On August 2, 2016, Instagram shook things up by introducing the stories feature. Just like the posts on another social media platform (cough, Snapchat, cough), Instagram Stories are ephemeral. They live on the app for 24 hours, then are gone for good. Influencers are using both. But what’s the difference between Influencer Instagram stories and influencers on Snapchat?

Unlike that other social platform, which hasn’t exactly been welcoming to influencers, stories has been a hit with Instagram users, including brands and influencers. Take a look at who’s using the stories feature, how it’s different from Snapchat, and how you can use it yourself.

Influencer Instagram Stories Guide

Who’s Using Instagram Stories?

So who’s using Instagram stories? Just about everyone, it seems, when you take a look at the numbers. As of August 2017, Instagram had 250 million active daily users, Fortune reported. At that time, about half of all businesses on Instagram had used the stories feature.

Take a look at a few stand-out uses of influencer Instagram stories by brands:

NY Fashion Week Influencer Instagram Stories
NY Fashion Week

As “Forbes” points out, many US designers used Instagram stories as part of their promotions during NY Fashion Week. One common way that brands used the stories feature was by partnering with influencers (such as Aimee Song and Chriselle Lim) to produce content that viewers could shop right from Instagram. It was one of the largest uses of influencer Instagram stories to date.

Victoria's Secret Influencer Instagram Stories
Victoria’s Secret

Another effective way for brands to use influencer Instagram stories is to have an influencer “take over” the brand’s account for the day. Victoria’s Secret teamed up with yoga teacher Beth Cooke for a takeover of the brand’s Instagram. As part of her takeover, Cooke lead a yoga class with model Stella Maxwell, and created a “story” to go with it.

J. Crew Influencer Instagram Stories

Courtesy J. Crew

J.Crew

One feature you’ll find on Instagram stories but not standard Insta-posts is the ability to link the story to a URL. To get to your link, users swipe up. J.Crew has used stories to direct Instagram users to blog posts written by influencers such as Erik Rasmussen. J. Crew’s campaign is one of the highest-performing uses of influencer Instagram stories to date.

Influencer Instagram Stories vs. Influencer Snapchat Stories

The rise of Instagram stories might not be the only reason why Snapchat has largely fallen off of the radar, but it probably had something to do with it.

According to Hubspot, about 40 million more people use Instagram stories than Snapchat. Although at first glance it might seem as though the two features are very similar, Instagram’s option does offer a few benefits over Snapchat.

For one thing, Instagram is easier to use. If you want to find a user on Snapchat, you can’t just do a search using keywords or some approximation of their name. You need to type the username in exactly. Bleh.

For another thing, influencers weren’t initially able to tag people or link out on Snapchat. The company didn’t add a linking feature until July 2017, nearly a year after IG stories debuted, and after Snapchat had started hemorrhaging users.

Influencer Instagram stories ended up proving more popular than Snapchat for another reason: The platform already had considerably more users. By September 2017, more than 800 million people used Instagram, while only 173 million people were on Snapchat. Plus,  Instagram has a more robust ad targeting program, making it very easy for brands to direct their influencer stories to the right people.

Influencer Instagram Stories Best Practices

How can your brand use influencer Instagram stories? There are a few best practices to follow that will help your “stories” have the greatest reach and impact possible.

Be in the moment

Authenticity is a key part of a successful influencer marketing campaign, and it’s particularly important when creating a story on Instagram. Whether you publish the story on your brand’s profile or on your influencer’s, be sure that it’s not too polished or put-together looking.

Put the “story” in story

Why should your followers or your influencer’s followers care about the story you’ve created? With the stories feature, you can string together a series of images or create short videos, which allows you to create a short narrative and deliver a “so what” message to the viewer.

Go vertical

The majority of people hold their phones vertically when viewing content on Instagram, so it’s important to make sure your stories are oriented vertically. Also, be sure to choose images and videos that fill up the entire phone screen.

Dress it up

The stories feature has a lot of fun add-ons, such as stickers, text, and filters. Encourage your influencers to have fun with those features, and to use them to really make the story pop.

Include a CTA

Remember that you can include a link in a story that people can access by swiping up. Have your influencers include a call to action in every story, letting viewers know exactly what to do next.

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