What’s the appeal of Stories?
Below are a few reasons:
- More positive posts – Unlike Facebook and Twitter, users are less likely to get into debates that involve negativity (e.g., politics) because of the nature of these platforms.
- Vertical-video friendly – Users can see videos without having to turn their phone horizontally, or watch a video in a short but wide box.
- Relevant and personal – Users see more personal and timely Stories from their networks.
- Authenticity – Many users feel that Stories provide a more authentic experience because every post is casual, more immersive (since it takes up the entire screen), and less staged to fit into a particular frame.
- The fun element – And most importantly, Stories is a fun feature for connecting with friends and creating visually engaging content with its various creative filters and gizmos.
How brands can leverage these features
Due to the casual and light-hearted nature of Stories, companies and organizations connect with customers in a more engaging and authentic way. Below are some simple tips to engage customers via Snapchat and Instagram Stories:
– 1. Share a real life scene
Real life scenes convert better than animated or graphic videos. Why? Because these images and videos match the aesthetic of what people typically see in Stories. An animated or graphic video that has been clearly retouched to look perfect will be seen as an ad, which it off-putting for most users.
Brands can easily create engaging and authentic content by recording ordinary events with their smartphone cameras, such as people lining up for a table at a busy restaurant or someone taking a nature walk.
Beyond Yoga is an example of a brand that effectively engaged users with Instagram Stories. The Athleisure brand told a narrative in a series of visual chapters: featuring a woman throughout her run around town, while she subtly sports various pieces of workout gear from its collection.
– 2. Serve ads to existing fans
Hootsuite conducted a study and discovered that existing fans were more likely to engage with the ad. Marketers can share and target audiences across Facebook and Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) based on their engagement with either platform. For instance, if one of your Facebook videos is performing well, you can retarget that Facebook audience on Instagram with a Story ad.
– 3. Follow recommended ad specs
This may seem obvious, but it can be often overlooked. As the saying goes, “The devil is in the details.” When posting Stories ads, it’s important to follow the recommended ad specs in order to optimize your content. Some important specs to keep in mind:
- Recommended file size
- Video length
- Supported codecs
Hootsuite also found that ads designed for mobile perform better (just like websites designed with mobile in mind). When creating your ad, think about features like vertical ad units, responsive, text size, and optimizing your ads for silent viewing (with captions).
– 4. Leverage influencers, user-generated content and Q&As
Another great way to start using Stories is to create original content with brand influencers, or even customers. While celebrity Q&As via Stories from fan-submitted questions are a defining example of how a larger brand can leverage this feature,companies can use this feature to foster customer loyalty too. This also makes followers feel as if they’re part of your brand story.
For example, the capabilities for many brands to create location-targeted geofilters for Snapchat means many ways to get customers to engage in a fun way. This can be heightened further by asking customers to submit their Snaps to the brand to get goodies or promotions. This strategy also gives you a chance to measure ROI, and see who is actually engaging—something that can be difficult to measure with Snapchat.
– 5. Share Discounts or Promotions
It’s not unusual for a brand to share web-only promotion codes, or special offers via email newsletters—or even to the first ten people to like a specific post on their Instagram profile. Doing this also in Stories is a great way to train followers to always check for special deals. Not to mention, it’s also a great way to measure and get conversions.
100 users may view your Stories, but if only one user redeems the special promo code (our web development team can help set this up for you), perhaps focusing efforts on this type of marketing can be limited, or dialed down. Of course, don’t be afraid try more than a couple times; remember, it disappears in 24 hours so you want to give your audience a chance to tune in!
How to start
Getting started is easy. Like any social media strategy, it’s important to set an objective and determine your ROI. Is there a particular goal in mind that you think Stories could accomplish in your social media strategy? Do you want to establish a presence on Snapchat, or is your company on Instagram already and Stories are meant to compliment your current goals and strategy?
Asking the right questions before starting is the best way to ensure it’s not all in vain. But with the right messaging, Stories can add a boost to your audience, give you a chance to be creative, fun, or test something new—no matter your brand!