This summer, social media platforms debuted so many new features it was hard to keep up. (Miss out while you were on holiday? Catch up with our roundup.) As fall color explodes, the platforms continue to test and release new features, with Instagram leading the way. With all the changes, the story of the year continues to be Stories.
“By the end of next year, Stories are expected to outpace Feeds as our primary mechanism of content creation. Every marketer should be thinking of an effective, sustainable and human-first Stories strategy—especially on Instagram—before it’s too late.” -Chris Strub, CEO of I Am Here, LLC [source: Forbes]
While Snapchat started the ephemeral content craze, Instagram and Facebook quickly delivered their own options. So, what platform should you use? Go where your audience lives.
Have you already developed an active, engaged following on Instagram? Share compelling behind-the-scenes content on Instagram Stories, taking advantage of the features available. Does your audience reside on Facebook? Go live on the largest social platform in the world, sharing product launches and event sessions. Were you an early adopter of Snapchat, building your loyal following ever since? Share exclusive sales and can’t-miss moments from your company’s day-to-day life.
The takeaway? Don’t jump on every platform and overextend your resources. Are you a small business or solopreneur? Do your research, figure out where your audience lives and devote your resources to those platforms (or even a single one). Develop your approach to an individual platform (or two or three), and master sharing quality content that will compel your audience to act.
“With limited resources and time, it’s appropriate to let the under-performing projects go to make way for new opportunities. Too many marketers attempt to ‘do it all,’ at the expense of doing what works.” -Michael Stelzner, Founder of Social Media Examiner [source: Forbes]
Speaking of compelling content, video is hot—especially live video. But, it still needs to provide value to your audience. Based on our experience, pictures still outperform video in your Instagram feed, but Stories (and now IGTV) is a great place to share video. Show how your product is produced, live-stream your session or share your blog article distribution process.
Test various types of content with your audience to see what resonates best. While it’s important to stay on top of trends in the ever-evolving social media landscape, don’t abandon proven content types, posting times or your brand’s aesthetic to go all in on the latest shiny object. Try working in trends that you think will resonate with your audience, but don’t feel pressured to jump on every new feature or platform as it’s introduced.
Before you try a new feature, think about how it fits into your overall strategy. Testing is an important part of effective social media marketing, but a consistent voice and tone is central to your overall presence. If a new feature doesn’t fit with what you’re doing, don’t use it. If your audience isn’t interested in a platform, devote your resources elsewhere.
Establishing an active, engaged following on platforms where your audience lives is helpful beyond connecting with them. Customers, prospects and fans are more likely to share their experiences with your company on platforms they love.
“When you create a loyal engaged community and reward them by surprising and delighting them for their loyalty, then those people will always share your content and feel part of your brand’s journey!” -Samantha Kelly, Founder/CEO of the Women’s Inspire Network [source: Forbes]
Word of mouth marketing is powerful, because it comes from consumers, not your company. While your brand or company needs to share its story, it’s important for others to share your story. User generated content (UGC) helps you reach a wider audience and gives you content to share. For example, you can share your customer’s posts on Instagram to your Stories to spotlight them.
When you share a customer’s post, they receive a notification via Instagram Direct. It opens a direct conversation between your brand and your customer, which can lead to further engagement, a referral or even a purchase. Every time you interact or engage with someone in an authentic manner, it helps to strengthen their loyalty to your brand.
Despite all of the updates and changes, the story of the year in social media marketing is all about Stories. Whether your audience prefers Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat, they’re likely spending a lot of time creating and viewing Stories. So, take some time to think about how Stories fit into your social media marketing strategy, so you can meet your customers (and future customers) where they live.
Share Your Story
How is your business using Stories?
What platform does your audience prefer for Stories?
What’s your favorite Stories feature?
Sharing the story on Stories,