It might surprise you to learn just how many platforms support storytelling formats these days. We all know the major players: Snapchat, and Instagram. Cast your mind further afield, however, and you’ll note that WhatsApp, Medium, Skype, Youtube, Facebook, Facebook messenger and an ever-growing host of platforms have come to offer storytelling capability.
If you’re considering a move toward storytelling as part of your social media strategy, start by familiarizing yourself with user demographics. Significantly more women use Snapchat than men, and users aged 25-44 prefer Instagram. Younger age groups prefer Snapchat. Make sure you choose the platform depending on your audiences, both current,and prospective.
Capitalizing on the power of stories is easier when you get a grip on basic social media network theory. Put simply, your aim is to increase your “earned media,” made up of unpaid engagements that work to strengthen your brand. Virality is the measure that tracks the momentum of social posts within and across platforms, whereby the more you increase virality the more cost-effective your marketing strategy.
Now that you know the “why,” let’s delve into the “how.” Whether you’re a social media veteran or newbie, it helps to get a refresher: there have been major feature changes to the primary social story builders this year alone. Both Snapchat and Instagram allow you to upload anything from a gallery, while Snapchat is also live based on location and gives businesses the option to design their own filter. Both Instagram and Snapchat allow for direct messaging engagement with your audience, though Instagram makes social media takeovers easy by providing post privacy options. Ultimately, Instagram is better suited for business, while Snapchat is more personal.
Still, if your brand is more creative or humorous, or tailored to a younger audience, Snapchat is still your best bet. At the same time, Snapchat is rolling out new features such as displaying professional Snaps in a separate feed, based on users’ preference for brands and influencers being clearly delineated from their friends’ content. Professional creators have also started signing up to be featured on Snapchat’s Discover page.
If you’re still at a loss for how to hack the storytelling game, remember this: tapping into existing networks is far more effective- not to mention far easier- than creating one from scratch. At the same time, location tagging significantly increases engagement, so use it where you can. Humanise your brand by featuring the people you work with on social. Further, take advantage of storytelling platform features. One way to do this is by directly messaging people to thank them for their purchase.
Interestingly, when Instagram launched stories a quarter of regular photo posting users switched formats, resulting in an unfortunate 15% drop in brand engagements. As a result, savvy businesses have had to adjust their marketing strategy and start story sharing. Since then, more than 50% of businesses report having posted a story and receiving a direct message from a follower or potential customer as a result.
At the end of the day, people like being treated as an individual, and story formats are an excellent way of achieving this.
Ronn Torossian is the CEO and Founder of 5W Public Relations (5WPR)