Instagram Stories have become one of the most popular ways social media marketing services, in-the-moment content with friends and followers on Instagram. With over 500 million daily active users on Stories, learning how to make effective use of this feature is key for both personal profiles and Instagram marketing services looking to drive more engagement. This guide will cover everything you need to know, from what Stories are to tips for creating compelling content that connects with your audience.
What are Instagram Stories?
Instagram Stories are posts that appear at the top of followers’ feeds in a slideshow format. Unlike regular Instagram posts which are visible on your profile indefinitely, Stories disappear after 24 hours.
The content can include photos, videos, boomerangs, drawings, text overlays, interactive stickers, music, polls and even chat messages with friends and followers. Stories were designed to share quick, authentic moments without the pressure of posting highly polished content.
Part of what makes Stories so popular is that they offer a behind-the-scenes glimpse into people’s everyday lives. The ephemerality of Stories also creates a fear of missing out, prompting viewers to check the app more frequently to keep up with the latest updates from those they follow.
How do Instagram Stories Work?
Posting an Instagram Story is simple. You just tap on your profile picture or the camera icon in the top left corner of your feed. This will launch the stories camera where you can snap a pic or record a video up to 15 seconds long. Various creative tools will appear across the top of the screen for adding text, drawing, inserting current location, temperature, hashtags, or mentioning other accounts.
You can also upload content previously saved to your camera roll. Once you post, the story will be visible at the top of your followers’ feeds in a slideshow format for the next 24 hours. You can post multiple times to the same Story throughout the day.
When we avail Instagram marketing services, viewers can react to your stories by sending a private text reply or tapping on the paper Aeroplan icon to send an emoji. The number of viewers will be displayed under your story bubble on the home screen. By swiping up on any story, you can see a list of viewers.
Your stories will display in a ring around your profile picture, indicating you have new updates whenever viewers visit your page or come across your posts on their feeds. Tapping on your profile photo launches your stories slideshow.
Instagram displays stories based on user engagement and activity. If someone engages heavily with your stories, your posts may show up nearer the start of their story rings.
Instagram Stories vs. Instagram Highlights
While Stories self-destruct after 24 hours, Highlights allow you to save old stories indefinitely by grouping them together under a section title on your profile. Anything remaining in your story archive post 24 hours can be added to a Highlight for ongoing visibility.
The key differences include:
Time Duration: Stories last 24 hours only, Highlights remain on your profile indefinitely.
Organization: Stories appear as single slideshows. Highlights neatly group certain stories into categories.
Privacy: Anyone can view your Stories while visiting followers have exclusive access to your Highlights after leaving.
Highlights are best for preserving your most valuable, evergreen stories that align with your brand identity and Instagram advertising services. They act as curated galleries for showcasing things like customer testimonials, “best of” moments, collaborations, events and more to anyone visiting your profile.
How long are Instagram Stories?
Instagram Stories automatically disappear 24 hours after being posted. A pink ring will display around your profile photo during this 24 hour window to notify followers of new, expiring content.
However, your stories aren’t necessarily gone forever after they expire. You can access a private story archive containing posts from the last 30 days by going to your profile, tapping settings, account, privacy settings and story.
From your archive, you have the option to:
- Download any highlights you may want to save externally before they disappear for good in 30 days.
- Repost old stories as a “throwback” memory.
- Add individual story posts to a public Highlight on your profile.
- Utilizing your private archive gives you a 30 day grace period to save meaningful stories before they become inaccessible.
How to View Instagram Stories
There are a few ways to access Instagram Stories:
- A colorful ring or profile photo ring around an account’s icon indicates they’ve posted new stories recently. Tapping on their profile photo will launch their stories.
- Scroll through the horizontal story carousel at the top of your home feed. Stories from accounts you follow will be displayed in chronological order of posting.
- Swipe left from your home feed to view stories in full screen mode. They will play automatically but you can tap left/right to navigate between different posters.
- Check the list of accounts you follow by going to your profile, tapping the three line menu and choosing “Following.” Tap any user from the list to jump directly into viewing their latest Story.
- When friends tag you in their Story, a blue ring will surround your profile photo. Go to your page and hold down on the screen to launch the tagged Story.
How to Make an Instagram Story
For Instagram advertising services, get ready to start posting your own Instagram Stories? Here are some tips for creating compelling content:
Open the camera: Tap your profile picture or the camera icon in the top left of the home screen, then tap the oval shutter button to capture a photo or video.
Add visual elements: Access the creative tools menu above the camera screen. Insert location tags, stickers, drawings, text boxes, music and more. Get playful with it!
Utilize editing features: Draw or add text directly onto your pictures/videos. Use the “Markup” tool to highlight areas of interest. Add colorful filters to set a mood.
Engage your audience: Ask questions in the form of polls or slider quizzes. @Mention relevant accounts. Share stories that align with trending hashtags.
Cross-promote content: Share previews linking back to a recent post on your grid. Reuse UGC with consent. Post BTS teasers leading up to bigger launches.
Share to close friends: Customize stories visibility for certain friends to make content feel more personal. The “Close Friends” list allows stories to be visible only to those selected.
Experiment, get creative and don’t worry about perfection. Stories are meant to offer an authentic look at your day-to-day happenings rather than high production images. The more comfortable you feel, the more your personality will shine through!
How to Use Instagram Stories for Business
With engaging, ephemeral content that drives urgency around viewing, Instagram Stories offers immense Instagram and social media marketing services potential. Here are some of the top ways businesses can capitalize on Stories:
Drive Website Traffic: Add swipe up or link stickers to drive clicks to your online store, blog posts, lead magnets, etc.
Launch New Products: Tease new product drops, share branding/packaging previews or show behind-the-scenes product photos to generate buzz.
Build Brand Awareness: Share company values, charity initiatives and employee spotlights to strengthen brand identity. Show personalities behind the logo!
Offer Promos: Advertise sales, deals, contests or coupon codes exclusively on Stories to incentivize returning daily to your page.
Conduct SMM strategies Research: Ask questions and survey followers to gain first-hand insights into consumer preferences. Act on feedback to tailor offerings.
Instagram Stories Tricks and Hacks
Take your Stories up a notch with these pro tips:
- Use the “Multi-Capture” camera mode while recording videos for quick hands-free clips up to 15 seconds long.
- Upload photos or videos from your camera roll that are over a year old. Even though they display the current date to viewers, your followers will enjoy the #ThrowbackThursday style memory share.
- Cross-post Facebook Stories to your Instagram profile. Toggle settings on the FB app to enable one click multi-sharing. Gain broader reach!
- Insert interactive question stickers or poll sliders to get audience participation. Stories including questions receive 86% more comments!
- Check Story analytics by tapping “Viewers” under your story images. Swipe up to access metrics like impressions, replies, exits and interactions over time.
- Tag products from brand partners to enable one tap viewing of tagged products on your followers’ screens. Makes impulse shopping seamless!
- Use the @mention sticker to invite collaborators or friends to share the story highlight reel from their own account, growing visibility.
Instagram Stories have revolutionized social media sharing by providing an outlet for posting faster, rawer and unfiltered content. Unlike the highly curated images typically shared on Instagram grids, Stories offer a peek into the real personalities and happenings behind profiles through an authentic first-person point of view.
When we talk about SMM strategies, creators, and personal profiles alike, mastering Instagram Stories is critical for increasing engagement and standing out on users’ feeds. But Stories should focus less on polish and more on showcasing real, timely moments from your day.
So grab your phone and start sharing! It doesn’t need to be perfect. Don’t overthink it and have fun putting your own spin on things. By consistently posting unique perspectives and insider content each day, you’ll be on your way to Stories success in no time.