With the launch of its new Stories feature, Instagram is positioning itself to not only capture the interest of current Snapchat users, but it’s also likely seeking a way to keep existing users firmly locked into its service.

Yes, as you’ve likely heard, Instagram Stories is similar to Snapchat Stories, but there are differences. In this video walkthrough, we’ll showcase the basic mechanics of Instagram Stories, show you how to create new stories, and more.

What are Instagram Stories?

Snapchat has proven that ephemeral content can not only work, but it can actually be the best way to share specific type of content. Like Snapchat Stories, Instagram Stories are basically groups of clips and photos sewed together as a slideshow. Each clip disappears after 24 hours.

Creators can add photos or videos to a story, and use markup tools to spice up content with text and drawings. The ephemeral nature of Instagram Stories forces users to stay up to date with stories from those they follow, or else risk missing out entirely.

Why use Instagram Stories?

The biggest benefit to using Instagram Stories is that it allows users to post as much content as they want without the fear of over posting or overexposure. Instagram Stories are contained in a single section at the top of the interface on the Home tab, and thus don’t take up space in the normal timeline. Each video or photo that you add to a story is added to the end of the slideshow, and followers have to specifically request to watch a story.

By grouping story content together in a slideshow form, it allows creators to sculpt a cohesive story that followers can view from beginning to end. Because markup tools exist to supplement pictures, video and audio, creators can lend more context to their creations.

Yes, Instagram Stories takes a large portion of what makes Snapchat work, and bakes it directly into Instagram. Whether or not you agree with this strategy is one thing, but I think most people will acknowledge that Instagram has done a fairly good job with Stories 1.0. It contains a level of polish that we’d expect from a Facebook-owned company.

Video tutorial

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In the video tutorial embedded above, we cover the following topics:

Posting and managing your own stories

  • How to create a new Instagram Story
  • How to add a video to your story
  • How to add a photo to your story
  • How to add a recent photo to your story
  • How to turn use the flash
  • How to change cameras
  • How to draw on an Instagram Story clip
  • How to change pen width
  • How to change pen colors
  • How to add text to your story
  • How to add emoji to your story
  • How to resize and rotate text on a story
  • How to delete markup
  • How to add a filter to a story
  • How to save a story clip to your photo library
  • How to view your Instagram Story
  • How to delete an Instagram Story clip
  • How to share a portion of your story to your profile
  • How to access story settings
  • How to hide your story from specific followers
  • How to enable or disable message replies
  • How to see who viewed your story

Viewing and interacting with other’s stories

  • How to view stories of those you follow
  • How to see when someone you follow has new story content
  • How to see when a story was last posted
  • How to pause a story
  • How to screenshot a story
  • How to rewind and fast forward through stories
  • How to quickly switch between stories
  • How to send a message
  • How to Report a story to Instagram
  • How to dismiss the story interface

Of course, not every Snapchat feature made it over to Instagram Stories. The most obvious omissions are geofilters and lenses — two things that really make Snapchat stand out. That said, Instagram Stories is very similar to Snapchat Stories in many ways.

One area that Instagram is unequivocally better at is discovery. Discovering new people to follow on Instagram is easy, while the same can’t be said for Snapchat. Snapchat, in my opinion, needs to respond with better discovery mechanics, or else risk losing potential new customers to Instagram.

What are your thoughts on Instagram Stories? Have you found any additional features or handy tips that you’d like to share?

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