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Breaking Down Instagram Stories Creative Tools

Over the last few months, Instagram rolled out a slew of new features and updates for Stories, its rapidly growing, ephemeral content sharing section of the app. With over 400 million daily active users on Stories, it’s vital that social media marketers understand how to leverage these Instagram Stories features.

If your head is spinning from all the new Stories possibilities – or if you simply need a refresher –  read on as we break down each new feature and how to best leverage them.

(And if you’ve already got the latest updates down pat, skip ahead for tips on how to create great Instagram Stories)

Instagram Stories Features

The Questions Sticker

Launched in July, the Questions Sticker generated a lot of hype upon its debut. The feature allows an account to make a callout for questions and comments from their audience. The interactive sticker contains a response area where users can engage in conversation directly from a Stories frame. From there, you can view responses to your question and choose to create a new Stories post with an answer.

This tool provides brands with an opportunity to gather valuable feedback from followers and also engage with them in new ways. A Q&A with a well-known brand personality or a prompt where fans have the opportunity to determine content, like the example below from the Cleveland Cavaliers, are just two ways to take advantage of this unique Stories feature.Instagram Stories Features

Polls

Another engaging tool to spice up your Instagram Stories content is the Polls feature, which gives users the ability to vote on content in Stories. While this sticker has been around for some time, we are constantly seeing brands innovate to find creative ways to incorporate this tool into their content. Food Network hosted an “#UltimateSummerCookoff” on its Instagram Stories where users could vote to create their ideal summer staple dish. Once voting concluded, Food Network posted all the cookoff winners, made exactly to order by their fans.

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Music in Stories

With the Music sticker, users now have the ability to add music clips to their Stories “that fit any moment and help express how you’re feeling.” This new feature provides instant access to thousands of songs and lets users clip whichever part of a track best fits their content. Integrating copyrighted music into content has always been tricky for brands, and this new feature could provide an easy workaround to integrating popular music into branded content.

Share Feed Posts to Stories

Rolling right along with the Instagram Stories updates, we’re brought to another feature that lets users repost other people’s content to their own Story. As of mid-May, Instagrammers can share public posts from their Feed into Stories. When users tap on the post in Stories, a button will appear that displays the original poster’s username and links to the original post.

This update is a way to get eyes on content that users might otherwise miss in their feed. With more Instagrammers spending time in Stories, the space has evolved into a content discovery hotspot of its own. For some time, it was a popular practice for users to post a screenshot of their profile in Stories, black out the first post tile, include a caption like: “New post! Check it out on my profile”, and tag themselves so users would click through to their account.

Sharing feed posts to Stories allows users to direct their followers to this content in a way that is much more aesthetically pleasing.

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@mention Sharing

User-generated content (UGC) has turned into a content stream of its own, helping some brands capture authentic moments by the fans, for the fans. Now, Instagram is making it somewhat easier for brands to find and share UGC with @mention sharing in Stories.

When someone is mentioned in another user’s story, they will be able to share that content to their own story with the original poster’s username being displayed. For brands, this could be a simple way to source UGC without much legwork, while still giving proper credit.

This example shows how Converse played up the hype around its Hello Kitty collection by sharing UGC from the launch.

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The Emoji Slider

This feature is a fun way for followers to react to your Stories content. Similar to the polls feature, the emoji slider allows people to express their preference around your content, giving brands access to some market research data around their audience. When you integrate this tool into your Story, your followers can engage directly on the slider to give their “rating” on whatever emoji scale you give them. When a user votes, they’ll be able to see the average response.

This tool provides brands with another option to engage with their followers, gather input, and encourage interaction.

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It’s clear that Instagram will continue to invest in new technologies to make Stories beneficial for both creators and consumers. If you’re wondering how Instagram Stories fits in to your brand’s social media strategy, let’s chat.

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