Storytelling will always be at the core of every brand’s marketing strategy. Marketers use storytelling to create brand awareness, nurture their audiences, and drive customers towards a purchase. The Stories format has now become commonplace and has opened a new opportunity for brands to take their storytelling to the next level.
Social media today is critical to any business. Marketers know that creating an authentic story of their brand is a priority in social media marketing. While storytelling has been with us for ages, only recently it has taken center stage in social media advertising. It opened a window for businesses to get closer to customers, create a more authentic and friendly brand image and bridge the communication between the brand and its audience.
In 2016, Stories were launched on Snapchat. The visual format quickly turned user-favorite to be adopted by other social media channels later.
The popularity of the new format was largely fueled by changes tech. Breakthroughs in camera technology and growing access to mobile broadband made it possible for users to upload images from virtually anywhere. It increased the pace of social and helped platforms hold the attention of their users longer and have them check-in for new content a lot more often.
Stories are conquering the social media ecosystem and brands can be certain their audiences are using them. Today there are more than 250 million Instagram users using the Stories format, and it’s all on mobile. If the Facebook News Feed is designed for the desktop, then Stories are designed for mobile.
But aside from helping brands reach their customer on their smartphones, the Stories format has even more to offer:
One of the biggest problems that social media marketers share is creating high quality content that delivers the outcomes they want. They invest a lot of energy in creating valuable content, promoting it and expect great results.
But today, a good story has two characteristics:
This is precisely what Stories aim to do – help users and marketers alike create transparent content that is delivered fast. They showcase what’s happening behind the scenes of a brand. It doesn’t have to look perfect, but it’s the type of content fans want to see.
In an interview for Recode, Kevin Systrom (Co-founder of Instagram) said that one of the main problems for Instagram is that users don’t spend enough time on the platform. Stories encourage users to check in more often, put less effort into creating posts, and interact easier with those they are following through the “Direct Message” option.
When building their Stories marketers need to take advantage of the immediate response their customers can take – a strong call-to-action encourages users to interact. To use a successful example, Red Bull uses Stories to ask their followers to choose which photo should Red Bull post next.
Stories is also a format that is fairly new in marketing. We’ve seen full-screen vertical content available in Facebook Canvas ads and posts, but Stories are another way for marketers to get creative with the full screen 9:16 ratio.
Brands focus a lot on tactics that help them grow their business organically. But if social media is to play a contributing role in helping the business bottom line, they have to put an advertising budget behind it.
Stories are already engaging on an organic level. The ability to leverage the authentic format as an advertising platform is a chance for marketers to create content that feels a lot less like traditional marketing.
What’s more, unlike the news feed that’s populated with advertising, Stories format is still relatively new; those marketers who are fast on their feet will give their brand a head start.
This is why every marketer out there should start testing and experimenting with the new ad format. Now it’s the time to do it!
For marketers, the popularity of Stories means taking a step back and realigning their content strategy to include the new format. The nature of disappearing content that has to be delivered periodically and multiple times per day means brands need to invest more into content production.
While mastering the format might be difficult at first, Stories are far more authentic than traditional advertising, and for some users, the 200 million of them that joined Instagram after Stories were introduced – it is the go to format.
Robert Katai is a visual marketer, blogger and content marketing strategist at Bannersnack.
Understand your audience, create more effective content to engage and grow your customer base, and measure social media’s impact on your business goals.