It’s no secret those little blips of your day that disappear after 24 hours are the bee’s knees across social media in 2017. Started by Snapchat in 2013, Stories allow users (including brands) to engage with each other in a more informal, immediate way. While posting to your timeline is still a central feature to all the major social media platforms, telling a story this way is difficult and impractical. For one thing, algorithms on these platforms will punish users for posting too much in a single day, and there’s no guarantee your posts will show up in your followers’ feeds in chronological order. Another issue is a popular preference by users to keep their timelines “simple,” meaning a single post in a day is more than enough.
Snapchat changed the game when it introduced Stories, but it quickly got lost in the shuffle in August 2016 when Instagram rolled out a near carbon copy of the feature on its own platform. In less than a year, Instagram Stories surpassed Snapchat Stories by almost 100 million users — Snap, Inc.’s May 2017 earnings report claimed it had 166 million daily active users, while Instagram’s June 2017 numbers boasted 250 million daily active users.
It didn’t stop there. Facebook, which owns Instagram, jumped into the game in more ways than one: The Facebook Messenger app introduced Messenger Days and Facebook proper began running its own Stories at the top of the Newsfeed. Similar but not identical to Stories, Twitter’s rollout of Moments allows users to create and curate a story with content from a variety of accounts on the platform.
So, who wins in the battle of storytelling? Instagram’s fast conquest over Snapchat would have one believe it’s a numbers game: More users on Instagram meant the same feature would quickly see more usage on it compared to the originator of the trend. But Facebook, which has more users than both Instagram and Snapchat, is failing at the Story game. That’s why it’s leveraging its ownership of Instagram to give itself a much-needed boost — Instagram users can now dual-post their Stories onto their Instagram and Facebook accounts through a simple account connectivity feature. Time will tell if this effort — widely viewed as desperate on Facebook’s part — will jump-start the feature’s popularity on its platform.
As a brand, why should you consider utilizing Stories in your social media marketing strategy? Because Stories get a lot of attention. They also allow you to tell a full narrative rather than rely on a singular post on your timeline. That’s not to say timeline posts are a thing of the past — think of Stories as an enhancement to your traditional social media posting strategy. Check out this article about ways major brands utilize Instagram Stories for marketing campaigns.
And while Instagram and Snapchat seem to dominate the Stories atmosphere, the typical rule of thumb with social media is if you think a platform has potential to blow up in the near future, you should build a presence on it now. In other words, don’t be a trend follower. Be a trendsetter.
At Trilix, we encourage our clients to incorporate Stories into their social media marketing tactics. Our client Valley West Mall, for instance, utilizes a Snapchat account we run on its behalf once a week. How often should you post a Story? And on how many platforms should you place a Story? The answers to those questions will depend on your manpower and budget. It’s certainly difficult to manage a consistent Story presence on multiple platforms, but the more areas you place yourself and the more frequently you do it, the more eyes you’ll capture.
If you’re brand new to all of this, get your feet wet with Instagram Stories. Considering the platform boasts 800,000 monthly active users and overtook Snapchat’s Story game in less than a year, you’re sure to get the most bang for your buck.
Follow @trilixmarketing on both Instagram and Snapchat to see how we use Stories for not only our clients but for our own personal brand (and differently on each platform!). If you are interested in implementing Stories into your current social media strategy to make it more robust, or if you need assistance with getting started, we can help. Email CMO Brett Adams at BAdams@trilixgroup.com to learn more about our social media services and capabilities.