Recently, Instagram announced the release of a new stories feature. With Instagram Stories, you can capture photos and videos that will only be shared for 24 hours. Now that disappearing content is on the table, you can use Instagram Stories to promote your digital brand in ways previously unavailable on the platform.
Instagram VS. Snapchat
If you’re expecting flower crowns and dog ears on Instagram, you will be disappointed. However, if you are familiar with using Snapchat, using Instagram Stories should be a breeze.
While very similar, there are a few key differences between Snapchat and Instagram stories that you need to be aware of.
Your Instagram Story by default follows your profile privacy settings- public or private, which would make your story only visible to your followers.
Unlike Snapchat, you don’t have to follow a user to view public stories; you can simply view the story from the user’s profile.
The last noteworthy privacy difference is the lack of screenshot notifications. If a screenshot is captured of your Instagram Story, you won’t receive a warning.
Snapchat and Instagram function in a similar manner when it comes to viewing and responding to stories. To view a user’s story on Instagram, tap their profile photo at the top of your screen. After the story is complete, the next user’s story will automatically play, but you can tap X to exit the story.
Tapping the screen while viewing a user’s story will advance to the next moment within the story. Swipe right or left to go to the next user’s story or a previous story. Swipe up to send a reply. Unlike Instagram posts, Stories do not receive likes.
While Instagram has an abundance of filter options for photos you post to your profile, you won’t find as many options for posting to your story.
Although filters are few, Instagram beats Snapchat in the war of the brushes. You’ll find three brushes available for drawing (two more than Snapchat.) Instagram offers a standard brush, highlighter brush and neon glow brush with an easy tap to pick a color option in addition to a custom color selector.
Right now, Geofilters, Geostickers, and selfie Lenses are not among Instagram’s offerings. This means, no zombie skin or butterfly halos captured in-app, but if you can’t fathom stories without lenses, I’ve included a hack below!
How to Create an Instagram Story
To add photos or videos to your Instagram Story, follow these 5 steps:
1. Swipe left or tap the + icon located in the top corner of the Instagram app.
2. Snap a photo by tapping the circle or hold to record video.
3. Select a filter.
4. Add text, emojis, or draw your own creation.
5. Tap the checkmark to add your photo or video to your story.
DBI PRO TIP: Using Snapchat Filters and Lenses in Instagram
1. Open Snapchat and capture photos or videos with your preferred lens if desired.
2. Add a filter.
3. Save to your camera roll.
4. Open Instagram and select the option to add a story.
5. Swipe down to reveal photos or video from the last 24 hours, you’ve saved to your camera.
6. Select your desired photo or video.
7. Tap the checkmark to add to story.
Now that you’re comfortable adding content to your story, let’s discuss ways to engage your audience and increase brand buzz.
How to Use Instagram Stories to Promote Your Digital Brand
The stories feature appears to be a promising tool for brands. Not only can brands posting Instagram Stories appear in a coveted position at the top of highly engaged followers’ feeds, but they can also post many photos and videos without flooding feeds.
Here are 5 Tactics to use Instagram Stories to Promote your Digital Brand
1. Keep Your Brand Front and Center
The stories section on Instagram appears at the top of users’ feeds. This means if you post to your story, your brand has the opportunity to be spotlighted in this highly visible position.
If you aren’t sold yet, people and brands with stories that have not been viewed will have a colored ring around their profile photo in the stories section of their followers’ feed. Your followers will be able to easily see if you have new story content.
SEE ALSO: 10 Ideas for Creating Great Content
2. Build Anticipation
Instagram Stories are a great way to get your audience excited for something to come.
Provide a behind the scenes look and post a teaser if you are gearing up to:
- Launch a product or service
- Have an event
- Make an appearance
- Release new content
3. Release a Special Offer
Create a sense of urgency for your audience and entice followers to monitor your Story closely by sharing special offers and discount codes. You can also announce a giveaway or contest via your Story.
SEE ALSO: Planning An Instagram Contest
Since posts to your story only last 24 hours, your followers will have a limited time to view and participate.
DBI PRO TIP: Promote Story Content
You can even feature a particular photo or video from your story by posting it to your profile. By posting the selected story content to your profile, the featured photo or video will display in Instagram feeds. Add hashtags and a caption encouraging your target audience to check out your story for more content.
4. Share Exclusive Content
Share exclusive content on your Instagram Story to incentivize your audience to consume your content. Add a video that can only be found in this one location. A successful strategy implemented by brands on Snapchat is the use of Takeovers.
A Takeover is when an influencer, or another individual outside of your organization “takes over” your profile by creating and posting content for a designated period of time. This tactic can prove useful on Instagram as well because cross promotion can grow your audience by exposing your brand to your influencer’s followers.
Since story content only lasts 24 hours before vanishing, have a little fun! Post something interesting and raw. Share that less than perfect selfie. Preview new products and solicit replies. Test the waters.
Now that you have the scoop on Instagram Stories and how to use the feature for your brand…
Are you #teaminstagram or #teamsnapchat ? Let us know what you think about stories and how you plan on leveraging the feature.