‘Stories’. If you’re of a less digitally-savvy generation, you probably remember the term as something your momma told you to stop telling. Despite a somewhat ambiguous name, this new marketing format looks set to be one of the hottest trends across platforms for a long time to come. Here’s everything you need to know about social media marketing’s new darling, courtesy of the Zebra 360 Online Marketing gurus.

What on earth is a ‘story’?

Despite the many wonderful things that the internet has done over the decades since it’s widespread roll-out as the World Wide Web, there’s always been one niggling issue- what you put out there stays there. Even if you rush to hit the delete button, it’s too late… whatever data you uploaded is already free to roam the web.

While that lack of data control is never really completely gone- someone can always screencap, save or store your posts- ‘Stories’ formats brought a different (and somewhat refreshing) style of posting to the table. Now, you weren’t creating a post that would be searchable for posterity. Your post will disappear in a few short hours, never to be seen again (mostly). Snapchat started the trend, with Instagram and then Facebook jumping on the wagon. Now you’ll find it across Youtube with the launch of Reels, and, of course, TikTok too. No doubt we’ll see other platforms opt for similar as time progresses.

Each of these formats works a little differently, depending on the platform and its focus, but the core idea is the same- uploading a picture or video designed for a less formal, more organic vibe, emphasising authenticity and the ‘real people’ side of the brand rather than as a ‘formal’ advertising pitch.

How does the ‘story’ format work for social media marketing?

It’s pretty easy to see the instant allure of the stories format for everyday posters, especially younger teens. No eager parent (or future boss) will find that embarrassing party snap you took, with the evidence evaporating shortly after posting. How do story-style posts work for the smart social media marketer, however? In a market more worried about ROI, acquisitions and conversions then being grounded, what are the benefits?

There’s a surprising amount, actually. It’s no secret to the advertising market that FOMO, or Fear Of Missing Out, can be a powerful sales driver. That power has only grown in an era where businesses need to cultivate ‘fans’, as it were… regular clients and customers who interact with them and develop personal relationships rather than simply taking in a hard sell.

While FOMO is one of the strongest draw cards for stories, there’s a few others to consider too:

  • More cost-effective to create, requiring less ‘slick’ advertising and more ‘authentic’ vibes
  • Boosts brand awareness, allowing more consistent and constant follower engagement
  • Boosted traffic…and who doesn’t like more web traffic?
  • Local notice. Instagram, for example, allows one to browse stories tagged as local to your area. Likewise, event and location hashtags can help boost your exposure to people close to you.

It also, of course, helps brands reach and connect with a younger audience, keeping their message both fresh and in front of younger consumers on a platform/format they enjoy using.

Stories and organic engagement are set to be a 2020 social media marketing trend

2019 saw a huge rise in the use of ‘story’ formats for social media marketing, for all the reasons we’ve just looked into. There’s no sign of the popularity of the format dying down just yet, and we feel pretty confident predicting that the smart digital marketer in 2020 will want to make sure a hefty dose of this less-formal, more intimate advertising style is planned into their campaigns.

Keen to know what else 2020 will bring the social media marketing landscape? Why not get in touch with Zebra 360 Online Marketing today, and get your New Year campaigns perfected for the holidays?