One of my pals used to groan about social media. He’s a millennial, but his response was “why do we need another application that does the same thing?” He’s right, of course. They all do the same thing, which is to keep us connected and share stuff that should never be shared. We’re all witnesses to the painful public spectacle of Donald Trump’s Twitter abuse. This is a classic example of how he and the world would be better served if he kept some of his thoughts to himself.
Instagram has captured the imagination of more than 700M users
While these social media companies are all helping us share information, they’re finding interesting new ways to do it. Instagram has become the favorite app among the young and trendy. It’s immediate, it’s visual and it’s on the ubiquitous cellphone, which has become an appendage on many of today’s youth and millennials.
One of the latest features is Instagram Stories
To add Stories to your Instagram account, you may have to update your account, so check your settings and go to the App Store if necessary. With Instagram Stories, you record live video or take photos with your smartphone and add them to a story that lasts for just 24 hours. It’s totally ephemeral.
Instagram Stories: you have two options
You can modify your privacy settings for each individual story you publish or for all of your stories from your main Instagram settings. To do the latter, go to your Instagram profile and click on the settings wheel icon at the top right.
When you’re ready to create your first story, tap on the circled + button at the top left of your Instagram screen. From here, you can use the icons at the bottom of your screen from left to right to configure flash settings, take a photo or video, or switch the camera from front- to rear-facing. If you tap and hold the center button, you can record a 10-second video. Something I learned: You can turn your camera orientation to landscape, but Instagram will still post your photo or video in portrait mode.
Once you’ve created your story, you’ll see your own profile photo at the top of the news feed. Your photo will always appear first so you can easily access your current story at all times. If you want to add to your story, tap on the circled + icon at the top left to record video or take a photo. Each new video or photo you take will be added to the end of your story and lasts for 24 hours.
Note that each of these options applies to each 10-second increment (photo or video) of your story. This means that you can do the following:
- Delete the part of the story you’re viewing.
- Save the photo or video portion of the story you’re viewing.
- Share the photo or video portion of the story you’re viewing as a poston your Instagram profile.
- Change the story settings for the portion of the story you’re viewing.
As you add more photos and videos to your story, the same applies. You can delete individual photo or video portions of the story, save individual portions of the story, etc.
Once you finish taking your photo or recording your video, you have the option to add text or draw on your photo or video using the options at the top right of the screen. At the bottom of the screen, you have the options to cancel and start over, or download the photo or video to your camera roll.
Once you’re satisfied, tap on the checkmark at the bottom to add the photo or video to your story.
Too much work for something with a limited shelf life?
If this sounds like a lot of fooling around—editing, adding more photos and videos to something that has a very limited shelf-life–it may be. But when it comes to people and their phones and cameras, I’m not sure there are limits. I’m not one of these. I spend a lot of my time in my office on my laptop with a big monitor. I’m not really interested in editing and enhancing images on my smartphone, but I see people doing this all the time.
I am beginning to like Instagram and its application as a business tool. I like its immediacy, its whimsy, but it’s just one more social media app that’s emerged in a growing market that’s trying to find new ways to connect.
Are you struggling to include social media in your marketing program? Talk to us at Top of Mind Marketing. We’re internet marketing specialists.