2016 saw the advent of Instagram Stories (see our early take on it here) and it’s been full steam ahead for the feature ever since. Instagram Stories turn 2 years old today and show no sign of slowing down as a major media asset for the social platform. They have been especially powerful for brands and influencers, Duke included, as a driver of traffic to our content. In fact, Instagram Stories is our second most powerful referrer for content, behind Facebook.
We’ve experimented with creative storytelling from research stories to crowd-sourced content on our Stories this year. Here are a few of our favorites:
Working with the Stories features has really pushed us in terms of creativity and discovering new tools and skills. This piece we produced on how historians and archeologists use 3-D scanning to document and archive pieces of long-gone ancient structures really pushed us in terms of how to get the content in the format that we needed. I ended up taking screen recordings on my iPhone of the 3-D scans, moving them around with my finger using the functionality on the webpage they were stored on. Then I manually edited the clips within the iPhoto album to shave off the front bumper that would show me navigating to the proper screen. After that, I exported and emailed them to Sonja to fine tune in Final Cut Pro X for proper formatting for the vertical Stories layout. (This was prior to the resize feature introduction.) It was really great to highlight such a cool story and bring it to our broader audience in an interactive and tangible way via Stories.
American Ballet Theater Partnership
This was one of our first attempts at strategic storytelling using a Call to Action on Instagram Stories. It worked well because of the stunning visuals our colleagues provided, and it paired really well with a conveniently-timed beta-testing of animated video/GIF capabilities on Canva, our go-to tool for quick, easy, polished graphics.
Snow Day 2018
I love this one because it is the perfect example of crowdsourcing content at its finest. ICYMI, Durham had a few major snow days back in January and campus got a good bit of snow. The photographic results were stunning. The best part? Sonja and I compiled this content from users from the comfort of our couches in our PJs as everyone was snowed in for a couple days. Thankfully, our students didn’t let us miss out on content showcasing Duke as a winter wonderland. There was no call to action here, just a great opportunity to engage with our community by featuring their content on our feed. You can see the full feature on the highlight on our Instagram page.
Moving into the upcoming school year, we’re excited to continue experimenting with content and storytelling on this platform.