You don’t know what’s Instagram Stories? Alright so, Instagram Stories is a feature that let you post a video or a photo that lasts 24 hours and then disappear forever. So should you create content for the Instagram News feed or for Stories?
Stories is where your audience is. I’m pretty sure that as a photographer you use Instagram as a tool to showcase your work. Know that now Stories is where people discover things they love and share in a quick and fun way with their friends. Instagram created this feature (to compete with Snapchat) to give people the ability to share and interact in a more immersive way on their smartphones’ screens. After my usual research, I put together this article to highlight the importance of it.
What are the stats?
Nearly 450 million accounts use Instagram Stories every single day. Launched in 2016 the feature that allows you to post Snapchat-like videos and photos has skyrocketed to eclipse Snapchat itself, leaving the yellow ghost at nearly 200 million daily active users. That users were craving a feature like this is noticeable from the fact that Stories has soon after been introduced on Messenger, Facebook and Whatsapp too with unbelievable results.
Businesses already use Stories for their ad Campaigns, ⅓ of the most viewed Instagram Stories are from businesses and I wouldn’t be surprised if in the future it will become more and more difficult getting discovered through stories. It’s the same as what happened for the newsfeed or for Facebook’s business pages. Ultimately what Instagram really wants is to monetize their platform so they will give visibility to those accounts that buy ads. Use it now before it’s too late!
How to use stories?
All Instagram accounts are able to share Stories. Stories are visible at the top of your feed in a bar that showcases all the stories from the accounts you follow. With a simple tap on one of the profile photos appearing in the top bar, you will launch stories. As simple as that.
The content is only visible for 24 hours and it displays in chronological order from oldest to newest. People can have more than one story per time so you can go back and forth among their stories by tapping on your screen or swiping left and right. When you get to the last story, the next one will be the first from the next user that was displayed on the top bar and so forth.
All the comments and likes you leave on a story are not public. Only the owner of that story can see it.
To create a story you’ll need to tap on the little camera icon at the top left-hand corner of your screen. If you have already created a story, you can add a new one from the story view itself by tapping on your profile icon with a little blue ‘+’.
This will open your camera and you can either make a video, take a photo or choose from your phone library. Apply filters, text and emojis and share it when you’re ready!
What is the difference between Instagram Stories and Instagram traditional posts?
Stories disappear in 24hrs. Normal posts stays. Your followers like to see your Stories because it’s like being with you in real time and they get to see things that they wouldn’t see in your normal posts.
This makes it very engaging and exciting.
The vertical real estate of your screen gives you more space to express your creativity and according to Instagram itself, there are less distractions for the viewer. More focus on the shared content.
Businesses using Instagram stories have reported more traffic to their websites and with the tools that stories offer they are able to understand better what their customers are doing and what they really like to buy. You can post surveys on Stories, ask your followers questions and give them options to reply, run polls and the level of interactivity is overall much higher compared to the traditional post in the news feed.
Check your insights
Number of views.Only you can see who viewed your stories, and the number of interactions with that story. You can understand if the type of content you’re creating is well perceived by your audience.
The number of views is at the bottom left-hand corner of a story view and by tapping on it you will open the interactions view.
You will notice that if you post more than one story at a time the number of views will decrease every next story. This is normal, people will drop at some point, but if you notice that the gap in views between the first and last stories is too high it could mean you are not posting the right content. Try to mix things up a bit and see the results.
Impressions and reach. In the insights you’ll see number of impressions and reach. Impressions is always bigger than reach because it’s the total amount of times people have seen a story, whereas reach is the total number of unique accounts that have seen it. So for example if a user sees a story 3 times that counts for 3 impressions, but 1 reach.
Taps back and forward. This is an interesting metric because if you have too many taps forward it might mean that the Story is not interesting enough or it had too much text in it. Again try to test with different types of content. Another reason why the number of tap forward (or back) might be too high, it’s because you’ve placed a hashtag or tagged someone and positioned the tag too close to the right or left edge of the screen and people accidentally tapped back or forward while trying to tap on the tag.
On the other end, taps back can tell you that a particular story was more interesting, so it’s a good thing to have and when a user taps back will count as an extra impression.
Total interactions. Literally is the actions taken from your story. A profile visit, a comment, a tap on an hashtag. It’s really useful to tell you how your audience interacts with your content.
Be creative and interact with your audience through Instagram Stories
Add value to your content. After all this feature is called Stories. Tell yours in creative ways. Use stickers, change font, try different colors. You need to make sure you are using your opportunity to give your followers a chance to interact. Ask them a question, add a location or mention someone. Try to check what bigger accounts are doing and spice up your game to give your audience something unique. Ask them to rotate their screens and post a photo in landscape orientation so that they can see it in a different format rather than relying on the cropped size of the traditional news feed.
Stories are new way to beat the Instagram algorithm
Rock your Stories and beat the Instagram algorithm. If you want to grow your Instagram account and share your photography skills with more people you should be using Stories. If you are not using it yet it’s time for you to jump on it and use it to its full potential. Storytelling and video are the new trend of Social Media and they matter a lot. Yes your photographs are amazing, but people want to know a bit more. It’s not enough to post your photos and hope that someone will give it a like or comment on it. This is the new engaging way to create a bond with your audience and make sure they feel connected with you as person.
Stories are here to stay and they could be your opportunity to beat the hated Instagram algorithm. Don’t miss out!