Introduced by Snapchat but polished and made mainstream by Instagram, the Stories format has become a social media phenomenon.
Instagram stories have been eagerly adopted by digital marketing agencies and now swallow up a substantial chunk of marketing budgets worldwide.
Of course, as with any new medium, this storytelling format has its own downsides. For example, stories vanish after 24 hours, meaning your team’s creative work disappears along with them.
To solve this problem, and ease the shattered nerves of Instagrammers and digital marketers everywhere, there is a new WordPress-based solution: EmbedStories, the first WordPress plugin for Instagram stories.
Developed by EmbedSocial, a company specializing in social proof tools that seamlessly sync with the social media networks.
A Brief Overview
It is a remarkably simple but vitally useful idea: while saving and archiving your stories in a secure web application (saving your team’s creative work for later re-use!) , EmbedStories makes it possible, with one line of code, to have them appear, in real time, on any website.
- Connect multiple Instagram accounts and fetch their stories – this functionality allows EmbedStories to provide features that meet the use case of larger digital marketing agencies and influencers that manage multiple Instagram accounts
- Fetch and archive stories automatically – once you connect your Instagram account with EmbedStories, it immediately starts fetching your stories. You do not need to activate or manage this functionality, the system will automatically store stories from all connected accounts.
- Unlimited widgets to display stories on any website – The platform does not limit the number of web widgets. You can use sliders, or list for the same story or for a different story, the platform is flexible and do not require you to pay for additional widgets.
- Multiple layouts and a variety of customization options – EmbedStories widgets constantly improve and you can choose from the following layouts: carousel, list gallery, floating popover or you can display a simple story circle that, when clicked, showcases the story in a lightbox.
- Make your Instagram stories shoppable – add buttons on the Instagram story when it appears on your website. By doing this, you will create a new sales channel and increase your conversion rates for the products that you promote in your Instagram stories.
- Convert stories into AMP format – last but not least, a powerful feature that will make your website ready to meet the Google stories official launch. It will use the Instagram stories and convert them in an AMP format that Google loves.
How to embed Instagram stories widget on your website?
To install the EmbedStories plugin and start displaying your Instagram stories on your website, you will first need to install and activate it in your WordPress. Then, you will need to create an EmbedStories account from where the system will provide you with shortcodes that you can use in your WordPress pages or Text widgets.
The WordPress plugin is available for both, free and pro accounts.
To install and activate the EmbedStories plugin follow the steps below:
- Log in to your WordPress admin, navigate to ‘Plugins’
- Click the button ‘Add new’
- Type EmbedStories in the search field
- Once the result is displayed just click ‘Install now’ and then click ‘Activate’
- Then go to EmbedStories page and create an account
- Log in to your EmbedStories account and click ‘Continue with Facebook*’ and follow the steps to allow the system to fetch your Instagram stories
- Once your Instagram pages are loaded, click ‘Add source’
- In the Widget screen just copy the top right shortcode
- Go back to your WordPress Page and paste the shortcode into the position where you want your Instagram stories to appear
* Please note: the official Instagram API requires you to connect your Instagram account to a Facebook page in order to allow EmbedStories or any other third party app to fetch your Instagram stories.
Here is a detailed video demo on how to embed Instagram stories on your WordPress website:
EmbedStories plugin will showcase all of the current & new stories that you will create after you have connected with your EmbedStories account. In other words, your old Instagram Stories will not be available because they’ve already disappeared after 24 hours.
That’s it! Now, every time you post an Instagram story it will appear in the position where you’ve placed the shortcode.
How to use the Instagram stories plugin
You can use the PRO version to remove the branding and utilize the EmbedStories platform most powerful features, such as:
- Custom Instagram Stories Web Widgets
- Instagram stories gallery
- Shoppable Instagram Stories
- Convert to AMP story format
Continue reading below to learn more about each of the PRO features:
Custom Instagram Stories Web Widgets
Once you generate your Instagram stories you are able to create unlimited widgets with different customizations and web widget formats.
Lightbox is a unique and custom widget that will show as a popover in a fixed bottom or top position of your website and display the latest story.
You can use parameters to make it disappear in few seconds or customize the looks.
When clicked, the story opens in a slideshow format and in a lightbox mode.
Here is it in action:
Instagram stories gallery
This feature allows users to create a gallery with multiple stories. To do this log into your EmbedStories account, navigate to Galleries and click on the top right button ‘Create new’.
The main options that this feature provides are:
- Choose which stories to appear in the gallery
This option is possible due to the automatic archiving of the system that happens in the background each time you post an Instagram story.
To choose specific stories that you want to display in the gallery, look for the option ‘Story dates’ and in the select field choose the dates that represent a specific story.
Here is a screenshot of this feature:
- Customize the layout, and choose slider with thumbnails or list gallery
To change the layout, find the option ‘Layout’ in the left settings sidebar and choose Slider, Lightbox or List.
The below screenshot is an example of a gallery that when clicked displays the stories in a lightbox mode, creating a full screen attention grabbing experience.
Shoppable Instagram Stories
Most Instagrammers are aware that Instagram restricts the ability to add links to Instagram stories to users with at least 10,000 followers. To make this limitation less painful, EmbedStories allows any user to add a link to their stories when they are displayed on their own website, regardless of how many followers they have.
By doing this, users can create an interesting sales format for their website, and use the creative work they posted on Instagram as a new sales channel.
Users can choose pre-made buttons such as Buy now, Sign up, Learn more, Contact us or they can write their own “Call-To-Action” text.
Here is an example of a CTA button:
Convert to AMP story format
In February 2018, Google recognized the growing importance of the story format by adding stories to their search results. Also, the AMP story format is a recently launched addition to the AMP Project that provides content publishers with a mobile-focused format for delivering news and information as visually rich, tap-through stories, as described in the Google Developers Blog.
In order to allow Google to recognize a webpage as a Google story, the webpage needs to provide an AMP story code that the Google crawl can fetch and display as a story format in the Google search results.
Google AMP stories are rolling out to everyone later this year and EmbedSocial will make sure you are ready for it. The current functionality allows you to automatically create a version of each of your stories in the AMP story format. The system provides a pre-generated HTML file that you can upload to your website.
Once the link is crawled by Google it will be featured in the Google search results.
Here is a preview of the Instagram story converted into a Google story format.
Using Instagram tools will make your life much easier, while saving you time and money in content production and publishing.
Instagram stories are an undeniably popular format that every good digital marketer needs to to master, and EmbedStories provides a comprehensive and coherent focus for that. Even the free version makes it easy to see how this tool can smooth and enhance your Instagram workflow.
If you want to connect more Instagram accounts and also use the PRO features, you will find a plan to suit your needs at a reasonable price, starting at just $19/month.