Have you ever wondered what is the story with stories on social media? Well, you’re in luck because our founder, Yvette Adams, just produced a handy webinar on this very topic as part of our Get Social Webinar series. The webinar clarifies what stories are, how to create them on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn and how to best to use them for your business. We created this webinar series to give individuals and businesses the digital skills they need in our increasingly digital world. We hope this can make a difference to people needing to get more digital fast, including those businesses experiencing hardship during COVID-19 as the sessions are very affordable. If you would like to learn more about social media and stories, keep reading…
What Are Stories?
A story is a photo or video that you post on the stories section of your Snapchat, Instagram, LinkedIn or Facebook account. This is visible to you and all your followers for 24 hours before disappearing.
Where Did Stories Come From?
Snapchat was the first social media platform to create Stories back in 2013. The feature became very popular with young users and saw Snapchat’s popularity soar. Apart from a quick snap or video, users also began to build chains, effectively stories strung together, that could only be viewed for a certain length of time. Since then, Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp have all introduced their own story features between 2016 and 2017.
Most recently, LinkedIn have joined the stories bandwagon, producing an extremely similar feature to Facebook and Instagram stories. The only real difference is that LinkedIn Stories enables business professionals to share images and short videos of their everyday moments. Currently, only select members of LinkedIn in Australia, Brazil, France, the Netherlands and UAE are able to post stories though all users are able to view shared stories. The ability to post stories is likely to be released more widely soon.
How Popular are Stories?
Today, Facebook Stories have 150 million daily active users and are on track to beat Snapchat. With 1 billion stories shared every single day, it is clear that stories are here to stay. Stories are extremely popular because they are:
Immersive – 73% of people in the US agree that stories enable them to experience new things outside their everyday lives. This feature can show audiences of a number of previously unseen scenarios, creating an interesting and immersive experience.
Authentic – 65% of people in the US say that stories help them feel closer and more up to date with others. As this feature often aids more frequent and immediate sharing than regular posts, users are able to share and view more content each day.
Inclusive – 57% of people in the US say that stories help them feel part of a larger community. Watching behind the scenes content from other users can make audiences feel closer to others, despite geographical distance.
Addictive – 62% of people in the US say that they plan to use stories even more in the future. This insight clarifies that users are becoming more enamoured with the story function over time. It is likely that stories will become even more vital to the social media experience.
Modern – Clearly, the popularity of stories shows how people are already interacting with their phones. Users are holding their phones vertically 90% of the time, perfectly fitting the existing story function. In addition, audience attention spans are shrinking quickly, making shorter, more digestible content the most popular.
So How Do I Create a Story?
While each social media platform is different, the majority of stories can be found across the top of your screen in small bubbles.
The easiest way to create a story on Facebook is to click Home > Add a Story. Stories can be made by taking a photo or video in real time or uploading from the Camera Roll.
To create an Instagram Story, users must click on their profile graphic in the top left corner. Stories can be made in real time or uploaded directly from the Camera Roll. A great time saving tip is that you can schedule a story to both Instagram and Facebook by clicking Settings > Story Settings > Turn on Share Your Story to Facebook. This should only be done when your Instagram and Facebook audiences have similar age, gender, location and interests.
Snapchat stories can be made by taking a photo or video, selecting the viewing length and then selecting share to My Story. They are visible by swiping left from the main camera.
When and How Often Should I Post a Story?
Well, how long is a piece of string? Depending on your business and organisational goals, you could be posting as much as daily or even multiple times per day! We believe the more often you post, the better engagement becomes. If this sounds scary, you can start by posting any time something new or interesting happens in the office.
The best time to post a story depends on your audience. Be sure to view your Story Insights before posting to determine the best day and time to publish.
While this may feel quite overwhelming at first, there are a number of useful scheduling apps that can help you plan your content ahead of time. Some of these apps include Storrito, Buffer and Later. The Creative Collective team has our fingers crossed that Facebook provides the ability to schedule stories through Facebook Creator Studio in the near future.
How Can I Be Creative with Stories?
There are a number of ways to get creative on stories and there are absolutely no limits to the type of content to produce. Some great examples of creative storytelling on stories include:
1/ Answering Questions – As the leader of your business, you are the resident expert. Prove your knowledge and skill to your audience by answering FAQs on your stories. This is really helpful for those looking for more information in a casual format.
2/ Creating Polls – This feature provides a great way for you to figure out exactly what your audiences want. Not sure if they prefer blue or purple for your new product release? Just ask them!
3/ Employee/Customer Takeovers – Employee and customer takeovers are a great way to create content for your stories. Employees are able to show behind the scenes content while exemplifying quality workplace culture. Customer takeovers can show users the positive shopping experience you can provide while also showcasing products and services for sale.
4/ Capturing Behind the Scenes Footage – Stories are great for providing behind the scenes footage of business practices. Seemingly boring things like unpacking boxes of products can be turned into a ‘Sneak Peek Unboxing’ that make audiences feel interested and connected.
5/ Featuring Other Accounts – By tagging and promoting other accounts, you are able to show the community mindedness of your organisation. This is viewed very positively by both consumers and other businesses and could forge mutually beneficial relationships.
6/ Discount Codes – A great way to determine the popularity of your stories is to create an exclusive discount code. By only sharing this code in stories, you can directly determine how many users clicked through to purchase from the story feature.
Any Other Tips or Recommendations?
Once you become comfortable with the basics of social media stories, there are always more features to try. Instagram and Facebook also regularly create new features, such as Instagram Reels, that adjust to modern trends.
Some recommendations include:
Multiple Panel Storytelling – Stories give you the opportunity to tell a story over a number of frames. An important message or campaign can be built up over a number of stories posted in concession. This allows a lot more freedom than a single post in the news feed. Below are a number of stories from one of our Strategic Planning Trips. Together, they create a multiple panel story.
Text – There are a number of text features that enable users to create unique, eye catching posts. Users can change fonts, size and colour of text with new fonts dropping regularly.
Third Party Apps – There are a number of apps that can be downloaded to assist you in producing aesthetic stories using templates and editing features. Some of our favourites include Unfold, Canva, Over and Cut Story.
Instagram Live – This feature allows you to post video content live from your phone. This is a great feature for answering FAQs or chatting with audiences about current events and new product launches. This feature is best used with Hands Free Mode as it allows for free movement while on camera.
Instagram Reels – Instagram has recently introduced Instagram Reels, a short-form video feature that directly competes with TikTok. To learn more about this feature, visit our blog post about it here.
Instagram Highlights – These can be found on your own profile and hold old stories that can be grouped in a number of ways. Depending on your organisation, you might like to create highlights grouped by the services you provide or the locations you service. This allows users to go back and view stories for as long as you allow them to be on your page. Highlight covers can also be added to create extra aesthetic value and customisation to your page.
Stay On Brand
While it can be lots of fun to play around with all these features, the most important thing to remember is always stay on brand. Using colours, fonts and features that align with your brand style and personality make your organisation reinforces your brand and makes it seem more professional, authentic and trustworthy. In some cases, fun content may not necessarily improve your reputation, so it is vital to consider this before jumping into things headfirst.
Where Can I Learn More?
This blog post covers some of the key learning presented in one of our most recent Get Social Webinars. This program, which features weekly online masterclasses, aims to help you master your digital presence and grow your business during isolation.
If you’d like to learn more, purchase the single webinar recording, or grab a Masterclass Pass that entitles you to access any of our scheduled online sessions or even better combine a Masterclass Pass with our Online Modules All Access Pass and immerse yourself in as much digital marketing learning as you like. View and book upcoming sessions here.
If you would like to explore more training options, we will happily discuss this with you. Please contact us on [email protected]