Should Your Brand Use Stories on Social Media?

By on August 9, 2018

Learn why your organization should be using stories on social media, and how to make it happen.

There’s no denying it. Since the rise of Snapchat and the adoption of stories by other platforms, user behavior on social media has shifted toward the less-permanent, more behind-the-scenes kind of content that Gen Z has been consuming for the past few years. Currently, this kind of consumption is becoming more attractive to older consumers, including adults under 40 (otherwise known as Millennials) and Gen X (which was recently confirmed to be “highly digital” in an eMarketer study). That’s a whole lotta marketshare.

What it all comes down to is that your organization should probably be using stories to communicate with consumers and engage prospects.

There’s plenty of opportunity.

While Snapchat may be the original (OG, if you will), Instagram is dominating. Generally speaking, many marketers tend to think of Snapchat when it comes to creating stories on social media.  However, brands and users alike tend to prefer the Instagram platform as opposed to its more fickle predecessor.

Instagram confirmed that 60% of their 500M+ users use stories daily. Even better, 80% of users follow businesses on Instagram—a large percentage of those users making purchases based on content they’ve interacted with on the platform. And we’re not just talking B2C.

Of course, Snapchat is still a viable consideration depending your audience. If it’s primarily under 30, you might just be in luck. Give yourself a break when it comes to Facebook stories, however, unless you’re a small or hyper-local business. While these work great for users with direct selling franchises, larger organizations might be wasting their time for now.

Creating engaging stories on social media is a challenge.

Do you remember when adopting Facebook was a leap for businesses? Adapting your content strategy to feature stories requires a shift in the way you do things. Take the time to train yourself or your team. Seek help from a trusted agency partner or consultant to get the ball rolling. The more you experiment (strategically of course) the more comfortable you’ll get with your process. Before you begin, make sure to align on ways you hope to measure your effort. Will you look for changes in web traffic? Social media followers? Social media engagement? Something else? Each platform has different opportunities for measurement and reporting, so explore what information you’ll have available to you and set your expectations based on that.

So, how do you do it?

Start by learning more about stories on social media. Pick some brands that interest you and pay closer attention to what they’re sharing on their own stories. What strikes you? What seems to influence your decision making? Lifestyle and beauty influencers are a great resource. They tend to be on the cusp of digital trends. You’d be surprised by how much their approach to stories will teach you about implementing them for your organization.

With this in mind, make sure to utilize new features as they become available. This helps increase activity and stimulate engagement. For example, Instagram recently launched a new question sticker. This feature provided a captivating opportunity for users to ask questions to brands or users they follow, giving brands direct opportunities to engage. Features like polls and other kinds of voting stickers can also give organizations valuable consumer input in real time, fueling decisions about content, products, services and more.

Image Source: Instagram Info Center

While the app itself contains lots of native features and tools to help you make professional-looking stories, some find editing tools helpful to create a more branded look. You can also turn to these tools when creating ad creative, should you choose to use sponsored versions of this kind of content. Tools like Adobe Lightroom (kick your content up a notch), Storeo (convert longer video into clips), Quik (turn photos into video) and Easil (create desktop templates for stories) can help make your life a lot easier.

Just as important as what to do, is what not to do. Just because you’re using a medium you might consider youthful, or, designed for young audiences, doesn’t mean you need to act their age. Using “hip” terms out of school is an offence you should try to avoid. Stay authentic to your brand and the rest will follow.

About Sarah Johnson

Sarah Johnson is the Director of Digital Marketing Services at Incentric Digital Marketing, the Digital Marketing arm of RDW Group, its full-service parent company. She’s been working in social media since what feels like the beginning, and believes it’s become an essential part of modern business communications.
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