5 benefits of social media stories
In this post, we’ll look at the top benefits of social media stories and why they are a great tool to integrate into your marketing strategy!
Table of Contents
Video, photo, or text content that lasts only 24 hours and then disappears—what marketer would have bet on such a format, even just a decade ago?
Yet today, social media stories are an essential part of almost every company’s marketing mix, and this role will only grow stronger in the future. Why are we so sure? For a very simple reason: social media stories are very popular especially with younger audiences. And we will see that a little later.
It all stemmed from the brainchild of Snapchat, a social platform that went live in late 2011 and was based, precisely, on content that could only be viewed for 24 hours. The success was unexpected and resounding. Thus, in 2016 Instagram also introduced its Stories feature. They were introduced for Facebook and WhatsApp as well. Not only that: there is also a Stories mode for YouTube and even LinkedIn.
- 70% of Generation Z users and about 60% of Millennials look at Instagram Stories; as we anticipated, this says a great deal about how much traction social media stories have with younger target groups.
Certainly, the platform where social media stories play the most important role is Instagram. And how well has this innovation worked for Instagram? Let’s put it down to the data:
- More than 500 million Instagram users use Stories every day (this is internal Instagram data, dating back to 2019…so we’re sure that, today, these numbers are even higher)
- Across the Meta group of apps (thus including Facebook and WhatsApp) more than 1 billion stories are shared every day.
- More than 4 million companies use advertisements in stories each month.
- One-third of the most viewed Instagram stories were produced by business profiles. (source: business.instagram.com).
Let’s get even more specific:
In conclusion, here is one last piece of data from a recent survey, which does not need too much commentary, and which says a great deal about the importance of social media stories in marketing:
- 96% of marketers said they plan to continue using stories in their marketing mix over the next six months. (source: embedsocial.com).
Now, as promised, let’s look at the top 5 benefits of brands’ use of social media stories.
1. The sense of spontaneity
Stories were originally created to be enjoyed in a quick, fun way. For users, they are the perfect medium for capturing moments of everyday life in a very free and undemanding way. Specifically: for 61% of Instagram users, stories are primarily a way to see what their friends are doing (source: jumpermedia.com).
The spontaneity effect of social media stories stems, in large part, from their being ephemeral, from disappearing without leaving an indelible trace. Here, brands can use this to their advantage.
They can produce very simple, even provocative content that doesn’t give the idea of being too constructed or contrived. In short, they can give a spontaneous and authentic image of themselves and greatly reduce the distance with one’s audience.
Beware, however: spontaneity and authenticity are not synonymous with improvisation and approximation. Campaigns related to social media stories must be well thought out and well-planned because it’s very easy to pursue self-serving goals, which on social media can turn into reputation-threatening storms in an instant.
And a negative reputation cannot be fixed in 24 hours.
2. The opportunity to be very fast
Typically, the content that is conveyed through social media stories is easy to produce and implement. This, in addition to saving time and money, allows brands to make the most of news, trends, and sudden changes in sentiment very quickly (and we know how important this is in the increasingly accelerated digital ecosystem in which we are all immersed).
Not surprisingly, stories are one of the perfect places for so-called “real time marketing.” But it’s not just about that.
Marketing strategies based on social media stories make it possible to act with great speed on a fundamental aspect of any campaign: the ability to conduct tests and, based on the results, make choices and recalibrate, so as to ramp up effectiveness.
In fact, there is no such thing as a perfect campaign. However, each campaign can be refined based on its performance, fixing the things that didn’t work and reinforcing what proved effective, depending on the different targets. In this sense, the analysis of insights from stories is something indispensable. As we often hear, data is the most valuable asset for any company in the digital age, and stories are also an interesting reservoir of information regarding the characteristics, behavior, and preferences of the audience.
3. The chance to stimulate engagement
Engagement: here is one of the most important keywords when it comes to marketing and social media marketing in particular.
Stories, with their spontaneity and speed of production, are perfect for maintaining constant engagement with your audience. In fact, they can be turned into a channel for continuously updated dialog that is not distant and not set in stone. Stories are the perfect places to insert non-invasive tags (especially when it comes to influencer marketing).
And, as we have seen, they are widely followed, especially by the younger segments of the target audience.
Pay attention to this decisive aspect as well: the most ambitious goal of any brand in the social network ecosystem, is to trigger the production of User Generated Content. As the term indicates, this is content related to a brand, product, or service that is spontaneously created by the users themselves.
Why is this content so valuable? Because it is authentic. A potential customer will trust the message of another disinterested customer—one like him—much more than what the brand itself (which is naturally “biased”) has to say about itself.
With their ease of production, social media stories have become one of the most common venues for the production of User Generated Content.
4. The possibilities of interactivity
Here we come to a less obvious side, but one that can make a huge difference. We are referring to the possibilities for interactive communication between brand and user that can be implemented through social media stories.
What is the real breakthrough that is introduced by interactivity? To put it another way: from the one-way message where the recipient is always passive, we move to a true dialog where the viewer is an active participant in the storytelling and conversation.
How effective is interactivity, on all sides of marketing? Let’s see it through some data:
- According to research by DemandGen, the positive impact of interactivity results in a net doubling of the engagement rate (source: demandgenraport.com).
Then there is some very interesting data regarding the conversion rate (referring, in particular, to the video sphere):
- Linear videos such as banner ads or classic YouTube ads record conversion rates that stay below the 1% threshold. With the introduction of interactivity, the surge is truly remarkable, reaching an average of 11% (marketingprofs.com).
That’s not all: when there is interactive communication, there is also better and deeper data collection. It is a matter of “granularity” of information. In turn, better and deeper data turns into an increasingly surgical knowledge of your audience. Ultimately, what is the main benefit of this process?
It’s the ability to put on track communication that is increasingly tailored to the target audience.
The interactivity options offered by stories vary from platform to platform and are constantly evolving: from simple boxes where users can answer specific questions, to quizzes, polls, and more.
5. Consistent brand storytelling
Here, we come to the last of the most important benefits of leveraging social media stories. We have talked about spontaneity, speed of reaction, enhanced engagement, interactivity, and a dialog that becomes truly bi-directional.
To all this we must add the high frequency of publication that Stories make possible. What are the benefits of this high frequency?
First, it increases traffic, which is always rewarded by algorithms and leads to wider visibility. More importantly, it leads to the opportunity to conduct constant, uninvasive brand storytelling. It’s like putting together, day after day, one tile after another, a mosaic that constitutes the brand image, which is constantly moving, and ever closer to its audience.
To put it another way: making the most of social media stories is an ideal way to improve brand awareness, which is the highest part of the customer’s path to purchase, what—in technical terms—is referred to as the “funnel.” Improving brand awareness, in turn, also boosts the retention rate.
Because, today more than ever, it’s not just about buying a product or service. It’s also, and more importantly, about embracing the value system, status, and imagery created around a brand. And here, in conclusion, is how a very simple and immediate tool can have very broad and profound benefits, not only in the short term but also in the long and very long term!
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