Exploring Instagram Stories
Have you been having fun with Instagram Stories yet? Do you love or hate them? Have you found them sucking up time as your fall down the rabbit hole of peering into other people's lives?!
When the feature was first released I was tempted to dive straight onto my blog and write about it but I wanted to have a play and a think first. My thoughts have spun around quite a lot so I am glad I've been able to take my time with this post, so I can share with you today.
Just another snapchat?
My first thoughts about Instagram Stories were all about comparing it to Snapchat. Do we really need another Snapchat? I have already been trying to get my head around using Snapchat, making time for it in my already crazy busy days and working out the value of using it for my business.
I was torn between standing up for Snapchat (quite funny as I've only used it twice!) and being delighted that I could just use this new feature of Instagram and avoid using Snapchat altogether. And then I was also feeling overwhelmed about having something else to get my head around, particularly in August when I traditionally take my foot off social media a little bit and embrace the Summer holiday vibe instead.
When I thought about it a little more I realised that Instagram Stories enables me to have all the things I like about Snapchat without the silly filters that I'm afraid I'm just not into. And the best part is that I already have an audience of 80k people on Instagram. I think I have two followers on Snapchat and as it's so hard to find people on there I know it will be a very, very long time before I get anywhere near that on Snapchat.
Instagram Stories For Fun
If your Instagram account is for fun and isn't connected to your business in anyway then I think you can have lots of fun with Instagram stories. You don't really have to think about it having any impact on your business and perhaps you want to create little stories to share with your friends and family.
These Stories are only available for 24 hours, so they are not going to be embarrassing in years to come. Although, I wouldn't be too crazy if you have a public account! A lot of people can still see something in 24 hours!
I think they are a lovely way to show a little more of your life. You can take little videos of things that inspire you, where you live and your adventures. You can say hello in a 10 second mini video.
You can also have lots of fun with things like Slowmo videos. You can upload any video taken in the past 24 hours into your Story by pulling down from the top of your screen when you go into the Stories part of your Instagram App. They will just be cut to 10 seconds. This is handy if you're out and about without internet access! And also means you can still edit enough to make you happy while still keeping it fresh and instant in terms of that day rather than sharing content you made weeks ago.
Instagram Stories for Business
If you have an Instagram account that is connected to your business then I think you need to really sit down and think about what you do with Instagram Stories. What can you show your audience that will enhance the content that you are already sharing? What things do they want to know?
If you are running an event it would be so much fun to share a few Stories in the run up to the event and during. Or if you are involved in a photo shoot, sharing some behind the scenes images would be great for people to see.
Perhaps you are out and about and you find some new inspiration that you can share. Or you might want to share a little glimpse off your local area, where you work, your walk to work, your favourite coffee shop or a weekend adventure. All these things are a way to connect with your audience a little more and share your story. Why do they want to buy from you or book you to work with them? These Instagram Stories can be a wonderful way of showing more.
Over the past couple of weeks I have been especially loving these people's Instagram Stories:
Xanthe Berkeley. I think Instagram Stories were made for Xanthe's never ending creativity and love of colour!
Emma Block has been creating some great Instagram Stories where she demonstrates a technique of her work. How clever and cool is that?
Will Taylor of Bright Bazaar has been showing some behind the scene videos of images that he then shares on his Instagram. And a little more of his life in NYC.
Jeska and Dean of A Future Kept have been sharing the most gorgeous snippets of their Sussex life.
And Karine has been making me want to pack my bags and head to South West France to spend the rest of my days surfing! Everything she shares is so incredible cool that you just want to be a part of it.
Instagram Stories : Use with care
I have enjoyed watching lots of Instagram Stories and have loved seeing what people have been doing with them. It's enabled me to see more, to see behind the scenes of images that I then see in their Instagram gallery and feel like I am getting to know the person behind the Instagram images.
In the majority of cases this has just added to my love and appreciation of what they do. But there have been some people who have made me unfollow them completely!
If you are using Instagram Stories please stop and think about your audience. Are you creating content that is going to positively impact on their day? Are you making people smile, feel good, feel inspired? Are you giving them 10 seconds of education about something that will help them?
Instagram Stories, like Snapchat is all about people wanting content that is real and not over edited or staged. But however much I love someone I don't need all the details of their everyday life! I want to see the real but I really don't want to see the ugly, messy, badly lit stuff. Yes it might feel real but we are already completely overwhelmed by content every time we pick up our phones or open our laptops. I want the content that I consume to feel my day with positivity and joy, so please use Instagram Stories with care and love! xo