Now more so than ever, video on social media is taking off – and it’s set to continue its trajectory of success with the introduction of disappearing video features across Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.
If used well, these videos (called “stories”) can help to boost brand awareness and engagement among your target audience by offering a different sort of media or a more intimate view of your brand or business – or even reach new audiences.
Where can I start telling our brand stories?
Instagram has almost 800m monthly users and Snapchat has 300m, which offers great visibility on people’s timelines and in the “discovery” sections of the platforms. The section of users which actively use the stories feature is smaller, but still considerable – and likely more engaged as they opt in to view the dedicated feature. It’s also worth mentioning Facebook, whose stories feature is newer and less mature, but now open to brands.
With this amount of visibility, it’s great way to gain exposure to potential customers (particularly younger audiences, for whom these platforms are a favourite) and build brand awareness, while also cementing relationships with existing customers.
Why is this content working?
As more and more brands focus on the careful curation of their visual image, the rise of visual platforms Snapchat and Instagram is logical.
The introduction of video features made the platform more dynamic and introduced a different aspect, giving brands the opportunity to tell ad-hoc stories instead of relying on “the more polished core visuals” at the heart of Instagram’s platform.
Stories have been variously used by brands like L’Oréal, Mercedes, Ted Baker and Nike to achieve targets like greater brand awareness or increased sales.
Stories on Facebook and Instagram compete directly with Snapchat, and as a result the features are broadly similar across the three platforms. What makes these different from normal video is that they’re only visible for 24 hours, giving them a touch of the ephemeral.
A small-sample study has found that the ephemeral nature of the format is what makes it attractive to customers because of the lack of formality. It is also considered a more authentic channel of communication as a result.
How can I use these platforms?
One way to leverage these channels is by adding an aspect of exclusivity to your product offering via these stories. You could, for example, offer unique discount codes for your website via these stories which disappear after 24 hours.
Alternatively, you can “go live” and broadcast something happening – whether it’s a seasonal event, one-day sale, or even just showing off the office dog. This gives your followers a closer look behind the scenes of your brand, helping to foster engagement.
Make it visually interesting, too – use the different features to your advantage. Geolocation, paintbrushes, text captions, mention tags and more are all available, as well as a rough form of audience polling – encouraging engagement and feedback by asking questions and inviting responses. This will give you an idea of how engaging the content is and how many people are consuming it.
Working with influencers for takeovers – whereby the influencers control your stories for a set period – which they promote on their own channels can also help to raise your profile.
In summary, there are many ways you can get creative with this unique video feature, but always remember to think about your CTA (call to action). At the very least, drive traffic to your website by directing people to your profile bio, where you can include a link to your site.
Ultimately, the digital marketing game is a tough one to play – it takes a lot of time, patience, experimentation and creativity to keep it going. Engagement is a difficult metric to measure in terms of tangible success; how do you know what works or translates into brand awareness or a sale?
Social media is a crowded but rewarding marketplace. If you want to stay on top of the game, innovation may be what it takes to give your business the boost it deserves – and social media is a crucial part of the formula.