In last week’s blog post we took a look at building trust as a social media marketing trend for 2019 pointed out in Hootsuite’s social media report. The report is compiled from the combination of a survey of 3,255 Hootsuite business customers that was conducted in Q3 of 2018 and other source materials. This week we want to look at another trend that Hootsuite see as on the rise in 2019. That trend is stories, or what they label it as, storifying social. If building brand trust is the foundation, then using stories for your brand is a key building block to developing that foundation of trust.
Stories were first seen on Snapchat, the mobile messaging app that allows you to communicate with your peers through short pictures or videos that can only be viewed once and vanish after being viewed. Snapchat added stories to their platform in October 2013 and their popularity took off right away. Stories on Snapchat were basically a way to broadcast pictures or video to all of your followers or friends at one time rather than just individually messaging those same people.
This formula for stories was essentially the same formula that Instagram and Facebook would use when they launched stories on their platforms. Instagram launched stories in later 2016 with Facebook following shortly after in early 2017. WhatsApp, another social messaging platform joined the stories fray as well when they launch WhatsApp Status in 2017.
Since Facebook and Instagram are much more robust social media platforms than Snapchat and WhatsApp, which at their cores are messaging apps, stories from Facebook and Instagram have a little more meat on their bones for businesses looking to find new audiences and appeal to their current ones. Your business probably has a lot more people looking at your Facebook page and Instagram page than there are following your Snapchat or WhatsApp, if you even have a business Snapchat or WhatsApp page.
Let’s dig in to the data that Hootsuite lays out for us. There are over 150 million daily active users for Facebook stories plus an additional 70 million users on Facebook messenger. There are 300 million daily active users on Instagram alone and 64% of respondents to Hootsuite’s survey said they have either implemented Instagram stories in to their social strategy or plan to do so within the next year.
Hootsuite cites Block Party, Beyond the News Feed findings that 4 out of 5 major brands are already starting to use the stories format and that stories are now growing at a rate 15 times faster than feed-based sharing. So what makes stories so different? For one, stories are all visual and can be consumed quickly by consumers. Hootsuite says they are “real, immediate, and intensely personal.” I really like this way of putting it. Stories are really just flashes in the pan that take place in the palm of a consumers hand. Stories that are off the cuff and more intimate seem to perform better than highly edited productions. It’s all about being more personable, which relates back to our last post about brands building trust!
Hootsuite laid out some great tips for how to get started with stories and we are going to take a look at them below.
1. Start Now
You have to just jump in and get started right now. Even if you have no idea what you’re doing, stories are supposed to be natural and feel impromptu, what better way to get that than by learning on the fly. They are easy to make, all you need to do is pick up your phone and start recording. Waiting to become a master before starting isn’t worth the time. Test and experiment!
2. Be Story Specific
Like we said above, stories should be personal and natural. Hootsuite tested the performance between live action stories with real people and animated stories and found that live action stories were significantly better. Creating stories with people about your brand that can only be seen in one place, in your stories!
One way to treat stories is like your business’s very own behind-the-scenes look in to what is happening. You’re creating a whole new angle to spotlight your brand, not a new vehicle to regurgitate your other postings.
3. Change It Up
Test different ways to build out stories. You can do a behind-the-scenes like we said above but you could also try out tutorials or answering questions that you get asked from people. Variety is a good thing and as long as that variety always include personality and realness then you succeed in continuing to build trust with your consumers.
4. Use The Highlight Feature
After 24 hours stories disappear forever. However, maybe sometimes you don’t want that to happen. With the highlight feature you can handpick stories to be displayed in the highlights section for as long as you want them to be. The highlight feature is great for serializing certain stories, centering certain stories around a theme and bringing them together in a collection, or for longer form promotional campaigns.
5. Get Everyone Involved
The best way to extract a human element out of your social stories is to get everyone in your business involved with it. To expect one person to be able to breath all of the life in to a good social story strategy and bring everything to the table is just unreasonable. Sure, someone can and should be the figurehead of the operation, but getting all parts of your team to contribute ideas and add their own personal blends will help bring your stories to life and get that inside feel that you want them to. Stories need to be a window in to your business, your whole business!
Stories may be the number one way to build brand trust in 2019. You should want to get the ball rolling now! You don’t need to be an expert to start today. You can treat this article as crash course guide to help in your new endeavor but the ultimate thing you should take from this is to be real with stories.
If you’d like to know more about social media marketing, or what digital marketing in general can do for you as we head into 2019, contact us! 2019 is the year of the story, and we would love to help you tell yours.