Storytelling has always been a crucial part of our communicative and interactive process, but newer options have made it easier than ever for users to string their content together into a narrative format - and audiences have responded well to the more encompassing, engaging nature of longer form stories content.
The prime example of this is Snapchat – at the end of 2013, Snapchat introduced “Stories” which enabled users to gather together all their Snaps from the past 24 hours into a more comprehensive piece. Rather than just sending single, time-limited messages that self-destructed shortly after delivery, Stories gave users a new way to communicate, a condensed process of capturing their perspective on the world.
Of course, people have always had the option of recording their lives on video and posting that to YouTube, for example, but Stories offered a new perspective on the format – rather than going back and editing your video content, Stories, with its 10 second time limit on each Snap, effectively forced users to create a highlights package on the fly. And the new option quickly proved very popular with Snapchat’s fan base.
As of April this year, a third of all daily active Snapchat users are posting their own Stories content. That’s 50 million users, every day, posting their own Snapchat Stories. The option has been so popular that Instagram has moved to copy it, adding their own version of Stories in August this year.
Many have criticized the move, given that Instagram has blatantly duplicated a core Snapchat feature, but really, Instagram’s move was less about copying Snapchat and more about keeping up with audience trends.
People, especially Millennials, love the storytelling aspect of social media. Instagram’s merely working to provide what their user base wants.
Twitter will soon introduce its own variation of Stories with customizable Moments. Moments, which Twitter released last October, are a collection of key tweets around a specific event or topic, which were designed to help showcase key Twitter conversations to non-users.
With customizable Moments, users will be able to curate their own stream of tweets (including Vine and Periscope video content) around any event or topic they wish. So if you’re going to an event, you can document the whole experience via tweets, effectively building your own story from Twitter-based content.
There’s also Facebook Live and Periscope live-streaming, which enables users to share their stories with an audience in real-time.
The important trend to note with these new options is that audiences are looking for more than just a picture or a post. Given new technology and network capacity, users are coming to expect more engagement, more storytelling elements in their social content.
This is important for brands, because this is the content that’s generating the most traction and engagement amongst those younger user groups. The brands that are seeing the best results in social are the ones that are using the medium to tell a story – or even better, to share a story and give their audiences a window into the how and why of their world.
The storytelling trend merely reflects the rising need for audiences to feel like they’re a part of something, like they’re able to relate and join in the cause or mission of your brand through the content you produce. Your core objective, of course, is to sell more products, but in order to do that, you need your audience to want to buy from you.
Storytelling is a great way to do that, connecting with your audience through more than just ad messaging and price points.
Consumers want more, they want to feel a connection with your purpose. Social storytelling enables your brand to do just that.