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SMK Explores: Instagram Stories

In this instalment of SMK Explores, we’re going to take a look at Instagram Stories. We’ll tell you how to use it, and why you should care about it.

What are Instagram Stories?

Instgram ‘Stories’ is a fairly blatant rip-off of Snapchat’s ‘My Story’ feature. It allows a user to create a narrative using multiple images or videos over the course of a day. 

‘Stories’ play in chronological order, from first upload to last. And, just like on Snapchat, Instagram’s Stories are visible only for 24 hours. When the day is done, the story disappears. Poof!

The basics

The functionality is simple. To create a story, open Instagram and tap the ‘+’ sign in the top left corner of the screen.To take a photo, tap the round button. To take a video, press and hold it (videos can be up to 10 seconds long).

You can also upload media from your camera roll by swiping down on the screen. This allows you to choose an existing photo or video, but only if it was taken in the last 24 hours.

Snazz it up

Once you've got your image/video, you can apply Instagram’s basic filters by swiping left or right.

You can add doodles, captions and other decorations by selecting the pen or text icons in the top right corner (adjust the size and orientation of the text by pinching it). To change colours, there's a basic selection at the bottom of the screen. Touching and holding on a colour brings up the full spectrum.

Finish it off

When you’re happy with your creation, press the ‘up’ arrow. You'll return to the home screen and your nascent 'story' will appear as a little circle featuring your profile picture living at the top of your feed. Chances are, you’ve already seen your friends’ stories popping up here. To watch one, simply tap it.

Add to your story

Adding to your story is as simple as repeating the process above. Tap the ‘+’ icon and away you go.

Why should marketers care?

For brands, Stories have real potential. For one thing, they appear right at the top of users’ timelines. It’s a great way to increase your visibility. 

More than that, though, the narrative possibilities are endless: Take people behind the scenes of your business. Tell the story of a product’s creation. Tag along for a day in the life of an influencer. Stories can be a great way to bring your audience closer to your brand.

For influencers with large Instagram followings, Stories is a big development. Snapchat’s ‘My Story’ feature has proved very popular, so much so that some might be tempted to change their platform of preference.

By hijacking Snapchat’s concept, Instagram is lettling influencers make the most of their established audience, without the need to switch.

Take some time to get to know Stories. You can hide your practice attempts from the public in 'settings'. Once you've got the hang of it, you'll be creating branded maseterpieces in no time. 

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