Earlier this year, I explained why Instagram should be your primary marketing channel and how to use photography and hashtags to build a following. If you're struggling with Facebook marketing for your business, then you should really go back and look at that previous post of mine.
Although I explained Instagram photography, I did intentionally exclude details about Instagram Stories because they are more involved and require a lot more work than just posting a photo. Instagram Stories is a direct competitor of Snapchat. Both social media services allow you to post something temporarily that is lost into the ether of cyberspace 24 hours later. Facebook has since integrated the Stories feature directly into the Facebook platform.
Facebook Stories, Instagram Stories, and Snapchat Stories have virtually identical functionality now, but using them for business marketing isn't very obvious at all. Hopefully, I can lend you some ideas with this Golden Nugget today. For the rest of this Nugget, I'll collectively refer to FB, IG, and the Snap networks as Stories or just Story.
Exactly What Is A Story?
A typical post to any social media account will remain online until you delete it. Because nothing ever seems to be deleted, most social media accounts have turned into time capsules of information for our personal and business accounts. Snapchat turned the marketing world on its ear with the idea of a shared post that only lasts a few seconds, but that's because Snapchat was never really designed for marketing. A few large brands have found success using Stories because they already had a very large following of customers worldwide. I'll adopt a few ideas I've seen and give inspiration for your own ideas.
The idea of a disappearing Story seems counterproductive for marketing. A typical marketing message appears online as a static image online, in a magazine, on a sign, or on a billboard. Each of those marketing types allows the customer to take as much time as they need to study the ad and respond to it. Trying to apply those existing marketing methods to Story usage doesn't work; it's akin to trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
Using Stories requires you to think outside of your marketing comfort zone and explore new ideas and new approaches. It's not realistic to spend more than 10 minutes on a post for your Story if only an extremely small percentage of your customers will ever see it. Think about what type of marketing message you can create within 10 minutes. Ten minutes is not enough time for even the most skilled marketing professionals to take a photo and add a caption.
With a 10 minute time constraint, you'll soon realize that you have to post quick photos, or better yet, video. In fact, Stories were created for the quick sharing of videos from your smartphone.
Time Limits and Looks
Instagram Story videos are limited to 15 seconds and Snapchat Story videos are limited to 10 seconds. Snapchat allows you to upload longer videos that it will automatically cut into 10 second segments for you. On Instagram, you have to cut your videos on your own before uploading them.
Short videos like that might seem ridiculous to use for marketing until you compare them to the typical 30 second TV commercial. The big difference is that your TV commercial will be used hundreds of times before you retire it, but your Story video will only live for 24 hours. Therefore you still can't spend the time to produce an elaborate commercial.
The simple approach is nothing more than taking a selfie video, a demonstration video, or a product video. A lot of people tell me that they are embarrassed to be on camera because they feel they don't look good enough. To help you get over that fear, you should consider that only your most loyal customers will be looking at your story. Those are probably the same loyal customers who have fallen in love with your product or service and they don't care how you look; they simply love your work.
Don't worry if you are having a bad hair or make-up day, just keep in mind that Stories are a short term marketing method that will only be visible for 24 hours. Just be yourself.
Only most loyal customers will follow your Story, and as such you should reward them with something special.
Through your Story, you can announce new products and offer first glimpses. You could pre-sell your products before putting them on the showroom floor for the public to find. You could even sell one-of-a-kind items through your Story and tell your fans to ask for it by name when they come in to the store.
Product reviews are another good way to use your Story. You can show the item and explain how it's made and how to wear or use it. Your review should also include different options like color, material, or size.
In addition to the one-of-a-kind sale, you can also have special hidden offers or sales announced through your Story. These sales can be announced the morning of the sale or event and then a few times throughout the day. You could also hold a Story Sale which starts when you post the story and continues for 24 hours. I've seen several retail stores use this method and also include a discount code that could be used online if the customers could not make it to the store in time.
Keep in mind that this is a "story" and not just a marketing medium. You should develop your own personality and presentation style when recording the selfie or product videos. You can also record the videos with someone else and develop your own camera personality that your customers will recognize over time.
The Story Begins Here
Like all other social media marketing methods, you have to jump in and experiment using Stories before you'll fully understand them. Start with static slides to help your following become aware of your Story, then build upon it over time with short videos at first. Eventually, you can work up to creating episodes within your Story that your customers will expect to see regularly.
I've had a lot of experience with video recording, shooting, and planning long term uses of Stories and my agency can train you in the process. Contact me and we'll help you get started.