In 2018 alone, Facebook generated almost $23 billion in U.S. ad revenue and $54.4 billion globally. It’s safe to say Facebook and Instagram have secured themselves as the powerhouses of social media. They’re our millennia’s it-girls, collectively drawing in over 3 billion monthly users with a promise to grow in popularity. That’s a monumental audience you now have access to. But in this ever-expanding promised land, how do you stand out from the general hubbub of self-promotion and circumvent sentencing to the depths of social feeds with not so much as a couple of half-hearted likes?
The answer is Stories. Facebook and Instagram Stories are your social saving graces in a world of frenzied posting.
Facebook and Instagram Stories have each hit a daily user count of 500 million users, an increase of 100 million over the past year with an expectation to gain even more momentum over the next. Brands have also begun to adopt Stories more seriously, with 2 million advertisers buying Stories ad space on both Facebook and Instagram to date, making it evident that visual content is king.
Immersive, Engaging, Effective
Stories are an immersive and engaging way of communicating with your audience. As short-form videos are perfect content for social media, a 15-second teaser can create the perfect amount of intrigue to inspire your viewer to dive into your platform.
Reasons Why You Need to Be Using Facebook & Instagram Stories in 2019
Prime Real Estate
Instead of succumbing to drowning in an endless feed of posts, Stories sit directly at the top of the Facebook and Instagram apps. As soon as your customers log in, they’re welcomed by a shining beacon of eye-catching bubbles encrusted at the top of their social roster. Even further, the Stories section on Facebook desktop scrolls down the page with your customers like a golden retriever as they peruse their social site to gently hint at what they’ve missed.
In a convoluted world of opposing and flagrant information, our society has developed trust issues. Lack of brand transparency and the magic of photo editing has made people more cynical and skeptical of where they’re spending their time and money. Stories, however, allows you to cut through the doubt due to the authenticity of the video.
People are more likely to trust and relate to a brand that shares content candidly. It allows you to connect with your audience organically, so they feel like they know the real you outside of the potentially shiny, gossamer version that sits statuesque on your profile.
FOMO / Urgency
Disappearing content on social media is marketing gold. It creates a sense of urgency. Immediacy. A gift the viewer only has 24 hours to open before it vanishes altogether. Stories seem to don the label open me now or forever wonder the contents. If regular posting is a guide to your past, Stories are how you stay present. With their dwindling window of existence, users are more likely to open and engage with Stories than on a post they assume can be returned to view at their own discretion.
Beating the Algorithms
The ever-changing algorithms of Facebook and Instagram seem to be cause for regular outrage, so if you’ve already joined them, now it’s time to beat them. By giving your viewers daily content through Stories, you can more easily, and more assuredly, connect with your audience who may not be seeing your posts on their feed.
Over the past couple of years, it has proven increasingly more difficult for brands to amplify themselves without buying engagement and views, but as Facebook and Instagram continue to push their Stories function, it’s a surefire way of getting your brand to the top of viewers feeds.
Creating a Kickass Facebook & Instagram Stories Strategy
Create Exciting Time-Sensitive Content
Facebook and Instagram stories can only live for 24 hours, making them entirely compelling. Use that to your advantage and play into these aspects:
- Raise the Curtain: Allow your viewers to see what happens behind the scenes of your day-to-day
- Broadcasting: Share news updates and announcements about your brand
- Competitions and Giveaways: Give engaged viewers opportunities to win rewards for staying up to date
- Sales and Discounts: Share sales and discount codes for a limited time
Deliver Unforgettable Experiences
A major shift in marketing has occurred, focusing consumers on their experience rather than brand loyalty. This being said, video is a great way to enhance consumer experiences, and Stories lets you build your experiential strategy even further. Amplify your event using Stories from your event’s development through to recap. Using image slideshows, promo videos, and snapshots, you can extend the reach of your event dramatically.
Further, engage more potential attendees with a CTA for tickets, share Stories about the planning process, or post announcements from those involved in the experience. Share moments from the event itself and make meaningful recaps for viewers. You want your audience to feel like they were a part of the event, whether they were there or not. This way, it generates enough buzz for them to secure their attendance for the next one.
Focus On More Than Promotion
Focus on creating content that connects with and entices your audience rather than solely on sales. The more your audience feels like they know your brand as a personality rather than a business, the more likely they are to engage with you. Try these on for size:
- Give thoughtful and creative previews of new products, services, or upcoming projects you’re excited about
- Celebrate the milestones of your brand, your brand ambassadors, and new announcements
- Share tips of the trade relevant to your brand or sector
- Honor those who inspire you and your brand or have paved the way for your success
- Share videos from the events you attend or places and locations you frequent
Track Your Stories
As you begin to use Stories more frequently for your business, make sure you keep track of the number of viewers for each story and who those viewers are. Keeping tabs on your viewers will help you determine your current demographic and how to extend to your target demographic. Don’t be afraid to experiment with posting times to see how your views fluctuate depending on the time of day, or night, your story goes up. Your demographic may be early risers or night owls, but this will ensure your own understanding of what works best for your brand.
Share Behind the Scenes Footage
Behind the scenes footage seems to be the most common and obvious use for Facebook and Instagram Stories. A snippet into the life of those your viewer wouldn’t otherwise see. An opportunity to make them feel part of the team, special, and more knowledgeable about who and what you are as a brand.
Give your audience a skylight into your daily ongoings by taking them with you to events, keynotes, pop-ups, and mixers. Introduce them to your staff so they can see firsthand how talented and wonderful they are. Show off your office or working space, your company mascots or pets, marketing materials, merch, and how the machine operates.
Demonstrate Your Expertise
Use Stories as your own bite-size masterclass. Jump on the insider trading train, unless you’re in finance, and share tips and pointers about your work or industry. You don’t necessarily have to give away your secret ingredients. However, simple how-to’s will help captivate a wider audience who may be interested in learning more about your brand’s vertical.
Use images or videos with overlaid text and captions to instruct them. These tidbits provide extra value for your audience and help position you as an expert in your field. Explore different themes, methods, or styles with your images and videos. Encourage your audience to respond and engage with you by asking questions, creating polls, or asking them what they found the most useful or would like to see in the next video.
Signpost to Bigger Content
Use Stories as a form of bait for larger content pieces or posts. Share snippets or snapshots from a blog post, live stream, vlog, or video that has gone up on any of your pages with a call to action that guides your audience to its origin. Get creative and have fun with your treasure map so viewers know they can indulge in the bigger picture.
Share User-Generated Content
Don’t forget your fans act as extended resources with their own content. Give back part of your platform to your fanbase by using their images and videos on your Stories. By asking for their permission and giving them credit for their work, you’ll create a more loyal sense of community, make your viewers feel valued and heard, encourage user engagement, all-the-while providing evidence and the benefits of your products or services.
Find Out More About Your Audience
Discover more about your audience by asking for opinions on ideas and listen to their queries or concerns to give you better insight into both your industry and your brand. Ask about their lifestyle, what interests them, who they’re currently engaged with, or what they’re enjoying. Ask questions with short or yes or no answers, and you’ll see your engagement flourish with direct replies. As direct messaging encourages viewers to speak more freely than they would in Facebook groups, you’re more likely to get consistent engagement and more active users.
A Final Word
Facebook and Instagram Stories can be a wonderful marketing tool that showcases your brand in an authentic, genuine, and compelling fashion. By following the above tips, you’ll be able to create a kickass 2019 Facebook & Instagram Stories campaign!
Remember, content is king. And the Stories feature provides a direct window into the very creator of that content; you.
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