Stories are all over the place these days and many brands are staying far away from this new, trendy feature simply due to the amount of effort it takes to create a story that will only live on for 24 hours. Working on a small team myself, I get it. By the time you spend an entire week at a conference to create a ‘story’ for your brand, you suddenly begin to question what all that effort was really for. Why would you spend photo, video and writing resources to create something that just vanishes into thin air at the end of the day? Well, what if I told you it didn’t have to vanish into thin air at the end of the day?
Stories can actually be a pretty valuable tool once you figure out how to repurpose content and cross-promote stories across various networks. Being a skeptic of stories, I took it upon myself to test them out and see if I could really find any true value for a brand. Guess what? I did, and here are a few valuable tips I learned along the way:
The #1 tip is to make sure your story is around an active moment, or you run the risk of completely boring your audience. If you are already working with an energetic moment for your brand, you are setting yourself up for success. Active moments include events, brand announcements, fan/brand stories (duh), day-in-the-life of (fill in the blank), etc.
Don’t Overuse Filters & Stickers
Depending on your brand, you do not want to look like a tween took over your Instagram for the day. You can be a serious brand and still use filters and stickers, just make sure they are close to the colors you use on a regular basis with your brand and do not overuse them. A brand can feel pretty safe if they stick to the first few rows of stickers, which include everything from adding a hashtag to asking people to turn their volume on.
Once you start scrolling into fake nose and sparkling eyes territory, you might want to hit the brakes and ask yourself if you can truly use these features and stay true to your brand.
Don’t Be A Perfectionist
Stories happen FAST, which means there are sometimes mistakes and sometimes the video isn’t Blockbuster quality >> THAT’S OKAY. If you are a Type A personality like me, take a deep breath, and publish the story anyways. In the case of stories, a raw, unedited effect actually appeals better to the audience. They aren’t watching your story to see how perfect you are. They are watching your story to get a real-time, in-the-moment perspective from you.
Instagram stories don’t have to be all about Instagram! Use Twitter to encourage people to follow your story on Instagram, and post the story as an album to your Facebook page. This not only helps boost your Instagram following, it also creates a more cohesive story for your brand that reaches across numerous networks and various types of audiences. Make sure you are using one hashtag on all of the platforms to the tie the story together across the internet. Also, make sure to save your story as a video file and post it as a video to your Instagram page as a story ‘recap’.
You end up having a TON of content when you need to keep a 24 hour Instagram story alive and well. When you are capturing content for your story, think about what you can capture that will outlive your story. This means if you are at an event, filming some short videos away from all of the signage that you might be able to use for other campaigns. Take photos that can be used for a potential new Facebook and Twitter cover photo. Make quote graphics that can stand on their own and be re-posted throughout the year on your social media channels. When you start thinking of content in an ‘evergreen’ way, the content becomes more valuable to your team.
You do not have to have an infinite amount of time, or a team of 25 content strategists to create meaningful, engaging stories for your brand that stick. All you need is a little bit of creative thinking and a new way of thinking about content. If you are still skeptical about the ROI of using Instagram stories, I challenge you to give it a chance. You might just find it’s the tool you’ve been looking for to reach that younger, trendier audience out there.
– Marji J. Sherman