Once upon a time, there was an app called Snapchat. It actually... still exists. But basically, it's a simple app where you could take temporary pictures and videos, send them to your friends, and have them deleted after 24 hours. "Poppycock!" said, well, me when it came out, "Why on Earth would you want to use something to create temporary content?"
To this day, I'm still pretty baffled. But, as it turns out, that format is extremely popular, especially among the younger crowd. And, as they do, other tech companies wanted to hitch themselves onto it and thus the now-prevalent "stories" feature exists across just about every major social platform, from Facebook to YouTube. Why fight progress? Let's discuss how you can use this to your advantage and bump your social media marketing game to a new height using stories. Here are my main points:
Stories are Easier to Use ...
Nowadays on social media, we have this distinction between the stories feature and the old way: feeds. Have you ever felt that feeds are mildly stressful to use? Taking the right image or video, writing the right text to accompany it, and having to think about the fact that what goes on a social media news feed sticks around a long time, or at least it's intended to. So in your head, you might be thinking "Oh crap, I better not mess this up!" Stories take the load off in a way. Most often, all you have to do is tap your profile icon to get launched into a Story post. And from there, just take a picture or video, and decorate it. It takes mere moments and you're relieved from the stress that it's going to somehow "taint" your perfect-looking feed permanently if you "mess up" something. It's going to get deleted and in a way that's comforting.
... And easier to find!
These social media sites want you to use this feature. So, it's in their best interest to make them accessible. As I discussed earlier, using them is really easy, but it's even easier to find others' posts. It's a common thing now to see little profile picture circles as the very first thing you see when opening up Facebook, Instagram, or Youtube. Tapping those takes you right into a slideshow of those peoples' daily Stories. To you as a business, this obviously spells very good news, as your circle could be one of the few that are shown. Repeated exposure to a brand is really important, and if you're using stories well, you have the potential of exposing your brand each and every time they open social. That's a lot, in case you needed it spelled out for you.
The social media sites love you for using it.
Think about it, what's their goal here? Social media sites' primary goal is to keep you coming back so they can serve you everybody's favorite little interruption: ads! So how do stories play into that? It becomes obvious when you think about it. Since they disappear, you're incentivized to check peoples' stories daily to keep track of them. Many people use stories by posting several times a day, which means that people who want to view them have to keep checking in. And are there ads in between? You bet there are.
And it's an advertiser's dream.
If you're less into the idea of posting every day and being "active" and "engaging", and you just want to throw a pile of money somewhere to gain an audience, then look no further than story ads. As people tap through others' stories, they'll come across sponsored stories, and you can be one of them. They seamlessly fit in with the user's experience and can be a valuable exposure tool for your business, or product, or whatever it is you're marketing. Facebook and Instagram's ad system have automatic placements that fill in stories slots however they can. Snapchat is basically all stories, but has a ton of unique ways you can be creative with them to advertise. Just take your pick, keeping your audience in mind. The biggest issue I generally see with stories ads are that they don't have a minimum exposure time (in my experience, at the time of writing*) which means that uninterested users can just tap past them without a second thought. So your creative content has to be instantly engaging, and short.
Stories are an under-rated, under-thought, and under-used feature of social media that marketers can use to make some very good headway to getting exposure. So what are you waiting for? Start tapping that circle and using it! If you need some help, though, we're a marketing agency and totally happy to work with you. Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and let's chat! Thanks for reading.