If you use Instagram you probably like sharing photos from your life. But what about those photos that are more casual, the day to day stuff that needs to be shared but just doesn’t fit your page aesthetic. That’s why you should know how to use Instagram stories!

How to use Instagram stories and why you should Post them.
Tip: Use Instagram stories to reach ghost followers.

What are Instagram stories?

In an attempt to encourage users to create and share more content on the platform, Instagram has announced Instagram stories, a feature that allows users to upload photos and videos that are deleted after 24 hours.

The feature is very similar to Snapchat stories, an option introduced in 2013. Just like Snapchat,  photos and videos shared on your Instagram stories are short-lived and can not be seen after 24 hours. The content of your stories won’t appear on your profile or on the Instagram feed.

But what does this mean for social media and how can Instagram stories work for us? Let’s jump right into it!

 

How do they work?

Instagram stories appear in the horizontal menu on the top of the homepage. You can see stories from everyone you follow – from best friends to celebrities. When someone posts a new story, a colorful circle will appear around their profile photo. Since everyone can see them it’s important to know how Instagram stories work.

To see someones story, you simply need to tap into their profile image and the story will appear over the entire screen, showing all the content that they have uploaded in the last 24 hours. The content is displayed chronologically, from oldest to newest. Once you look at the story, you can click on the left side of the screen to go to their previous story, and on the right side to go forward. Dragging your finger from left to right will skip to the next user’s story. Unlike regular posts, there are no comments or likes on Instagram stories, but you can reply to the story with a direct message or a photo. You can also share the story with another person via DM’s.

How do Instagram stories work when uploading from your phone’s camera? Well, to do this, simply drag your finger down to the camera icon and you’ll see the latest content from your camera roll appear at the top of the screen. From there, you can simply select the content you would like to add to your story.

Instagram Stories on a smart phone.
Instagram stories can double audience engagement!

Privacy

Your story’s privacy settings are the same as your profiles. If you set your profile settings to private, your story will only be visible to your followers. You can also hide your story from anyone, even if they are following you. This is different than blocking since they will still be able to follow you and see your usual posts, they just won’t see your stories.

How are Instagram stories useful to Instagram – an attempt to increase content sharing

When Instagram first appeared on the scene in 2010, its main feature was the ability to convert average pictures that are taken with smartphones into images with professional photo effects.

What separates Instagram from other social media could now be an obstacle for this company, which is why they need to constantly grow and improve. Many of the 300 million daily users of the platform find that its homepage is the most important spot, designed for only the best content. In an interview with The Verge, co-founder of Instagram Kevin Systrom explains: “Instagram is there to record the best moments, but we want to fill the spaces in between too. The general visual style is very valuable and we have all the moments in the world, not just the best ones.”

Utilizing your current audience to gain followers and likes.
Instagram stories are proven to increase engagement with audiences.

How often is content shared on Instagram

The average number of posts per user on Instagram dropped between 2013 and 2015, according to a study published in The Information. At the same time, Snapchat would receive over 10 billion views a day and it got an increase of 25 percent in only three months between February and April 2016. Union Metrics did a study on brands on Instagram, which says that most brands post on Instagram once or twice a day. Instagram stories allow brands and individuals to post more, without having to clog up the front page.

A new focus on sending messages

Over the past few years, we’ve witnessed a massive increase in messaging platforms. From Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp which each reaches over a billion users – to Snapchat, which became the dominant platform for sharing photos, videos, and messages. Instagram isn’t far behind either since it’s taking something from each of these innovations and implementing them in a fresher way. And with Instagram bringing in a series of stories that are captured in the moment and that connect people even better, it could become a place not only for the best, most beautiful memories but a place for all memories, discussions, and connections.

Curious about how to add links to Instagram stories? Click here to learn!