Social Media: The Power of Using Stories

Stories – the popular social media posts that disappear after 24 hours – have become a hot marketing trend, and there’s no reason small businesses should miss an opportunity to use these storytelling aspects to promote their companies too.

Here’s a quick look at the power of using Stories in your digital marketing plan.

What are Stories?

 A “Story” on a social media channel is a collection of 15-second images or videos that only stay viewable for 24 hours.

Originally started by Snapchat, Stories are now wildly popular on Facebook and Instagram – growing in popularity 15 times faster than news feeds on all the major social platforms, according to data cited by TechCrunch.

“There are more than 1.12 billion accounts across Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Facebook and Facebook Messenger that consume or create these swipeable, vertical video montages every day,” says a BlockParty research report called Beyond the Newsfeed.

And they’ve become a successful tool for businesses. On Instagram, 33 percent of the most popular Instagram Stories are posted by businesses, and 20 percent of the Stories posted by businesses result in direct messages to the account, according to the social media marketing agency BlockParty.

“Even though their initial reach only last 15 seconds at a time and they expire after a day, it’s clear that the opportunity to promote your business and expand your reach is worth the time,” says Dan Baum, a paid media specialist at IMPACT, an inbound marketing services agency.

Instagram Story Tips

The overall idea is simple – it’s an opportunity to promote your brand without being pushy, says Baum in an IMPACT blog, adding “Post things to spark a conversation, not to sell your products.”

Make your Story easy to view, and that means keeping it vertical. Ninety-four percent of people using Instagram hold their phones vertically, says Baum.

The easiest way to make your Story vertical of course is to be able to start with a video or a photograph that was taken vertically.

But if that’s not an option, you may want to try an app such as Adobe Spark, Ripl or Hypetype. “They have Stories templates you can use to format your slides properly,” writes Lauren Moreno in a Social Media Strategies Summit blog.

Also, digital marketers suggest adding a CTA (Call To Action) in your Stories, and use location tags and hashtags. Posts with a location tag get 79 percent more engagement, Baum cites.

More Best Practices

When it comes to Stories, marketing professionals reiterate something they’ve advised businesses before about digital content: build an authentic voice to connect with your audience.

“While Stories are short in length and disappear, you are able to reach a larger audience and can quickly catch their attention,” writes Rea Regan in a blog for the employee management app company Connectteam.

Amy Bladsco with Verdin Marketing says small businesses should keep their Stories raw.

“People like Stories because they feel more ‘real’ and in the moment than other, more-polished forms of content,” she writes in a blog for Verdin.

It’s also important to get the attention of the viewer before they move onto the next Story – one stat estimate it at 4 seconds.

There’s also an app called StoryBoost that can help small businesses create Stories for different social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. It contains over 1,000 templates that can be customized with animated text, stickers, and filters.

The Trend

Facebook now has as many daily users on the ephemeral Stories channel – 500 million, benchmarks reached earlier by Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp, says TechCrunch. Stories inventor Snapchat has just 190 million total daily users.

“That’s impressive, because it means one-third of Facebook’s 1.56 billion daily users are posting or watching Stories each day,” says TechCrunch blogger Josh Costine.