The Instagram story update that launched a few months ago is just one of the many ways that the social media platform is proving it can adapt to the growing demands and needs of the user base. Although at first glance it's pretty much a copy of the Snapchat story feature, there are a few more customizable changes.
What are Instagram stories?
The story feature on Snapchat allowed the app to be used as another means of social media broadcasting. Instagram stories are similar, but are essentially a slideshow of personalized photos and video clips which will each independently disappear after a 24-hour period.
You can add videos or photos to your story, and use the various tools provided to edit it all and make it a lot more interesting, with text and drawings. These stories are able to be viewed at the top of your home feed.
Why use Instagram stories?
The main benefit for using the Instagram story feature is that it allows you to post as much content as you want, without necessarily worrying about the quality of it. It also means that you won't be spamming your friends and followers with menial updates, as Instagram is more about quality over quantity. Each photo or video that is added to your story will be added to the end of the slideshow, and your followers will specifically have to click to view them.
Grouping all of this content up in a slideshow format allows you to broadcast the whole story of your day, which will put your main Instagram posts into context. The markup tools will enable you to add more information as well as spruce up your photos and videos.
There's no denying that this feature is primarily what most Snapchat users use Snapchat for. However it definitely doesn't feel out of place on Instagram. Instagram is used a lot more by professionals and businessmen, who may not be interested in having a separate Snapchat account just for the story feature.
How to make your Instagram story stand out?
This feature has become such an iconic and popular way of displaying Instagram media. Boomerang will compile a bunch of burst photos together, into a jittery mini video that plays forwards and backward, in a permanent loop. For what initially may have been a fairly uninteresting and boring photo, can now be an exciting or humorous short video. To use boomerang, click the format picker under the record button and click boomerang. After you are done, you'll be able to share it to your story.
The mentions feature is a really simple way of mentioning someone in your story. It works the same way as it does when trying to write a comment underneath an image. Simply type "@" followed by the desired person's username, and their name will appear underlined on your story. The great thing about this, is that if someone clicks your mention, they'll be taken straight to the mentioned person's profile.
Using the mentions feature is a fantastic way of collaborating with other people, in order to trade followers. It's also a good way of getting people to view another profile that you may own as well. This will work a lot better than just making a generic Instagram post, as most people are so used to seeing collaboration photos, that they will likely not click on the link.
Stickers are one of the newest features added to Instagram stories and allow your uploads to be even more personalized. After you have taken a video or photo you will be able to click the sticker tool, next to the drawing tools. You will be able to select stickers from categories such as location, current time, and weather. If people tap on your location sticker, they will be granted more information about that location.
You can also edit the stickers as well, increasing or decreasing their size, as well as moving them around. Stickers can give extra emphasis to your story post, as well as helping it to grab viewers attention. Where as other stickers can be more subtle and will aid in just making your photo look better. If there are any seasonal events on, you will also be granted access to limited-time stickers. During the Christmas period, there were a lot of Christmas related stickers available, which can be used perfectly in Christmas sale promotions, for example.
The hands-free video option is something that has been long overdue. In the format picker, simply click start recording and it will keep recording without having to keep your finger on it. This is perfect for those who don't have people around them all the time, and will allow you to still record activities without assistance.
Just like everything else on Instagram, once your video is done you will be allowed to edit it to your heart's desire. Adding stickers and text can really get your point across, or add enough context to make your video make sense.
Tips on sharing your stories
Although the story feature gives you creative freedom on what you can upload, if you are a business or professional entity, it's important to follow some of these tips when posting:
- Take your time and make sure that you get all of the information into your upload, that is necessary.
- If you are only uploading pictures, make sure you upload lots of them in order to get the message across.
- Continuously switch between photos, videos, and the Boomerang tool.
- Although tagging and mentioning places and people is great, try to restrict it to only people and places that are worth mentioning at the time.
- It doesn't have to be a work of art, but make sure you are creative. All of the inbuilt editing tools offer enough features to make your stories interesting.