Recently Instagram released on of their biggest updates this year, Instagram Stories. It was met with both love and hate and I’ve found it interesting to see how it has been used since its release. Regardless of what you feel about this “Snapchat-copy”, it could be a great tool to connect with your Instagram audience. Here are my best tips on how you can benefit from Instagram Stories and improve your reach!
What is Instagram Stories?
Instagram Stories is Instagram’s latest feature which allows you to share pictures and videos that, similar to Snapchat, will disappear after 24 hours. This lets you share images with your followers that you don’t want in your feed. Instagram itself describes their new feature like this:
With Instagram Stories, you don’t have to worry about overposting. Instead, you can share as much as you want throughout the day — with as much creativity as you want. You can bring your story to life in new ways with text and drawing tools. The photos and videos will disappear after 24 hours and won’t appear on your profile grid or in your feed.
Why should you use Instagram Stories?
The big question is then; why should you use Instagram Stories? Perhaps you already use Snapchat to share your day-to-day stuff, why do it another place?
Personally, I wasn’t on Snapchat until a few months ago but after enough nagging from friends and clients, I decided to finally jump on board. Talking to the phone and taking pictures of my travels felt a bit strange, to begin with, but I soon got used to it. However, I did feel like the time it would take to build a new audience, on a new platform, might not be worth it.
Instagram, however, is where I have the majority of my followers. With Instagram Stories I’m now able to do the exact same as I did for a while on Snapchat but with a much larger reach. Already I’ve received hundreds of emails and Direct Messages from people letting me know how much they enjoy my stories.
Obviously, if you have a greater following on Snapchat than Instagram you might not want to ditch Snapchat completely. Uploading images and videos from Snapchat to Instagram Direct is rather easy, though, so you can be present at both.
I’ve found Instagram Stories to be an excellent way to connect with my audience and get to know them better. The reach and engagement in my feed have also increased slightly (I haven’t done any extended research so this increase might not be related). Instagram Stories is also a great way for your audience to get to know you better.
What should you share on Instagram Stories?
Since the release of Instagram Stories, I’ve paid attention to how photographers use it. What surprised me is how poorly they exploit this new tool. Sorry, but what you had to dinner or a picture of your dog laying on your lap isn’t interesting to most of us. The fact is if you start by uploading that type of content most people won’t come back and look at your stories even though you start creating more interesting content later.
If you wish to benefit from this tool and connect better with your audience you should be more aware of what you upload. If you just want to send pictures of your food perhaps it’s better to stay with Snapchat and send those images directly to your friends.
Here are some examples of interesting content to share with your audience:
Behind the Scenes
When you’re out traveling or photographing, uploading images and videos from behind the scenes is something many people will find interesting. I love to see behind the scenes images from the photographers I follow and I enjoy seeing how the image turns out later on.
This can be done with both video and images. Perhaps you even could talk a little about the place you’re at or the subject you’re photographing.
Tips and Tricks
You don’t need to be an expert to share tips and tricks with your followers. In fact, it’s often interesting to see how beginners process their images or choose their settings.
I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on my short tutorials, tips, and tricks that I share on Instagram Stories. Many people have said that they don’t follow anyone else’s stories but mine due to this.
Another interesting thing you could talk about is your equipment. “What camera do you use” is one of the questions I get asked the most, so going through your camera bag every now and then is a good way to answer these questions, while also creating interesting and engaging content.
Unfortunately, when you grow a large following online you don’t always have the time to reply to all the questions you receive through email or through social media platforms. Many of these questions take time to answer, so a good and efficient way of replying to as many as possible, is through Instagram Stories. When I receive questions now I answer them through videos in my story. This saves me a lot of time but my followers still get most of their questions answered.
Since Instagram Stories is still a rather new feature there’s still much to be taken from it. There are many ways to benefit from this tool but this is how I’ve found it to be most beneficial.
Have you started using Instagram Stories yet? What do you think about this new feature?
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