We all know that Facebook and Snap Inc. are currently in the middle of a classic Silicon Valley tech battle - this one we might call 'The Battle of the Stories'.
Snap Inc. first introduced Stories to Snapchat back in October 2013, enabling users to upload an infinite number of photos or videos which would be visible to all of their followers for 24 hours. Soon after, Snap Inc. CEO Evan Spiegel turned down Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's offer to buy Snapchat for $3 billion, which was the first step in the Stories battle yet to come.
After various failed attempts to tap into Snapchat's audience, in August 2016, Facebook-owned Instagram rolled out their own version of Stories, which was almost identical to Snapchat. Instagram took Snap's model and continued to expand on it, notably adding live-streaming into the mix in November 2016. By April 2017 - eight months after launch - Instagram announced that it's Stories option had surpassed Snapchat in their number of daily active users.
Adding more fuel to the Stories fire, Facebook also launched Stories-type functionality within Messenger, WhatsApp and Facebook proper, hoping to imitate the success of Instagram Stories and maintain the company's position as the leader in all things social media.
Some people want to join the Stories fight by picking sides, some people couldn't care less and some just want to know which of these three platforms to invest their advertising efforts. So, putting aside all the drama, let's discuss the various ways these platforms are used and how marketers can capitalize on these spaces to connect with and get in front of their target audience.
There are many reasons for the high-engagement and user numbers on social media Stories, but why are Stories useful for brands? Stories are used for sharing daily, creative, real-time updates. It can be a great option for people and businesses to add the "human touch" to their brand and build their brand personality. Stories is a creative form of brand transparency, a space that enables you to share your brand visually and creatively, all while connecting with your audience by providing them that "insider view" of your business - all things that help increase brand awareness and loyalty.
But there is, of course, a right and wrong way to use Stories.
Just like any social media option, when posting content on (Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook) Stories, it's critical to approach this with a strategy, and to use the platforms most relevant to your audience for maximum impact.
Creating a 'Stories' Strategy (Things to Consider)
1. Which platform works best for you?
Who is your audience and what is your message? The average Snapchat user is 18-24 years old (skewing female). Snapchat users are expecting casual, fun and creative content. The average Instagram user is only slightly older, with half of their users being between the age of 18-29. This audience (in general) expects visually-pleasing, pretty and polished content. Facebook has a much older user group, but it's the largest audience of them all. There's a lot of potential for businesses with a large following on Facebook to see positive results from the use of Stories - but without usage figures from Facebook as yet, it's hard to know whether Facebook Stories will ever take off?
2. What will your style of content sharing be?
Whatever style you choose, consider how it compliments your already existing social media accounts. Make sure you share content which adds context to your regular posts and doesn't confuse your audience.
3. Will you invest in advertising space?
You may have an account with plenty of followers and don't feel the need to invest in ad space, but for some businesses, buying ad space is the most effective form of reaching an audience. Check out Snapchat's new self-services ad platform or Instagram's online ad platform to see the different advertising options available.
4. Will you invest in influencer marketing?
Having social media influencers promote your brand has become one of the most effective forms of marketing. 'Stories' is another space where you can capitalize on the power of influencers over the market.
Want to learn more on this topic? Read our Story Time - Snapchat vs Instagram vs Facebook (#SMTLive Twitter chat Recap).