Originally rolled out by Instagram (the concept itself arguably stolen from Snapchat!), social media stories have grown to become one of the most popular social media features. They’re now leading the charge for more ‘authentic’ content and changing the face of social media. So, why exactly have they had such an impact, and how can you use them to benefit your business?
In this article, we put social media stories under the microscope, discussing what they are, why they’re so popular, and how you can create them.
What are social media stories?
Social media stories are full-screen, vertical videos and images that are optimised for mobile and created using mobile devices. They appear outside of your usual social feed and (normally) expire within 24 hours. The temporary nature of their content taps into a ‘fear of missing out’, as your followers want to stay in the loop about your brand. They’re also original and immersive, giving your audience an insight into what’s happening in your business right now and making them feel like they’ve entered your world! As a result, social media stories are popular amongst millennials and Gen Z who tend to enjoy more ‘authentic’ brand interactions.
You’ll find social media stories on a number of apps including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Twitter, WhatsApp, and YouTube. Staggeringly, they’re used by over one billion people daily worldwide and on Instagram alone as many as 25% of users swipe up on branded stories, so they represent a valuable marketing opportunity for your business!
Why are social media stories so popular?
Social media stories are extremely tricky to “stage” which means the audience gets to sees the real you. Their popularity is, in part, due to their authenticity and, in part, to their interactive nature. You can incorporate video, text, emoticons and tags in your stories to produce long- or short-form content. You can create stories about anything you choose and there are many ways you can use them to engage your audience. This includes: creating live broadcasts, animations, stickers, listicles, surveys, and polls.
How can I use social media stories in my business?
To produce a consistent flow of social media stories, you’ll need to create a lot of content! Look at creating your stories from existing content, e.g. using highlights from a popular blog. And, think about creating stories that you can re-use or re-purpose elsewhere. Finally, create a batch of stories in one go that you can publish over time on a variety of channels.
Here are some useful pointers for creating your social media stories:
1) Create your stories in vertical format
2) Begin and end with your brand’s message
3) Get creative: The more creative you can be, the more engagement you’ll see. The average viewer won’t watch all of your story, so frontload your most interesting content!
4) Include a call to action: Make sure your story has an objective that drives your overall business goals.
5) Monitor the results: Analyse the data showing how your audience has responded to your stories, so you can come up with new ideas and improvements
With 50% of businesses creating at least one Instagram story per month and 33% of Instagram’s most-viewed stories coming from businesses (Embed Social), social media stories are big news and this looks set to continue. Whereas this form of communication may have initially begun as a quick-and-dirty alternative to more polished feed-based posts, their popularity has meant that businesses are now investing time and care in them. We think that social media stories are here to stay, so why not try them out for yourself?