Instagram and Snapchat Stories enable brands to reach out to consumers in fun and innovative ways. The stories are created using collections of photos, videos and images that display in a slideshow for 24 hours. This is an innovative way to grab your customers’ attention, offering a unique and candid take on social media marketing.
Snapchat launched Snapchat Stories in 2013, describing it in a news announcement as a “totally new way to share your day with friends – or everyone”.
Similar to this feature, Instagram Stories was launched in August 2016. It offers users a slideshow format for their photos and videos, which vanish after 24 hours.
Facebook is joining the storytelling craze too with its Messenger Day option. Launched in select markets, Messenger Day is essentially Stories for Facebook’s Messenger mobile messaging app.
Why are these social networks jumping on the storytelling bandwagon? Narratives allow people and businesses to communicate in a way that is more personal, in-the-moment and less permanent.
Why social media Stories work for brands:
Reach a new demographic
Facebook remains the most-used social media platform among all-ages, but things are changing in the younger demographic. Edison Research found that among 12 to 24-year-olds in the US, Facebook has been overtaken by Snapchat, with 72% of this age group having used the platform. Pew Research Center also found 55% of 18 to 29-year-old Internet users in the US use Instagram.
Share longer, complex concepts
Sometimes a photo, Tweet or social post is simply too short or limiting to convey your brand message. Stories communicate your message in an in-depth, beginning-middle-and-end structure, but are still short enough for audiences to watch from start to finish.
Explore off-theme topics
Social media feeds have become timelines depicting the major moments in the life of brands. What brands and businesses post stays on feeds indefinitely, unless it is deleted. Stories, on the other hand, are temporary.
This enables brands to post content that is unrelated to campaigns or central brand themes, without it affecting the look and feel of their social page.
Make your audience come back for more
You can create Snapchat or Instagram Stories that follow on one another in a series, whether as daily or weekly instalments. Interlinked Stories can make audiences come back, which grows brand loyalty and positions your brand as a source of entertainment and inspiration.
How brands are using Stories in social media marketing:
Reveal a day in the life of your company
Stories can offer a behind-the-scenes look at how your product is made or the interesting things your employees get up to at work. Dominos Pizza in the UK used this format on Snapchat in January 2016 to show their pizzas’ journey from dough to door.
Promote a product or sale
The US clothing brand, J.Crew, promoted a new pair of sunglasses through an Instagram Story which featured a series of photos of consumers wearing the product. It included its announcement of the sale through text-only images, slotted in among the photos.
Bring out your fun side
The American chain of fast-food restaurants, Taco Bell, used an Instagram Story to ask their audience what they would like to see in Taco Bell’s Stories. Its team used Instagram’s drawing tools and filters to produce a creative video that is intriguing, fun and engaging.
Snapshots of an event or campaign
PricewaterhouseCoopers promoted its role in counting the Oscar ballots with Snapchat. Its Stories followed the journey of the ballot briefcase, which holds the ballots, as it made its way across the US to Hollywood, Los Angeles, where the awards took place in 2016.
Want to start using Instagram for social media marketing? Read our article on Using Instagram for Business.