How to Use Social Media Stories to Market Your Business

Just about every company or business knows at this point how important social media marketing can be for promoting your services or products to your customers. But how can you utilize the social media “story” feature on the many platforms to market your business even more effectively?

What Is A Social Media Story?

A social media story is a 15-20 second video or photo that you can post to your social media, and appears in a different place than people’s regular social media feed or timeline. It is generally less polished or “aesthetic” than the rest of your social media feed, and can be viewed by anyone as many times as they want before it disappears after 24 hours, although on some platforms there is a spot to save your social media stories so they can always be viewed on your profile. Stories can be great to post deals, new products, behind the scenes of your company and so much more. In this blog article, we will dive into why, when and how you should use social media stories in your content marketing strategy.

How Did The Social Media “Story” Come To Be?

Snapchat started the social media story trend in 2013. Instead of just being able to send pictures or videos to specific people that could only be seen for a short time, the idea of stories was that lots of people could view as much as they wanted for 24 hours until it disappeared .

In the story format, you chose to see the content, instead of just being sent it, bringing a wider audience to your content. The ability to connect with friends and businesses in “real time” instead of just seeing posts on the feed, seemed to really strike a chord with Snapchat users.

In 2016, Instagram started a stories option, with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn soon following suit. Google and Skype even have story options now.

But what is the benefit of using social media stories, and why do 500 million people view Facebook and Instagram stories every single day?

Why/When Should You Use Social Media Stories To Market Your Business?

How to Use Social Media Stories to Market Your Business

Social media stories are a great way to upgrade your social media marketing plan.

  • When you want to interact in a more personal way with your audience! Specifically on Instagram, stories are a great way to engage with your followers. Add polls that allow your followers to vote on different things, such as what color you are painting your store, or what new food item you are bringing to the menu. Followers and customers love to be involved in decision making for the brands they care about. Try asking a question on your brand story where followers can submit their answers. The other social media platforms have similar interaction options you can try out as well.
  • Stories are great to update your followers in real time. If you are having a special one day sale, or are working on an update, stories are a great place to inform your customers. This gives your audience a more insider look at what you do in your business day-to-day. Similarly to being involved in the decision making, customers love the feeling of being in the know. This is also great when you want to get a message across to as many people as you can as quickly as you can, since more people are viewing your stories.
  • We know that story-telling works great when social media marketing for your business. Customers and supporters love to hear a story they can relate to or respect when choosing what companies to support.Using social media “stories” or “fleets” give you that extra layer to tell longer stories that might not be as polished.
  • Stories can be a great way to showcase a recent post. Some people may miss your posts, so posting it onto your story as well will insure that more of your audience will not miss it.
  • A social media takeover is a great way to humanize your business. Whether you have one of your employees do a ‘day in the life’, or have a customer give a review of one of your products, this is a great way to show the humans behind your company and engage your followers in a different way.
  • There are a number of different ways to sell your products or services using a social media story feature. One thing you can try out is the countdown feature. You can countdown to a product launch – and your followers will have the option to click on it and follow along. This is also a great place to host a giveaway or, depending on your business, share more of your products!

How To Post Stories On Each Platform

Now that you know why you should be posting stories, let’s dive into how you actually will be posting them.

Instagram:

  • Go to your profile by clicking on your profile picture at the bottom right corner.
  • From here, there are two ways you can actually post your story, whichever works best for you. One way is to click the plus sign in the top right corner on your profile page. Once you click, there will be a list of options. You will select the story option, which will take you to the story posting page. You can also get to this story posting page by clicking the plus sign on your profile picture on the left upper corner.
  • Once you are to the story posting page, you have the option of taking a photo or video.
  • Once you capture your image, there will be options to add music, drawing or writing — all available at the top of the screen after you capture your image.

Facebook:

  • To add a Facebook story, go to your timeline.
  • Right underneath where you can post at the top, there will be a button that says ‘create a story’.
  • Click on that, and from there it is pretty similar to Instagram. Pick a photo from your camera roll or take a photo, and then you can add effects to it.

LinkedIn:

Click on this button to post your first LinkedIn story!

  • The process is also very similar on LinkedIn. On your home page, there is a button at the top left corner that says ‘your story’ with a plus sign.
  • Once there, you will have the option to take or find a photo already on your camera roll.
  • Then you can add a sticker or text, and share your story!

How Often Should You Be Posting Your Stories On Social Media?

A general guideline you may have heard of for social media marketing is to post about one to three times a day for most accounts on most platforms. However, stories are a bit different, because followers are able to not click or click through if they are not interested.

While there is not a set number for how many times a day or week you should post to stories, it is mostly important to ensure that each story you post has a reason and value for being posted.

Features Specific To Each Platform You Should Use

  • Instagram: 58 percent of people say that they would be more likely to buy a product after viewing it on their social media stories. On Instagram stories, you are able to add things that you can also add to posts, such as hashtags, locations and captions, and things that are just available on stories, such as stickers and music. Another helpful feature for businesses that Instagram stories have is the highlighting ability, where you are able to save your stories in an organized way underneath your Instagram profile. This can be a way for your customers and followers to quickly learn more about your company right on your social media page. As mentioned above, polling your followers on Instagram is a great way to get them engaged.
  • Facebook: Facebook stories look very similar to Instagram stories, with them showing up at the top of your timeline. Just like on Instagram, there are different types of story you can do, such as a photo, boomerang or video. You are able to add stickers, polls, music and buttons on your Facebook stories as well – which works great for social media marketing.
  • LinkedIn: Again, overall, the story feature on LinkedIn is pretty similar to other platforms. LinkedIn stories can be a great way for businesses to showcase their products and services in a more casual way. You are able to add stickers and mentions to your story.

Are You Ready To Work On Your First Story?

If you are ready to get started on creating the first story or fleet for your business, here are a few tips to keep it mind.

  • Stop and think — if I was clicking through my stories, is this something that would make me stop and watch?
  • Keep it simple! 52 percent of people want to see stories that are easy to comprehend.
  • Don’t just copy and paste your stories from one platform to the next. Just like with regular posting, each platform has its own audience and posting style.
  • Start with a social media plan and goal setting before you just start posting stories or fleets.
  • Do you need help creating a social media story plan?

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