If you’ve noticed those little circles at the top of your Instagram page, there’s a story behind them. Actually Stories, a new Instagram feature that lets you put together a series of videos, a slide show or some combination of images.
With Instagram Stories, you are not limited to a single photo or video. You can string them together into a story that stays posted for 24 hours -- then disappears forever.
They're not saying the 'S' word
Sound familiar? Yes, I’ve seen blogs that say Stories is Instagram’s answer to Snapchat — and that it’s probably the wrong answer. Snapchat is hugely popular Snapchat app, which has 10 billion video views per day.
When Instragram posted a blog introducing Stories, one of the first comments was "If i wanted snapchat id download snapchat. How do i turn this off?"
I have a Snapchat account that I have never used, so I probably shouldn’t attempt a Pepsi Challenge between the two.
But for brands, Stories does seem to open some doors. For one thing, brands have been active on Instagram for some time, so they already have a built-in following. And the storytelling possibilities are abundant.
A new dimension
And you are no longer stuck with the Instagram square. … You’re now stuck with the Instagram Stories rectangle. A vertical rectangle, to be precise. Also, it appears the Stories are only visible on the mobile app. Desktops don't show them. (Instagram has always geared itself toward mobile. For instance, you can't post from a desktop. You can't schedule ahead of time.)
And the process of creating Instagram Stories is a little tedious, at first. But with a few trial runs you can get the hang of it. And if your early attempts include some mistakes, they disappear in 24 hours.