Everybody Has a Story to Tell
I love Instagram, don't get me wrong, but every social media platform has its own set of benefits and constraints. Instagram has become a space to share my personal view on life, as well as a way to grow my online business. I love the niche communities that spring up around specific interests and hobbies, and I love how creatively challenging it can be. But sometimes it doesn't lend itself to a series of consecutive images or story - something more than just that one post.
When I discovered Steller a while back I was blown away by the storytelling capacity of the app. Here was another super creative and intuitive social sharing platform that was, like Instagram, all about the visuals - but one that takes story sharing to another level. And that's just what they're after. Steller's byline is, "Everyone has a story to tell."
A Bit About Steller
Steller is a free storytelling app developed by a brother and sister team who wanted to focus on mobile first.
The app is really easy to use. I downloaded it and posted my first story within minutes. How it works is that you upload a series of images (not more than 20) into a themed gallery. Steller provides some beautifully styled minimalist templates for you to use which include options for a title page, text based page, and a variety of image layouts - square, cropped, full page and more. Once you've uploaded your pics, you can rearrange them however you like, whether that is chronologically or in some other way that best suits your story. You also have the option to insert short bits of text to support your images and explain your story.
Steller's book-like layout lends itself well to recipe sharing, lifestyle content and short journalistic pieces. The experience of using it is comparable to flipping through a curated online magazine. Each touch turns the page, and you're able to browse collections like 'Conservation Story', 'Food and Drink', 'Places' and 'DIY'.
The team at Steller is actively involved in editing and promoting their collections, and often introduce new collection themes. Recently I came across one called '#StellerSelf' which challenges users to share five facts about themselves in story format.
Who is it for?
I highly recommend Steller for people who already love to tell visual stories, or who want to grow their story telling capacity. I'm talking about your brand story, personal stories, your fitness journey, a roadtrip, or a life event. It really has the ability to spark your creativity and once you've had a chance to try it out, you'll probably end up thinking and shooting for a collection or story, rather than just the 'one post' approach.
In summary, this is why I'm really inspired to use Steller more at the moment:
- It combines both visuals and text
- It allows me to tell a story in less than 20 images
- It gets my brain working and thinking in a new way
- It is stretching my story telling capacity
- It is beautifully minimal and a pleasure to work with
- I'm discovering an inspiring community of storytellers along the way
Steller provides a collection of tutorials and tips within the app itself which you can find if you search for 'StellerPartners' under the search function. They are laid out in story form giving you a good idea of different ways to use the app. Here is their how-to guide on creating a story in Steller.
Another really useful resource I came across was one by BrickFish called 'Steller For Brands: Social Storytelling Made Simple.' This story looks at how brands an businesses can effectively use Steller and mentions five examples:
- "A Day in the Life" - giving people a behind-the-scenes look at your business
- "Lookbook" - lifestyle blog-like styling for a new fashion look
- "Personify Your Brand" - monthly expose of someone who personifies your brand
- "Involving the Community" - organising events where fans and artists can meet and socialise
- "Lists, Tips & Recipes" - for travel tips and foodies
Adding Steller to Your Site or Blog
Although Steller is a mobile focused app, they have a very user friendly web interface where you can browse stories and collections, read their blog and update your settings. In addition the site is where you can find code snippets to use to embed a story or collection of stories to your blog (like I've done above).
Simply visit www.steller.co, click on your profile on the top right hand corner and select 'Get Embeds' (see above). Here you can select three options: profile badge, story grid, or latest story. Profile badge gives you a clickable badge to add to your site indicating that you can be found on Steller, very similar to the Pinterest badge. The story grid option allows you to embed a customisable Steller grid of your own account onto your website or blog. So whether you want to add a single row of your stories to the right hand column of your blog, or make a gallery featuring your stories on a particular page on your site, you have options to choose from.
Here I chose to add two single rows to my own blog in the same column I use for the 'About Me', 'Search' and 'Instagram' sections on the far right hand side.
My Steller Journey
If you're interested in seeing what I'm up to there (warning, I'm a newbie!), you'll see I've just published two very overdue stories, both of which have been featured as editor's picks. Whoo hoo!
Go and have a look for yourself. Download Steller from the iStore or Google Play, have a look at some of the featured stories to get a sense of how it works. You'll be able to post your first story within a few minutes, I promise.