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The Story Behind Instagram Stories

— Andy Lum, Sr Social Media Specialist 

Welcome to our breakdown of Instagram’s latest feature update: Stories. Whether you’ve started using the feature or not, you’ve probably seen friends and brands in your social circle adding content to these new 24-hour timelines.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when creating content for Stories, as well as our POV on how this product fits within the social landscape and the growing shift to live content. Enjoy!

  1. Instagram Stories has much less to offer than Snapchat for editing content (for now). Part ofwhat makes Snapchat fun is the ability to endlessly personalize your photos and videos with stickers, emojis, lenses and filters. Instagram lacks these capabilities at the moment, but we can only imagine what tools might be added in the near future as Instagram gathers data on how users are interacting with the new feature.
  2. Your Instagram story has instant visibility. Finding your friends on Snapchat can be a little difficult, and some users who view their Instagram following as a highly engaged community have struggled to make the same impact on Snapchat. With Instagram, a story is instantly visible to the following you’ve spent time growing on the platform. This offers a distinct advantage over Snapchat, especially for brands that have been working hard at engaging with their growing follower base over the past several years. In addition, Instagram stories are very visible when opening the app, as they are placed at the top of the feed.
  3. Instagram stories are purely 24 hour. Snapchat abandoned its ephemeral nature by introducing “Memories,” whereas Instagram’s new feature takes an extra step to be “all in-the-moment.” The “add media from camera roll” function only works for content taken within 24 hours. While brands are finding clever ways to upload professionally edited story pieces with high production value to live-centric platforms like Snapchat, this is proving a little more difficult on Instagram. We’ve found stories that focus on casual engagement or highly coordinated live moments perform exceptionally well.
  4. Messaging capability allows viewers to reach out. Like Snapchat, Instagram story viewers can message a user within a specific portion of the content they’re watching. If you’re a brand with a large following and engaged audience, there’s a huge opportunity to interact and offer dynamic calls to action when speaking to your followers. Brands could leverage story responses for everything from contests and promo codes to customer support.

With Stories, and the recent introduction of instant video within Facebook Messenger, it’s clear the company has set its sights on Snapchat. For many individuals and brands, it’s a matter of creativity versus visibility. While Snapchat offers more tools, filters and effects for creativity, Instagram’s simple design and top-of-feed story placement enable users to dive into creating content immediately and enjoy quicker engagement from their audience.

Reach out to us directly at WESocial&