Stories (the social media type) – what are they and why should I use them?

Stories (the social media type) – what are they and why should I use them?

Remember when Snapchat burst onto the scene with its temporary stories of videos and pictures that disappeared after 24 hours? Well, it seems everyone is doing it now. Similar features are now available on Facebook and Instagram with the latter actually boasting more daily users than Snapchat, but which method is right for your business? Our digital manager, Lance, shares his thoughts.

In a quick survey around the office, I asked the team the simple question: “How do you use stories on Instagram?”

In terms of posting to stories versus posting to their feed, the response was mixed. Media planning manager, Cally, favoured the feed posts whereas Nat (our account director) was all about the stories. One thing that everyone did have in common though was how they view the timeline – all looked through the stories before scrolling through the feed.

This is why Stories could prove to be a useful tool for brands and it’s no surprise to me that more brands are shifting their attention away from the traditional social media posts in favour of stories.

Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, has recognised this trend on his own platform and even predicts that users will soon be sharing more into their Stories than they will their feed. And to make it easy for advertisers to adapt to this trend, Facebook are developing tools to convert horizontal Newsfeed ads into vertical Stories ads.

 

So, why should I use Stories?

200m users EVERY DAY

Instagram Stories are growing fast – 200 million people look at them every day and this is increasing all the time. And it’s not just eyeballs on your content, people are responding directly to Stories – one in five Instagram Stories posted by a business receives a direct message reply,

Stories are “discoverable”

This means that people who don’t follow you can see your posts too and they’re much more noticeable than posts on the feed, which are easily scrolled past. Stories are all about the content and it’s even harder to spot the promoted posts in and amongst your friend’s stories.

Dwell time

In a similar way that videos hold a user’s attention longer than standard image posts, Stories are a great way of engaging people and because they only stay on screen for a limited time, they’re less likely to be skipped.

No ‘best time to post’ worries

Because they’re available for 24 hours you’ll always have something in the stories newsfeed (providing you post at least once within that 24 hours). If you’re constantly engaging with your audience you’ll have the opportunity to be seen more often. Changes to the Instagram algorithms can often affect what appears in different people’s feeds but Stories are a good way of keeping you front of mind.

Putting it into practice

Whether Stories will take over the feed any time soon remains to be seen, but for now it would appear that they’ll work for hand-in-hand with traditional feed ads and both are equally important to cover as much real-estate on the advertising platforms as possible.

We’re currently running campaigns for clients in Instagram and Facebook Stories separately, which means we’re able to monitor the success and compare this to feed ads. Early signs are positive and we’re definitely seeing real value in Stories, providing the targeting and the creative is right.

From what we’ve seen, stories can really engage an audience (it’s called stories for a reason) and with carefully targeted audience groups combined with the right creative, this engagement can be more relevant, resulting in higher conversion.

 

For help with Stories or any of your digital marketing needs, I’d be happy to chat. Call me on 01430 236200 or email lance.brook@forwardandthinking.com


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