Snapchat set off a domino effect when it became popular less than 5 years ago. Suddenly we began documenting our day AS it was happening. Mostly people used it to sing along with songs while stuck in traffic (and also while driving). We didn’t know how to begin using Snapchat, yet it took off and Facebook wanted in.
In 2018 if you’re not posting to a similar story platform (WhatsApp, Medium, Facebook, IG Stories, etc) you’re missing out...
...Or so I’ve been told by industry professionals. With the decline of organic reach, and Facebook pages being all but eliminated from the News Feed, the stories platform allows followers and friends to still see what’s important to you. The main issue I have with stories is the same one I’ve always faced: “is this that important to make a video about it?”
I created a Snapchat account in 2013 when it began taking off. I worked in radio and knew this would be a great opportunity to engage with my audience on and off air. Sure enough, I was able to grow my Snapchat following to 150 followers almost instantly. How did I gain followers? Every couple of hours on my show I would shout out my Snapchat handle so people could follow me. I would get a couple of followers each time. This was my only method of growing my Snapchat audience as well, a simple cross promote on my biggest platform.
I didn’t think about what I was going to post, I just created. I would share what I was cooking for dinner, playing “trash can basketball” in the studio, going to get milkshakes from Cook-Out, and other random happenings of my day. Once I left radio, I didn’t feel I had a purpose to post on stories anymore. I wasn’t getting much interaction when I did post and this lead me to delete the channel I worked so hard to create for almost 3 years.
Eventually I created another account to give it a try, this time under my government name. I added some friends and family, posted a couple of times, and gave up. Snapchat was more fun when I had a bigger audience and didn’t think about what to post; now I’m wondering what is good enough to post on a stories platform for myself.
When you’re scrolling any of your feeds with stories, you’ll notice a pattern. Most of the things posted are pointless. My wife showed me a story someone posted of just a bird flying around in the sky. No text, no description, nothing. Just a bird flying. Sure, birds flying in circles are majestic. But did that really need to be documented? This goes back to a point I made earlier: we don’t know how to use a stories platform. “Stories” is the plural of “story”. What is a good story? What stories have intrigued you over the years? Consumers, and creators, of these platforms don’t understand the need for story telling to keep interest. After you’ve shown us your plate for the 100th time it begs the question, “is this follow good anymore?”
Business owners and brands need to take their audience into account. You don’t have to be posting to stories every single day, but when you do it should be impactful. Your audience should be learning something new about your brand or product(s) they didn’t previously know. Stories are just an easier way to engage with your audience. The future has come and it’s in 10–15 second bursts of video. Are you adapting?
What do you think of the various “stories” platforms? Are you using them to tell your company’s story? Let’s discuss it more in the comments or on Twitter, @JoeCoadII