3 Reasons Your Business Needs to be Using Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat Stories

Once upon a time, a “story” was a tale told to entertain people of all ages, eternalized in storybooks. Today, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat are a few of the major social media platforms showcasing a “story” feature to promote fleeting moments, gone after 24 hours. But just because these stories don’t last doesn’t mean they can’t create a lasting impression for your business. As the social media stratosphere continues to evolve, it’s become a best practice for businesses to use stories to promote their brand. Blue Compass is on top of current social media trends and has tips to tackle using Instagram and Facebook stories and managing Snapchat marketing for businesses.

How to Utilize Social Media Stories For Your Business

Stories aren’t new to social media, but they are uncharted territory for a lot of businesses who have been hesitant to commit time and effort to something with such a short shelf life. The fleeting moments stories capitalize on actually allow for flexibility and creativity with the content businesses can share and need to be considered as a part of your social media marketing strategy. Still skeptical? Here are three reasons stories need to be a priority:

1. Exclusivity. There’s something special about sharing content that’s only available for 24 hours. Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat stories alike come and go daily—a compelling incentive for users to check back frequently for the latest updates from their favorite businesses. For example, one Instagram story idea for businesses is highlighting a one-day only offer to encourage users to take advantage of the deal before it disappears. Even if it’s as simple as teasing a new product or promoting an upcoming product reveal, the story format feels like an opportunity users won’t want to miss out on and they will keep coming back.

2. Personalized Approach. Your customers are using Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat stories daily to check in on friends and family and document their own days—it’s only natural businesses follow suit and show up where their customers already are. This is where that flexibility comes in. Save your more curated content for your timeline and allow stories to feel more creative and fun. If your page has a certain aesthetic, a story is a great way to deviate with fresh content while still remaining true to your brand. Consumers enjoy getting a glimpse behind the curtain and appreciate feeling as if they know your business.

3. Brand Awareness. Utilizing Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat stories for your business provides new opportunities to engage customers and remain top of mind (literally—since stories take up prime real estate above a user’s feed). Stories provide an extra channel for interaction between businesses and consumers, including the ability to respond to polls and ask questions depending on the platform. Additionally, you can increase your reach by incorporating hashtags and geotags, which are discoverable to those who don’t follow you on social media—yet!

Best Practices For Social Media Stories

While stories provide your business an opportunity to flex your fun, creative muscles on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat, it’s still important to think through how stories will fit into your overall social media marketing strategy. Our talented team of digital marketing experts identifies best practices for businesses to use stories successfully below.

  • Plot out a storyboard ahead of time. Instead of posting random content with no purpose behind it, focus on crafting thoughtful stories to inspire users to perform a desired action. Compilations of videos or images with an engaging storyline and fun narrative keep people interested throughout the entire story and will decrease the chance of users dropping off before the story’s over. Put together a storyboard ahead of time that lays out the strategy and what types of pictures or videos you’ll need to create a captivating story.
  • But don’t make stories too staged. On the flipside, don’t lose focus on what makes stories so compelling to begin with. If all of your stories give off the same corporate, polished vibe, users will lose interest. The best stories tell a meaningful story and provide a sneak peek to your business’ personality.
  • Include a powerful CTA. Don’t forget social media is as much a marketing tool as it is a platform for the people. The biggest mistake a business can make is failing to include a call-to-action at the end. Whether you’re looking for people to visit your website or download your app, make it clear to users what they’re supposed to do after seeing your brand, and you’ll see much better interactions and follow-throughs.
  • Use emojis/stickers/fluff sparingly but strategically. Try to keep your Instagram and Facebook stories for businesses and Snapchat marketing efforts looking clean and not too cluttered. When businesses overuse emojis or stickers, it can appear like a distracting advertisement and followers may opt to unfollow brands that go overboard. It’s important to use stickers, emojis, hashtags and location tags when they relate to the subject of your story, but they should be used tastefully. Don’t let fluff distract from the substance of the story.
  • Add captions with videos. A lot of people shy away from blasting their volume in public, so it’s important to include captions with your video stories to provide context for those who can’t hear what’s going on. Otherwise they won’t bother to watch the story at all.
  • Go live. Especially when it comes to Instagram stories for businesses, it’s a good idea to capitalize on camera-ready moments to go live and connect directly with your audience. Active users receive an alert when you go live, another incentive to check out your story and respond to you in real-time before the opportunity goes away.
  • Utilize ads. Advertising stories on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat makes your business’ marketing more prominent among users you can target and produces greater results. Facebook and Instagram story ads can be created the same way you would produce any advertisement through the Business Manager platform—just be sure you specify which social media outlet you want your message to appear on. Snapchat marketing has its own advertising space where businesses can specify which type of advertising is right for their goals.

How to Use Instagram Stories for Businesses

Every month, 1.22 billion people use Instagram, according to Hootsuite. Instagram for businesses is a no-brainer. Factor in the staggering 50 percent of users who report responding to a brand’s CTA via an Instagram story and it’s clear businesses can’t afford to miss out.

Still, Instagram can be an intimidating platform for businesses. Your creativity is often challenged to come up with the perfect artsy post. Luckily, social users don’t hold the same expectations for the just-right angle or lighting, so Instagram stories can be a bit more relaxed. As we mentioned before, Instagram story ideas for businesses should still be planned out with engaging content, but overall they’re meant to be fun and a bit more spontaneous.

It's smart to create Instagram stories for businesses on a whim sometimes. Take our digital marketing team members who fabricated an Instagram story over lunch, for example. Every month we have team lunches to honor birthdays and work anniversaries, and for the month of May one year, we decided to incorporate a Cinco de Mayo celebration. Every team member brought something to make our Mexican potluck possible, whether it was taco meat, tortilla shells, queso cheese or margaritas. The biggest debate at the lunch table, though, was whether it’s best to dip chips in guacamole or pico de gallo. Since our office had strong opinions on their preferences, we thought other people would, too. Creating a simple and spontaneous Instagram story that let users vote for their favorite option turned out to be a hit!

Another exciting feature on Instagram is story highlights. Story highlights allow businesses to archive and collect stories to remain in album-esque buttons on your profile past their 24-hour expiration date. This is a great way to compile some of your business’ best story content for users checking out your page. For example, at Blue Compass, our Instagram Highlights section is home to fun categories like “BC Culture,” “BC Dogs” and “BC Games” showing off some of the best moments from the team alongside our favorite furry friends.

How to Use Facebook Stories for Businesses

We know the popularity of Facebook is on a decline amongst users here in Iowa, and data from parent company Meta reveals this negative trend tracks across users everywhere, with half a million worldwide daily users dropping off at the end of 2021. However, in our most recent study of Iowans’ social media behaviors, we found users are most likely to make a direct purchase off of Facebook compared to other platforms, with 35 percent reporting in favor of Facebook (Instagram followed at 22 percent, while another 23 percent reported “none of the above” to channels included in the survey). Facebook for business is still essential, and stories are quick opportunities to capture that eager audience.

Similar to the stories on other platforms, using Facebook stories for businesses can be less formal than the content you plan out in advance for News Feeds. In fact, stories could be a great place to showcase your company culture. At Blue Compass, we take pride in our creative camaraderie and sometimes we'll write up a social post about our fun activities, or we'll just generate a quick story for our followers to see. Some team members take brain breaks to stroll around the block, which is great content for a story. If it's not worth writing a thought-out social post, but it's still something exciting that makes your office unique, it's probably a great opportunity to create a Facebook story.

How to Use Snapchat for Businesses

According to Hootsuite, there are 319 million active users using Snapchat every day. With such a large audience, using Snapchat for your business could be a great benefit. Snapchat for businesses wanting a boost with a younger demographic especially should consider creating an account—the app reports reaching 75 percent of millennials and Gen Z.

Ready to get started? Snapchat offers several advertising options for businesses, including:

  • Snap Ads. This is a 10-second, full-screen photo or video that plays between a user’s friends’ stories. This Snapchat marketing tactic gives you the options to swipe up to read an article, install an app or visit a website.
  • Story Ads. Story ads allow your sponsored content to show up as a tile on the Snapchat Discover portion of the app. Users can flick through 3–20 of your business’ branded snaps, including any new video content you want to promote or an updated product line, to give you a couple ideas.
  • Product Ads. Similar to story ads, product ads allow businesses to showcase their goods and services in a more shoppable format.
  • On-Demand or Sponsored Geofilters. A Snapchat geofilter partially covers your Snapchat photo with a fun graphic or company logo. These are most common for events or specific locations since on-demand filters are restricted by location.
  • Sponsored Lens. The lens option is similar to the geofilter but is more interactive with customers and uses facial recognition to transform the users’ face.

Contact Blue Compass for Social Media Marketing Expertise

Long story short, stories are a smart way for businesses to stand out with fun content that can feel more natural than social posts staged for users’ feeds. Blue Compass’ team of digital marketing experts has a strong background in social media marketing, and we’re eager to help you get started telling your brand’s story today. Send us a message to let us know how we can help your business succeed—sounds like a happily ever after to us!

photo of Ashley Flaws
Ashley Flaws

As our team's Digital Marketing Copywriter, Ashley Flaws enjoys working with Blue Compass clients to create compelling, click-worthy copy. Ashley graduated from Drake University with degrees in English and magazine journalism and aims to utilize her strong marketing background to craft content with each client's goals in mind.