Why you should be using Stories, social media’s biggest star of 2019

by: Amy Blasco

Human beings love stories. From carving petroglyphs on cave walls to crafting award-winning films, people seem genetically driven to make sense of the world around them through stories.

The eons-old tradition made a big splash on social media platforms this year, with numerous marketing professionals naming Stories the most popular trend of 2019. And ephemeral content —something that only appears on a channel for a short time—is expected to grow even more popular in 2020.

Stories first appeared in 2016 on teen-dominated Snapchat. A year later, Facebook/Instagram jumped on the concept, launching it into the social media mainstream and generating some heated discussions about patent and copyright infringement.

Instagram executives argued that, like hashtags and filters, no one can own an idea. Silicon Valley seemed to agree, and soon everyone jumped on the Stories bandwagon.

According to data collected by Block Party (the social media marketing company, not the band!), more than “1.12 billion accounts across Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Facebook and Facebook Messenger consume or create these swipeable, vertical video montages every day.”

Graph from Social Media Strategies Summit

Block Party adds, “A key reason for the sea change: Feeds were designed in the era of desktop computing, but Stories were built—from inception—for camera-equipped smartphone culture.”

And yet, despite the feature’s growing popularity, Block Party estimates approximately only 9 percent of major brands actually use Stories. This means countless brands are missing out on a huge opportunity to connect with their audiences.

Here are Verdin’s top five tips for crafting engaging Stories your audience will love:

  1. Plan it out. Stories are essentially interactive slideshows with video, text, emojis, gifs and stickers. Before posting your Story, ask yourself: What am I trying to accomplish? Make sure your idea aligns with your brand’s goals and values. From there, consider making a storyboard (in your head or a hard copy) of each individual scene, then create each one and upload it to your platform.
  2. Start with a bang. The first half-second of your content has to make a big impression so people will keep watching your Story. Consider collaborating with a photographer or designer to create eye-catching elements.
  3. Keep it raw. People like stories because they feel more “real” and in the moment than other, more-polished forms of content (read: ads). Play around with the features in each platform to see what works best for your brand.
  4. Make your copy simple and concise. Text should be used sparingly in Stories, and include clear directions and calls to action. Think of it as a mini caption for giving your content context.
  5. Interactive = engagement. The more interactive your Story is, the more reach you can expect to get. People love being part of the story on social media, whether through commenting or competing in a contest.

Hopefully, these tips have planted some seeds of inspiration in your head.

What’s your brand’s Story for 2020?

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