A Complete Guide to Social Media Stories

online marketing
October 28, 2021

Social Media Stories are one of the most effective tools to engage with your audience. With 500 million daily users using both Instagram and Facebook Stories, it’s no surprise small and big businesses have turned to Stories to express the creativity of their brand and create connections with their customers. 58% of people say they have become more interested in a brand and/or product after seeing it in Stories, so it’s understandable why over 4 million businesses advertise on Social Media Stories each month.
In this post, we will learn how to make the most of Instagram and Facebook Stories and how much they will benefit your business. Also, you will find out 6 ways to optimize your Social Media Stories strategy.

Creating Instagram Stories

Firstly, Instagram Stories are vertical, full-screen photos and/or videos that are available to viewers for just 24 hours. You can find Stories at the top of the Instagram app, rather than scrolling down the news feed. They can be as interactive as you want, with the option to add stickers, polls, quizzes, and countdowns that will engage your audience.

Facebook Stories

Secondly, Facebook Stories allow you to share content that represents your brand or business directly from your mobile device. Stories engage your audience, and they allow you to develop deeper connections in a more frequent and authentic way.
Facebook Stories appears at the top of News Feed, similar to Instagram. Users can also tap on your Page’s profile picture to see your current page story.

What are the benefits of Social Media Stories?

  • Social Media Stories allow businesses to share content with their audience as often as they want. They give you the opportunity to share various types of content, engage with your audience, and at the same time, allow you to see what types of posts attract a bigger audience.
  • Uploading Stories makes your brand come across as friendly and accessible. Your customers can get to know you and your business better, gaining their trust and building up their confidence along the way. Stories let you share personal and relatable content through short, snappy, and creative moments.
  • Daily posts of Stories on your Instagram and Facebook Pages will allow your social media presence to be at the top of your audience’s News Feed. If anyone has missed a post of yours, Stories allow you to reengage a passive audience and provide updates in a dynamic way.

6 Ways to optimize your Social Media Stories

1. Different Sizes 

If you are designing or editing Stories or Stories ads on a desktop using apps such as, Canva, then you need to make sure you stick to these ratios and resolutions:
– Recommended image ratio: 9:16
– Recommended resolution: 1080×1920. The minimum resolution supported is 600×1067.
– Maximum file size: 30MB for images and 250MB for video
– Text-safe area: Leave a 14% text-safe area at the top and bottom of the image or video. This avoids overlapping with the app’s interface.

2. Brand Style Templates

When creating Stories, it’s important to keep the visuals and style consistent to help nurture your relationship with your audience. They should be able to recognize your style without having to check your username.
We recommend adding any design decisions, such as fonts, colors, and GIFs to a style guide. This way you’ll be able keep your brand’s tone and style unified.

3. Type of Content –Video vs Images

You can choose to upload a still image or a video to your Stories. Images are shown for five seconds, and a video can last up to 15 seconds. Have you ever looked at a still image in Stories for the full five seconds? If not, then that will most likely be the same for your followers too.

A SocialInsider study found that images in Stories have a 5.65% higher tap-forward rate than videos. A tap-forward rate is the number of people who saw your story and moved on to the next one before finishing it. The same study also found that photos in Stories had more drop-offs than videos, showing that people tend to spend more time viewing videos. It’s no wonder why 51% of brands are already using videos in Stories, and the number is increasing at a fast rate.

Story Types

One tip for creating Stories is shooting from your smartphone. Viewers favor mobile-shot content over professional edits. This is because it relates more to the content regular users post and blends with what they expect to see. This allows you to create a more immersive and less intrusive experience for your followers.
Some content ideas for social media Stories include:

  • Educational tutorials
  • Behind-the-scenes
  • A countdown to special offers
  • Staff or customer takeover
  • Q&As

Try to collect user-generated content through giveaways or encouraging customers to share and tag you in their photos. This will give you a catalogue of content from customers using your products and services, which you can share in your Stories to reach a wider audience. In fact, 58% of users say they’ve become more interested in a product or brand after seeing it in Stories.

4. Hashtags

Adding hashtags to your Story makes it discoverable to a wider audience. You can add up to 10 hashtags using the regular text format. We recommend shrinking them down and blurring them into the background so the users can’t see them. You can also add one hashtag using a sticker.
Create a hashtag for your business and encourage your customers to use it. This will give you access to a compilation of user-generated content you can share or add to your Story.

5. Location

Just like hashtags, adding a location can expand its potential to reach beyond your followers list. If your business has a location registered on Google or Apple Maps, you can add your exact location to the Story. This also allows your customers to tag their posts or Stories at your location page, which can showcase their experience with you and for potential customers to check out.
Alternatively, you can add the general location of your business, e.g., Dallas, TX, to your Story and it may appear on the Places tab for that location, which will usually have a much bigger viewership.

6. Analyze your Story insights

After 24 hours, once your Social Media Story has disappeared, you can still access insights, including reach and impressions. Reach is the number of unique accounts that viewed your Story. Impressions is the total number of times your Story was viewed. This will give you valuable information about what content works best in your Stories so that you can leverage in the future.

Create an Effective Social Media Strategy 

So, now is the time for your business to add Stories to your marketing strategy to increase consumer engagement. There are 500 million daily users on both Instagram and Facebook Stories. That’s not a combined figure – that’s per social network! Another fact to sway you is that 83% of Instagram users discover new products and services on the platform. Now is your chance to reach a much wider audience than ever before.

Many huge businesses have adopted Stories into their social media strategy because they work. It’s important to remember that social media is not just a broadcast medium, it’s an interactive and conversational tool as well. Stories allow you to connect with your audience in a creative and fun way and to share your brand’s message. For a consumer to trust a brand, they must be able to trust them and build a personal connection – this is where Social Media Stories can help your business immensely.

Partner with ContentFirst Marketing and Achieve Your Digital Marketing Goals 

Are you looking for an agency that gets you real, measurable results with attractive functional websites, great writing, and a strong digital marketing strategy? We can help with Social Media Stories, content, and much more.

Schedule a free business review here to find out how we help businesses like yours grow. You can use these insights for inspiration and let us do the marketing for you.

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