Should Brands Use Social Media Stories?
2017 saw an explosion in the use and capability of the Story format.
Many years ago, Snapchat was the sole network using this idea of sharing a glimpse into your life with specific friends - a glimpse which would automatically be deleted within a day.
Naturally, brands struggled to see the usefulness of such a format. Why create something with such a tenuous existence when you could focus instead on content for networks like Pinterest or Facebook?
The answer, interestingly, was found within one of those traditional networks. Facebook.
For years, Facebook has relied on brand advertising as a primary revenue source. Brands see within Facebook an opportunity to reach highly targeted audiences. They can create ads and specify users from specific geographic areas, specific interests, or specific ages.
The problem is, younger audiences tend not to want to use Facebook. It’s too easy for parents and other adults to see what their youthful charges are up to! And as an older platform that everyone else is using, Facebook lacks the kind of unique difference that makes other platforms “cool” to be on.
Facebook saw the success that Snapchat was having at reaching a younger demographic and wanted to replicate that appeal. In August of 2016, Facebook-owned Instagram implemented their own version of Snapchat Stories. Immediately, the new functionality began to pull at Snapchat’s more devoted core of users.
And as Instagram continued to enhance the capabilities of Stories, the same kind of posting format was added to WhatsApp, Messenger and, ultimately, Facebook itself.
The result was twofold.
First, more and more people began to use Stories on one platform or another. While younger audiences still represent just a fraction of the overall audience, Facebook found a way to grow that audience, even if not on Facebook itself. Brands wanting to reach that target group of consumers can now do so via Instagram, WhatsApp or Messenger.
Second, more and more brands are finding their way through to use Stories! While they develop budgets for advertising, they’re also exploring organic uses to help build audiences and engage with consumers.
BuzzFeed, Food Network and ESPN are three prime examples.
Fastory, a tool that you can use to create stunning stories for the major channels, reports that their users plan to use a variety of channels:
- 35.5% Instagram
- 19.7% Snapchat
- 19.7% Facebook
- 10.5% Messenger
- 7.9% WhatsApp
- 6.6% Other
For further breakdown and history of Story format development, check out this great infographic:
What about you? Have you used Stories, and if so, on which platform? Let us know in the Comments below.
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By Mike Allton, Content Marketing Practitioner
Mike is a Content Marketing Practitioner - a title he invented to represent his holistic approach to content marketing that leverages blogging, social media, email marketing and SEO to drive traffic, generate leads, and convert those leads into sales. He is an award-winning Blogger, Speaker, and Author at The Social Media Hat, and Brand Evangelist at Agorapulse (formerly CMO at SiteSell).
As Brand Evangelist, Mike works directly with other social media educators, influencers, agencies and brands to explore and develop profitable relationships with Agorapulse.Follow @Mike_Allton