Stories Will Trump Feeds: What it Means for Brands
It’s a fascinating time in the world of social media—data privacy, bots, chat bots, fake accounts, influencers, native video and more all continue to be hot topics.
Every so often I take a step back and reflect on how my personal use of social media has changed. I did this recently and was somewhat surprised at what I discovered. Most notable was that when I open Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat, I find myself immediately tapping into the Stories of friends, family and colleagues—exploring what they’ve been up to in the very recent past. Only when I’ve exhausted those Stories will I take a quick swipe through my Feed, which used to own nearly all my mindshare. Apparently I’m not alone in this behavior.
STORIES OUTGROWING FEEDS
According to a recent TechCrunch article, Stories are growing 15x faster than Feeds—with Stories creation and consumption up a whopping 842 percent since early 2016. Those are some seriously heady numbers. One thing feels clear—Stories, which many felt would be yet another passing fad, appear to be here to stay.
So, what should brands do about it?
HOW BRANDS CAN USE STORIES
For starters, those who “grew up” in social media over the past decade have had it drilled into them that it is all about the Feed. How to stand out in-stream. How to drive organic reach and engagement in the news feed. Etc. Etc. It’s time to shift that mindset and start exploring how to engage using the Stories format.
As always, the key is to test and learn, but here are a few things to consider initially.
1. Industry Events
Use Stories around the next industry event you attend or sponsor. Capture your travel, booth setup, keynote sessions, breakout sessions, networking, post-event party, etc. Act as a roving reporter using Stories to bring the full experience to life for those unable to be there. A good example is FedEx, which has covered major events like New York Fashion Week using Instagram Stories.
2. Internal events and culture
Stories also lend themselves well to internal company events and culture. Take Fans/Followers behind the scenes to see what it is like to work at your organization. Showcase company culture, show off your workspace or highlight the engineers who make the product or service your customers love.
Email marketing company MailChimp provides a solid example—running a “day-in-the-life” Stories series that features designers and engineers. By allowing employees to take viewers through a typical work day at the company, the series helps add a human element to the brand.
3. Hot-button issues
Stories can also be interactive, particularly on Instagram. Find an issue that’s relevant to your business or industry and run a simple poll within a Story. This encourages fan/follower feedback and can help inform future content.
4. Evergreen long-form content
Stitch together some of your best evergreen, long-form content and link to it within your Instagram Stories. Allowing users to “swipe up” to see content you own is a great way to deepen the interaction and extract value from assets you’ve spent time and money to create. The “swipe up” to learn more functionality can also be a great lead-generation tactic.
5. Influencer marketing
Think through how you can combine your influencer marketing efforts with Stories. Maybe an influencer takes over your Stories feed for a day or week. Maybe you encourage influencers to incorporate your product or service into their Stories versus their Feed and see how that type of content performs.
How is your brand thinking about and using Stories? If you’d like to brainstorm opportunities, send us an email and let’s talk.
Trevor Jonas is VP of Digital Strategy at WE Communications.
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