Stories have had a fairy tale rise. Discover why they’re a social force to be reckoned with, and how you can best use them to make better connections.

Stories – collectively across Facebook, Insta, Snapchat and WhatsApp – are a big deal. Over the last couple of years, there has been a huge boom in the amount of Story content that is being produced and engaged with. And the trend doesn’t seem to be going anywhere in soon.

 

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The WHY

Why is there such an appetite for stories?

Increased mobile usage

Stories were built for mobile. And with more and more people consuming digital content mobile first, stories have quickly become ­­– what many believe, including a certain Mr. Zuckerberg – the future of social that will one day replace the feed. Unthinkable, right?

Attention spans

It’s a cliché to say each generation has a shorter attention span. The truth may be a bit more nuanced than that – attention spans are actually increasing but have become more selective in the content they consume, namely content that engages with ‘compelling narratives’ and ‘stimulating visuals’. Stories have this in abundance.

Authentic content

The ironic thing about Stories’ prevailing longevity is that they are thriving because of their lack of it – they are short-lived consumable content that are there one day and gone the next. This “in the moment” content feels real, authentic and intrinsically meaningful because it’s so fleeting. Consumers crave this level of connection, and Stories can give it to them.

 

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The HOW

How can you best use the power of Stories in your marketing?

Get in sync

Stories may have the life span of a butterfly, but that doesn’t mean you should run the risk of your audience not seeing the content just because they didn’t check into social for a particular day. Instead, allow your social platforms to be in sync and integrate your content – if you’ve got a great story coming up and don’t want your audience to miss it, run a teaser campaign on your regular feed to announce when it’s coming up.

Make it interactive

Stories are intrinsically engaging, but why stop there? Make them more so with interactive elements:

  • More mentions – just like normal posts, you can mention people with a trusty @. It’s an amazing way to make direct connections with your audience and heap attention onto them. And because Stories don’t hang about, nor will the mention so you won’t be forever tied to that particular user.
  • Call to actions – In Instagram Stories, you can embed a simple but powerful call to action technique. By just inviting followers to ‘swipe up’ you can direct traffic to a product page or website.
  • Multitasking – Stories can be tagged with a location, your other posts can be reposted as a Story and in Instagram you can get followers to send you a direct message. Stories aren’t limited to being visually-led either – if you’ve got a particularly important message that needs a lot of copy space, text only Stories can work a treat.

 User-generated content

As we’ve blogged about before, story sharing of user-generated content is a highly effective way of making better connections with your audience. And you can do it via Stories by reposting content from your followers and mentioning them with an @. It’s highly engaging and makes your customers feel loved and involved with your brand.

Sticky Stories

Yes, Stories are here today, gone tomorrow, but if you want a particular Story to have a longer shelf life you can. Much like you pin a Tweet to the top of your feed, you can use Story Highlights to make it stick around. Best use this sparingly though – don’t dilute what makes the ephemeral power of Stories so effective.

 

Long story short, Stories are ace. And with them pretty much on every social platform and their usage growing day by day, it’s time to embrace short-lived content that will have a long-term impact on how your brand connects with its audience.

 


Picture of Alex Allston, Senior Copywriter at The Sharp Agency

Alex Allston

Senior Copywriter