In October of 2013 there was an uprising.
From behind the bright yellow curtain, a new style of engagement was rising to contest the powers of monotony and simple scrolling. This new hero of marketing would conquer platform after platform and eventually become king of audience engagement.
What happened in October of 2013? [ Snapchat introduced the story feature. Since then Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook, Skype, and YouTube have each revealed their own “story” version and many have had great success. And the same can be true for your company.
According to Sprout Social and Forbes, this method of short video stories and expiring content is one of the top trends to implement this year. Honestly, you would be silly not to. OmniCore did a statistical study of Instagram users and how often they use the story feature.
According to this study there are
- 500 million daily Instagram users
- 400 million of these users are engaging with and posting stories
- Six in 10 online adults have Instagram accounts
- 32 percent of all internet users are on Instagram.
If your company can reach that many people on one platform imagine how many potential future consumersyour company could reach if you implemented the story feature on other social media platforms. If the sheer volume of potential consumers doesn’t convince you, here are three more reasons to use the story feature.
When you search “how to beat social media algorithms” 26.8 million results appear. Even 20 pages in, the search results are still relevant to getting around either the Instagram or Facebook algorithm. For those who are unfamiliar, Instagram and Facebook have both implemented a system that makes predictions about what content you want to see. This algorithm makes predictions based off of interest, recency, and relationship.
Translation: brands must figure out ways to have users engage with their content consistently and figure out the best time to post. While these are great practices it can often be frustrating.
The story feature offers a leg up and that is there is no algorithm on the story features. If someone follows you then they will be able to see you posted a story. Jennifer Iversen is a firm believer in using the story feature, especially on Instagram. Iversen is a BYU-Idaho PR graduate who has done social media work for businesses in Rexburg, Idaho, and for her own growing yoga channel.
“I used to just post on my own feed and try to get word of mouth engagement,” Iversen says. “That worked okay but as soon as I started posting regularly on my Instagram story, I have seen a 40 percent increase of traffic to my yoga channel. More people saw what I posted.”
Hello audience engagement
The story feature not only increases the likelihood that your audience will see your posts, but it gives them more to engage with when they do.
“I am obsessed with all the different elements that you can add to a post,” Iversen said. “It makes for way better content then just a picture or video.”
With recent updates to the story feature you can now add gifs, music, polls, questions, interval scales[, filters, links to outside sources and text to any post. Instagram has added different ways to film as well such as superzoom and boomerang, a type of looping video that has become popular. All of this makes for content that your audience can physically engage with and not just look at.
Iversen explains how useful it has been for her personal brand, “I use the poll and question options the most. Whenever I am going to post a new yoga video, I will use these features to figure out what my audience wants the most. Do they want a core strength video or a lower back pain video? They vote, I deliver, and it’s basically a guarantee that my audience will like what I post and go watch it.”
Share the real you
The story feature is awesome. It lets you skip the algorithm and creatively increase engagement. This is why there are 25 million business accounts on Instagram. That mean 25 million competitors. Not only do you have to compete with other companies, but you have to earn the trust of your audience.
According to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer only 56 percent of people trust businesses. One way to combat both problems is by using your social media stories to offer a sneak peek into your company. This encourages authenticity and transparency.
“I have found that people have kind of gotten over the ‘perfect’ content. It isn’t relatable,” Iversen says. “I always get positive feedback when I post about how I struggle with a certain pose or about genuine improvement.” Iversen’s authenticity has won her loyal followers that spread the word about her yoga channel.
Another powerful tool with the story feature is that you can stream a live video and have your followers comment on the live feed.
“You feel connected to your audience. It feels like they really are a part of what you are doing in that moment.”
Invite your followers into your business by going live on your Instagram story. Photo by Hans Vivek on Unsplash
Social media itself is a growing trend throughout communications. There are so many ways to use it to connect with your audience and drive traffic to your company. But one of the best ways to use social media is to utilize the story feature. The story feature will help your company be seen, encourage loyalty-creating engagement, and will help you put your best foot forward.
Monica Chabot is a senior in the public relations program. She is the wife of a pretty cool guy and mother to several fake plants. She enjoys dancing when she has time and napping when she should be doing something else. Her favorite movie is anything set in New Zealand and she currently resides in Orem, Utah.