What’s the Story? Why so Many Social Platforms now use “Stories”

Social Media Marketing World Insights

Social Media Examiner was one of the first publications on the scene for social. Since 2013, they’ve hosted Social Media Marketing World–a massive three day conference in San Diego that over 40,000 marketers have attended, collectively.

Among those marketers are our Director of Social Media, Brie Wristbridge, and Social Media Coordinator & Graphic Designer, Laura Rupprecht. They go every year to ensure that Haven Media & Marketing lives up to our promise to keep clients abreast and ahead of the latest trends. We’ll be posting a series of four blogs over the next two months to highlight what they learned.

Why so many social platforms now use “stories”

Stories are short videos (less than 30 or 15 seconds) that disappear within 24 hours. And they’re very, very popular. On Instagram, stories have grown rapidly. 500 million people around the world watch them daily. First pioneered by Snapchat, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp also enjoy heavy stories use.

Why? Our guess is that social media users are becoming more and more leery of permanence. Career implosion thanks to a years-ago tweet has shaken every class of user from celebrity to average jane. So, it’s only natural to assume that we’d all be more comfortable with the idea of producing–and distributing–content that magically disappears in a day.

They’re also easy to do, and they do not demand perfection (since they self destruct!) Video filters and interactive elements like polls or those endlessly entertaining facial augmentations add to the creative possibilities of these mini life snippets.

For a brand looking to leverage this powerful and growing tool, there are a few best practices that we recommend.

  • Consistency. While the average person can enjoy erratic or whimsical stories content, unless your brand essence calls for it, be consistent. Branding is large in part about repetition and cementing a story in people’s minds, so break out the the style guidelines and make sure your stories reflect it.
  • Separate style guide and palette for stories. The master guide is a starting place, but given the high-output opportunity and impermanent nature of stories, you’ll likely want a refined brief and brand guidelines specifically for this media.
  • Use the interactive tools. Running polls, even if they’re fairly light and fun, is a great way to prompt your audience into simple engagement beyond just watching your stories. More engagement will increase the likelihood that the almighty algorithms give you more organic views as well.
  • Independent scripts. Don’t rely on connecting a narrative across several stories. Each piece should be standalone since the content will disappear and chances are that few people will see every single one.

Stories and impermanent content are so natural, easy and appealing that we doubt they will be fad. It’s been almost 8 years since Snapchat popularized the idea and it shows no signs of slowing down. Expect it to be an integral part of the social media ecosystem (and your social media strategy!) until further notice.