Which Social Platform Has the Best Stories…? All of Them

Do you know what a ‘Facebook-never’ is? It’s a term used to describe children verging on the tween demographic who were born after the launch of Facebook but will never sign up to the platform, as it apparently has no relevance to their lives.

According to a recent eMarketer report, beyond those who will never arrive on Facebook in the first place, the platform’s popularity amongst young people is fading as teens and young adults flock to Instagram and Snapchat. For brands looking to target this Gen Z/Millennial audience, this social migration will either present challenges or opportunities depending on how adept they’ve become at storytelling on social. Some brands view Snapchat as another platform they must learn and create content for, while others are now understanding that Facebook posts also need pictures. This creates headaches for already overstretched social team resources. The question remains, how can they gear up to engage audiences effectively on visual mediums?

Brands shouldn’t be looking to create a Snapchat strategy, however much they try and convince themselves that creating a slick new Snapchat filter will bring their brand to life on the platform.

Yet, it’s this sort of muddled thinking that causes brands to struggle or underachieve on social media. They will develop platform-specific strategies that are vulnerable to sudden changes on the platform.

To put it plainly, brands shouldn’t be looking to create a Snapchat strategy, however much they try and convince themselves that creating a slick new Snapchat filter will bring their brand to life on the platform. To properly engage with young audiences, they need a story strategy that can play out across Snapchat, Instagram, even Facebook, or, any future platforms that may emerge.

Even though stories only last 24 hours, they have a lot of benefits, such as high click through rates. In fact, we have seen average story click rate of 11% on our campaigns, when factoring in all the views and clicks collectively, the highest we have seen in online adverstising. If your brand is looking for some quick traffic, stories is one of the best places to generate instant buzz. Stories is also quickly becoming the most effective way to communicate via influencers on Instagram.

There is a huge trend around the visual component of advertising and its effectiveness in reaching Gen Z and Millennials. These audiences are fluent in wholly visual communications to articulate a vast array of different circumstances and emotions. However, from a brand perspective, getting to grips with Instagram Stories and Snapchat Stories means learning how to connect with audiences through, raw, not highly produced, visual videos and picture videos.

Data also shows that younger audiences want to consume as much content as possible in as little time as possible – short-form videos served up at regular intervals. Let’s be honest, these requirements don’t exactly play to most brands’ strengths. Brands tend to take more versus less time to create decent video content. They tend to apply the polish generously – from production values to visual brand guidelines – leaving few who deliver content that could accurately be described as raw and authentic.

What does this mean for their story strategy? Well, it means thinking more creatively about how your brand story might play out on these social platforms. For starters, TV and film celebrities tend to have the biggest social followings and regularly capture raw visual content simply through the course of their everyday lives and brands need to start integrating themselves into these celebrities’ stories. A selfie on a red carpet, a 10-second behind-the-scenes video from the set of their new movie – these celebrity social posts achieve vast reach and can get brands’ millions of organic views, from loyal, engaged fans. If brands aren’t taking advantage of their universe, they are missing out and taking a risk of not truly reaching their target audience.

However, these partnerships need to be designed through the lens of a story strategy. What is the story you’re trying to tell, which celebrity is best aligned with the story and audience you’re trying to reach? Further, what scenarios and contexts are most plausible, appropriate and relevant for your brand’s integration? This platform-neutral way of thinking puts the story first, before working out which channels are most appropriate for telling that story.

Of course, if your brand is already working with a particular celebrity – through an existing advertising campaign or perhaps even a film or TV brand integration – then social channels like Instagram Stories and Snapchat Stories should be factored into a 360-degree approach to the partnership, creating a more holistic and believable association between brand and celebrity.

Beyond celebrities, every social platform today has its own army of massively popular, hugely creative influencers, who understand the type of content their audiences crave and know how to develop it – at speed.

Brands need to explore ways of integrating into this content sooner or they will miss out. Integrating into the day-to-day lives of Instagram Stories’ or Snapchat Stories’ most prominent users is far more engaging and authentic than simply creating a branded post.

Ricky Ray Butler

Ricky Ray Butler

Global Chief Campaign Officer at BEN
Ricky Ray Butler serves as the global cco at the Branded Entertainment Network (BEN), a Bill Gates Company. Ricky manages all brand relationships and campaigns, supporting our capabilities that include traditional and digital integration services to an impressive global roster of clients that include General Motors, Heineken, Microsoft, Zillow, Pepe Jeans, Hyundai, Disney, Ubisoft and other major global brands we are privileged and proud to be working with.
Ricky Ray Butler

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