Review of Instagram Stories – Should You Share?

Instagram Stories has been around for about three weeks. Long enough to get a gauge on how the service works. The adoption among my friends has been more than I was expecting. Many of them made the joke that SnapChat was coming to Instagram. However, they have all started to use it more and more. So let’s dive into the review.

Ease of Use

Instagram Stories is surprisingly easy to use. Easier than SnapChat to me. In SnapChat there was a learning curve on where to find filters, send to friends and more. All you have to do in Instagram is click the stories icon on the top left. Take a video or picture. Add text or write on the images. Then you can share. I was very impressed with how user-friendly it was to get started. It maybe, my age but I had to Google how to find filters in SnapChat. Yes, I feel old. I wouldn’t have guessed you tap the screen and hold your finger down. I tried everything. Swiping left, right, up and down. In Instagram Stories the controls are simple to use.

Separate from Instagram Feed

When first announced. I was not a fan of this features. I was fully expecting my feed to be covered with people’s stories. Instagram did a smart thing and kept it in a separate area. You have to purposefully go into the Stories area. If you don’t want to see them, your experience won’t change. I have slowly come around and have started to embrace the service. The separation is the reason why I now embrace stories.

Brands are actually Using the service

To me, one of the big tests of a new media is if big brands embrace the service. If they do it speaks to the longevity of the media. Brands such as Taco Bell, Mercedes, J Crew, and Starbucks are just a few of the brand using stories. It’s not just your friends or people you follow. These brands have followings on Instagram. They are using as an extension of their marketing on Instagram. There is no reason to start from scratch  on another service.

Downsize to the Service

The first is there are no filters like on SnapChat. One of the fun things about it is what you can do with the filters. Also, companies can create geolocated filters for events. I think they will be coming to the service soon. Instagram is slowly releasing new features.

The photos and videos work best being in portrait mode. If you turn your phone sideways, the picture in the app is sideways. It works best in portrait mode. It may be my pet peeve but I hate having to turn my phone sideways to view the video.

There are no filters we have come to know and love on Instagram. One of the big features of Instagram are the filters. Right now you can draw and put text over a picture. I hope they add filters to the videos/pictures soon. I think they are missing out of what people love about the service.

No way to upload a picture already taken. You have to take pictures right then and share. There are many times when I have been places, taken pictures then uploaded them to Instagram. I actually prefer to take the picture first. I can’t remember when I last took a picture in the Instagram App. Granted, the app is simple to use. I prefer the built in camera app or a third party app to take pictures.

Overall I give a thumbs up to the service. I think we will see plenty of changes happening in the weeks and months to come. It will become a formidable opponent to SnapChat. It may not get teens away from SnapChat, but it will get the older generations. If you haven’t tried it, open Instagram and try it out!

Tim is the founder of Element33. A social media agency specializing in education, management and strategy for small businesses. He comes from a traditional marketing agency but has embraced all things digital. He considers himself a marketing nerd and believes that all marketing is tied together. This means no matter what silo you are in, social, email, seach, etc, changes in one will affect the other!

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