Monday, July 15
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How To View Old Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories have become an essential part of social media marketing for small businesses, brands and influencers. With over 1.2 billion users, Instagram has grown tremendously where sharing engaging Stories is key to reaching this massive audience. 

However, the ephemeral nature of Stories, disappearing after just 24 hours, can make it challenging to keep track of and revisit this valuable content. So let’s look at how to maximize your Instagram Stories even after their short lifespan has ended. 

Why You Need To Save Instagram Stories

Before we dive into the tactics, let’s discuss why it’s so important for brands and businesses to save their Instagram Stories:

Maximize Your Creative Investment

You carefully select visuals and videos, add stickers, filters, music, and plan transitions between frames. After putting so much work into crafting compelling Stories, it’s a shame to just let them disappear into the ether after 24 hours. Saving your Stories ensures you can repurpose and get full value from the content you created.

Repurpose for Ads and More 

Your Instagram Stories can actually have a longer lifespan by repurposing them into other content. Brands commonly turn Stories into Instagram feed posts, run them as Instagram or Facebook ads, or even compile Stories highlights into videos for other platforms like YouTube, TikTok, or Twitter. Having your old Stories on hand makes repurposing easier.

Social Proof and Marketing Use Cases

You may want to showcase positive customer Stories as social proof testimonials on your website. Or you could include Stories content in sales decks, investor presentations, affiliate materials, or partnership prospecting. Don’t let these opportunities go to waste just because the 24 hour window closed.

Conserve Storage Space

If you’ve been manually saving every Instagram Story by downloading it to your phone’s camera roll or a hard drive, you know how quickly that storage can fill up. Using Instagram’s archive feature or third-party apps to store your Stories can reduce or even eliminate this storage burden.

How To View Your Own Instagram Stories Archive

The easiest way to access your old Instagram Stories is through the app’s built-in archive feature. As long as you have this enabled, Instagram will automatically save every Story you post to a private archive that only you can see. Here’s how to check if your archive is turned on and view your past Stories:

  1. Open the Instagram app and go to your profile
  2. Tap the three horizontal line menu icon in the top right
  3. Select “Archive”
  4. If you don’t see any archived Stories here, tap the gear icon to access “Settings” then “Privacy” then “Story” to turn on the “Save to Archive” option.

The main downside of Instagram’s archive is that it only works for Stories you personally posted – it won’t save any Stories where other users tagged or mentioned your brand handle. For that, you’ll need some additional tools and strategies.

Using Third-Party Instagram Story Saving Apps

While Instagram’s archive is a handy feature, it doesn’t provide a comprehensive way for businesses to view and manage all the Stories relating to their brand across different accounts. To have a thorough archive of your own Stories as well as any Stories your brand is mentioned in by others, you’ll likely want to use a specialized third-party app or tool.

There are a number of apps and services that integrate with Instagram’s API to monitor your brand’s social media mentions and automatically archive any Stories you’re tagged in, including:

  • SquareLovin
  • Hopper HQ 
  • Mish Guru
  • Minter.io
  • Iconosquare
  • Lightful

Using one of these apps ensures no Stories about your brand get missed or lost in the 24 hour cycle. The specific capabilities vary, but most will monitor your brand’s handle as well as any other keywords, hashtags, or locations you designate. You’ll get alerts any time your brand is tagged in a Story, and the Story content is automatically archived for you to access, download, and utilize further.

A third-party tool like the options above is your best solution for maintaining a robust, complete archive of all Instagram Stories relevant to your brand.

Instagram Captions

Best Practices For Saving Instagram Stories 

To make sure you can come back and leverage your Instagram Stories long after their initial 24 hour lifespan, follow these best practices:

  1. Enable Automatic Archiving

First and foremost, ensure Instagram’s built-in archive is turned on so it automatically saves every Story you post to your private archive library. While it won’t archive other users’ Stories about your brand, at least you’ll have all your own Stories preserved with just this simple setting enabled.

  1. Use a Third-Party Monitoring Tool

To capture any Stories posted by others that you’re tagged or mentioned in, invest in a comprehensive social media monitoring service that archives this content automatically. This is key for brands who work with influencers or want to leverage user-generated content featuring their products.

  1. Maintain Direct Relationships

For key influencers, brand ambassadors, or partners you collaborate with frequently, establish a direct line of communication and agreement that they should archive and share any Stories mentioning your brand with your team. This can serve as a backup for anything that may slip through the third-party monitoring cracks.

  1. Cross-Promote Story Content 

When you create a new Instagram Story, take advantage of features like Instagram’s story sharing options to natively share that Story across other platforms where it will have a longer lifespan like Instagram Reels, your Instagram feed, or other social media accounts. That way, your Story can start living on in multiple places immediately instead of just one.

  1. Have a Repurposing Strategy

Don’t just let your Stories sit in your archive collecting digital dust. As part of your content strategy, make a plan for how you’ll breathe new life into your best Stories after their initial 24 hour run. Maybe you’ll turn them into Instagram feed posts, compile Story highlights into an Instagram Reel or video for other platforms, or even incorporate Stories snippets into website content or marketing/sales materials. Having an intentional repurposing workflow will ensure you maximize the value of your Stories.

  1. Back Up Regularly

Even with Instagram’s archive and third-party monitoring tools, it’s still a good idea to routinely back up any Stories you want to hang onto for the long-term. You can set a recurring reminder to download any Stories from the past week, month, or quarter in case you need to reassess that content outside of Instagram in the future. Storage is cheap, so better to be safe than sorry when it comes to backing up your creative assets.

Creative Ways Brands Can Repurpose Old Instagram Stories

Since they only last for 24 hours, you may think Instagram Stories are fleeting, disposable pieces of content. But that couldn’t be further from the truth if you have a proper archiving strategy in place. In fact, your old Stories can become the gift that keeps on giving with a little creativity and effort put toward repurposing them.  

Here are some of the ways brands, businesses, and influencers have taken archived Stories and repackaged them into fresh content:

Social Media Ads

One of the most common ways to get extra mileage from Instagram Stories is to repurpose them into social media advertising. You’ve already put work into crafting engaging, eye-catching visuals for your Stories that align with your brand voice – why not put that content to work to drive conversions? Stories’ vertical video format transfers nicely to Instagram and Facebook Story ads, Reels ads, and even traditional Instagram feed post or Facebook link post ads.

Social Video Content

Speaking of Reels, your archived Instagram Stories can make for great source material for piecing together video content for Instagram Reels, TikTok videos, or even longer form YouTube clips. If you cull together your best Stories highlights over a period of time like a month or quarter, you could easily turn that into thematic Reels or YouTube videos on an ongoing basis. This keeps your content production cycles fresh and reduces how much totally new video you need to create from scratch.

User Testimonials

Have you archived any Instagram Stories where customers raved about your products or services? These authentic, unfiltered stories from real users can be incredibly compelling for future marketing as social proof and testimonials. You can incorporate these Story snippets onto your website as UGC-style reviews, use them in sales presentations, or even run them as short customer video ads. 

Product Launches & Teasers

Did you publish Instagram Stories providing sneak previews of any new products or menu items you’ve since launched? Those archived Stories can be compiled into a chronological “sizzle” video to crank up the excitement during a product launch campaign. Or pull quotes and imagery from your archived Stories to use as teasers and preview assets leading up to the next big launch. This is an easy way to create buzz around releases by repurposing existing content you created.

Behind-the-Scenes

Inject some personality and transparency into your brand marketing by publishing Instagram Stories that gave your audience a behind-the-scenes look. Did you share glimpses into your product design process, a look inside your kitchen or facilities, or Stories from company culture events? These offer an authentic look at your brand that can be repackaged into new video assets for recruiting, awareness marketing, and more.

Roundup Content

Another idea is to plan Instagram Story themes or series around a certain content topic or initiative. For example, you could have a weekly “Product Spotlight” Instagram Story each Friday. At the end of a month or quarter, you can repurpose those 4-8 Product Spotlight Stories into a recap blog post or video roundup compiling that thematic content together.

Live Event Marketing

For any live events like conferences, trade shows, or local activations your brand participated in, your Stories capturing moments and highlights from that event can be extended into long-lasting marketing materials. You could edit them into a highlight reel video for next year or future event promotion. Or turn the raw, slice-of-life Stories into more designed social media posts that relive those event experiences.

Conclusion

To sum it all up, these are just a few ways to breathe new life into your old Instagram Stories and stretch that content investment further. By treating Stories not as disposable content but as assets to archive and repurpose them, you can get maximum utilization from the time and creative effort put into your overall Instagram marketing strategy. 

Work smart, reuse and recycle, creativity is the key!!

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