Although not all businesses can capitalize on social media content in the same ways, new online features make it easier than ever for some brands to reach out to their customer base with new and interesting content. Although social media presence and standard organized/planned posts are important in overall brand identity and visibility, people crave to interact with your brand through new and organic channels. Without a doubt, brands that have used stories successfully saw increased site visits, product views, and sales, especially as many people are moving to use their smartphone for the majority of their online research and purchasing.
Although the story concept originated with Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook are the two that really adopted the feature and are the most used platforms by numerous generations. Roughly 2 years after launching Instagram stories, nearly 400 Million users interact with them every day, with a total of 1.12 Billion accounts across Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp. With an almost 1000% increase in use since the introduction in 2016, it is arguably the fastest-growing sector of social media marketing as we go into 2020.
Driving Brand Perception and Awareness with Stories
Have you ever posted a photo or video and not received a lot of likes and then had the same exact post blow up on your story? This is now becoming more common as people interact less with static posts. Unlike static posts, stories give the idea of interacting with that brand or person during everyday moments. Stories offer businesses a beautiful canvas with minimal distractions to build content that’s relevant and well-branded. By posting updates every day, or having regularly scheduled posts on stories, it creates familiarity and connectivity with the brand. People crave these types of feelings and interactions as a form of instant gratification. In short, people are more likely to view or buy something if they feel good, feel good about your brand, and connect with your message.
When users were asked what actions they have taken after seeing an inspiring brand’s message on stories:
- 58% say they have browsed the brand’s website to get more information
- 1 in 2 have visited websites where they could make a purchase
- 31% have gone to a store to check it out.
How to Use Instagram’s Story Tool
The tool is really very simple to use and works similarly to any other Instagram post. You can essentially post a slideshow of pictures or videos of varying lengths in Instagram Stories with accompanying audio and text as you desire. After 24 hours the content is automatically deleted and reset; the post was never posted in your regular feed (just the Stories section of the app). Your content can be product-based, cultural/socially based (in-the-moment or about certain issues), or engagement based (to create user-generated content to use for your brand).
What Are the Restrictions for IG Stories?
- 1080px x 1920px
- 9:16 aspect ratio
- Maximum of 15 seconds
A Brand That Did It Well
A company that used stories well as Ralph Lauren, who decided to advertise through Instagram Stories from September to November 2018 and saw an 18% increase in overall sales from the acquired millennial audience, and a 41% increase in product views. This indicates that there is a large percentage of people who are more likely to view an Instagram Story than view your profile, BUT a good story can make them view your profile or product and lead to a purchase.
The funny thing about Snapchat is that they realistically invented the story concept as their main feature, it just took off more on Instagram and Facebook. This is partly due to the fact that Snapchats feed and requirements are quite different than those of Instagram and Facebook. Snapchat also has a much smaller user-base than both Facebook and Instagram, which could be one reason why only 13% of consumers surveyed prefer to watch story content there. Many brands are starting to move away from Snapchat, so unless your brand is using Snapchat for something specific it makes more sense to stick to Facebook or Instagram.
What Are the Restrictions for Snapchat Stories?
- 1080px x 1920px
- 9:16 aspect ratio
- Scaled proportionally to the original asset
- 3 to 180 seconds
- Video (.mp4 or .mov, and H.264 encoded)
- Image (.jpg or .png), Ads Manager only
- Storage Aspect Ratio (SAR) should be 9:16
- Display Aspect Ratio (DAR) should be 9:16
- Pixel Aspect Ratio (PAR) should be 1:1
- Video (1 GB or less)
- Image (5 MB or less)
For the complete in-depth specs, click here.
Although not quite as popular as Instagram Stories, Facebook has a virtually identical story function. Posted stories are able to be viewed for 24 hours on your story feed until they are automatically reset; however, they can still be viewed later in your Story Archive. The tool functions in the exact same way but it does, however, allow you to switch camera angles while still recording, which is a feature Instagram does not offer.
What Are the Restrictions for Facebook Stories?
- 500 x 500px minimum
- 1.91 minimum to 9:16 maximum
- 1 to 60 seconds
- 4GB maximum
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A Brand That Did it Well
Who’s better to take an example from Facebook themselves?! With their “Stories Can Do It” (#storiescandoit) campaign Facebook wanted to showcase how Stories can be used effectively for advertising and brand awareness. Working with ad agency Droga5, they ran colorful ads to help bring awareness to shelter dogs and help get them adopted. This was a big move on Facebook’s part showing how Stories have become an everyday part of our culture and that it can be used as a base for many great initiatives. See the video here.
In the end, a good story will depend on what content your audience is looking for, but one thing is for sure, your audience wants immediate, compelling, consistent, and authentic storytelling from your brand. If you aren’t using Stories on one or more platform you are potentially missing millions of users, so now is the time to start!