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The Story Behind Social Media Stories

Trying to keep up with the latest social media lingo? One word that you may have heard floating around recently is “stories.” Social media stories are their own animal, but they are one that marketers should be paying increasing attention to, as they are poised to become a significant marketing trend in 2019.

What are social media stories?

First, let’s break down what a social media story actually is. Just like a story you would read in a book or watch in a movie, a social media story reveals a progression of events in the form of posts—either still photos or videos. When you make a post to your social media story, that post stays a part of your story for 24 hours from the time it was posted—and then it disappears (though Instagram allows you to archive and highlight expired stories). Social media users can view your story at any given time that there is content available on it with the ability to click through from one post to another in the progression of the time they were posted.

Where did social media stories start, and where do they exist currently?

Social media giant Snapchat pioneered social media stories in October of 2013. Facebook-owned Instagram followed in August 2016, and then Facebook itself rolled out the story format in March of 2017. In between, another Facebook entity, WhatsApp, revealed stories on its platform in February 2017.

Though Snapchat was the founder of stories on social media, other platforms have seen use of them skyrocket past that of Snapchat since launching their own versions. In the third quarter of 2017, Snapchat stories has 178 million worldwide daily active users, compared to 300 million for both Instagram and WhatsApp during that same time period.

Why are social media stories important for marketers?

Stories are growing 15 times faster than news feeds, according to Fast Company. The rise of social media stories as compared to the traditional news feed changes the way content is disseminated within the social media landscape. Rather than an algorithm-dominated news feed, in which content may or may not appear in the order it was posted, stories show off your content consecutively grouped together all in one place. Also, the fact that story content is fleeting suggests to viewers that this content is rarer and that maybe it should be consumed more quickly.

Stories are also significant because they allow brands to post a theoretical unlimited number of times without saturating potential consumers. This is not to say you should post a story with 50 images or videos in one day, but the point is, brands can post more on stories because social media users opt to look at them. They make the decision as to when to look and stop looking This power of choice bestowed to the user via stories contrasts brand posts on their news feeds—too many of which most users find plain annoying.

How should brands approach marketing differently using stories?

Stories present both opportunities and challenges for brands using them as a marketing tool. Stories are easy to use, but that does not mean your brand should go completely crazy posting every little moment of its day.

Instead, think about constructing a thought-out narrative rather than simply throwing out calls to action. In that sense, creativity is key. Invite your audience to participate in an activity, whether it is learning how a product works, seeing a new product in action or even simply meeting one of your team members. Next week, we will go into more detail on how to use stories to benefit your brand.

Want to make stories a part of your marketing effort in 2019? The McNutt & Partners team can help. McNutt & Partners is a full-service advertising and digital marketing agency. Contact us today for your marketing needs! Call 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.




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