By Aleah Feuerborn

It’s been exactly one year since Instagram stories were announced – 365 days of a new social media frontier. A year of face filters, geotags and figuring out how to best explain that Instagram Stories are basically like Snapchat, but better.

While there is still more to learn and Instagram continues to evolve, we’ve created a rundown of pros, cons and other helpful hints below.

PROS

User growth rate: Instagram Stories now has more than 200 million users per day, measured by someone either posting an update to their story or viewing a friend’s from the carousel at the top of the app. Snapchat, by comparison,  only has around 160M. This makes that singular feature of Instagram more popular than all of Snapchat.

So, what does this really mean? It means Instagram stories are where influencers, bloggers and celebrities are heading – if they’re not already there. Our recommendation for you is to follow where content is going.

Authentic Coverage: Influencers are more likely to share in-the-moment events and activities on their stories than they are in a traditional Instagram post. There is less pressure to perfectly curate an image on Instagram Stories, allowing influencers to share both videos and photos more freely and frequently.

We’ve seen this prove true in our recent influencer-focused events. The key to success is making your physical space photo-worthy. We’re talking about aesthetically pleasing food, branded items and tastefully trendy decorations. Set the stage and watch the influencers post, post, post.

On the flip side, viewers and followers get a behind-the-scenes uncensored view into influencers lives, creating a more authentic feel all around.

Data & Exposure: Paying an influencer to cover your brand? It’s important to request that they share total views at the end of the 24-hour period. This way you’re able to know exactly how much exposure the photo or video got, unlike a regular Instagram post.

Additionally, if your paid partner is verified, they can include a link in a specific photo or video. This helps drive traffic to an external website, which is beneficial for sales and further brand exposure.

CONS

24-hour limit: This can be both a pro AND a con. For a magnitude of reasons, influencers enjoy the idea that their content is going to disappear. And in turn, viewers like the “exclusivity” of viewing photos and videos for such a limited amount of time.

We know brands want to be able to re-use, recycle and repurpose content, but for now, stories will expire after their 1 day mark. Get it while you can!

TOOLS & TRICKS

Chrome Instagram Extension: To combat the 24-hour limit con, download this extension to your Chrome browser to capture Instagram Stories (both images and videos). This allows you to access each Instagram story as a QuickTime file. The 24-hour rule still applies for finding the video, but once you’ve downloaded the file, it will be saved permanently on your desktop. No need to try and screenshot coverage anymore. Important to note: you can only download stories from accounts you follow!

Instagram Live

Previously, when a user went “Live” on Instagram Stories, there was no ability to save or keep the video. Essentially, if you didn’t tune in to your favorite blogger answering beauty questions, you missed out. That all changed when Instagram allowed users to save and keep Instagram Live streams on their stories for 24 hours. Now, followers can watch live-streamed videos after they’ve finished, creating higher viewership numbers.

And, if you’re looking to take your Instagram stories to the next level, check out these 13 helpful tips here.

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