In the realm of digital marketing, rapid change is the norm. What was new and innovative five years ago has today become tried and true or even outdated. Among the latest trends is social stories which is both fast-moving in terms of its popularity, as well as its application.
First introduced by Snapchat in 2013, the story format has become increasingly used by both individuals and businesses. In fact, in a Q3 2018 survey of business customers conducted by Hootsuite, 64 percent have either implemented stories into their social strategy or plan to do so in the next 12 months. And, stories are growing 15 times faster than more traditional feed-based social sharing. Today, there’s a wide range of social channels that offer a story format, including Instagram, WhatsApp, Skype, YouTube, Medium and Facebook.
The trend in the story format highlights the shift from text-based platforms, used primarily on desktops, to mobile-only networks that are designed to capture in-the-moment experiences. And with the phone being the source of sharing stories, stories can be multi-media with a mix of photos and video, as well as text. Social platforms also continue to add new features which have increased the level of creativity that can be leveraged to produce them. While stories can come in a variety of forms, they typically only last for a set brief period of time – often less than one day. Thus, they typically are more personal and spontaneous than other forms of social sharing. In other words, they’re meant to be both created and consumed with a smartphone.
Who is Using Stories?
Although there is still plenty of demand for long-lasting, high-quality content, there is a time and place for more on the fly, less polished stories. This is especially true for businesses in certain brands. According to a 2018 survey on story use conducted by Fastory, some industries already have the majority of brands within them using Snapchat stories, including non-profit organizations, travel and leisure, broadcasting, beauty and consumer goods.
While it’s fast and easy to create and share stories, they still require some preliminary thought and planning. Experiment with a range of story structures to see what works best for your audiences. For example, behind-the-scene glimpses of your team, a quick Q & A session or a tutorial can be of interest to both customers and those who are new to interacting with your brand. Consider sharing content on an ongoing basis and track their success by adding UTMs to your story URLs. And yes, the content used in stories can be shared across multiple story platforms. For example, you can save an Instagram story and later share it on your Facebook profile and repurpose it as a YouTube video.
If you’re considering the use of stories as part of your digital marketing mix, keep in mind that the goal should be to help, entertain, give answers, provide solutions, take people behind the scenes or make them laugh. They should do far more than promote your brand or share an idea. They should create emotion or make the audience feel something. Stories can help increase the connection between your online audiences and your brand and ultimately help them click on your call to action.
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