instagram stories ft image

Have you tried Instagram’s newest feature, Instagram Stories?

Instagram Stories was introduced earlier this month as a new way to share photos and videos on the app by combining content in a slideshow format that disappears within 24 hours. It’s similar to how content is created and shared on Snapchat.

If you’ve looked at your Instagram feed lately, you’ve seen a stream of Instagram Stories from people you follow at the top of the screen:

Instagram Stories example

Small business owners and nonprofits can take advantage of this new marketing feature. I’ll share how you can create an Instagram Story and show you how organizations are already standing out with Instagram Stories.

How to create an Instagram Story

Start by opening the Instagram app and clicking the plus sign on the top of the screen.

how to create an Instagram Story

Then use the camera button to take photos or record a video. You can use the editing tools to draw on your image and add text and emojis. Add filters to your content by swiping left to move through the filters you’ve saved to the app. When you’re ready to post, click the check mark at the bottom.

Add filters to your content by swiping left to move through the filters you’ve saved to the app.

When you’re ready to post, click the check mark at the bottom.

create an Instagram Story

You can also use photos or video that you have saved to your phone within the last 24 hours. To access that content, swipe down from the top of the screen when you’re in the camera mode and choose from the feed of recently added photos and video.

Instagram Story setup

You can add more images and video to your Instagram story by clicking the plus sign.

Access analytics

Instagram will show you how many people have viewed your story. Access the stats by clicking on your story and then clicking the eyeball icon. You’ll see the total number of viewers and a list of the viewers’ Instagram profiles.

Instagram Stories Analytics

Why you should use Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories allow you to share quick moments that tell the story of your business. All you need is one image or a video that’s a few seconds long along with some text, doodles, or narration on video clips to promote what you’re doing or let people see what’s happening behind the scenes.

There are no captions or hashtags involved, so it’s easy for your followers to view and absorb what you’re sharing.

Plus, Instagram Stories are currently located at the top of every user’s Instagram feed in chronological order. There’s no algorithm that’s deciding which stories are displayed. Your story is more likely to get seen by your followers.

Although this feature is similar to what’s being posted on Snapchat, you’ll be reaching more people on Instagram because it has more users than Snapchat (Instagram has 300 million daily active users compared to Snapchat’s 100 million daily active users).

Odds are your Instagram following is larger than your Snapchat community and will be more likely to catch your Instagram Stories and regular Instagram posts.

How small businesses and nonprofits are using Instagram Stories

We’ve seen a lot of activity from businesses and nonprofits using Instagram Stories. Here are a few posts that you can use for inspiration:

Cradles to Crayons, a nonprofit in Boston, used Instagram Stories to share video from an event. They showed volunteers at their annual backpack-a-thon event stuffing 40,000 backpacks for local kids.

Cradles to Crayons instagram

Oh To Be A Dog, a dog walking service in Pasadena, CA, shared an Instagram story that showed what a normal day is like for their dog walkers. The employee in this post walked four dogs at the same time!

Oh To Be a Dog Instagram example

Artist and designer Kathy Cano-Murillo, also known as Crafty Chica, of Phoenix, AZ, shared an Instagram Stories video describing her latest ceramic pieces.

Crafty Chica Instagram example

Marketing expert Jeannine O’Neil, of JO Social Branding in Beverly, MA, posts Instagram Stories that let her followers see what she’s working on. This post showed the outdoor workspace she was using to write a book.

Jeannine Oneil Instagram Story

Share your first story today!

Ready to get started? Take a moment to jot down ideas for your own Instagram Stories.

Don’t overthink it. Your story should be similar to the content you’re already sharing on your Instagram channel.