Social Media

How to Use Social Media Stories to Grow Your Small Business

Social media stories are the new trend (for about two years now). And, the rate at which they have grown popular is astonishing. Companies like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, even LinkedIn now have this feature added to their social app(s).

How to use social media stories to grow your small business

Twitter (which calls them “Fleets”) and LinkedIn released a similar feature not more than six months ago. So now you have Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Snap, and LinkedIn to consider posting on their stories as well.

I always forget, but when I remember, I post them on WhatsApp as well. And you should consider that too; your entire telephone agenda (people you communicate with often but don’t necessarily follow on other social platforms) can easily see your update! (Since I started writing this article, Pinterest is rolling out its stories feature).

According to a survey, over 500M people watch Instagram Stories every day.

Consider the same number of people accessing the stories feature on other social apps, and you will get an idea about how stories can help transform your business. With an audience, that size, investing time in marketing your small business using social media stories isn’t a bad idea at all. However, knowing how to do it right is vital.

In this article, we’ll discuss how you can leverage the power of social media stories on Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook (including Insta and WhatsApp, Pinterest, and LinkedIn-like platforms to show off your small business’s capabilities from a fresh perspective and attract more leads.

Why use stories/fleets?

Social media stories are a form of brief content, with a lifetime of 24hrs. And for social media, this content is a collection of pictures and videos, which is sequenced to present a narrative. Apps like Instagram even allow stories to be kept as highlights for later viewing, so if a new customer joins, he/she can see what’s been going on in the past.

The popularity of this feature has changed the way consumers interact with businesses online. You can share information about upcoming events, promotional campaigns, pictures, and videos of your workspace, and more to boost engagement and build a reputation.

If you are looking to market your small business online, leveraging stories or fleets can prove to be the best and the most cost-effective option.

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How to create stories/fleets that convert?

1. Being Transparent

The modern audience is selective and expects transparency in every aspect, including social media. As your small business grows and builds a reputation, it will be required to reflect its perspective through what it shares.

Sharing posts that relate to your business’s culture will help generate trust and thus strengthen the core of your relationship with customers.

Think of your social media page like your own home, where you allow only the best to get served while maintaining your cultural values. Giving your followers insights into what happens behind the scenes will make them feel like family, and you’ll see the magic happening alongside.

2. Using Videos

Nothing can be more effective than a strong video message. And when it comes to using them as stories, there’s no other choice. Even though they are challenging to produce, videos gain significantly more attention than images alone.

As long as you have a smartphone, you can use third-party apps to edit videos. Make them fun, based on a short yet creative storyline, and you are good to go. For the next 24 hours, analyze the audience response so you can mold your strategy accordingly. Follow the social media pages of popular brands for inspiration n and see how they create stories.

3. Sharing relevant content

Given the fact that stories/fleets are short-lived, sharing relevant content over evergreen makes more sense. Moreover, the modern audience is a large percentage of our youth- impulsive and immediate. They like to feed on content that is the latest and in-trend. Sharing something which doesn’t relate to their idea of modernity is only going to push them away. Therefore, posting fresh and trending content becomes even more important.

4. Running Contests

Social media stories are a great way to announce giveaways, contests, and promotional campaigns running at your small business. Information about events like flash sales, contests, etc., can be shared through stories. Since no one wants to miss out on a sale, they will check the stories more often. Sharing such information through stories is among the best strategies through which you can increase engagement among customers.

5. Using Fresh Information

Since the stories/fleets are short-lived, the individual posts inside them are also transitory. When a story is viewed, each post runs for a matter of seconds, thus making it essential to keep the information as crisp as possible.

Although there’s no limit to the number of images or videos that you can add to a story, giving users the ability to consume more without having to scroll through your page is only going to work in your favor. This fast-paced imagery is what will make the user experience seamlessness and nurture business familiarity.

6. Using raw imagery

Advertising your business using social media stories is a highly-effective means of marketing. They don’t just increase engagement but also help you save on costs. This information is meant to be raw without any editing and quality enhancements.

Using real photos and videos from your business will convey the idea of originality and tell users that there’s nothing to hide.

Some technical aspects to consider

Apart from the tips and tricks that we have shared, there are some technical aspects you should keep in mind when looking to put together a story. Though there’s no one-size-fits-all for these videos, one thing they have in common is that they can help you formulate the story concept and articulate it impressively.

Some technical aspects to consider

  • TikTok can be the seed. It adds the now-famous TikTok logo with your username in the video so users can identify your brand. I like TikTok’s desktop app – the only platform that allows you to do stuff on a computer. I personally post their daily SEO/internet hacks/ tips. Because of its algorithm, I get many views regardless of the fact that I follow only 3 or 4 people and have even fewer followers (I’ve gained a couple since I started posting regularly. 
  • If the video is up to 60 seconds duration, you can export it to Instagram and post it there as well. Instagram will then split it automatically into more stories, typically 3 Insta stories from a 60-second video, and from there, you can share it on your Facebook stories as well if you have it linked.
  • As far as WhatsApp is concerned, you can add a 16-second video as a story, and there will be no limitation to the number of posts you can add.
  • LinkedIn, on the other hand, allows for videos of under 20 seconds as stories. Moreover, the process is time-consuming, and the website doesn’t support the stories feature as well.
  • Similarly, social media apps like Pinterest and Twitter also have this feature, where you can share video clips, images, and text information as stories.
  • YouTube offers stories as well for users with a certain number of following; I post the TikTok videos on YouTube as well (as regular videos, and not all of them) since I consider them to be valuable – and I was pleasantly surprised to get a couple of unexpected views – again, I didn’t focus on growing my YouTube or TikTok following – my main channel is LinkedIn. 

Note that all these limits can change.

Wrapping things up

With the changing social media landscape, businesses need to stay updated with the latest trends in social media marketing. Content shared via social media stories can range from promotional campaigns to sales and general marketing but is targeted at the sole purpose of generating awareness among users.

Keep consistency: it’s expected that you won’t get many views initially, especially if you don’t have a huge following – again, posting stories ensures that your messages are going in front of those who already follow you. But by creating a discipline and posting regularly, you can transform your revenue stream. 

A realtor friend of mine told me how he started getting more people to reach out to him after he started posting a daily 30-second video about sharing tips on what to look for when selling/buying a house, mortgage, income, and basically all the questions that realtors are get asked anyways. 

Now, think about your profession/business and what you can easily share with your audience. 

As I am doing with my daily SEO tips. 

I hope this article has helped you learn how to exploit social media stories to augment your marketing efforts and convert more leads.

About author

Emanuel Petrescu is a Toronto SEO specialist. He’s passionate about helping businesses enhance their reputation and online footprint. Emanuel has solid experience managing websites and developing and implementing SEO strategies, as well as working on email marketing, social media, and paid advertising campaigns. You can connect with Emanuel on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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