Social media has become the modern town square where people can interact with friends, family, businesses, creators and more. The amount of people on social media has more than doubled worldwide from 2.07 billion in 2015 to 4.48 billion today. This unprecedented growth has created a whole new set of opportunities for businesses to interact with their audiences on various channels. As social media continues to change, it’s important to constantly update your social media strategy to capture your audience’s attention, and one of the biggest social media strategies right now is stories.
What are Stories?
Stories are a feature on almost every platform, including Snapchat, LinkedIn, and Twitter, but they are huge on Instagram and Facebook. They allow you to publish a collection of photos or videos in sequence, similar to how a story is told in a book. You can incorporate text, vidoe, gifs, and links to truly make them unique and specific to your brand. Most recently Instagram has updated their stories feature to incorporate link sharing for all users which can help drive traffic to dedicated pages. Each story disappears after 24 hours and can be viewed and commented on by followers.
How Can Stories Benefit My Business?
Stories benefit a business in several ways. First, it provides a creative way to engage your audience with a visual medium. It is a great place to show behind-the-scenes footage from events or new product rollouts and keeps people coming back to see what’s going on at your business. For today’s business owner, stories provide a unique opportunity to connect with audiences by promoting digestible content that won’t get missed in the algorithm-heavy intricacy of the app. Relying on the audience to solely engage with your posts can prove to be tricky since more aggregated content and ads are filling up people’s feeds. Stories also provide the opportunity to prevent your post feed from clogging up and can be used as a separate channel for engaging users without detracting from your brand aesthetic and goals.
Who Should Use Stories?
In short, everybody. Well, everybody who wants to experience growth, that is. Stories are a great way to engage your audience, especially if you want to feature behind-the-scenes action or promote exclusive content or offers. Approximately 86.6% of Instagram’s users post stories every day, making them an influential part of any brand’s Instagram strategy.
Stories can be used in so many different ways by people and businesses alike, but they all have at least one thing in common: to drive engagement and grow an audience. Let’s take a look at five tips to help you develop your own stories that will give you the best opportunity to grow your audience and increase engagement.
1. Get Your Tone of Voice Right
Before you do anything, you need to figure out what sort of story you want to tell and make sure that it is on brand and in line with your overall social media strategy. Think about the following: What feeling are you trying to convey? Is this something that people will be excited about? Or maybe it’s something they’ll find funny. Think about how you want your audience to feel, and then use that knowledge to help guide you in what type of images or video clips you should select for your story.
2. Feature a Countdown
Adding a countdown timer at the beginning of a story will immediately grab your viewers’ attention and let them know that something interesting is going to be revealed in a few seconds, days or months. Remember to post an updated timer as frequently as needed to keep your event at the top of mind and ensure that your audience does not forget about what’s coming up! Countdowns are a great feature to include when you’re running a sale, making a company announcement, or to build excitement for an upcoming virtual event.
3. Take Advantage of Custom Stickers and Text
When it comes to social media, people like it when other accounts express their feelings and showcase what’s going on in their life. Additionally, your audience wants to know about what is happening internally or if there is any new news on the horizon. In short – make it personal. One way that you can achieve this is by using custom stickers or text. Create unique content that relates specifically to your brand, and then use them to enhance your story. Make sure to review stickers and text with your marketing team to ensure brand consistency in case there are dedicated social assets specifically used for stories.
4. Add an Interactive Poll
If you’re looking for something that will keep people engaged with your story, adding an interactive poll is a great way to do it. You can use polls to ask people what they think of something that just happened or simply by asking them which one of two things they like the most. Don’t just ask questions, you can also use them to provide choices for your audience in the form of polls. If you’re looking to gauge customer sentiment or understand any pain points in your products or features, this is an easy feature that you can apply to your data.
5. Post to Your Story on a Schedule
Staggering your posts throughout the day is a great way to always keep your story fresh and relevant so that you can continue driving engagement. By posting on a regular schedule, your audience will know exactly when to come back for more. Teasing your next story event is also a great way to make sure that people are always eager to see what comes next.
Stories are meant to give people an inside look at what’s going on behind the scenes of your brand, so make sure you do just that by taking advantage of all of the features that are available to you. You’ll be amazed at the difference it can make and how quickly it will grow your audience if you use them wisely! You can include your Bitly links in your stories to make them stand out and drive followers to your custom page or website.
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