Tips for publishers using Instagram Stories

By October 2017, Instagram Stories had reached 300 million daily active users compared to Snapchat’s 178 million according to Statista. It’s a significant growing platform channel for publishers.

When using Instagram Stories, however, it’s essential for media organizations to highlight content quality and post regularly. Inconsistency is its enemy. It’s also important to realize that Instagram Stories do not always generate site traffic, but this doesn’t mean they aren’t valuable – they can contribute to brand recognition and introduce a new, interactive form of storytelling.

For a week, IJNet observed the use of Instagram Stories by media organizations around Latin America, including Mexico’s Reforma and El Universal, Guatemala’s Prensa Libre, Guatevisionn and Soy502, Colombia’s El Tiempo, El Espectador and El Universal and Venezuela’s El Nacional. After observing, they collected their findings into a few helpful hints to enhance journalist’s use of Instagram Stories.

Here are their findings:

  • The most popular features in Instagram Stories’ are surveys and live broadcasts. Hashtags and locations tend to be less successful. Most publishers that use the platform agree that less content means more audience, as many viewers don’t want to click through a long story.
  • The more photos you add to a story, the fewer people will follow it until the end. So it’s best to place the photo or video you want to highlight in the middle of the story.
  • Curate five relevant news stories that have a lot of traffic on your website and advertise them as “Top 5.” Every news item must have a unique design, including an image and a link. Then you can add them as a featured story on Instagram.
  • For special events, start a live streaming — but keep it short. If the event has several highlights, it’s better to launch different streamings so that followers receive separate notifications.If this feature is used well, followers will appreciate it. In at least two publications we followed, two people fed the platform. One was devoted to live streaming and the other posted images and stories.

In Latin America, Instagram and Instagram Stories are still secondary sources of content distribution. However, the number of active users is growing, making it more important for journalists to engage on the platform.

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