Social Media Stories: Through the Business Lens

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Social media has been the holy grail for marketers for a while now. And today, with videos being the preferred choice of content, the world of digital marketing is facing a whole new challenge. If you are wondering how these social networks are capitalizing on this massive shift in trends, just take a look at all the recent updates of your favorite social networking apps. The one thing you are sure to find in common is the Stories. Social media stories are the new big thing for marketers from around the globe.

Snapchat was the first to introduce the 24-hour Stories feature in 2011 and since then, this trend has spiralled into a frenzy. Instagram, under the Facebook banner, decided they wanted a piece of this action and not much later, so did Facebook Messenger and Facebook itself. The inherent sense of urgency and spontaneity of such disappearing content opened up a whole new world of experimentation for the marketing industry. But in whose favor do the scales tip? Let’s weigh in on the top 3 social platforms that have been cashing in on the Stories trend.

Snapchat Stories

It is no secret that Snapchat’s success spurred the entire disappearing content revolution. In this sea of copycats, Snapchat Stories is as real as it gets. This platform has always prioritized intimacy and genuine connections. Because of this raw and unpolished approach, this should be the go-to for brands seeking authenticity.

60% of the user base of Snapchat are below 25. If this is the crowd you are looking to target, Snapchat is definitely the place to find them. This, however, is a double edged sword. The limited reach may not work well for mass-oriented brands.

Snapchat’s face lenses and geofilters have achieved unparalleled popularity. Sponsoring these has also enabled brands to interact with customers on a whole new level. When Starbucks introduced the colorful Unicorn Frappuccino, Snapchat is where they turned to with their unicorn filter. Sure enough, they received tremendous response and we all witnessed the unicorn madness that took over social media.

Any brand that is looking to connect to a happening young demographic, Snapchat is the go to social media for them. Noir, a local apparel brand of Bangladesh became very popular among the young demographic of students and young professionals through their tacky Snapchat campaigns.

One of the downsides of Snapchat is its lack of analytics. Still a work in progress, the only measure of success of your Snapchat campaign is the views and screenshots. And frankly, these don’t provide a lot of insight on how well your brand is doing.

As mentioned before, Snapchat caters to a limited audience. While they are quite loyal to the platform, the recent onslaught of other social networks imitating the Snapchat formula has resulted in the app’s user growth stalling. While it is too soon to assert this platform as a stagnating one, some businesses understandably would not want to include it into their social media game plan.

Facebook Stories

Facebook, as the world’s largest social networking site, needs no introduction. And now faced with dynamic changes, it is trying hard to stay relevant. Its quick adoption of the Stories trend on Facebook Messenger as well as the main platform illustrates this.

Boasting of 2 billion monthly users, Facebook is prime space for advertisers wanting to reach out to their target audiences. But with Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO, recently announcing how they plan to cut down on business content from the Newsfeed, this will inevitably affect how brands build their Facebook marketing strategy. However, Stories is here to take some of the pressure off. Through this, businesses can place their messages right on top of user feeds, a position which represents enormous potential.

Facebook has recently launched Stories for groups and events. This means members can contribute to a Story and keep it private. Especially useful for meet-ups and exclusive events, brands can build a tight-knit community through this. Brands should also consider the previously mentioned Instagram cross-posting feature. If your business is already using Instagram Stories, it is a no-brainer to include Facebook Stories as well.

Despite having the audience, Facebook Stories is yet to gain any substantial traction. Many still view this addition as unnecessary and have not taken well to this change. Moreover, Facebook Stories layout is underdeveloped and not quite the ideal space that a brand looks for. With the more lucrative options like Instagram and Snapchat available, Facebook Stories does seem underequipped for the marketing world.

 

Instagram Stories

Instagram has long been a presence of the social media world. With its curated approach and visual appeal, this platform has been sort of a balancing force between the likes of Facebook and Snapchat. Because of its 500 million daily active users and a diverse demography, Instagram has been the platform of choice for marketers seeking to tell their stories and the new Stories feature allows them to do just that.

Admittedly a Snapchat ripoff, Instagram’s more stylized content is definitely more suited to the marketer’s taste. While maintaining the raw authenticity of 24-hour clips, Instagram Stories gained an edge simply because of its better features and a more polished user interface. Take the Live feature, for instance. You can offer unfiltered, behind-the-scenes moments to grow closer to your audience and craft a more interactive experience.

Another awesome feature is the fact that if the content does extremely well, you can choose to feature it on your main profile. This flexibility is a prime example of Instagram managing to do it all. The Stories of your brand is not only a ground for experimental content but also the foundation of your larger Instagram presence.

Perhaps the greatest reason for advertisers arriving to Instagram is to drive audience. Unlike Snapchat and Facebook who are shakier on this front, Instagram has a thriving and active population. Moreover, Instagram Stories now also allow cross-posting with Facebook. This means brands can take a one-size-fits-all approach to its disappearing content.

If you are a football fan, you must have heard about Chelsea Football Club. They are using Instagram stories exemplary dexterity. They regularly post pictures, snapshots, clips, goals, half-time scores and full-time scores in the form of stories on Snapchat real time. With a follower base of almost 11 million they are generating enormous traction in Instagram.

The primary purpose of short videos is being authentic. And with the influx of advertisers on Instagram, Stories may end up losing its USP here. A platform heading towards overcrowding, it will be no surprise if users start dismissing its video content as machinated and insincere.

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