What the heck are Instagram Stories? 6 Tricks to Master Instagram’s Smart New Video Feature
What Are Instagram Stories?
Instagram stories are creative 10-second videos or 4-second images that are strung together to make personal narratives that last for a 24-hour period. (Kind of like Snapchat.) Instagrammers can apply filters to stories, edit for perfection, and, unlike regular Instagram photos, add text and drawings to their images. With Insta-stories, users can become more intimate with their followers and deliver day-to-day looks into their lives. Stories track and list viewers, making it easier to see who is really hanging on to your every image. And not only do Instagram stories add a little extra to your regular posts of images, they also help boost your impressions. Sitting at the top of your feed, stories increase your visibility and create more clicks-- something which we all want. Below are our 6 tips to help keep your Instagram followers coming back for more.
1. SHOW CONTENT VARIETY
Rule number one: don’t bore Nina! Okay, so Project Runway references aside, the truth is that followers do not want to see the same thing everyday. Variety is the spice of life. Imagine if your favorite TV show had the same story plot every week. Not cool, right? The same goes for your Instagram stories. Lifestyle blogger Marianna Hewitt knows how mix it up. Her stories vary from workout routines and beauty reviews to diet tips and travel destination ideas-- every day is something different.
2. Alternate Images and Videos
Stories don’t have to be solely video-- add in still images for dramatic effect or emphasis of a point. Movies use establishing shots among action and dialogue, and so should your Instagram stories. Did you know images or simple colored backgrounds with text are great ways to introduce your story. Use still text to add instructions to a craft project or to prompt a user to “swipe up” to access things like web links, promo codes, or services. The Dry Bar’s Instagram has perfected this technique. Alternating mediums keeps viewers interested, informed, and entertained.
3. Add Text
Adding text also adds drama to your stories. The text and drawing options open up possibilities to add a little extra oomph and aah to your videos and images. Need to draw attention to a detail in your video? Add an arrow or use descriptive words. Want to share a quote? Add colorful text. Like we mentioned above, text is a great promotional tool. With text, you can draw attention to a particular product or provide an URL to purchase your new book. Check out sparkle.society’s Instagram for inspiration.
4. Stick With Your Story
Yes, your story content should change day to day, but each story should stick to a specific theme in order to add to the overall identity of your business, brand, or brand narrative. Just like novels, Instagram stories should have a beginning, middle, and end. Viewers like and appreciate cohesion, so don’t leave out the climax and conclusion of your story. If you are sharing Halloween crafts on your Instagram, don’t suddenly switch to an image about interior design, stick with your fall theme for that day. DesignLoveFest has incredible examples of story themes. Again, sticking with your stories is a great way to offer more instruction and go further than a still image. A cohesive story is great for DIY posts and step-by-step tutorials as well as product test drives.
"Just like novels, Instagram stories should have a beginning, middle, and end."
5. Take Your Viewers Behind-the-Scenes
Ever wonder what it’s like to be backstage at a concert? Of course you do! Though you may not be a famous musician, you can still take your followers behind the velvet curtain. Behind-the-scenes looks are a great way to engage viewers. Exclusive content is not only exciting, but can also make your viewers feel extra special. Stationery and accessory shop ban.do does an excellent job using behind-the-scenes stories. In addition to advertising products, ban.do frequently brings its followers into the brand’s offices and photo-shoots.
6. Keep Images Fresh
Know your angles! If you’re looking to showcase a product or highlight a finished hair style, give your followers all sides of the story. Grab your viewers attention with 3D vision. Straight on shots are fine, but try getting close up to your subject: kneel down or get on a ladder for a look from above. If you change your perspectives, content keeps its shine and sheen for viewers.
Now, don’t you feel ready to post your Instagram story? You should always be thinking about how you can inspire, educate, and entertain your followers. By following our tips, you’ll for sure feel more confident in your ability to keep viewers coming back for more (and more and more!)
If you've been playing around with Instagram Stories (cue the applause), do you have any creative tips to enhance your Instagram stories? What’s been working for you?
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