Oh you guys. I guess it’s true that there is nothing new under the sun. Instead of creating a social media platform that actually just works well for users, Instagram decided to spend it’s time copying Snapchat.
Now, to be fair, I just recently got into Snapchat and it’s terribly unfriendly to figure out. I mostly use it to entertain my 4 year old because the filters crack her up, and I’m constantly living in fear that I’m going to send the wrong thing to the wrong person.
Instagram has been my soul mate social media platform for awhile now (until they switched their algorithm…because really. Who wants to see the same photo in their feed several times a day?) and they actually did make this new feature pretty simple to figure out. But in case you need a few tips from an early adopter – it just rolled out yesterday – here you go.
Instagram stories are like Snapchat stories. It’s the place where you can shoot & share without careful editing and curating and without worrying that you’re over-sharing or messing up your curated brand grid. All your photos and videos are added into a 24 hour story and will disappear. Unlike Snapchat, you can watch other people’s stories more than once a LOT easier on this platform (at least for me – I never could quite figure that out on Snapchat).
- To post a story, click on the plus sign above the circle at the top of your Instagram screen that has your photo in it. Click the big circle to take a picture or hold it down to take a SHORT video. Y’all. It’s short. I always forget. You’ll see a colored line going around the circle you’re holding, so you have as much time as it takes for the line to go the whole way around.
- To apply a filter after you take your photo, swipe right. There aren’t geofilters or funny face filters like Snapchat, but you can apply some basic photo filters.
- To add text or draw on your photo or video, just click the marker or text button at the top and go for it!
- To share your photo or video to your story, click the check mark in the middle of the screen – or if you want to save it to your camera roll you can click the down arrow.
If you happen to have a photo or video on your camera roll (like something you did over on Snapchat, for example) that you want to add to your story, swipe down on the screen and you’ll be able to choose from your saved photos! You can also download your photos and videos in your story (just one at a time so far – hopefully they’ll let you download your whole story soon) by clicking on YOUR story circle and then the 3 dots on the bottom right side of the screen. You can save, share as a regular IG post, or edit your settings.
When you click on your own story you’ll also see how many people have viewed your post – which will be helpful for those of you who share sponsored content on Instagram and need to report your reach.
One of the things that I’ve loved a lot is how much more I’m engaging with followers and friends on Instagram since this came out. While you can’t “like” any of the story content, you CAN click on the “send message” button at the bottom left side of the screen and send a private message to the person. In the settings section of your Instagram account you can decide who you want to receive messages from (everyone, people you follow, or off) so you might not see the “send message” option for everyone. You can also hide your story from specific people in your settings, if you happen to be talking about throwing a surprise party for your sister and don’t want her to know about it.
As you’re watching someone else’s story you can click to advance through, or swipe left to move on to the next person’s story. If someone you’re following has posted a story you’ll see their photo in a circle at the top of your Instagram screen.
I love that this gives people the opportunity to take those incredible Instagram courses about building your brand and apply it to their regular feed while keeping it real and authentic in their stories. It’s a more personal side of Instagram that I think we’ve all been missing.
So have you tried it? Do you have questions about how to use it that I didn’t answer?