Social Media Stories & How They Can Help Your Business

A Digital Marketing Phenomenon

The social media ‘story’ feature is a recent phenomenon within social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. Snapchat was the first to come out with the idea allowing for users to post short videos or photos for a 24-hour period for all of their friends or followers to see. After realizing the popularity of this social media story feature amongst users, Facebook and Instagram quickly followed by adding the ‘story’ feature to their platforms. 

People holding phones to demonstrate the story feature on Instagram and Snapchat

The Pioneer in the Social Media Stories…Snapchat

Snapchat, who introduced this feature on their platform, was created in 2011 and took off almost immediately with users. Prior to having the latest features of ‘stories,’ Snapchat was simply just a way to send real time photos or videos to friends that disappeared after a few seconds. As the company reached its two year old birthday, in October of 2013, Snapchat created the feature, ‘stories’ that allowed for people to post an update for all of their Snapchat friends to see. Other social media platforms saw how much this increased interactions and engagements with Snapchat’s users, they had to take action. The Instagram ‘story’ feature surfaced in August 2016 and Facebook was quickly behind them with the same feature premiered in March 2017.

For those who are unfamiliar with ‘stories,’ they are a great way to promote your business, especially for marketing through the coronavirus pandemic, as well as stay connected with followers. They allow for short, simple, quick content to be seen with an expiration date, typically 24 hours. While originally built for privacy, it has proven a great tool for flash sales, daily specials, and many relevant small business applications. In a time where people on social media are quick to scroll through their feeds, stories allow you to market specifically to that audience. Getting the point across in the quickest and most efficient way possible.

Discover section on snapchat stories

The Story Engagement Possibilities are Endless

While many platforms do now contain this social media ‘story’ feature, they do have minor differences. On Snapchat, you can have a story for no longer than 24 hours and you can add current locations, add different fonts and can even crop images and add them onto your photograph or video. Snapchat allows for filters that provide interactive games between friends as well as fun face filters like turning yourself into a dog or testing out your face with glasses or a different hair color. These features are fun and often increase follower engagement as they can’t resist their smartest quip or creativity inspired comment.

Social media stories can last for a maximum of 24 hours to your followers

Differences on Social Media Platforms

Facebook differs because you can add a permanent ‘story’ to your page. This designation allows the ‘story’ to remain for a longer period of time. However, you can still post it for only 24 hours if you prefer. Facebook ‘stories’ allow for people to keep updated on your current posts, share your page or just simply keep you connected with followers. Having multiple privacy settings; Facebook allows for a ‘story’ to be set to private or public.  

Demonstrating the different features of Instagram stories

Instagram stories, a personal favorite, allows a lot of opportunities for your company’s branding and stories. Adding a location to your ‘story’ is a great way to build brand recognition; Start by creating a geotag on your property.  This allows for people within a certain distance of your establishment to use your company name on their ‘story.’ It helps provide your business recognition, and give people a sense of curiosity if they are not familiar with your business at that moment. Instagram stories also allow for multiple filters that you can use from other users. An example is business specific filters, such as adding a logo to your photo at the local ice arena, or pre-programmed filters that Instagram has available. 

Quick & Simple Engagement Marketing

Convenience is a major benefit for small businesses when it comes to ‘stories.’ While you can create an advertisement in advance for your story, real life photographs, videos, or live feed of  real time events and promotions to be seen by the followers who are not physically in your business work best. People sell people; BartenMEDIA always advocates for word of mouth, consumer experience, and live stories. Whether it’s a photo of what you are baking that morning for your customers, or a video of your customers on premise, at your business, or scheduling a live feed and answering questions about your business, ‘stories’ allow for immense levels of engagement. Engagement benefits your business.

‘Stories’ also allow features such as filters, location tags, interactive opportunities such as polls, questions, countdowns, and even mentions to be displayed to viewers or followers. The different opportunities as a small business owner, to interact and engage with your followers and customers through ‘stories’ are boundless. ‘Stories’ also allow for a level of privacy where their responses for interactive opportunities go strictly to you, allowing the business control of branding and messaging. Nothing has to be public until you  review it and share with the rest of your followers.

Businesswoman engaging with new client

A New Beginning in Digital Marketing

The use of digital marketing, particularly social media ‘stories,’ has given us new tools in modern times to collect information, poll our consumers, deliver to different audiences, and receive an instant reaction from our followers like never before.  The use of the new social, mainstream marketing has gained popularity amongst our clients and has been shown to create benefits between businesses and customers. 

Businesses can create a lot of new marketing strategies by using ‘stories.’ For example, restaurants can use the ‘story’ feature to show their followers daily specials that disappear the next day. Other businesses such as retail stores can use the timely feature to share flash sales, which by definition, last only a limited time. Taverns can use this feature to engage customers by running a promotion where you, “show this story” for a chance to skip paying a cover or receive a free drink (if lawful and permitted). There are many ways for you to utilize ‘stories’ to market your business. 

The Benefits a Story has for your Local Business

While social media ‘stories’ are extremely beneficial, focus them for quick advertisements or short terms promotions. Traditional posts generally will do better when considering long term, scheduled plans, promotions, or events because they are able to reach more people, and provide longevity and paid advertisements that often prove most effective coupled alongside planning. ‘Stories’ can help to promote traditional posts because you can post from your feeds on your ‘story’ with a click of the button for more traction. This is not true  the other way around.

If you haven’t had an opportunity to venture in marketing through social media ‘stories,’ take a moment and take advantage of low hanging fruit. It encourages engagement, and forms more relationships with your clients on social media.

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