Why Instagram Stories Will Become Your New Favorite

When Instagram Stories first started, it seemed like a knock off of Snapchat. Images and videos that you posted that disappeared after 24 hours. They even called it STORIES just like how Snapchat did for crying out loud. They didn’t even try to hide that they were copying.

But then they started to diverge from Snapchat in a few ways. Now they are a social media super power that YOU can use every day! At the end of the this post you’ll find a shot list for your own Instagram Story (or if you’re taking over someone else’s account). As of April 2017, Instagram Stories has more than 250 Million active daily users. So if you’re looking to get some attention on Instagram you can double up by posting those square photos in your feed and ALSO posting to Instagram Stories. 

There are some unique features to Instagram Stories that make it especially good for when  you’re posting on behalf of a theater company or improv group.

Here are some of my favorite features of this monster platform.

Use photos you have already taken or images you have already created.

 What really got me into Instagram Stories was that I could use the photos from my camera roll to post. This is especially good when you are some place (say, your office) and what you want to capture is someplace else (say, on tour to London). You can have people send you photos and you can doctor them up with hashtags and filters that go along with your brand and then post them. 

How to do that: when you are in Instagram Stories, pull up so your recent camera roll photos show. Pick one and go!

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Poll the Audience

These are super fun to get some quick interaction with your audience. Here are some examples:

  • Which promo t-shirt color do you like better - blue or charcoal?

  • Would you like to see another musical in next year's season?

  • How did you get to our show? Car or Subway?

  • Which part of the show had you on the edge of your seat? Act 1 or Act 2?

There are many possibilities and your audience can see the running tab.

Give them a try!

How to do that: after you have an image in a Story, Look for the smiley face sticker at the top of the screen. Then hit the Poll option.

Filters

Snapchat made filters a thing, and Instagram has taken it and run with it. Filters are those things that you can put on top of your picture. They can change the color, for example, of your image. But now they are silly and often involve animation. Filters are tailor made for performer types. It’s like having a virtual costume box with wigs and hats and sunglasses and settings that you can just put on. I like to have actors use them to deliver what could be boring information in fun ways.

How to do that: As you are about to take a photo or a video, hit the smiley face with the stars on the bottom left corner of the screen.

Highlights

Here's where you can find Instagram Highlights.

Instagram Story Highlights are a brand new feature. They allow you to display your best content on Instagram Stories for more than 24 hours. A godsend! Back in the old days, you know, like in November '17 when you worked so hard on a piece of content you knew it would disappear in 24 hours. No more!

How to do that: Tap the plus sign in the circle that's right below your link in the bio. Choose your best stuff! 

Different Highlight Categories

Categorize what you put into highlights. Think of different like: “life on tour” “the rehearsal process” “swag” “announcements” “celebs in our audience” etc. Then take your Instagram Stories from the past and categorize them. Now you’ve quickly given your audience more dimensions to who you are and what you’re about.

Download an Instagram Story Shotlist

Here’s a jumping off point that you can use in your Instagram Story. Excellent if someone has just asked you to do an Instagram Takeover.