The rise of social media stories ushers in a new wave of communication to the masses. If you’re not using this to market your business, read this article to find out why you should be.
What platform do you use to tell your story?
Each social media platform has their own version of the story mode. Which one is better is not the right question to ask. You should use all of them if you can, or select one of them to start.
As you might have guessed, Snapchat the originator of the story mode is still very popular with young people, but all the platforms are popular in their own way. Finding the one that works for you and your business is less important than just getting started.
Why Are Social Media Stories So Popular?
Social media stories allow a user to organize video content more effectively. Let’s say you’re a travel vlogger and your entire day is going to be sight-seeing in Bangalore, India. Well, if you want to keep your subscribers in the know and show them the highlights of each place you visited you could use the story mode to create a nice and neat series of videos to keep your viewers involved throughout the day.
Rather than forcing your viewers to watch each individual video or read every piece of content you produce you can create a series of videos explaining what you’re doing and use that as a way to increase engagement on your posts. You tell your viewers in the story to watch the full video on another platform or just in your feed.
What Are The Top Three Story Providers?
Almost every platform has a story function now, but some are clearly the front-runners when it comes to numbers.
Take a look at the timeline of the birth of the story function on each platform. For a great resource about the rise of stories check out this infographic created by Fastory.
The top three platforms right now are the first three that were created. It’s surprising to me that YouTube took so long to get on this bandwagon. YouTube being a 100% video oriented platform seems to be late to the party.
These statistics do not tell the whole story. From the looks of it, it would seem Snapchat, Instagram, and Whatsapp are the best networks to start making stories, but it’s more complicated than that.
Just because Facebook is not on this last chart, doesn’t mean it’s not a force to be reckoned with. Facebook has over 2 billion daily active users. You really can’t argue with that number.
Yes, maybe these other platforms are more geared towards video and mobile applications, but all social platforms and strategies will grow your profile if you are consistent and provide quality information.
That’s really the secret to marketing in general. You can look at trends all you want, but if you’re not consistent with your content you’ll never get anywhere.
What Are the Business Applications of the Social Media Story?
The business applications of the story function are astounding. Given what the travel vlogger did earlier, let’s say you’re a car review blog at the Chicago Auto Show. Over the next few days, you could create a story of all the cool cars you saw. You could give reviews and point people to content pieces you have regarding the cars you are checking out, and draw more traffic to your website and affiliate links. If you have products to sell you can also promote them on the story too.
Many Instagrammers are already using this function to do “shoutouts” and promote other similar profiles for a fee. This is a huge industry for influencers. For more on influencer marketing check out this article from our blog, Influencer Marketing: The Instagram Gift from the Gods.
Here’s another example of how you can use stories for your business. Let’s say you’re a sports drink company that wants to field test a new product. The product is a high protein drink that is great for bodybuilders, so you decide to attend an event like the Arnold Classic or Mr. Olympia.
While Arnold was at his own event he used Snapchat to broadcast all the cool stuff he was watching. This draws to the attraction is so many ways.
If you had a tent at an event like this, you could show all the people trying your drink. You could run blind taste tests, give out free samples, discounts, have drawings, etc.
Broadcasting them on your Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, or Snapchat would give your fans something talk about and keep you relevant at the cost of … dun, dun, dunnnnn. Nothing!
All it takes is some thought and you’re broadcasting for free. No big advertising budget needed and you reach 1,000s even 1,000,000s sometimes.
If you do decide to spend money, the cost is mere pennies in comparison to a television ad.
Why Adopt Stories?
I know what you might be thinking, this environment keeps changing and now I have another thing added to my plate. Why should I add this too, when I added all these other things already?
Staying relevant is the answer. People, mainly younger people are using these seemingly more advanced tactics to building their channels. Each new addition to these platforms provides another way to build your profile and build your business.
Yes, there are plenty of marketers and business people that do not use stories. Maybe their main focus is still written word, and that’s fine.
I’d say if you’re already doing video work, then adding this to your repertoire is a fantastic idea. Also, if you’re thinking of getting into video then stories, especially on Instagram are great places to get your business out there for free.
Think about it like this, it’s free and very easy to implement. Being a mobile-first platform means you can do it anywhere anytime. It’s not something you need to have a camera crew or sound guy for either.
Transparency Builds Trust
It’s meant to be unedited and gritty. Which makes things even easier for big businesses with big marketing departments.
If you’re a polished company, stories would be a great way to add some ‘transparency’ to your brand. If you’re a purely written word kind of brand, then adding stories is a great addition to give to your readers, because it provides options.
Obviously, being on every platform is important, but you don’t need to do stories on every platform to be successful. If you’re a business then choose one, like Instagram or Facebook. They are by far the easiest platforms to understand.
Instagram is great because you can build your following very easily with stories. You can make a story, save it to your profile and use it attract followers with the hashtags. If you want, you can even promote it for very little money. You can also easily reach out to a custom audience of over 10k people for $20 over three days.
Expand Your Marketing Team With Social Media Stories in Mind
Just like ad agencies used to force their employees to watch television for ad research, you should make your marketing department play on social media all day.
Only having a person that manages those accounts isn’t enough anymore. All of your marketing and sales people should have social media accounts and use stories to talk about products, industry trends, company events, conventions, and etc.
The days of keeping your employees off of social media should be over because the value of spreading the world is more valuable to the company as a whole.
I’ll give you an example. The average person on Facebook has over 338 friends. If you made it part of the job to make their profiles business-friendly expand their reach in the industry, you’d build have an enormous network of potential customers in a matter of a few weeks.
If those same sales reps went to a convention and started using stories to talk about what they are doing, they could bring more publicity to your tent and easily steal the show from other competitors. So instead of having just your marketing department make professional videos and pictures all the time, all your employees can publicize everything you do with the company’s mission in mind for free.
Not having video marketing in your business will simply stifle your growth.
Without it, you’re not giving your viewers enough options to consume your content. If you just do written word content you’re limiting it to people that only have the option of reading it. What about all the people that have long drives to work or have families? Creating a video or podcast would reach more people, wouldn’t it?
Properly done videos do not have to be perfect. They just have to relevant, creative, and fun. Getting all three of these markers is not something that takes a ton of talent. It just takes some practice. If you use Instagram and Snapchat, the filters alone will help you hit these markers.
Don’t be a stick-in-the-mud when it comes to video. Just let loose and create.
If you’re still not convinced stories will expand your business, I’d recommend checking out our article on Video Marketing.
Til next time.