Guide to Social Media Stories for Marketing

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  • Stories have become synonymous with the social media experience. If you’re not using social media stories, you’re missing out.
  • As of right now, you can create Stories on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, SnapChat, Pinterest, and YouTube.
  • Since Stories disappear after 24 hours, they create a sense of urgency that users find appealing. They’re a mobile-first, engaging, easy way to create authentic moments of connection with users.
  • To succeed with Stories, make lots of content that’s scalable and shows off your brand’s personality.

Social media has long been central to digital marketing. And as with everything in digital marketing, it’s always evolving, so succeeding on social means keeping up with the latest trends.

When Instagram Stories first launched in 2016, not everyone was convinced that this Snapchat-inspired trend of temporary content would take off. Five years later, almost every major social media platform has a Stories feature, and Stories have become basically synonymous with the social media experience. If you’re not using social media stories, you’re missing out.

Don’t worry – with just a little know-how, you can start creating engaging Stories that complement your social media campaigns and get people excited about your brand. We got your back.

What are social media stories?

Social media stories are typically 10-15 second images and videos that disappear after 24 hours. The temporary nature of Stories is exactly what makes them so unique. Though some platforms allow you to save Stories in collection form to be viewed later, as in Instagram Highlights, the main function of Stories is to give a spontaneous glimpse into something viewers can’t find on your post feed.

Stories usually appear in a separate place outside your main feed. On Instagram and Facebook, they appear as circular thumbnails at the top of the platform screen. Stories are mobile-native content, appearing as full-screen, vertical videos or images that followers can view, share with friends, and sometimes respond to directly.

As of right now, you can create Stories on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, SnapChat, Pinterest, and YouTube (for channels with over 10,000 subscribers). Twitter recently tried out a version of stories called Fleets, but pulled the feature in the first half of 2021.

Why are stories so popular?

According to Business2Community, more than 500 million of the 1 billion active monthly Instagram users watch Stories daily. So what makes social media stories so appealing?

  • Fleeting nature of content: The fact that each story will eventually disappear creates the impression of scarcity; viewers have to pay attention if they don’t want to miss anything.
  • Personal and authentic: Stories tend to be more spontaneous and impromptu – think a quick Behind-the-Scenes clip of your newest product being built, for example. This creates a unique kind of excitement through the feeling that viewers are being invited into an authentic shared moment with your brand.
  • Mobile-first: These days, everything happens on our phones. Social media stories are a type of mobile-native content that guarantees you’re reaching potential customers where they spend the most time.
  • Easy to produce: Since stories are intended to be both spontaneous and temporary, they can be less polished than the posts that would normally go on your feed.

Tips for using social media stories

Right now, Instagram and Facebook dominate the Stories landscape. The platform that invented the concept, SnapChat, still holds its own, though it’s a much more niche marketing tool than Instagram and Facebook, particularly because (like TikTok) its audience skews very young.

For that reason, the following tips focus primarily on how to use stories on Facebook and Instagram.

Creating stories

Tip 1: Don’t be afraid to create a lot. As Business2Community notes, people tend to binge watch social media stories, so Stories perform better when uploaded in batches. So since high volume is the expectation, don’t hold back. You can even create lots of Story content in advance and then post them strategically over time.

Tip 2: Make it scalable. Since Stories are temporary and time-sensitive, it can feel like you’re dumping a lot of precious time into a blackhole. Avoid this problem by making content scalable – in other words, Story content that can be repurposed as feed posts or other types of content later.

Making stories engaging

Tip 1: Make it personal. Through filters, stickers, and other customizable features, you can make your Stories extra personal so viewers feel even more connected to your brand.

Tip 2: Invite engagement. Some of the most popular social media stories ask viewers to respond in the moment, whether through direct message or customizable poll features.

The best types of content to post to Stories

The following types of content tend to perform best through social media stories:

  • BTS (Behind-the-Scenes footage)
  • Polls
  • Links to external content
  • Recent social posts
  • Showcases of products and services
  • Company updates

But don’t let this list hold you back. Again, the temporary nature of Stories makes them a great space for experimentation. Get creative, and remember, have fun!

We’ll help you tell your Story

At RMG, we know that good digital marketing includes a robust social strategy. Have your social profiles set up but don’t feel comfy with Stories just yet? Not sure where to even start? Whether you just need an extra hand or need help starting your social campaigns from the ground up, RMG can help – reach out today!

Author avatar
Mariah Muller
Mariah is the Content Specialist at Redefine Marketing Group, supporting editorial operations for our clients' blogs and other written content. She studied Spanish Language and Literature at UC Berkeley and has worked in a variety of fields, including tutoring and law. She lives, writes, and watches too much TV in Los Angeles.
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