Well it’s here, and whether you like it or not, Instagram’s new Stories feature is taking direct aim at Snapchat and the minutia of our daily lives. I, for one, am loving it. Stories allows us to share things with our followers that we might never post, humanizing our digital personas and connecting with the community in a totally new way. And even if you refused to join Snapchat, there’s no denying it that Instagram is where the people, and the brands, already are. So take advantage of the built-in community of Instagram with Stories, or you and your CD collection will be left in the digital dust.
Here are a few ways that I’ve been using Instagram, and some ways I think photographers can add value with the new feature, for themselves and for brands.
- Humanize Your Online Persona - This is a tricky one. Stories are a way for you to show you don’t just take great photos, but you are actually a cool person (we hope). Tell people what shows you’re watching on Netflix, what new bar makes the best Old Fashioned in town, or get feedback on your next tattoo. But word to the wise, just because you have a whole new outlet for the mundane, doesn’t mean your followers want to go with you to the DMV. Just use some discretion.
- Share Your Inspiration - As a photographer and an artist, I spend a lot of my time looking for inspiration and being creative, so this is an easy way to keep your followers engaged. They love your work, so they probably would love to know where you get your inspiration from. I’ve been trying to do a daily posts of things that inspire me, and the response has been great.
- Show Exclusive Content - Now this is going to be the real value add for brands, but for photographers also. We always show our finished, polished work, but everyone loves a good behind the scenes. You can show more of the location or the talent’s personality or how exactly you’re lighting the set. It’s also a great way to preview new content, without the expectation of perfection.
- How-To & Advice - Surely you know something your followers would love to know more about. I’ve been posting how-to’s on planning for a shoot, studio lighting, editing images, etc. I’ve also been able to record a few more personal videos with some advice from things I’ve learned along the way.
How do you know your Stories are successful? Well, your views should be pretty consistent from story to story. You should also see more engagement across the board, and increase the conversations with your followers. Good luck!