Alec England
Centerlyne Columnist

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Instagram Stories Update

Instagram is breaking away from the Snapchat mold with their Stories feature. By adding new features that have never previously been seen, Instagram is clearly stepping up their game, causing many (including myself) to take back their initial judgments of “Instagram Stories”.

Instagram, taking their copied stories feature and running with it, is gaining even more momentum with three new features to their platform. On the surface, analysts have already been able to distill some benefits of these additions for brands. Though I assume that they weren’t made¬†specifically for brands the use Instagram, they can pose some benefit to them. Here they are:

1. Mentions

It is best to think of this feature as the pre-existing “tagging” feature, only put on to Stories. It basically lets users tag other users in their stories, much like they already can with their regular posts. But given Instagram Stories ever-increasing popularity, this feature can be a huge benefit for brands using Stories. One specific example I can think of has to do with customer collaboration. Whenever a user vents their anguish or concern over a brand, that brand can leverage it to their advantage by taking to their Story. The brand can create a story that answers a user’s concern, then tag that user in that story. From there, the story is broadcast to the brand’s entire audience, making them a part of the discussion as well. It is no longer “user vs. brand”. It is “brand feat. followers feat. users”.

2. Links

This feature is currently only open to verified accounts. Like Mentions, where users can tag other users in their stories, verified users can now include hyperlinks in their stories which their followers can click on. While this is only limited to verified users at the moment (celebrities, influencers, other brands, etc.), smaller brands have the possibility to gain huge exposure through influencer pages. While it is difficult to contact and utilize influencers as a small brand, the possibility is still there. For those that hold verified accounts, this is an easy way to drive Instagram traffic directly to your website.

3. Boomerang

When creating content, one of the hardest things for me is to keep it brief. Be it an article (take this one for example) or a video or even a caption on a photo, I have never been short with words. This feature might help people like me who also run brand accounts on Instagram. Boomerang lets users create videos consisting of five different photos that play on a loop. Users are limited to one quick burst of action, rather than droning on through a minute-long video. This lets users get to the point, while keeping their followers from tuning out. Boomerang is not new to Instagram, but it is new to Stories and can prove to be a useful addition for brands that create stories on Instagram.

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