wherever you look, you can see full-screen slideshows everywhere. We are talking about stories on social media platforms. Snapchat was the pioneer of the popular story feature. The fact that Instagram, Facebook, and Co. have followed suit proves that the function is popular with users. Stories can consist of photos, videos or so-called boomerangs (video loops). The individual elements are shown in the full smartphone screen and played automatically one after the other. The availability of the content is limited to 24 hours and is therefore very fast-moving and up-to-date. Instagram added the function to its repertoire in August 2016 and met with great interest with the introduction.
In addition to private users, companies are also increasingly discovering the format for themselves. Not without reason, because the numbers speak for themselves and underline the great interest of users in the company profiles. More than 200 million Instagrammers visit at least one company profile every day and a third of the most frequently viewed stories come from companies.
STAGED AND NICELY ARRANGED PHOTOS ARE YESTERDAY’S NEWS
The stories offer one thing above all: absolute freedom in creating content. Anyone who has followed the strict rules of square images for years can now throw them overboard. Authenticity and reality are required here. Posed scenes and artificially prettified content tend to be less well-received. Users demand a different perspective here with honest and unadorned insights. And that is exactly what counts in storytelling.
I simply mean to tell a story. In the stories, stories can be communicated in sequences with loosened content. The format can be used to address users on a more personal level. Due to the topicality, the content gives users a feeling of authenticity and draws them closer to them with their attention. That the strategy works show the results of a study. Consumers most often interact with brands in the FMCG segment via Instagram. In comparison to the interaction on Facebook, the users are on average twice as active in the exchange with the FMCG brands.
Visual content, in the form of images and videos, is captured much faster by the viewer. For reasons of time, hardly anyone reads long texts in which one sends the story or the message as an image contribution. Storytelling via Instagram Stories is an ideal tool to tell the story behind the brand, the company or the campaign, instead of just presenting the finished cover with the advertising material at the end. Emotions can be conveyed much more sensitively and relationships can be better represented.
FEED VS. STORIES
The wounds of the algorithm changes are deep in many companies. Reaches on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram have recently suffered a painful loss. If you open the Instagram app, you can see that the stories are placed wonderfully above the normal feed. Here, too, it is sorted by popularity, but the terrain is not yet as tightly developed as in the news feed. In the FMCG segment, in particular, the brands primarily rely on the Facebook platform. On the other hand, the activities on Instagram are significantly lower.
Another plus is that Instagram plays the published stories from all profiles one after the other without interruption. The user can easily view all of the stories in one piece. The actual timeline of the newsfeed slips into the background and often only plays the second violin. However, if that is not enough, you can advertise your stories with Stories-Ads. These are switched variable between the organic stories of individual profiles and flow natively into the video flow.
A COLORFUL BAG OF POSSIBILITIES
As is so often the case, advertisers should know their own target group and what is required of them. Varied narrative styles and different perspectives maintain the tension and let the users like to watch. The stories offer a large playground of functions where you can let off steam and pack your content nicely. The photos, videos or the popular boomerang can be decorated and supplemented with stickers, texts or filters. In this way, more complicated facts or exciting insights can be conveyed in the shortest possible time. The surveys are another useful function. It has never been easier to get opinions from your direct target audience in such a short time. As soon as the survey has been published, the first results are already appearing.
There is currently a limit on Instagram when linking to external media. These can only be integrated from a follower number of 10,000. However, this does not apply to location or profile links. Location-related stories are suggested to users in search: a good way to gain new followers in this way. This function is particularly suitable for places that are known or where events take place. Hashtags can also be set at will for more range.
IMPLEMENTATION IN PRACTICE
The format can be used particularly well in the FMCG area. According to the Instagram user survey, 60% of all people stated that they learned about new products on Instagram.
Some food retailers and producers have already discovered the platform for themselves and are very successful there. The organic food retailer and producer Alnatura, with currently 98,200 subscribers, communicate new products via the story function, show customers their branches or invites them to copy their own recipes.
Not only is the length of the individual sequences limited, but also the availability is limited. After 24 hours, the whole story is gone and no longer available. But this should not be seen as an absolute homicide argument. If you look at the whole thing from a different perspective, this is exactly the point that increases the attractiveness of the content enormously. The short-lived nature of the stories arouses great interest among users. The danger of missing something is a widespread phenomenon these days. We people of the 21st century want to be there everywhere, miss absolutely nothing and share all our experiences on all platforms. The smartphone is our daily companion and connects us to our environment. So we not only experience our own life,
If that doesn’t convince you yet, thanks to the newly introduced story highlights, you can now preserve the content conserved forever and drape it on your own profile. Older stories can also be loaded into the highlights from the archive. You can find them on your own profile below the biography. The story sequences can be published in infinite numbers. However, a maximum of eight sequences should not be exceeded, otherwise the abort rate increases before the entire story ends. Users expect short and concise messages that can be looked at in between and do not require a great deal of time to grasp the entire content.
Everyone has to decide for themselves whether the format is suitable for their own marketing mix and the goals set. The fact is that not only quantitative data (e.g. the number of views) shows how much content the content receives, but also qualitative data. In addition to pure numbers, the faces behind the target group can also be determined and better known based on their profiles. It is also worth trying out storytelling in vertical full-screen format instead of always thinking square.