In August 2016 Instagram released their ‘Stories’ feature with their lenses firmly set on Snapchat. Instagram Stories offer many of the same features as Snapchat, including filters, onscreen hashtags and paint/text tools. Initially, some people were sceptical about the platforms new feature – this was Snapchat’s primary function, so could Instagram do it better?
Well, after a year the new feature reached around 250 million users, and that figure has since grown to an estimated 300 million. Instagram’s success looks even greater when your compare their user numbers with Snapchat’s. In the last quarter of 2017, Snapchat grew by 5 million users, 10% of Instagram’s growth. That placed the onus on Snapchat to drastically improve user numbers in 2017, but despite this, they are now 100 million users behind.
If you have already begun using Stories great, if not, don’t panic. Stories, like Instagram photos, are straightforward to upload. To add a Story do the following:
Swipe right when you open the App, opening your camera.
Select the format you want to upload, choose from live event, Boomerang or put the App in handsfree mode. Tap the shoot button to take a photograph or hold it in for a video.
If you want to upload from your gallery, swipe up, this will drag your photographs onto the screen. Anything added from your gallery will have a date sticker added to it by the app. (you can remove the date by dragging it to the trash icon after)
Edit the photos or videos with text or add a drawing as you usually would. If you hit the pen icon, there are three types of pens. The third one makes your sketch look like a neon sign.
Tap Done and save your Story.
When sharing your photo/video you just click the ‘Add Your Story’ button, if you want to share it directly with a friend select their name on screen. If you share it with a friend, it will disappear when they see it.
There is also an option to save to your phone if you aren’t publishing it immediately.
If You Are A Brand, How Should Your Stories Look?
Brands use Stories to launch new and showcase existing products. It is a great way of keeping their audience in the loop.
Not only can a business exhibit products, but they can also add hashtags onscreen to begin a conversation with their audience. Practically, Stories can be a clever way to launch something new, allowing for videos with relevant influencers or testimonies.
The speed of stories and 24-hour lifespan means that they work best when kept snappy. Stories can allow you to post a brief snippet of life within your company. Remember the user may be working their way through multiple stories at once, competition for attention will be fierce.
Should my brand or business be on Instagram?
With a total number of 800 million users, it is clear to see what makes Instagram so attractive to brands. High engagement rates and a product favourable visual layout make it an ideal marketing tool. Brands posted an average of 23 photos per month in the summer of 2017. It is safe to say that as more and more people switch to viewing stories, brands will be under pressure to adapt their content.
At the end of 2017, 25 million businesses were on Instagram 10 million of which joined in the latter half of that year. Ignore the platform at your peril.