An ultimate guide to using Instagram Stories


From merely a selfie-sharing app, Instagram has come a long way and now has over 300 million monthly active users sharing 70 million photos per day that garner over 2.5 billion likes daily. Instagram recently launched a new feature named stories, which has a striking resemblance to Snapchat’s feature of the same name. They are essentially photos and videos that last just a day and just like Snapchat; they can be enhanced with drawings or special filters.

Stories are not part of the main feeds and are in a separate space where you can post as frequently as you want without worrying about spamming your friend’s feeds. Wondering how to use this and how you can leverage this feature in your marketing strategy? Worry not! We have the answers.

How to use it

  1. Tap the plus sign in the upper left corner of your screen to get started.

inst stories

  1. Take a picture by clicking on the round icon. If you are looking to make videos, press the round button continuously for 10 seconds.

If you don’t want to take pictures and want to upload from your existing gallery, just swipe down to choose your photos or videos.

step 2

  1. Once you are done with taking pictures, you can use one of the three pen options to doodle on your images.

Additionally, stories also let’s add filters. All you need to do is swipe right.

step 3

  1. Now that your masterpiece is done, just tap the checkmark icon to share.

Your story will now appear on top of your friend’s feeds. It is also visible on your profile page.  You can also save this story for later use. All you need to do is open your story and click on the three dots on the bottom right, then selecting “Save Photo.”

  1. Get to know the analytics

You can see who saw your pictures and videos by swiping up when seeing the photo or video. If you do not want someone seeing it, all you need to do is hit the “X” next to their name to block them from seeing anything you add to your Story.

You can also change your privacy settings to make sure certain people on your feeds don’t get to see your stories. Go to the setting icon in your profile and choose to hide your story from certain users or restrict who can respond to it.

How can brands leverage Instagram stories?

After Facebook took over Instagram, Instagram opened up to advertising on their platform, and more brands have started using Instagram for business. Instagram also has an inbuilt analytics tool, which helps you track the most viewed and liked posts, post engagement rate, website clicks and impressions.

If your brand already has a fairly decent base, Instagram Stories is something you must quickly jump to create a buzz. Wondering how to leverage stories? Here are a few ideas.

  • Behind the scenes

One of the best and easiest ways to use this cool, new feature is during an event. Give your audience a sneak peak of what is going on behind the scenes. Be it a photo shoot or just a short video to show how things are working at your office, it is an excellent way to connect with your audience.    Here is an example of a brand that leveraged this feature,  Mercedes-Benz (@mercedesbenz) shared a compilation of videos and photos of a photo shoot highlighting its Mercedes-AMG model.

  • Endorsing a sale

For any retail brand or e-commerce brand, Instagram stories are an excellent way to announce a sale. With a combination of images and videos, you can send out promotional messages about your upcoming sale. In fact, J-Crew, an American multi-brand retailer did just that. Before their one-day sale of “Jane in Pink”” sunglasses, they took to Instagram Stories to highlight their sale.

endorsing a sale

Source:  Simply measured

  • Teaser videos

If you are having an event in your office or if you are just looking to make a big announcement about your brand, take to Stories to tease your audience about it. If you are making your big announcement through Facebook Live videos, you can use stories to notify people about a Facebook Live broadcast to get more viewers for your live video. This is a great way to promote both your platforms at once.

  • Showcase your product

If you are looking to promote your product, Instagram stories are a great way to do that. You can not only show how your product works but also show them unique ways to use your product well.  This will not only increase visibility but also gives them reasons to buy the product and driving conversions. Be it makeup tutorials with a specific product or styling ideas with a scarf, there is no better way to educate your audience about your product than these stories. Even Starbucks highlighted its chilled cold brew and iced Americano with cream using Stories.

starbucks

Source: Instagram

  • Celebrating milestones

Has your company just turned one or five or did you just win a big award? Well, congratulations! It is important to announce these to your target audience, and this is where Instagram stories come in. Using series of interview video and images, you can create engaging content to highlight your milestone.

South West Airline is a classic example of this. When they retired their 737-500 planes, they took to stories to make this announcement.

showcasing milestones

Source: Social Media Examiner

Showcasing these milestones is an excellent way to humanise your brand and keep your audience and potential customers interested in what you do and how you do it.

Are you going to be using Instagram stories? Share your thought in the comment section below.

This article was originally published in Techstory

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