Social media stories have become a powerful marketing tactic, and when it comes to engaging your digital audience through the medium, there may be no more effective option than the “Stories” feature found on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. Rather than sharing content one post at a time, the tool allows users to string posts together, effectively creating a single, visual narrative. Take a look at these best practices for leveraging Stories to maximize digital engagement.
Take Advantage of Polls
One of the latest features added to Instagram Stories is the option to implement interactive polls within them. For marketers, this serves as a built-in engagement tool that allows followers to quickly and easily interact with a brand, and in turn, offer the company valuable feedback. Poll topics can be as broad or granular as the user likes, meaning if you really want to find out how that one craft cocktail was received, you can take it to the polls. At the very least, the tool serves as an effective alternative to other brand survey formats.
Go Behind the Scenes
Social media stories are an event marketer’s new best friend when it comes to offering followers an exclusive look at a particular event. Behind the scenes footage, in particular, is a great way to make digital fans feel like they’re a part of a live experience (and maybe create a little FOMO). NPR took the approach to show its followers how a story for its program “All Things Considered” comes together in a matter of 36 posts compiled into one cohesive Snapchat Story. The results? The four-minute Story was watched 8,800 times in the 24 hours it was accessible within the app.
Use Links to Boost Traffic and Engagement
Social media stories feature in and of itself is a powerful engagement tool, but brands can take it a step further by inserting direct links into their Instagram Stories (Snapchat does not offer the feature). By adding links, brands can direct their followers to product pages, additional content on the topic they’re posting about and a host of other calls to action. Done right, the approach has the ability to increase sales, generate leads and boost traffic.
Add UTMs to Your Links
Speaking of adding links, Instagram’s analytics feature doesn’t track link clicks. So leveraging UTM parameters, short text codes added to a URL that let users track website visitor data, is an effective way to analyze your traffic. And that analysis, of course, is key to understanding what kind of content resonates most with your audience, offering valuable insights on where brands may need to pivot to maximize engagement.
Demonstrate Your Expertise
Although far less popular than its counterparts, the Facebook Stories feature has its benefits. The tool is a great option for brands looking to showcase their expertise by offering tips and how-tos on a particular subject. This can be done as a series of images with text overlay, and/or videos—an engaging way to deliver this type of content. And to encourage additional engagement, you can always ask followers what they thought of your tips and where you fell short.
Much more than a trend, storytelling is a sound marketing strategy that is likely to be around for the long haul. The beauty of the Stories feature for event marketers is that the highlights of their live experiences can be shared with their digital audience through one chronological, cohesive piece of content (unlike separate social posts, which often appear out of order on a platform’s newsfeed). So, if you’ve got a compelling brand story to tell, it’s time to get social.