When Snapchat first launched its Stories feature in 2013, it was an innovation that defied how a lot of people (and organizations) were using social media.
The concept of Stories – a collection of photos and videos that play out in chronological order and disappear after 24 hours – was actually groundbreaking in a social media environment which up to that point had been all about sharing content that in theory lived online forever.
The ephemeral, fleeting nature of Snapchat Stories challenged the more traditional expectations around why and how people take and consume photos and videos. Snapchat made the bold statement that photos were no longer used to save important memories and life moments. Mobile phones have instead given way to “instant expression” and the photos and videos anyone can easily capture on their smartphones means these images are now used to talk or express yourself in that moment. So it’s okay if it’s not a great image. And it’s okay if it’s gone after a few seconds.
By sharing and viewing Stories, you were sharing and viewing more authentic moments in someone’s life. It’s messier. It’s maybe blurrier. It’s certainly sillier. But it’s a truer picture of a person – completely opposite of the composed and planned out images people have become used to seeing and sharing on other social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
It was refreshing.
And it presented an opportunity for brands to take their social media content marketing to another place – a more intimate, ‘real’ place that showed the in-progress, behind-the-scenes moments in a way that felt more authentic.
Fast-forward a couple of years and now it seems like every platform is releasing a version of Snapchat’s Stories, with brands trying to figure out which Stories is right for their organization and their audiences.
Whether you’re using Snapchat Stories, Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories, Twitter Stories (that isn’t a thing yet, but really it could be coming), even WhatsApp Stories – what the Stories feature has resulted in is a new way of social media storytelling.
Today, the ability to use Stories – no matter the platform – is a skill all social media marketers need to have.
Ensuring your Stories have a beginning, middle, and end, a story arc, that you’re hitting key points and that there’s a main theme to the series of photos and videos, these are all important aspects to effective brand Stories.
Making use of silly filters, emojis, scribbles and other features that make Stories fun, and ensuring your posts – despite telling a clear story – doesn’t come off feeling overly scripted, are also huge factors to keep in mind.
Stories at SocialWest
That’s just some of the thinking I’ve been doing around Stories. You can hear me discuss more about Stories on Don’t Call Me A Guru, a social media podcast I co-host with Tyler Jack Butler, and I’ll be talking more about Stories strategies (focusing on Instagram and Snapchat) at this year’s SocialWest social media conference taking place in Calgary June 14-16, 2017.
SocialWest is the largest social media and digital marketing conference on the Prairies. Get your tickets and be sure to say hello!
Interested in a Stories strategy, or receiving social media training around effective use and content strategies for Stories? Get in touch! Digital Strategist Linda Hoang (firstname.lastname@example.org) can help get you started on Stories storytelling.