The recent launch of Instagram Stories shows that Social Media is not only about being innovative but also about staying on top of the trends. In this week’s article we will be showing you how to use the new Instagram feature, and give you ideas about its implementation.

5+ Ways To Use Instagram Stories For Your Business. Learn how to use Instagram Stories for your brand’s Instagram account

Instagram vs Snapchat

It’s no secret that the two social networks have been competing with each other ever since the launch of Snapchat in September 2011. Instagram has double the amount of active daily users compared to Snapchat. However, recent data shows that Snapchat attracts 25% more users than Instagram worldwide. That is a good enough reason for Instagram to try and outweigh one of the best Snapchat features.

The announcement about Instagram Stories caught everyone by surprise. Especially since last month when Snapchat released a new feature that is believed to be an attempt of the network to move away from its original idea of disappearing content. Make sure to check out our article from last week where we discussed the launch of Snapchat Memories.

How to set up and use Instagram Stories

1. Get Instagram’s latest version

In order to see if you have the ability to use the new feature, you would need to download the latest update of the Instagram app. Once you install it, you would be able to see a new icon on the top left corner of the app as seen below:

How to set up and use Instagram Stories

2. Configure your “Story Settings”

Next step is configuring your “Story Settings”. Find your “Story Settings” under the Account settings after clicking on the wheel icon at the top right of your screen.

You will be allowed to select specific people to hide your stories from. You can as well choose who can reply to your stories.

3. Go to your Instagram Stories screen

After you have your settings configured, you can now start creating Instagram Stories. There are two ways to access them. First one is by simply swiping left from anywhere on your Feed, and the other way is by clicking on the above mentioned Instagram Stories button on the top left corner of your screen.

How to set up and edit Instagram Stories. Learn how to create Instagram Stories

4. Capture and edit your content

Now that you have entered the Stories screen, you can switch from your front to back camera and adjust your flash settings. You can take a photo with a single click on the circle button at the bottom. Tapping and holding that button lets you capture a 10 second video. Similar to the new Snapchat Memories feature, you can also select a photo or video from your gallery by swiping down the screen.

After selecting or capturing the photo or video that you want to add in your Instagram Story, you will see two icons at the top right of your screen that let you add text or doodle on them. When you are done you can delete your creation, save it to your phone, or share it to your story.

All the videos or photos you share in your Instagram Story will last for 24 hours.

5. Find out who is viewing your Stories

Each of the photos or videos that you add in your Story can be later deleted, shared as regular posts, downloaded to your phone’s camera roll, or even have custom view settings. One cool feature about Instagram Stories is that it lets you see not only the amount of people who viewed your Story, but also who exactly saw it. When you open your Stories, at the bottom of the screen you can see the number of people that viewed each particular part of it. When you swipe up on that number, the usernames of all viewers will be reviled.

6. See the messages from your Stories

Last but not least, people have the opportunity to ‘comment’ under your stories. These ‘comments’ will be available for you to see in your Messages tab. Do not forget that people can only message under your stories, if you have allowed them to. You won’t be notified if someone that you don’t follow sends you a message, since it will end up in your message requests.

How does Instagram Stories compare to Snapchat’s?

Technically speaking, the two Stories features basically work the same way. It is as easy to create and edit a story on Instagram, as it is to do it on Snapchat. Snapchat’s Stories’ editing is however a bit more customizable as you can add stickers and Bitmojis in your Snaps.

But if we take into consideration credibility and trustworthiness, Instagram will always have the advantage over Snapchat.

Snapchat is only a year younger than Instagram, but Instagram’s network and advertising business is way more developed. Moreover, it is a well-known fact that Facebook stands behind Instagram and thus the network’s format and tools are already recognizable to marketers. These are just some of the many reason why many brands still prefer Instagram to Snapchat.

Now that you have figured out how does Instagram Stories work, you can start using them for your business account.

5 ways businesses can use the new Instagram Stories feature

1. Short-term games and contests.

If you would like to reward your most active and engaged Instagram users, you can have a quick game or contest for them through your Instagram Story. Who doesn’t love social media games and giveaways? They are a perfect way to keep your followers interested and make them want to come back for more.

2. Special promotions

Another great way to make your most active Instagram followers feel special is by offering them a discount code or coupon that they can only see if they opened your Snapchat Story. The urge of knowing that the promotion ends in only 24 hours might be the thing that will encourage them to buy. This is a brilliant way to build brand loyalty and increase sales.

3. Build anticipation

Tease the release of a new product or service by sharing a couple of photos and videos that will do their job to create some buzz around it.

4. Distinguish engaging content

Instagram lets you see which portions of your Stories generate the most views. If you notice that a specific content from your story is engaging more than the others, you can post it in your Instagram feed for all your followers to see.

5. Drive more engagement

If you would like to increase your audience’s interaction with your brand on Instagram, now you can encourage them to send you a message directly under your Stories.

6. Event Coverage

If your business attends many industry events and you have noticed that the engagement on your Instagram content during events is lower than usual, Instagram stories are the perfect place to share that content in. You can now announce your attendance at an event with a single post on your regular Instagram feed, and encourage your audience to open your Instagram Stories for more live updates.

7. Storytelling

It is all about storytelling. What could be more engaging than sharing an interesting story about your brand, product or staff through fun photos and videos?

Tell your brand

Are you still not sure if you would like to use Instagram Stories in your Instagram marketing strategy? We would like to advice you to not think twice, but start using them as soon as the feature is available for you.

Why? Because as soon as you start creating Stories on Instagram, they will appear on the very top of the feeds of all your followers.

With the recent update of the Instagram Feed Algorithm, it now shows posts in a non-chronological order, based on the amount of previous interactions a user had with your content. Instagram’s Algorithm now works similar to Facebook’s Newsfeed Algorithm that favors posts from friends and families. That being said, Instagram Stories will definitely help you reach more of your followers especially now when everyone will be excited to check out the new feature.

In conclusion

It is indeed surprising that the huge photo and video-sharing network copied one of the most distinguishing features of their biggest competitor. However, this update brings a ton of new opportunities and fun ways for both brands and regular users to interact with each other and share their daily stories.

Let us know what you think about the new Instagram Stories feature in the comments section below.