Facebook. Instagram. Snapchat.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you recognize these three dominant social media platforms.
But do you know the full “story” about these sites? While they offer different marketing advantages for your business, all three share an amazing feature:
Smart marketers are already tapping into the business-building benefit stories provide, using them to stay top of mind, reinforce their brand, increase engagement, generate web traffic, and much more.
Ready to jump on the bandwagon – and up your social media story IQ? Read on for a quick 101.
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What are social media stories?
Social media stories are a type of ephemeral content that:
- Can consist of a single image, photo or video, or include a sequence of elements that thread together a more comprehensive narrative or collage
- Disappear from public view after 24 hours (although you can save the content for your own use or publish it on your regular feed)
- Stay at the top of a user’s feed (making them a great way for your business to stay in front of followers)
People love visual content, and stories are the perfect outlet for displaying your brand’s creative, personal side. Across all three platforms, social media stories have gained tremendous momentum, dramatically altering how audiences interact with businesses online – and they won’t be going away anytime soon.
So, the real story here isn’t if your business should be using stories; it’s how to use them as a marketing tool.
How can social media stories help you gain more business?
First, you should learn how to create, embellish, and publish stories on each platform. While each has unique features, here are a few tools to try out:
- Filters and frames. Customize the overall look of your pictures or videos.
- Text. Overlay captions or other text, using a variety of fonts and colors.
- Drawings. Freehand on top of an image or video.
- Music. Add background music to your story.
- Stickers and GIFs. From purely decorative stickers and GIFs to location and hashtag stickers, you can add these elements to convey your message better and broaden your reach.
- Polls, rating scales, and ask boxes. These interactive elements increase engagement and even collect useful data.
- Links. Users who swipe up on your story can be directed straight to your website without leaving the app.
Make sure that you exercise restraint when using these features (more isn’t necessarily better), and that you create a consistent “look and feel” that complements your brand.
Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can use social media stories to:
- Pull back the proverbial curtain. As we mentioned in this post, transparency in business is becoming increasingly important. Stories allow you to share pictures or videos of:
- your workspace/office/store/facility
- your staff
- your customers: using your products/services, or singing your company’s praises
and more – building awareness, engagement, and reputation in the process.
- Increase awareness and participation for time-sensitive events. Social media stories are ideal for announcing special promotions/sales/giveaways, or showcasing events you’re attending or hosting. Users expect content in your stories to be time-sensitive, so they’re primed to respond.
- Share more, without clogging up user feeds (or your own account). If you publish post after post in a single day, you may turn followers off. But if you publish content as a story, each element is housed in a single place – which your followers can view without it interfering with their feed.
- Make use of video. Video is an extremely powerful medium, but creating a professional-quality video can be time-consuming and expensive (unless you use our video marketing services, that is!). Stories eliminate the stress of producing and using video. Your audience expects more raw, organic content in stories, so all you need is a smartphone and a little creativity to get started.
Social media is influencing your target audience – and your bottom line.
Investing in a strong social media presence is no longer a luxury; it’s a business necessity. If you have questions about using social media for your business or are ready to get started, contact BARQAR’s social media experts today!