Although social media began with posts, stories are quickly taking over on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. In January 2019, it was reported that an average of 500 million users watch and post Instagram stories daily.
Today, almost all social media platforms, from Facebook to Snapchat, utilize the 24-hour stories feature and allow users to share snippets of their day-to-day life, business, and more.
The Evolution of Social Media Stories
The concept of stories on social media began in 2013 when Snapchat launched Snapchat stories. In comparison to the platform’s original disappearing photos and videos, stories lasted 24 hours and enabled users to view the content repeatedly within the time period.
Despite slow adoption by users, stories eventually caught fire – and the attention of other social media channels. Instagram was the first social media outlet to jump on the bandwagon when they launched their stories feature in 2016. After that, Facebook and WhatsApp announced the stories features for their platforms in 2017.
Although Snapchat invented the feature, Snapchat stories didn’t fare quite as well as Instagram’s story feature did. In 2017, only a year after launching, Instagram stories boasted 300 million users, while Snapchat stories stayed at a consistent 173 million.
Of course, much of Instagram’s success was due to brands leveraging this feature to reach a wider audience.
Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram Story Best Practices
Those interested in using social media stories for their marketing efforts should adhere to a few best practices for success.
Leverage Stories’ Functions
Within each respective platform, users can add interactive or visual elements to enhance the storytelling capabilities of the content. Depending on the platform, you will have access to features and functions such as:
- GIFs & Emojis
- Location Tagging
- Profile Mentions
- eCommerce Tagging & Linking
By utilizing these features, you can create a better, more exciting user experience.
Pave Your Own Way
The key to success with social media stories is to stand out from the competition. This means tapping into your knowledge of your audience and thinking outside of the box.
If behind-the-scenes content on Instagram stories works for your company, roll with it! If your audience doesn’t use Snapchat, don’t feel pressure to spend time on the platform. Discover what works best for your company and create a detailed plan before moving forward.
Use a Call to Action
Although Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat stories should have an organic feel to them, you still need to entice users to take action.
Make sure each story you share has a specific call to action. Whether you want customers to engage with your content or swipe up to view a link, tell them to do so within your stories.
Rely on Analytics to Make Decisions
On each respective social media platform, brands have access to analytics and data about their published stories. This information can include:
- How many people interacted with and viewed your story
- Which actions users took when viewing your story
- How many users followed your account after seeing your story
- Whether users visited your profile after viewing your story
- Each story’s completion rate
Use this information to guide your decisions about your future content and campaigns. Experiment with these functions and discover what your audience engages with the most. From there, you can determine ways to leverage these in-app tools further and enhance your story content.
Social Media Stories Have Transformed Branded Content
It’s no longer enough for a brand to post a picture of a product, add a witty caption, and call it a day. Brands are expected to interact with their fans through authentic Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook stories. Today, companies are concentrating their efforts on devising genuine content focused on people and interactions rather than sales, reach, and awareness.
In fact, users crave this authentic and engaging approach. A 2017 global study reported that 86 percent of consumers listed authenticity as a vital determiner of which brands they like and support.