Storytelling with Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories are a relatively new feature introduced by Instagram in August 2016. Many saw them as playing off of the popularity of Snapchat, as they are essentially the same idea. On Instagram, the Stories feature allows users to post a photo to their “Story,” where it will remain for 24 hours. The photo can either be taken within the app or uploaded from the camera roll (although it has to have been taken in the past 24 hours).

Instagram Stories is ideal for brands because it allows them to have a real-time storytelling tool without having to build a separate following on a Snapchat account. At #UNHSocial, our Instagram stories on the official university account (@UofNH) receive significantly more views than our Snapchat stories. On the UofNH account, we have about 3,500 Snapchat followers compared to 18,000 Instagram followers.

The interface of Instagram Stories is also more streamlined and user-friendly than Snapchat; Instagram has been constantly making updates since introducing the feature last summer. On Instagram Stories, you can swipe to choose filters for your photo, draw using a pen tool (in which you can adjust color, brush type, and brush size), add multiple text boxes (with various customization tools), and add stickers which could be the location of the photo, the temperature, or a fun clipart image.

In addition to photos, Instagram Stories users can also upload/take videos (even recording it hands free), stream live video, and post the ever-popular Boomerang, a gif-like clip.

At #UNHSocial, we see Instagram Stories as a way to share a narrative with our followers in an engaging way. It feels more personal and direct than a more polished Instagram post. One of our “series” on the @UNHStudents Instagram Story is a daily weather update in the form of a time-lapse video of a handwritten note. This brings the offline to the online in a fun and creative way.

Graphics and content produced outside of the Instagram app can be uploaded to your story easily (unlike Snapchat’s Memories feature). We often use Adobe Spark for animated graphics or Photoshop for informative panels that give reminders of events or introduce a story.

We most often share a narrative on our Instagram Story. It is a great way to showcase campus events. On Instagram Stories, you can tag usernames, linking to their accounts on your story. This gives it another advantage from Snapchat, as we are able to engage with other accounts on Instagram. We try to include information shared at the event on the Instagram Story, in order to be a resource for our followers.

This relates to the overarching goal of our content — particularly on Instagram Stories — which is to bring value to our followers, whether that’s in the form of entertainment or information. On Instagram Stories, we aim to engage our audience with fun posts, raise awareness of and promote upcoming events, and tell the story of an event, including information given at the event.

The #UNHSocial team recently presented this information to social media managers at the University of New Hampshire in a slideshow that can be viewed below.

Follow our @UofNH and @UNHStudents Instagram accounts to see our future stories!

Written by Charlotte Harris ’18, #UNHSocial Senior Social Media Intern