Instagram Stories: What they are and how to use them for your company

Instagram is one of the most popular and fastest growing social networks in the world, with more than 1 billion active users per month.

Within Instagram, there is a function that stands out for its dynamism, creativity and interaction: Instagram stories. It is an ephemeral content format, which disappears after 24 hours, and allows you to share photos, videos, texts, stickers, filters and other elements with your followers.

Instagram stories are an opportunity to show the most human and close side of your company, generate trust and loyalty , and increase your visibility and reach.

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Instagram Stories: What are they and what are they for?

Instagram Stories is a feature that allows you to share temporary content with your followers, which will only be available for 24 hours.

You can create one or several stories a day, and each of them is made up of one or more slides, which can be photos or videos of up to 15 seconds. Instagram Stories are displayed at the top of the app's main screen, and can also be viewed from each user's profile.

To see the stories of the users you follow, just click on their icons, which appear with a colored circle around them. To view your own company's stories, simply click on your icon, which appears with a plus sign. Instagram stories serve several purposes, but above all to:

  • Show the day-to-day life of your company, the most informal, fun or curious moments, and create an emotional connection with your audience.
  • Offer exclusive, novel or valuable content that encourages your followers to pay attention to your stories and interact with them.
  • Promote your products or services, show their benefits , characteristics or uses, and generate interest or demand among your potential customers.
  • Generate traffic to your website , blog, online store or Instagram profile, through the use of links, tags or calls to action.
  • Get feedback, opinions or suggestions from your followers, through the use of surveys, questions, questionnaires or sliding emojis.
  • Increase your reach and visibility, through the use of hashtags , locations or mentions, which allow you to appear in other users' searches or explorations.

Instagram Stories: How do they work and how are they used?

Instagram Stories are very easy to use, but they also have many options and tools that you can take advantage of to create attractive and original content.

To use Instagram stories, you must follow these steps:

  • Go to the Instagram app and click the camera icon in the top left corner of the screen, or swipe right from the home screen.
  • Choose the type of content you want to create: a photo, a video, a boomerang, a superzoom, a rewind, a live video, a text, or a photo or video from your gallery. You can change the content type by swiping left or right at the bottom of the screen.
  • Capture content by pressing the circle button once for a photo, or holding it for a video. You can use the flash, timer, filters or front or rear camera according to your preferences.
  • Edit the content by adding text, stickers, drawings, filters or effects. You can access these options by clicking on the icons in the upper right corner of the screen. You can move, rotate, resize or delete the elements you add according to your taste.
  • Share the content by pressing the “Your story” button in the lower left corner of the screen. You can also send the content to some of your followers by pressing the “Send to” button and choosing the recipients. The content will be added to your story and will be available for 24 hours.

Instagram Stories: What tips and good practices to follow?

Instagram Stories are a very powerful tool for your business, but they also require proper strategy and planning.

These are some tips and good practices that we recommend you follow:

  • Define the objectives and audience of your stories . Think about what you want to achieve with your stories, who you want to reach and what type of content interests them or provides them with value.
  • Create an editorial calendar for your stories . Plan ahead which stories you will publish, when and how. Take into account seasonality, events, news or trends that may influence your content.
  • Be creative and original . Use the different options and tools that Instagram offers you to create stories that attract attention, surprise, entertain or excite your audience.
  • Be authentic and close . Use stories to show the most human and personal side of your company, to tell your story, to share your values ​​or to show your corporate culture.
  • Be interactive and conversational . Use stories to generate engagement, to invite your followers to participate, give their opinion, ask or suggest. Respond to their comments, messages or reactions, and create a relationship of trust and loyalty.
  • Be consistent and constant . Use stories to reinforce your brand image , to convey your message, to maintain your tone and style. Publish stories regularly, but without saturating your audience.

Where do you see Instagram stories?

Instagram stories are seen at the top of the main screen of the application, where the icons of the users you follow or who follow you appear, with a colored circle around them.

They can also be seen from each user's profile, where their icon appears with a colored circle if they have active stories.

To see the stories of the users you follow, just click on their icons. To view your own company's stories, simply click on your icon, which appears with a plus sign.

What does the order of people who see your stories mean?

The order of people who see your stories is not random, but is based on an algorithm that takes into account several factors, such as how often you interact with those people, the time you spend viewing their stories or posts, or the level of interest they show in your content.

Thus, the people who appear first on the list are those who have a greater affinity with you, and those who appear at the end are those who have a lower affinity.

This can help you know who your most loyal followers are, most active or most interested in your company.

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How to make recent stories appear on Instagram?

If you want recent stories to appear on Instagram, that is, those that have been published recently, you have to update the application and activate the “Recent Stories” option in the settings.

To do this, follow these steps:

  • Open the Instagram app and click on your profile icon in the bottom right corner of the screen.
  • Click the three horizontal stripes icon in the upper right corner of the screen, and then “Settings.”
  • Click “Stories” and then “Recent Stories.”
  • Turn on the switch that says “Show recent stories at the top of the home screen.”
  • Close settings and return to the main app screen.

How to see other users' Instagram stories without them knowing

Instagram stories are a way to share ephemeral and dynamic content with your followers, but also with any user who visits your profile, as long as it is public.

When you view other users' stories, they can know that you have done so, since you appear in the list of people who have viewed their stories. However, there may be times when you want to view other users' stories without them knowing, out of curiosity, privacy, or any other reason.

In that case, there are some ways to do it anonymously, without your username appearing in the viewer list.

These are some of the options you have:

Use an alternative or fake account

This is the easiest and safest way to view other users' stories without them knowing, since you won't have to use your real account or any third-party tools.

Simply create a new Instagram account with a non-revealing name, photo, and bio, and follow the users whose stories you want to see. This way, you can see their stories from that account, and they won't know it's you.

Of course, keep in mind that this option only works with public profiles, since private profiles will have to accept your follow request so you can see their stories.

Use a third-party website or application

There are some websites or applications that allow you to see other users' stories without them knowing, without having to use your Instagram account or create a new one.

These tools usually work in a similar way: you just have to enter the username of the profile you want to see, and they will show you their stories anonymously. Additionally, some of these tools also allow you to download stories, view featured stories, or view regular posts.

Some of the most popular websites or applications to view other users' Instagram stories without them knowing are:

  • Instanavigation : A website where you write the name of a profile, and you can anonymously see both their stories and their other publications. All this without registering anywhere and being able to download the content. Link:
  • InstaStoriesViewer : Another web page very similar to the previous one. You don't need to register, just use their search engine to find the user you want and you can access their stories anonymously. Link:
  • InstaSaved : A Russian website where you can download the content of the Instagram account you want to view it offline and anonymously. You can access the stories, but also the photos and even the profile photo. Link:
  • StorySpy : A website that allows you to view and download stories from any public account anonymously and for free. Link:
  • Ingramer : An Instagram analytics platform that offers a story viewer where you can view and download the content of any account's stories. The difference with the previous ones is that Ingramer only lets you see the stories of one profile each day, unless you create an account on the site. If you choose to pay, they even offer you to save each new story from any public profile automatically so you don't have to check by hand all the time. Link:
  • Installker : A website that offers the same as the previous ones: the option to view and download stories from any public account anonymously and for free. Just like Ingramer offers paid monitoring features to download for you. Link:
  • Twitly : An application that has versions for both Android and iPhone and offers the option to view and download stories directly on smartphones. Link:

These are some of the options you have to view other users' Instagram stories without them knowing, but keep in mind that these tools may have some risks or drawbacks, such as:

  • They are not official or authorized by Instagram, so they can disappear, stop working or be blocked at any time.
  • They may have security, privacy or legal issues, as they may access your personal data, violate copyright or violate Instagram's usage rules.
  • They may have lower quality or performance than the official Instagram application, as they may have errors, delays or limitations in their functions or services.

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Written by Moises Hamui Abadi : I am an entrepreneur, founding partner of Viceversa and SoyMacho. After leading several digital businesses and advising several other businesses; I decided to form MHA Consulting, a digital marketing consultancy dedicated to growing and enhancing digital businesses in more than 7 countries and generating more than 1,500 million pesos.

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