Why Are There So Many Stories All Over My Social Media Feeds?

If you dabble in any social media at all, you’ve probably seen “Stories” infiltrate your social media app—and it’s spreading. Posted on Friday, April 14 in Breaking Through the Clutter.

Who's running in the KDF Marathons this year?!?!I’m storied out.

If you dabble in any social media at all, you’ve probably seen “Stories” infiltrate your social media app—and it’s spreading.

The Stories phenomenon started when Snapchat introduced the feature in 2013, and its popularity caused stories to quickly spread to other platforms.

The result is that today when you open up Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat, you’ve got “stories” shoved in the top of your social media feed.

Posting to Stories is kind of overwhelming as a user and marketer, due to the amount of effort it takes to post to all of them. But Stories are here to stay for the foreseeable future.

So what makes this feature so great?

Why is it such a hot community for social media platforms?

And how are marketers benefiting from it?


What Are Stories?

Let’s use Instagram as an example. Every photo you post on Instagram is archived within the photos under your profile forever unless you delete it. Your followers have the chance to see your posted photos within their feed or under your profile if they visit it.

Your Instagram “Story” is a separate corner of Instagram in which you post video and photos. Anything you post to your story will only be available to your followers for a 24 hour period. When someone opens Instagram, users they follow who’ve updated their Story will light up at the top of the app.

You simply click and begin watching a slideshow of the available videos and photos they have posted to their story in the past 24 hours.

This is essentially the same formula for Stories on Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook.

Evening WalkWhy Is It So Popular?

It puts the user in control of a 24-hour narrative. Stories also promote a more organic, rugged style. More storytelling versus photography.

Knowing that viewers will watch your Story from start to finish, you have the ability to craft that slideshow with lots of creativity compared to simply posting one photo to your feed.

Stories also include various modifiers such as stickers and text options to make your posts more creative and interesting. The most popular being face filters on Snapchat’s Stories. Face swap filter anyone?

Why Are the Platforms Obsessed with Stories?

Two Reasons.

First, nobody wants to feel left out. Snapchat’s popularity among the coveted Millennial crowd is huge, making them the darling of the social media industry. When Snapchat launched their Stories feature, it was a huge success.  Facebook (which owns Instagram) saw this popularity among the Millennial crowd and felt they had to compete in order to stay relevant.  The result was a Stories feature on Instagram (and now on Facebook) that is almost a carbon copy (some would say rip off) of Snapchat’s Stories feature.

Second? Advertising, of course!

Video ads are king online these days and the format of watching someone’s story works very well for inserting sponsor videos periodically during stories viewing. Paid advertising within Snapchat Stories have been available for some time and paid ads just became available on Instagram Stories this year.

How Can Brands Use Stories?

Outside of the obvious use of paid advertising to target specific types of audiences, many brands have gravitated to the Stories platform both on Snapchat and Instagram. It offers an engaging and organic way for followers of the brand to be delivered content and information in a fun way.

The Children’s Museum in Indianapolis (@childrensmuseum) is a great example of a brand using Snapchat Stories the right way. One day their story may be dedicated to a particular exhibit within the museum such as dinosaurs. Another day it may be documenting the opening of a brand new exhibition. All of this content helps creative a strong relatableconnection with their audience.

Stories Are Here to Stay

Love’em or Hate’em, the Stories feature isn’t going away anytime soon. It may seem like a needless and repetitive extra feature on Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook (all of which require their own separate postings much to the disdain of all social media managers), but it’s the feature companies are betting on for engagement and ad revenue.

So my best advice would be to load up Snapchat, find a hilarious face filter and have fun with it.

Alex Porter, Courier-Journal Media Senior Client Strategy ManagerAlex Porter is a Client Strategy Manager at Courier-Journal Media. Find him on LinkedIn and Twitter and on Snapchat at alexporter82.
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