You’ve no doubt encountered “stories” on your Facebook or Instagram feed. These short, seconds-long snippets of video offer a quick glimpse into life beyond the screen – the things your friends, family and favorite brands are doing when you’re not around.
It’s a serious FOMO-inducing feature that, though initially reserved just for Snapchat, has spread through social media like wildfire.
Celebs are using it. Companies are using it. Even marketers are using it.
So, the big question is: should you be using it, too?
Leveraging Stories for Your Brand
Stories are the perfect tool to showcase your brand, engage your customers and keep your company top of mind in the crowded social media landscape.
They capture attention instantly, and they do it in a way that’s fun, interactive and, most importantly, inexpensive. All you need is a phone and someone to operate it, and you can create, post and promote a story in minutes – no editing or fancy equipment necessary.
Stories also offer:
Authenticity. Today’s consumers want transparency. They want to know who they’re doing business with and what they’re all about, and they’re not big fans of perfectly polished marketing campaigns only looking to drum up sales and rake in profits. Stories offer a raw, more personal way to reach your customers that doesn’t feel so stuffy or fake, like most marketing methods do.
Spontaneity. Stories are created on the fly, in real time. They humanize a brand and give customers an unfiltered, spur-of-the-moment look behind the curtain that they really can’t get any other way. Best of all, they let you reach your customers anytime, anywhere – no planning, scheduling or detailed strategies necessary.
Fun. It’s plain and simple: stories are just fun. You can use filters to turn your team into bunnies, old men or robots, or you can change your voices to make everyone sound like Alvin the Chipmunk. You can even create or sponsor fun geo-filters for your brand and get your name out there even further.
Engagement. Unlike other marketing tactics, stories offer full-on, all-encompassing engagement. They take up the entire screen, and for those 10 seconds, you have the user's full, undivided attention. Even if you don’t mention a single product or service you offer, just making them smile can have a huge impact on their likelihood of doing business with you.
If you’re wary about using stories for the first time, consider bringing in an influencer for an account “takeover” to kick off your efforts. They’ll be well-versed in using stories, and they’ll likely bring a large base of new users to your page or account. It’s a great way to start your story campaign with a bang, without requiring a whole lot of work or resources.
Some other tips to leverage stories to their fullest:
Create your own filters. Add geo-filters for your physical location, if you have one, or create a fun Snapchat filter that users will love to share with their friends. Filters are a great way to engage younger consumers who might be in your area or interested in your products.
Build anticipation. Use stories to preview up-and-coming products or things you have in development. Customers will love feeling like they’re in on a secret, and it will get them excited to buy your products long before they hit shelves.
Change hands often. Don’t put just one single person in charge of your stories. Hand over the reins to a different department, employee or even customer once in a while, and keep things fresh and exciting. You don’t want to become too predictable with your story content, or you’ll start to lose viewers.