Instagram has done it again! After confirming that Instagram is testing live video, the social platform has once again delivered a series of features to help make your Instagram Stories even more awesome by making it easy to create GIFs with Boomerang, mention your friends in your story, and even add links to Instagram Stories. Here’s how they work:
Easily Create GIFs in Instagram Stories with Boomerang
You can now quickly create GIFs for your Instagram Story without having to open a different app! Instagram’s GIF app Boomerang is now inside the actual Instagram app, you can find it in the Instagram Stories camera.
To create a Boomerang, swipe right from your feed to open the stories camera. A new button under the record button lets you select “Boomerang” mode. Tap the record button and the camera will stitch together a burst of photos to create a short animation that plays forward and backward.
Instagram rolled out Boomerang late last year as a standalone video app to create one-second videos of everyday moments. We’ve seen a lot of people and brands import their Boomerang GIFs to their Instagram story, so this new feature makes a lot of sense to us. Overall, it adds a new playful dimension to the format, allowing users to get even more creative with their stories!
Just to be clear, the feature is only available within Instagram Stories, and not within Instagram’s regular camera app.
Mention Your Friends in Instagram Stories
Instagram has now made it possible to tag other users in a story, or send a story to another user. While most of Instagram Stories is a copycat of Snapchat Stories, this is a new feature that is unique to Instagram and not available on Snapchat Stories – yet.
Here’s how to tag and mention a friend on your Instagram Story:
When you add text to your story, type “@” followed by a username and select the person you’d like to mention. Their username will appear underlined in your story. And when someone taps the mention while watching your story, they’ll see a pop-up that takes them to your friend’s Instagram profile.
You’ll receive a notification in Direct, Instagram’s private messaging feature, when you’re mentioned in someone else’s story. Just tap the preview to go straight to the story for as long as it’s live. If someone you don’t follow mentions you, you’ll see the notification in your message requests.
This new Instagram Story feature lets you tag and mention people in stories just as you would in Instagram captions and comments, so it’s great a tool when your story is aimed at a specific person, place, or business. It could be great for businesses who want to collaborate or share their followings with each other! Overall, it’s a nice touch that can help you discover other accounts on Instagram.
Links are Finally Coming to Instagram – Sort of?
The biggest update to Instagram Stories, and Instagram in general, is the ability to add hyperlinks to individual Instagram Story posts. This feature is only available for verified accounts right now, but fingers crossed it becomes available to all users in the future.
We can’t emphasize enough how major this is for Instagram – this is the first time they have ever made a clickable link within the Instagram app that wasn’t the link in your bio. Hopefully this is the first step towards finally allowing clickable links in Instagram captions! This feature is also a key feature for brands that could convince them to invest in Instagram Stories over Snapchat, since you can’t currently add links to Snapchat stories.
If you’re verified on Instagram and want to add a link to your Instagram Story, tap the link icon at the top of the screen to open the “Add Link” page. Type in your desired website in the space under “URL.” You have the option to “preview link” before finalizing the story, or simply hit “done” to add it directly.
Now when an Instagram user views your story, they’ll be given the option to click on a “See More” button, which redirects them to a website within the Instagram app.
Instagram describes the features as a “test that lets verified accounts add links so it’s easy to learn more.” Basically, it allows verified accounts to share links in their stories that you can click on to access within the app. This is really useful to support product purchases, because it allows you to link your customers to a website where an advertised product within a story may be featured.
Hopefully the “See More” link feature will become available for all users fairly soon. Until then, we’ll be tagging each other and Boomerang-ing to our heart’s content! Will you be using the new Instagram Stories update? Let us know below!
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