As a busy small business owner, it can be tricky to stay on top of all of the latest social media trends. As soon as you create a strategy and start delivering, a new update pops up and a whole host of unfamiliar features are released. Luckily, we're here to provide you with update insights so you don’t have to navigate the unknowns alone. In today’s blog, we're going to be diving into Facebook and Instagram stories so you can leverage these new features to increase your organic reach and stand out from the crowd.
What are Facebook and Instagram Stories?
Facebook and Instagram stories are vertical, full screen photo or video content that disappears from your business page or profile after 24-hours. Unlike static content that you post directly on your page, story content is fluid and only exists on the internet for a short period of time.
Stories were essentially introduced to provide users like yourself with the ability to create a more interactive experience for your online community. Both Facebook and Instagram stories act as an additional tool that you can leverage to communicate with your audience. In addition to creating and curating content that pertains to your small business, you can also use interactive tools like stickers, polls, questions, and filters to make your Facebook and Instagram story content pop.
Why should I integrate Facebook and Instagram stories into my content strategy?
The benefits of leveraging Facebook and Instagram stories are incomparable and we're here to tell you why. Integrating stories into your content strategy will help your small business:
1. Build and strengthen relationships
2. Drive traffic and boost engagement
3. Increase brand awareness and exposure
4. Increase followers and grow your online community
5. Learn more about your online community and their habits
Where do I start?
Facebook and Instagram stories are the perfect way to engage and convert your audience. Unlike static content in your feed, content that you post on your story is quick, consistent, and easy to consume; making it favourable amongst consumers that are looking to learn as much as possible about your business in a short amount of time.
Maintaining a steady presence in your Facebook and Instagram stories will help you create an online community of loyal supporters and brand advocates that translate to real customers. Here’s how you can get started:
Brand Your Stories
Keeping your branding consistent is imperative and that’s why we always recommend incorporating your colour pallet, fonts, or unique style into your social media content. When you’re posting a static piece of content in your feed, you do so with your brand in mind. You reference your branding guide to make sure you're being consistent and recognizable and the content that you post on your Facebook or Instagram story shouldn’t be any different. Facebook and Instagram both enable you to create stories directly within the app but you can take it one step further by building out custom branded backgrounds or templates with free resources like Canva.
Repurpose Your Content
As a small business owner, your time is precious and repurposing your content is a great way to save time and maximize your content strategy. If you’re currently active on social media or frequently engage with your online community, you most likely have existing content that you can repurpose for your story. You can choose to optimize your content for your story or you can simply share a piece of content you’ve already posted to on your feed to increase exposure and boost engagement.
Facebook and Instagram posts both use a square format meaning the graphic or photo you upload in your feed displays as an even square. Stories differ as they use a format that is optimized for mobile meaning the content you post is meant to fill a phone or mobile device screen. If you’re shooting video content for your story, make sure you’re capturing your content vertically. If you’re posting a static background or story that you’ve created using an external resource like Canva, you will want to make sure you reference which size and format is best.
Leverage Interactive Elements
One of the most important parts of social media is keeping your audience engaged. Social media is saturated and it's simply not enough to base your success on a vanity metric like the number of followers or likes you have. If you want to blow your competition out of the water, you have to create an engaged community that interacts with your content. Both Facebook and Instagram stories offer a unique opportunity to tie interactive elements into your content strategy. There are tons of fun elements that you can leverage to interact with your audience like polls, quizzes, custom stickers, hashtags, mentions, and even music integration!
Keep it Short & Sweet
The key to keeping your online community engaged is to create concise, informative content that is easy to follow and consume. If your Facebook or Instagram story is extremely lengthy, your viewers will drop off and you may deter your audience from engaging in future content.
The most effective Facebook and Instagram stories convey their key message in the first three seconds of their story. Consistent, branded visuals with a clear call to action will captivate your audience and increase your chance of increasing conversions or prompting an action.
Include a CTA
Like any great piece of content or marketing initiative, one of your main goals or prerogatives should be to prompt an action through a clear call to action. When creating content for your Facebook or Instagram story you should first ask yourself what your intended outcome is so you can set yourself up for success and move your audience closer to that goal through your content.
Streamline Your Process
Posting Facebook and Instagram stories is a great way to increase your organic reach and keep your audience engaged but it can also be tedious and time consuming. Just like the way you would schedule static content in your feed, you can plan ahead and create a content plan that accounts for stories so you can schedule them and get them out of the way early.
If you don’t plan on adding interactive elements or posting live or real-time updates, you can schedule your story content ahead. Not only will proactively scheduling your story content save you time, but it will also help you create story content that compliments existing content or campaigns.
Ready to get started?
Creating and publishing stories may require a bit of trial and error but thankfully, our team is here to help you nail down a strategy that works for your small business. If you keep these best practices in mind, you will have no problem moving forward with confidence.
Are you interested in learning more about how the team at The. Co. Lab can support your small business through social media and content marketing support? Click here to fill out a contact form and we will be in touch within 24 business hours. Alternatively, you can consider joining us for our next social media workshop FACEBOOK FOCUS happening October 2nd at our downtown lab. Secure your spot by registering here.