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5 Tips To Navigate Instagram Stories

Image credit: Gary Vaynerchuk

Ever since the rise of Snapchat, social media outlets have been pining to capture the addictive pull that the ghost created.

There is something infectious about sharing live updates of your day-to-day life. Blame narcissism, but this interactive form of sharing is only becoming increasing popular.

Instagram is a popular app with young users. Yet, it decided that its most recent update would introduce an interface that challenged the Snapchat rise to fame.

If they say imitation is flattery, that may be the case with this battle of the giants: Instagram vs. Snapchat.

Welcome To Instagram Stories

Instagram introduced “Instagram Stories” in August 2016. It has been improving the feature with every following update. There are many appealing benefits to the launch of stories.

As with all app updates, this came quickly and without much instruction. It left many users thinking, “how on earth do I use this new component?”

Stories had opened up a new, more immediate way of sharing, outside of posting in your image gallery. The disappearing photos create a sense of immediacy. They enable viewers to keep up with their friends lives in real time.

Influencers especially have a greater reach when sharing stories with their Instagram followers. The Instagram Live feature allows for live, direct access for your followers. Celebrities gain a cult following of people, striving to keep up with the live documentation of their days.

Instagram Stories are here to stay. So for those of you struggling to keep up with these ever-changing apps, learn how to navigate the basics of this new and exciting feature.

1) The Basics

On Instagram stories, you have lots of different options to share with your followers. You can take a photo, video or boomerang clip. Reverse the image, go hands-free or go live.

The content that you post to your story will last for 24h and will appear at the top of your followers’ feeds.

Once you have a photo or video ready to post, there are options to personalize and edit it.

You can add your location to the story, as well as tag others in the image.

You can even use this feature for Instagram shoutouts. Or to notify your following of upcoming events or posts in your feed.

2) Uploading Existing Photos Or Videos

What if you have an old photo or video that your audience really needs to see? Have no fear, you can upload existing photos or videos from your camera roll as well.

Tap the stories icon and drag your finger up on the camera screen. It’s so straightforward yet so well hidden!

This should prompt Instagram to request access to your phone’s photos. Once granted, you will be able to scroll through your camera roll. This is a useful feature and it is often used to notify followers that you have recently posted a photo in your feed.

Take a screenshot of what you posted and add it to your story as well. You can’t always be sure that your followers will see your post if they’re scrolling through their feed.

This way, your photo at the top of their screen. You are the first thing they see. They can easily view your story and click to get to your gallery.

If you take a photo and want to save it to your phone as well as post it to your story, there is a save button at the bottom of the stories screen.

3) Make It Pretty

Instagram is a very visually focused app. It only makes sense that they allow you to filter your stories as well.

You can draw and write on the images and videos once they’re in your editing bar. There are a variety of different pen sizes and colours that you can choose from. As well as a host of images and banners to add to your visual display.

You can give your friends shoutouts or tag your location by typing the “@” sign, followed by your friends’ username.

You currently cannot add links to external web pages on Instagram Stories. But it is something that is in testing.

Instagram recently added facial filters for their stories feature. This is another nudge to Snapchat and their famous filters.

4) Who Can See My Instagram Stories?

If you don’t edit the viewers, everyone in your follower base will be able to view your story. If you don’t have a private account, anyone can see your Instagram Story.

Other users simply click on your profile image to see your story. You can limit who sees what you post on stories by going to the “Hide Story From” icon. This will let you select people to omit from your story.

Instagram Stories are an excellent asset to the app from a digital marketing perspective. It gives your followers direct access to your lifestyle, products and brand aesthetics.

5) What Is Instagram Live?

Instagram Live allows you to broadcast what you are doing in real-time and share it with your followers.

You can view how many followers are watching your live feed video and they can comment while you are hosting the video.

You are able to see the extent of your reach and interact with followers. You stay top of mind as your profile image is at the top of their feed every day.

You are able to save live videos. But the comments that people post on the video will not be.

Try It Out!

Instagram has successfully created a popular feature that is challenging Snapchat for users. The two apps are distinctly different. Yet the introduction of stories opened up many new sharing options for Instagram users.

There is a greater reach with Instagram Stories and it gives you the ability to interact live with your followers.

You can tag friends and add different locations. As well as keep your feed updated with aspects of your life that you may not otherwise post to your Instagram gallery.

The feature can be used for marketing and promotions, and you can use it to quickly notify followers of specials, deals or exclusive offers. Right in the top of their Instagram feed.

For more help on the basics of navigating Instagram stories, visit Instagram’s help center which discusses the stories feature in depth.

You can also follow @elementiq on Instagram to watch the masters of Instagram stories at work!