A Likely Story
Another change has hit the social media world this week. Instagram released Instagram Stories under the pretense that it will alleviate user fears about “over posting.” Stories is a new feature, which users can add by updating the app, that enables them to populate a stream of photos and videos at the top of the newsfeed.
The fear of over posting is ever-present for brands that market via social. Over posting can be annoying to followers, and brands don’t want to turn them off to their content. This feature takes that fear out of the equation on Instagram.
With every new feature released on social media, there are pros and cons as well as adjustments for users and brands to make. Instagram’s strength has been the simplicity of their app. Just log in, look at pictures and videos, like and comment, scroll, repeat. Stories put a hiccup in the simple scrolling action. Now you click and swipe to the right for new stories and to the left to revisit what you just viewed–stepping a bit on Tinder’s unique modus operandi.
Wait. Isn’t That Just Like Snapchat?
Users might recognize this functionality from elsewhere, too; Snapchat introduced the “my story” feature in October 2013. But it seems Instagram is improving on the Snapchat model–at least as far as brands should be concerned.
If you’ve wanted to use Snapchat for your brand but didn’t want to monitor yet another platform (for a significantly smaller audience), this is your chance to incorporate some of the creative executions Snapchat allows and humanize your brand even more.
Snapchat allows users to share content for a duration ranging from one second to ten seconds. If put on a user’s story, these pictures and videos can last a maximum of 24 hours. On the other hand, Instagram gives users the choice of permanence; pictures and videos can be shared for 24 hours or forever.
And although Snapchat is growing, they would need to triple their user base to add to rival Instagram’s reach. Which means, it’s much easier for brands to reach their existing audience (assuming they have an Instagram account). Another benefit for brands is the ease of switching accounts on Instagram compared to Snapchat. With Instagram, up to five accounts can be linked, making it effortless to switch between profiles. Snapchat forces you to complete sign-out and sign-in again to change monikers.
One of the most interesting changes Stories brings to Instagram is the length of video allowed. Previously, Instagram limited videos shared to profiles to 15 seconds. This spring, they expanded the limit to 60 seconds. With Stories, they’re reigning video length back in by capping them at 10 seconds.
So How, exactly, Do Stories Work?
It’s simple, once you know how to use it.
- First, make sure your app is updated.
- Look for the plus sign at the top left of your screen. Click it to take a picture or record a video. Or swipe left when you’re in your feed.
- If you want to upload a recent picture or video simply swipe down on the screen and scroll to find what picture you want.
- Tap the Aa or pencil image to add text or draw on your story.
- Want to keep the image forever? Press the down arrow image to save to your camera roll.
- When you’re satisfied with your creation, click the checkmark and voila! Your story is shared.
Been playing with Stories? Share your take on Instagram’s new feature in a comment.