Over the last few weeks I’ve been falling a little bit in love with Instagram stories. You may be aware of them, you may already be using them, or you may not have the first idea of where to start, so I thought I’d do a little introduction to them for those of you who want to know more.
My favourite kind of stories are the autobiographical ones, the ones where the user is chatting away to me, where I find out more about what they’ve been up to, new products and the like. My most favourite is Chambers & Beau – I love how Amy connects with her audience and lets you have a little insight into her day. She’s funny and engaging and shares what she’s been making to. Just fab.
You can find Instagram stories all along the top of your newsfeed. Each circle will be surrounded by a pink border, and once you click on that story you will be taken to 20 second snippets of that users day. They can be moving videos, chat, still images or a boomerang, but each one only lasts 24 hours from when it is first published.
As a business, stories are becoming more and more valuable to your Instagram profile, and your digital marketing strategy as a whole. Currently 100 million Instagram users use stories, and this is only set to increase. For those of you who have a beautifully curated and polished feed, it allows freedom and helps your customers learn more about you.
You can also use the function to promote products, special offers, competitions and any new ranges. For those business profiles with 10K followers or more, you also have the option of adding a URL link to direct people to where they can buy, or find out more.
So how do you use them?
From your home feed, swipe right to get to the story camera (this is swiping from the left side of your screen to the right side.) You’ll then arrive at a camera. Flick the camera if you want it to film your face, if you’re brave enough! Or flick it the other way to take a video or a still of what you are seeing.
Hold the button down to record a 20 second video, or click for an image. You’ve also got the option of boomerang while you’re here too. Once you’ve recorded your shot or your video, you can then add to it. Whether this is text, emoji’s or doodles – it’s entirely up to you. The more you use it the easier and more natural it will feel.
It is at this point you can tag a location or an account. Whoever you tag in your story will be notified of it. You can even add a hashtag, which I hugely recommend. These are great because they are searchable within the story itself. When you are searching a particular hashtag in Instagram, the stories that include these hasthags also appear in the search results. Perfect for attracting more engagement from users that don’t know of you already. This function is currently being quite underused, although even in the last week I’ve seen a growth on this. This is a relatively new addition to IG stories, and so people are starting to latch onto that and using it as much as they can.
Once you’ve added the additional text or tags to your story, all you need to do is click the circle with a plus sign in the bottom left which says ‘your story’ and you can start all over again! Some people stick to one or two still images in their stories – others do multiple videos telling a ‘story’ throughout them. There’s no right or wrong way to do stories, but try to remember why you are using them, and always speak to the viewer in the way they expect from you. Remember your brand voice!
It takes a lot of guts to get your face in front of a camera, and so it’s not something I’m going to force you into, but if you’re brave enough I highly recommend it! It will really help you engage with your audience, and as a follower of loads of stories I love watching them – it makes me smile after a long day. And like all things, the more you do it, the easier it will become. I’ve even been practicing with them myself – take a look at my account if you fancy seeing what I’ve been up to!
And if you want to learn more hands on stuff about stories, and Instagram as a whole, then come along to one of my workshops. My next face to face one is on 11th July but I’ll be running a series of online ones too.
And let me know your Instagram profile so I can come and snoop on you too!!
Helen @ The CBN
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01884 266045 / 07969 044006