How to Use Social Media Stories in Your Marketing
Have you noticed that marketing has taken on a much more casual tone over the past few years? People are sick of corporate approaches that put companies on a pedestal. No more boring professionalism! Now, they want real connections and laid-back interactions. And that’s where social media Stories come into play…
What Are Social Media Stories?
If you’re new to social media Stories, you might be confused as to how they can benefit your business. After all, the content disappears after 24 hours, right?
But Stories are now one of the most loved and used aspects of social media, and when you know how to use them for your brand marketing, it can have a dramatic impact.
So, what exactly are they and how do they work?
Social media Stories are images and videos that display vertically in full-screen mode outside of your regular feed, and they only last for 24 hours.
Some apps, such as Instagram, allow you to save them in collections so that they are viewable for longer periods of time, but for the most part, they are meant to be a real-time snapshot of your life or business.
Are Social Media Stories Really That Popular?
They sure are!
According to the State of Social Video Report by VidMob, over 70% of Instagram users view Stories every day. And a Statista report revealed that the following percentages of social media users use Stories features:
- Facebook – 70%
- Instagram – 83%
- Snapchat – 87%
- YouTube – 76%
Plus, a 2018 report by Block Party even showed that Story-based sharing is growing at a whopping 15 times faster than news-feed sharing.
What Platforms Have Stories Features?
These days, almost all social media platforms offer a Stories feature…
Snapchat Stories are called “snaps.” As the originator of social media Stories, Snapchat was launched in 2011 and took off with teens and young adults. In fact, 90% of Snapchat users are between the ages of 13 and 24 (Generation Z). This makes it a great platform for small and medium-size businesses with a young audience.
Instagram was the next platform to get on the Stories bandwagon, and they’ve been able to pull in not only Generation Z but also millennials. They have a checkout feature, which allows you to engage your audience, build brand awareness, and convert them to buyers all at once.
Facebook Stories launched in 2016. Instead of Likes and comments, when your audience interacts with you through Stories, it happens in Facebook Messenger, and that’s great since it puts you in direct contact with them. You can also link Instagram and Facebook together for easy posting on both platforms.
In WhatsApp, the Stories feature is called “Status.” What makes this one different than the others is that they don’t use an algorithm to determine who sees your Status. Instead, you can choose to hide it from certain people on the platform, giving you more control.
LinkedIn has recently developed a Stories feature as well. This is excellent for small business brands because it allows for updates and events on a platform that is more business oriented.
Twitter’s Stories feature is the newest on the block. It’s called Fleets, which represents “fleeting thoughts.” This is the platform to use for quick updates, and it’s already optimized for real-time conversions.
YouTube didn’t want to be left out in the cold, so they’re also working on a Stories feature, which is still in Beta. It allows for 15-second snippets, which are called “Reels,” and it’s meant for on-the-go updates.
What Are the Benefits of Social Media Stories for Brands?
The benefits to using social media Stories in this modern business landscape could warrant an entire article on their own, but here are our 5 favorites…
While it may seem counterproductive that social media Stories are temporary, what it actually does is bring in the scarcity factor that makes your audience want to tune in right away to see your posts.
2) Engaging & Exclusive
This is one of the most engaging forms of marketing because it is shared and viewed in the moment. Think of it as a “what’s happening right now” type of message that you invite others to take part in.
It makes them feel like they are part of a moment in time. They feel more connected to your brand through the shared, real-time experience. It even makes them feel like VIPs who are in the “in crowd.”
3) Transparency & Authenticity
Millennials and Generation Z demand transparency and authenticity from brands. With Stories, that’s what they get. As a result, they get to know your brand in a much different, real, and intimate way.
Stories posts are more casual because you can’t stage one that feels authentic. It shows your audience who you really are and what your brand is really about.
4) Relatable & Approachable
Even though everything is going more digital, brands always need to find a way to bring in a human element, and social media Stories make your business more human. They make you relatable and approachable, which increases your trust factor and makes people feel like they have a relationship with your brand.
Essentially, a well-done story post turns your brand into a living, breathing entity. It combines the captivating power of storytelling with a visual appeal that makes it even more enticing.
5) Cool, Easy & Fun
And hey, when we really get down to it, social media Stories are just a much cooler way of marketing a business. It’s enjoyable for people to engage with a brand in this way, and it’s easy for them to digest.
It’s a fun way for your audience to learn about your brand, and at the same time, it’s easy content for you to create.
How to Use Stories in Your Marketing
As you can see, the use of social media Stories is an incredibly popular tactic these days. If it fits within your overall marketing strategy, you can use it and be seen as one of the most cutting-edge businesses in your niche.
So now, let’s look at some of the best ways to use Stories so you can amp up the fun in your marketing—and the effectiveness too…
Post Real-Time Glimpses of Your Business
Don’t just share the same kind of content you do on regular social media posts. Remember, these are snapshots of real-time experiences. So, post things like…
- Behind-the-scenes footage
- Product launch updates
- News about your brand or industry
- Live events
- Exclusive discounts and promotions
- Product offerings
- Brand narratives
- Bloopers (funny blunders)
Stories work best when you share content consistently and often. The more, the merrier. And they perform really well when you upload multiple posts at one time, so consider planning in advance to make it easier.
Add Cool Elements
Most of the platforms allow you to add lenses, animations, stickers, and other cool elements. Instagram is probably the winner here, letting you add…
- Freehand drawings
…and even a way to allow users to ask you questions.
Take advantage of these elements, as they make your Stories that much more interactive.
Most Stories are viewed with the sound on, so you can make them more engaging by either including audio in them or by adding in music and sounds.
Repurpose Your Stories
Since Stories disappear so quickly, one way to get more for your efforts is to repurpose your content to be used on regular posts, in email, or even on your website.
Run Ads on Stories
Most of the major platforms allow ads on Stories, which can be something to consider when you are planning out your paid ad campaigns. This also provides businesses with some telling insights that you can use to make your marketing even better on the next go-around.
Well, there you have it—our best tips on how to use social media Stories to make your business more relatable, intriguing, and relevant in these modern times.
But don’t just take our word for it! Follow some of your favorite brands and start paying attention to what they’re doing on their Stories.
(Curious about social media best practices and guidelines? Download our Social Media Tool Kit here.)