Instagram Stories: How and Why You Need Them

When it comes to marketing yourself, your brand, or your personal blog, social media continues to play a crucial role in the process. One of the most used platforms available is Instagram, more specifically, Instagram Stories.


What are Instagram Stories?

Stories on Instagram are temporary opportunities to share videos or photos with captions and animations to all of your Instagram Followers. Launched in 2016, the Stories section is entirely separate from your traditional video and photo feed. Your followers can view these stories for up to 24 hours before they expire. You can use this feature to share events that are happening live, chat with your followers, reshare video clips, answer your follower’s questions, or simply post pictures with fun or exciting captions, music, or animations. These features allow your stories to be more dynamic than merely sharing a photo on your Instagram feed.


Why and When Should People Use IG Stories?

There are many Instagram growth strategies, and Stories are one of the most effective. One of the main benefits of IG stories is driving more eyes toward your content. Because the content is only available for a limited 24-hour window, users are more likely to continuously check back for new content as not to miss fresh updates or videos. 


IG Stories also benefits the overall change in modern shorter attention spans for the average consumer. In today’s environment, you need to quickly hook your audience and share your message concisely and interestingly before the user loses interest. In Stories, you’re limited to 15-second clips per Story. This feature forces you to think concisely and creatively to get your message across. However, you can still post multiple stories for longer content by creating stories back to back. Your followers will see a carousel in which they can tap the right side of the screen to move forward through your stories. The user can swipe up if you want to direct them to more information if you have chosen to add a swipe-up link to the Story.


How IG Stories Help Your Social Media Presence

Presence is everything when working with a social media platform. Instagram has several key advantages that put it at the top of the list for those looking to gain more followers and increase their overall social media presence. It’s important to note that Instagram boasts hundreds of millions of users, with Instagram reporting over 500 million users sharing Stories on Instagram daily. Daily usage has also increased from an average of 24 minutes towards 32 minutes, meaning increasingly more users are spending their time swiping and tapping through the stories stream at the top of their homepage.


Step by Step Guide on How to Use Instagram Stories

When learning how to use Instagram Stories, it’s helpful to think in steps. Remember, Instagram is a mobile-based app, meaning that you will need to use your mobile device with the app downloaded onto it to post to stories (though there are several workaround hacks if you are motivated enough to search them out).


Step 1. Navigate to your homepage in your Instagram app.


Step 2. If you want to take a photo or video to add to your Instagram Stories, press the camera icon in the top left corner. Tap the circle icon on the bottom of the screen to take a picture or hold it to take a video. If you want to choose a photo or video stored on your mobile device, swipe right from anywhere on your feed and select the item you wish to share.


Step 3. Tap the font or sticker icons to add additional texts or effects to your Story.


Step 4. Tap the “Your Story” button on the screen’s bottom-left to share your post to your Stories feed.


Tips and Tricks

When posting multiple stories, your followers will see a carousel where they can tap the right or left side of the screen to move forward or backward through your Stories. An important tip is that you can also add a swipe-up link to the Story if you want to direct your followers to another resource like your website or YouTube video. Once added, place a swipe up message on your story slide so the user knows they can access more information by dragging their finger up on their device. This feature can easily lead to more clicks and conversions outside of Instagram.


Avoid using long walls of text on your IG Stories. While your followers can press and hold their screen to pause your Story, keep in mind short attention spans may cause them to swipe right to skip all your stories if they lose interest. You can also control your follower’s attention by customizing your post with background colors, stickers, inserting GIFs, adding music, or even adding third party apps for moving texts and other eye grabbers.


If you have a unique story or a promotion you want to keep available for more than 24 hours, add it as an Instagram Highlight. Highlights keep the Story active past the 24-hour mark. You will need to activate your story archives feature in your settings menu before accessing this feature. Then simply navigate to your profile, click on the “+ new” button underneath your bio, and select the Story you want to highlight.


Instagram truly is one of the most accessible ways to boost your online presence and promote just about anything, including yourself as a brand. With the introduction of stories, you now have the equivalent of instant video exposure to millions of Instagram users waiting to follow all of your new and unique content, whether for your own use or to accelerate your brand.             


Author Bio

Colibri Digital Marketing is a B Corp certified digital marketing agency based in San Francisco. Could your business benefit from working with a digital marketing brand consultant? Find us on Facebook or Twitter, or book a free digital marketing strategy session with us to talk about all things digital marketing.

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