Since Snapchat launched Stories in 2013, the feature has increased in popularity across social media. Now, Stories are growing at a whopping 15 times the rate of traditional, feed-based sharing and are projected to become the presiding form of social media communication by the end of 2019. Part of the reason for the Story surge is due to Facebook’s implementation of the medium across its family of companies, including Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp. Instagram Stories now boasts an impressive 500 million daily active users (DAU), Whatsapp Status follows closely behind with around 450 million daily users and Facebook continues to climb at 300 million DAUs.
It’s not hard to understand why Stories are so appealing to today’s social media users. Photos and videos better capture the attention of audiences, and posts that include images produce 650% higher engagement than text-only posts. As content specialist Kris Spisak writes, “FOMO (fear of missing out) is real with audiences online, and the mixed media presentation of Stories enables creators to craft deeper content and audiences to feel more connected with a brand.”
Wise businesses will capitalize on the incredible popularity of this user-friendly medium. Developing a customized marketing plan that centers on Stories will allow your brand to stay ahead of the game. The following are some useful tips on how to succeed using Stories.
1. Showcase your brand’s authenticity and personality
Stories allow brands to connect with their audience on a more personal level. The key is to find the balance between professional and casual. As a business, you’ll need to maintain a standard of quality while still offering followers the accessibility they crave.
The Guardian, after carefully analyzing the performance of their Instagram Stories, discovered that “heavily produced videos with scripts and shot in a studio and professionally edited were simply not worth the effort.” Instead, the news outlet found that “less labor-intensive posts” such as “static graphics or quick video explainers on news topics” are performing better. The takeaway? Don’t overthink your Stories and let the real you shine through.
Use the Stories features that are at your disposal
Each platform offers its own features for Stories, and it’s a good idea for brands to use these to their advantage. Displaying your creativity will help your brand establish its own unique voice and distinguish itself from the crowd.
For example, entertainment and lifestyle website HelloGiggles engages followers and stands out on Instagram and Facebook by using bold fonts, on-brand colors, playful buttons, GIFs, location tagging, sketches, music, and special effects. The brand lets users actively participate in their stories by including polls and questions. Take a cue from this social media savvy site and make sure you’re incorporating the relevant bells and whistles that are at your disposal.
Create a story arc in your Stories
Just as if you were writing a story, your digital Stories should have a beginning, middle, and an end. Use the beginning to create suspense for your viewers or introduce a topic. The middle should contain the bulk of your material; the subject matter of your Story. The ending should wrap up the Story nicely and include a CTA for your viewers to follow.
Skincare brand Drunk Elephant does an excellent job of creating a well-rounded Story. They often offer skincare advice via their Stories, and begin by letting followers know what they’ll be covering—then covering it—and concluding with a link to the pages of the products they covered.
Use Stories to link to outside pages
With the “Swipe Up” feature, Instagram and Facebook can insert links to relevant products, sites, posts, videos, etc. This is a great way to integrate your products and services into your Stories and direct audiences to a desired CTA. It also creates a dynamic viewing experience for watchers. In fact, 15-25% of Story viewers swipe up to follow a link and engage directly with a brand’s website.
Take advantage of user generated content
Your customers make your brand what it is, and featuring their content on your Stories helps to illustrate the value of your products first-hand. It is also a great way to show your appreciation for your customers while providing followers with engaging and relatable content. The possibility of being featured on your social media will inspire customers to share their own experiences with your brand. Develop a hashtag and ask followers to use it within their posts for the chance to be featured.
Fashion brand ModCloth encourages customers to share images of themselves in the brand’s products and use the hashtag #MyModCloth. They frequently use these hashtagged images within their Stories to inspire audiences.
Consider a Story takeover
Having someone new takeover your Instagram/Facebook Stories for the day will help increase your exposure while giving your followers a unique experience. Collaborating with an outside party will introduce their followers to your content, automatically growing your reach.
You might decide to partner with an influencer in order to create buzz around an upcoming event or product launch. Or, maybe you’d like an industry expert to host a Q&A session on your Stories.
An option is also to have one of your employees takeover to talk about their job and/or what a day in the life looks like for them. Just ensure that the person or organization taking over aligns with your brand. Sports brand Nike often hosts Story takeovers where they have different athletes or industry professionals answer questions or take viewers through their daily routines.
Stories have emerged as an effective way to engage and delight audiences, and their popularity will continue to grow. It’s essential that you master the art of the Story in order to excel within the evolving social media landscape. We suggest creating a marketing strategy just for Stories, and the above recommendations will help make it as effective as possible.
Need help with your digital marketing and getting started with Stories? Awkward Media helps small to medium-sized businesses drive revenue by creating an effective online presence on social media and search engines. Contact us or drop us a line at 647 849 1082 to discuss your digital needs.
About the Author
Ellan Dineen is the Marketing Associate at Design Wizard. When she’s not hard at work in the Marketing Department, Ellan can be found en route to foreign lands with a book in her hand and a podcast in her ear. With a Master’s in English and Diploma in Social Media Marketing, she knows the importance of staying up-to-date with the industry’s latest trends and insights and is keen to pass these tips on to her readers.