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Welcome to Instagram Stories

10th August 2016

There aren’t many things that social media marketers like more than a new update to their favourite platform, and the recent news that Instagram has introduced ‘Stories’ has everyone buzzing. Opinions seem to have been split until now, with discussion based mainly around the comparison between Snapchat stories and the new Instagram feature.

Snapchat stories have been around since 2013 and generate a huge amount of the platforms engagement. Recent reports show that Snapchat now have more daily active users than Twitter, at 150 million, and stories has contributed enormously to this statistic. Every element of Instagram stories seems to have been lifted directly from Snapchat. It rather looks like Instagram wants a bite of the pie, as recent algorithm changes have disgruntled a number of users.

Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has become immensely popular with users as it enables everyone to share really striking images using filters within the site. Anyone can become a professional photographer, and you can create a beautiful visual lifestyle with images being carefully chosen to depict your brand.  Most users are sharing just a few pictures per day so as not to bombard their followers with their posts, and curating their newsfeed to give a balanced insight into their world.

However, stories does the opposite of all that – and encourages you to share every single moment of your day, with very little altering or composition. There is no minimum or maximum of pictures to post on your story. You can share photos or videos (up to 10 seconds) and can keep adding as much as you like throughout the day. The stories disappear after 24 hours which allows the users just a finite amount of time to engage with the posts.

Instagram Stories

How do you access stories?

It is really quite simple. When you now open the Instagram app, all stories appear in a bar along the top of your newsfeed – by scrolling along you will be able to see who has shared stories and by tapping on each one opens up their story.

Once you are within their story, you can tap the screen to see the next image they have shared, or swipe to the left to move to the next story. You can easily see how many posts they have within their stories via a white bar along the top. All the content that you see will be what they have shared within the last 24 hours.

You don’t have an opportunity to comment on users stories, but you can private message the account holder during the story.

So how can you create a story?

Again, it is very simple to create your own story. Just click on the ‘+’ icon in the top left hand corner of your screen and once the story camera is open you can either take a photo or video. Once you’ve captured your shot you can add text or drawing, and you can also add a range of filters.

Once you are happy with your post, all you need to do is click ‘add to your story’ and you will see yourself appear at the top of your newsfeed next to everyone else’s story.

Stories give you a good amount of flexibility, for example once you have posted your images to your story, you do have the option to delete them if you change your mind. You can also add images from your camera roll that you have taken within the last 24 hours. You can also change your privacy settings depending on who you want to see your story.

The analytics for Instagram stories are also very good – you can see how many people have viewed your story, but also how many have viewed each post within your story and who those people are.

We will be doing some further comparisons on Instagram and Snapchat stories in a future post and how both can help businesses boost engagement or how you can use them within your digital marketing strategy. In the meantime we would love to hear your thoughts on Instagram stories – have you used it? Do you prefer them to Snapchat or have you found them more user-friendly? Tweet us on @Cosmic_UK to let us know.

For more information visit http://blog.instagram.com/post/148348940287/160802-stories.