If you’re up to date with social media, you’ll notice that a variety of platforms now allow for ‘stories’. These are a way of posting photo to social media. They can include text and tags and be viewed by all users you’re connected with (e.g. your Facebook/Instagram followers or your Snapchat friends) have the ability to see your stories. But, unlike regular postings, these only last for 24 hours. Stories are great for anything going on right now, like events or one-day offers, but are also good for driving users to your website.
Snapchat was first to add stories to their platform, soon after its launch in 2011. Instagram followed, only a couple years ago in 2016. Next was Facebook, who added the feature just last year. With the whole concept being very new, it’s no wonder many businesses don’t utilise the stories feature. But that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be part of your marketing plan or at least on your mind when considering your next social media post!
Stories have become a big part of Snapchat. However, there are very few organisations that use this platform for business purposes as it is seemingly unprofessional and doesn’t allow for any other forms of postings bar stories and sending photos or text to specific individuals. Plus, it’s only available as a mobile app.
Rather than creating an account for your business, we recommend posting natural stories to your personal Snapchat as a business-owner. For example, if you’re getting ready for a function, you could post a photo of your outfit and include your business name in the caption. It’s likely your friends will already be familiar with your workplace, but there’s no harm in getting your name or a personalised hashtag or phrase out there.
However, recent statistics prove Instagram stories have taken over Snapchat in popularity anyway so Snapchat might not be the platform to focus your efforts. It’s one of the more personal and fun social media forums, rather than being business-orientated.
Instagram stories are where you can really boost your social media results. Even before stories were added, we have always recommended every business have an Instagram account. It’s a very popular platform for both your target audience and other businesses. Plus, Facebook owns Instagram so you have the option to link them. Joining the two means you can share posts from Instagram straight to your Facebook (which can save you time if your business doesn’t use any scheduling tools) and show your followers on Facebook where to find you on Instagram (and since Facebook seems to be the most popular social media platform, your fans are likely to find you there first).
Instagram stories have quickly gained a lot of popularity since its creation with their annual number of stories posted surpassing that of Snapchat. Some even say that the Instagram stories feature is better than Snapchat’s. This source has found that even influencers prefer Instagram stories to Snapchat.
So, we know it’s popular but how do you effectively use Instagram stories?
When creating a simple photo or video post on Instagram, you can use hashtags to increase exposure and you can also tag other users, but you cannot include links. Stories have added a link feature, meaning this feature is more likely to successfully drive traffic to your website than a traditional post would.
Instagram stories also offers a range of filters, sliders and stickers that can make posts more exciting and engaging for followers, but the website link feature is most effective in terms of sales. This link takes the form of a “swipe up” feature and redirects users to a webpage of your choosing. We recommend directing users to your website/landing page and, if you have a well set-out menu and homepage, you’re likely to keep visitors on your site longer and increase your chance of sales.
You can also see who has viewed your stories and, if you time it right, that number can be quite significant. We recommend monitoring your results from posts and finding “peak times” when your content receives the most interaction. You can use these times to ensure your posts are more likely to been seen by a wide variety.
It’s true that not many Facebook users have taken a liking to the stories feature yet. With only very few users regularly posting stories on the platform, it’s clear Instagram and Snapchat are the preferred sites in terms of personal story updates.
This may be because Facebook offers a variety of other sharing options and the new feature is a shock for a platform that is significantly older. Many Facebook users don’t want to embrace the change as they’re happy with the site they’re used to.
However, they can be quite useful for events. When a user chooses ‘going’ or ‘interested’ on an event page you’ve created, the event’s story automatically appears at the top of their screen for the duration of the event. Anyone with access to the story can add to it.
For example, at a seminar or conference, a member of the audience may upload an image of the presenter to the event story and include the event’s hashtag or the speaker’s username. When more and more people add to it, the event story can become quite long and may offer interesting perspectives from the audience.
This is a great way to get people talking and networking. From a marketing point of view, these stories provide the opportunity to gather content and information. You can take stories posted from the day and share them publicly on your social media or website, showing others what the event was like. As a way or encouraging re-attendance, you can even credit the users you take content from to increase exposure and make them feel valued as a guest.
One great strategy is to create a blog about the event and use footage from the Facebook stories to drive traffic to your website. Stories from attendees can also help you gain valuable insight into their experience of the event. If there are multiple stories featuring a particular speaker, you can assume they were very popular among the crowd. You can get an idea of what the audience does and doesn’t like, giving you the opportunity to make next year’s event even better!
One more thing
A bonus of stories – on all platforms – is how easy they are to create. You can do it from your phone, with an image or video you’ve pre-recorded or with content you’re capturing live.
Stories are a simple feature you can integrate into your social media plan today.