into the social media ocean again.
Instagram Stories is a feature that can bring your social media game to a whole new level. These short snippets allow your audience to see relevant content as and when it happens and yet it won’t clog up your permanent feed.
Some people may be under the impression that Stories does not allow you to create engaging content but this couldn’t be further from the truth. With a wealth of features that give the user the opportunity to create diverse and interesting posts, Stories is just as detailed as any other type of content.
There are so many reasons that Stories is a highly advantageous feature of the popular social media platform and it is little wonder that more and more people are using it to their benefit.