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Are you using the stories feature on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Snapchat for your brand’s social media marketing strategy? If not, it’s probably* time to start (there’s a caveat we’ll get to in a sec). Why? Because in today’s slightly saturated social world, where much of our content is simply overlooked, where the platform algorithms are hurting brand’s abilities to get in front of target markets and where viewers are looking for increasingly shorter content, stories provide a unique opportunity to get your message in front of your target market. In fact, according to embedsocial.com, “1/3 of the most viewed stories on Instagram came from brands.” So you go get those eyeballs, boo! Figuratively. Not literally. No supporting any crazy serial-killer activity on this blog! Additionally, according to 99Firms.com, “1 in 4 Millennials and Gen Z-ers look for Stories of the products or services they want to buy.”

 

Should You Be Telling Stories?

Like all of the other advice I give, this strategy only works if a few conditions are present. First of all, I think that stories are best used for business to consumer brands who have an active presence on the social media sites where stories are an option. I’m not saying B2B brands CAN’T use stories, it’s just not an option for those solely focusing on LinkedIn. It all depends on the type of content your target market responds to best and whether that content lends itself to the story format. I also think that it works best when you have a comprehensive social media strategy in place that facilitates the publication of additional social media content. In other words, I don’t recommend that stories are 100% of your strategy.

Stories 101 

Here’s a primer on social media stories. A “story” is a video, photo or graphic post that:

1. Has been published specifically to the story section of your page

2.  Will “play” for up to 15-20 seconds (still images just sit there

3. Disappears after 24 hours.

 

A person viewing stories will see a carousel of stories that align with their news feed and which people and brands they follow. The stories listed will also match up to the basic algorithm rules of social media in that the more a person engages with a brand or person, the more frequently they will see stories from those sources in their feed. Additionally, you can link to stories (sometimes there’s a following requirement for the “swipe up” link feature, i.e., Instagram’s requirement is ten thousand) that allows you to add a link to a blog, landing page, or anywhere else you might want to send your readers.

 

Best Uses for Stories

Now that we’ve firmly established that stories have the potential to be a powerful component to your social media marketing strategy, let’s outline some of the best-uses for stories that take your content to the next freaking level.

Behind the Scenes
What does real life look like in your office? How are you going the extra mile for your customers? Who are the funny/goofy/silly people that make your organization unique? Is there a new product/service you’re working on? These are the kinds of things you can show your client base.

How Tos
If there’s a process or concept you want to teach your target market that requires multiple steps and information, you can use a multi-part story to show the different steps. This is a great way to keep engagement for simple how-to explanations, especially those that require a visual aid like explaining how to use software.

Flash Sales/Promos/Giveaways
Have a product or service you want to move out the door? Stories are a great way to promote this. They’re amazing for this use because their temporary nature (remember, they disappear after 24 hours) promotes a scarcity mindset and builds a sense of urgency right into the posts.

Releases & Events
If you’re publishing a new blog, releasing a video or product, or hosting/attending a major industry event, keep your peeps up to date with the haps by leveraging your stories to create that narrative. Or tell that story, if you will ?.


Cheat Codes & Hacks

Do you feel like you’re ready to take the social media story game by storm? I think you’re almost there, but I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t throw some extra tips and tricks your way before unleashing your mega value into the world. So here are a couple of Dos & Don’ts when it comes to social media marketing stories. Enjoy!

 

DO 

  • Tag/Hashtag other relevant brands
  • Include a link or CTA for next action
  • Encourage engagement
  • Use video/stickers for an extra pop
  • Leverage calls to action the exact way you would for any other marketing

 

DO NOT 

  • Be hit-or-miss with stories; be consistent, yo!
  • Focus solely on stories in marketing
  • Look like everyone else; stand out, boo!


Start telling your story!

I hope this info helps you tell stories like a boss and you can use this as another way to connect with your target market. Leave me a comment and tell me how you’re going to use stories for your business goals. Can’t wait to hear from youuuuu!

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