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Instagram Stories:How to use it and how it can change the game.

On Tuesday, Instagram changed the game…they introduced Instagram Stories.

I admit that I am a Snapchat junkie. I use it daily. It’s fun, I love the filters, I love being nosy and looking into the mundane aspects of other people’s lives. So at first I was like….so Instagram is just going to jack Snapchat’s WHOLE platform huh?

I disavowed it after trying it, and decided to just ignore it and hope that it went away.

But guys….

Now Instagram is my boo. I love sharing photos of my everyday life. But even I admit that my life over there is somewhat…curated. I couldn’t see how Instagram stories could fit into my brand there.

But as I played with it and thought about it, I realized a few things that I’m going to share with you today.

Tips on how to use Instagram stories and how it could change the social media game for Influencers!

How Instagram Stories Actually Work

Instagram stories are rolling out over the next few weeks on iPhone and android devices.  When you open your Instagram feed, Instagram stories appear in the bar at the TOP of your feed.

how to use instagram storiesWhen there is a new story from someone you follow, the user’s profile photo will have a pretty colorful ring around it.  To view that story, all you have to do is tap on their profile photo and their story will appear on your screen, showing you the content that they have posted in the last 24 hours chronologically.   To view someone else’s story, simply swipe to move to another person’s story.

How to Create an Instagram Story

How do you get started with Instagram stories? Start at the top of your feed

To get started using Instagram stories, you can start two ways: you can tap the little (+) sign in the top left hand corner or you can simply swipe left to open up the story camera. Once the story camera is open, you can either snap a photo or you can record a video.  Once you add a photo or take a video, you can add drawings, emojis and text to your photos:

add text and words to your instagram photos

There are also a limited number of filters that you can add to your photos and video……like black and white of course.

add filters to your instagram stories

Then simply click on the white check mark to post your photo or video to your stories. It will NOT go into your main feed unless you yourself upload it there.

You can also upload photos, videos and boomerangs taken in the last 24 hours by swiping down from the top of the screen.

how to add boomerang to your instagram stories

And just like Snapchat, all of your Instagram Stories disappear in 24 hours! Which creates an in the moment kind of feel that Instagram was originally for.  A feeling that Snapchat has been cornering the market on here lately.

What Instagram Stories Means for Influencers

A few things to think about:

Instagram has become the land of curated, branded feeds. But sometimes, you want to share things that are going on , but they don’t fit your profile’s aesthetic.  And sometimes when you go to an event ( say like a big Blogger conference or a sponsored trip) you want to share, but you don’t want to clog up your feed. Well recently, influencers have been using Snapchat and periscope. But now,


Game changer guys.

You can post all of the fun that you are having without spamming folks who are not interested and still document it all. You can also  upload these “stories” to your regular feed. Say if you want to give a sneak preview or just let your followers know: “Hey, I’m in sunny LA today enjoying such and such. To follow along, head over to my Instagram Stories!”

Simply click on a story and click the 3 little dots at the bottom of the feed. It will take you to a screen where you can share.

upload instagram stories to your feed.

upload photos to your feed from instagram stories


Instagram stories could be the perfect “Behind the Scenes” compliment to your curated feed.  The “real life” behind the feed.


You can see how many people AND the actual accounts that view your stories.

I don’t know about you, but building a following on Snapchat is a slow slow process. It can be done, but it’s a newer platform for a lot of influencers who just don’t have time to learn yet ANOTHER platform.  The beauty of Instagram Stories is that you already have a built-in following.  And you can SEE how many of your followers are seeing your stories.  This is awesome for brands who want to see the reach of your stories and even if you just want to know if content is working.

analytics on instagram stories.


Instagram stories have privacy settings that are very flexible.  You can set it so that only certain people see your stories EVEN if they follow you. Like Facebook.  There are no likes or public comments for Instagram stories. Users can respond by tapping on the stories and responding by Direct message. Which when you think about it, gives you the chance to personally interact with your followers.  It can increase your engagement and help your followers see you as a person. Not just a brand.


This was a BIG move for Instagram that could change the platform and how we use it in a big way.  Video and instant sharing is it! Snapchat has proven that there is a market for instant real-time sharing. It will be interesting to see how influencers use both of these platforms going forward.

What say you? Instagram Stories or Snapchat?

Sound off in the comments!


If you want to learn more about how build engagement and grow an authentic Instagram Community, check out my course Instagram Better and get a Plan to help you build and Authentic Instagram Community.


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  • Reply
    Robin Masshole Mommy
    August 4, 2016 at 11:19 am

    I have been holding off trying this new feature. I am very active on Snapchat and spent A LOT of time building up my following over there.

  • Reply
    August 4, 2016 at 11:19 am

    Yes yes, YES to IG stories lol. I’ve used snapchat but was never faithful to it, but IG is my jam so this fits perfectly. I’m currently at a conference & as you said it’s PERFECT for sharing behind the scenes.

  • Reply
    Cynthia Gartung
    August 4, 2016 at 11:44 am

    I haven’t been a big Instagram user but I will surely check this out. Love that you can filter it and not clog up the feed for sure!

  • Reply
    August 4, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    Instagram Stories sounds great! I appreciate that you gave such detailed instructions and included pictures, too! There are so many neat options out there when it comes to these things!

  • Reply
    August 4, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    thanks for schooling me! I need to use instagram stories now! I liked snapchat but never got into it.

  • Reply
    Melanie Bustos
    August 4, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    I tried getting into snapchat but have failed at growing a following there. I’m excited about this because I’ve already spent so much time trying to build my Instagram and now I can have my stories all in one place. I just hope now we get some face filters!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Jenn @ EngineerMommy
    August 4, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    I recently heard about Instagram stories, but I haven’t tried it yet. It’s amazing how quickly the social media game changes! It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

  • Reply
    Pam Wattenbarger
    August 4, 2016 at 5:55 pm

    I saw Instagram stories yesterday! I think it’s cool that Instagram has added them. I haven’t used them a lot yet though.

  • Reply
    August 4, 2016 at 7:19 pm

    Alright, I have to admit that I do not use instagram like I should. I mean I go on there to check out some things, but after reading this I have realized that I should be using it more to grow my brand and business.

  • Reply
    August 4, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    obsessed with the stories, not gonna lie. built in following FOR THE WIN! way more eyes on the posts–wayyyy more!

    • Reply
      August 4, 2016 at 7:31 pm

      waaaaay more!! I was like…well I might like you after all……

  • Reply
    August 4, 2016 at 9:27 pm

    Woah that is really neat, I had no idea about this. Will be trying it out asap!

  • Reply
    Liz Mays
    August 4, 2016 at 10:43 pm

    This makes so much more sense now. My daughter has been trying to teach me things about Instagram here and there.

  • Reply
    Mimi Green
    August 4, 2016 at 11:11 pm

    I tried Snap and it started acting funky. Then they changed it a bit and I didn’t like it. Growing a following was tough for sure. I like the idea of having all those options in one place with Instagram. I’ve not done a video yet though.

  • Reply
    August 5, 2016 at 12:50 am

    I only know how to post on snap and I can’t do much else. I am still trying to figure out how to post the faces…my son can do it but I don’t know how on my own. I think I will keep snapchat as more personal and use instagram as more of a business side of things nothing personal

  • Reply
    August 5, 2016 at 2:57 am

    I havent gotten into snap chat so these are helpful tips for me. Thanks, now I know what all the fuss is about.

  • Reply
    August 5, 2016 at 7:14 am

    I’m digging it for the simple fact that the majority of my social following lies on Instagram. My woes are that it feels so big. I clicked to see who saw and was like who are these people!

    I will keep snapchat because in a way it feels so cozy, I think I will use IG to share more branded and curated things and leave my foolery to snapchat. I think it could be a good balance.

  • Reply
    Rebecca Swenor
    August 5, 2016 at 9:08 am

    This is a great post on how to use Instagram stories. I have to admit that I have never used Snapchat or Instagram Stories before but I will have to try both to see which I like better. Thanks for sharing the information.

  • Reply
    Jasmine Watts
    August 5, 2016 at 10:04 am

    I recently heard about Instagram stories and these sounds great! Will be trying it out!

  • Reply
    August 5, 2016 at 11:24 am

    Okay, when I heard this I was like whaaa? I’m not on snapchat and didn’t think I would do the stories either. But no that you mention events and such, it just makes sense. I would definitely rather use that than clog up my feed with brand photos.

  • Reply
    Nancy L.
    August 5, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    I haven’t tried Instagram stories yet, but it looks like a lot of fun! Definitely reminds me of Snapchat…hee-hee!
    Thanks for explaining everything. It really takes the fear out of trying it!

  • Reply
    Yum Yucky
    August 5, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    I’m so glad you wrote this post and explained it all. I am not a Snapchat user but was sorta feeling some pressure to get on it. Ugh!!! Instagram is better for me, so I will be trying out the Stories feature!

  • Reply
    August 5, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    OMG!!! So excited! I can’t wait to use it….YES!! Thanks for the info…

  • Reply
    Heather | All Roads Lead to the Kitchen
    August 5, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    This is very helpful for me, because I’ve managed to resist Snapchat so far…and I’ve already been on Instagram for a long time. I really haven’t known where to begin until now, so thanks!

  • Reply
    August 5, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    I personally don’t like this new feature. I follow 600+ people so there is no way I’m even going to see everyones stories and I feel the same when it comes to my followers. If they have !000+ people they follow, my stories will just get lost in the masses. I rather stick to SnapChat because I can handpick who I want to follow and see everyones stories.

  • Reply
    aaronica @ the crunchy mommy
    August 5, 2016 at 9:44 pm

    I turned into an Instagram story junkie rather quickly. Now I just need some of the fun filters and I may just completely switch ha!

  • Reply
    August 6, 2016 at 6:00 pm

    Ahh, I’m like hoping it would have gone away too.. Oh no! haha.. Facebook is really working hard to keep people right there, on facebook!! Well I think I’ll give IG stories a try soon.

  • Reply
    Arlett (Chasing Joy)
    August 7, 2016 at 12:20 am

    Thwnks for this perspective. I was just getting annoyed with it because I noticed my likes on my regular IG posts are way down.

  • Reply
    August 7, 2016 at 10:06 am

    I like that instagram added the stories feature. I kind of slacked off on Snapchat because it was a separate app. Don’t get me wrong, I love snapchat, especially the filters. I’ll continue to use both.

  • Reply
    August 7, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    I don’t know how I feel about Instagram stories…I honestly just feel like they ripped off SnapChat and that makes me sad. I love Instagram but not when I feel like they copied someone else’s idea.

  • Reply
    August 7, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    Thanks for breaking this down! I really love Snapchat. But if Instagram comes out with filters, then I may have to look into this.

  • Reply
    Tiffani G
    August 8, 2016 at 7:14 am

    I didn’t get into snapchat because I didn’t feel like joining anything else, but stories might be worth exploring. I didn’t really get it and have been ignoring it too, but this makes it easier to understand. Maybe I’ll give it a try!

  • Reply
    Daria Vinning
    August 8, 2016 at 8:08 am

    I have yet to try Instagram stories. It took me a while to get into snapchat. From your detail descriptions of instagram stories I will definitely give them a try.

  • Reply
    August 8, 2016 at 9:08 am

    I was Leary of this. Partly cause I’m a bit too stubborn to want to take the time to learn. But after reading this it makes perfect sense. I have it on my personal account but it has t shown up on my blog account. Thank you for breaking this down for me…. It is a game changer. Cause me and snap was t happening.

  • Reply
    August 8, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    LaShawn…Thank you for posting this ‘how to’ for IG Stories! I was all ready (so I thought) to share my fitness and healthy eating routine this morning, and couldn’t figure out how to upload the photos and videos, I’d taken. You are awesome! 🙂

  • Reply
    Christine @momsncharge
    August 11, 2016 at 1:51 am

    Ok girl, you just broke it all the way down. I was a little salty cause I finally got the hang of snapchat, and then here goes IG stories -_- lol. I’m kicking myself for not sharing more stories on IG while at my recent event but that will definitely change. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    August 11, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    I know a lot of people may hate me for saying this, but I actually prefer instagram stories over snapchat. I love the interface.. the format.. how easier it is to use.. and how much cleaner it looks.

  • Reply
    August 18, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    This is absolutely not for me. I could careless about people’s personal lives. I don’t want to see you driving, walking, eating or anything else. A girlfriend of my mine was trying to convince me to try it. Her argument was weak; she likes watching DJ Kahled parties. Side-eye moment: Why on earth would I want to watch a party, I can’t attend? I understand why influencers may think this is such a wonderful thing, but don’t look for any stories from me and don’t expect me watch.

  • Reply
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