Let me spill the beans about a daylight robbery 😉
Few years ago, social media marketers asked their clients to spend money on facebook ads buying ‘likes’ and ‘followers’. Having page likes and followers was what it was all about. Enter the facebook algorithm change. The focus shifted to ‘engagement’. All of a sudden, millions spent on page likes were now worth nothing. The official Coca Cola India facebook page has more than 100 million followers! Here’s their 2020 Father’s day post, look at the number of likes and compare that to the number of followers,
The problem here is the deteriorating ‘organic reach’. Organic reach is basically how many people facebook shows your content to. It appears as if this post by Coca Cola didn’t even reach 1% of their total followers. As some experts say,
Organic reach is dead
If you had facebook before 2006, you might remember logging in and landing up on your profile page and not the ‘News Feed’. News Feed was introduced in 2006 and it was heavily opposed. 14 years later, I think the News Feed has lost its charm. Here’s why I rarely scroll down after the first few posts in the News Feed,
- The News Feed is full of paid content or content from business pages. Most of the people in my friends list rarely find any space there
- Sometimes navigating the News Feed feels like swimming through the pond of fake news, negativity and toxic posts
- Comments on your posts is public communication. If your post has anything to do with religion or politics, good luck with the chaos 👍
So let’s make the case for stories. I recently did an Instagram live with a good friend of mine, Manish, and we talked only about Instagram stories. (I have spoken to Manish about his journey and social media earlier as well, check out the video here). Now Instagram being Instagram, that live video couldn’t be posted due to some glitch. Nonetheless, let me run you through the gist of our discussion here. We basically covered three questions,
1. Who is Stories for?
Let me be honest, I was very hesitant using Instagram stories initially. Infact, if we go further back, I was very hesitant using Instagram itself. My personal account is still a private one and I prefer following only my friends. I talked about it in this blog.
Back to stories, initially I thought stories were yet-another-time-consuming-feed that you need to keep track of. But I soon realized that stories are not just for celebs and models to show off their exquisite locations or instagrammable food, it is actually quite the opposite. Stories is where you can get real because they last for just 24 hours. That was one of the major reasons I jumped on the stories bandwagon because I don’t usually have exquisite locations or instagrammable food to share 😀
And that means stories is for anyone who wants to share regardless of the ‘production’ value of the content.
2. Why share Stories?
Now let’s talk business. Stories have a boosted reach thanks to the additional options like Location, Hashtags and Mentions. There is plenty of opportunities to be discovered via stories.
Also, consider the real estate Instagram provides to stories. When you open up the app, all you see is 1 post but 4 (or more) profiles on the top that have shared stories. Stories also provide an immersive experience. That means once you open a story, you don’t see anything else on your screen unlike posts where you see likes, comments and an opportunity to scroll.
It is also only with stories where you get the option to select whose content you wish to see. Compare that to your feed where posts show up based on the algorithm and not your choice. More often than not, I don’t even scroll down to see my feed for a few days at stretch, I simply check stories and go away.
Remember how I mentioned above that comments on posts is public communication? Stories offer a totally opposite paradigm. Replies to stories are personal messages. Unlike public comments, talking to people over personal message is closer to what you would tell them face-to-face in real World. Infact, from a personal experience, I see that much more people are comfortable in responding to stories and engaging with me personally rather than dropping comments that are public. So stories lead to personal communication and in the words of Mark Zuckerberg,
“The future is private.”– Social Media Trends 2020
3. What to share in Stories?
Let’s get to the point. In addition to overestimating production, my other apprehension with stories was how nobody is going to ‘buy’ my interests. That was when I came across a fantastic piece of stat in a Hootsuite report,
15% users get their news from Instagram
News is something that interests me. I realized how a lot of my Twitter content can simply be repurposed. But if you are wondering what should you or your brand share, here are the three key elements. As long as your content meets one of the three, you are good to go,
Value is sexy. By and large, value can be categorized into education and entertainment. If your content either educates or entertains you meet the criteria.
2. Call to Action
The horde of options that Instagram provides for this, it is pretty obvious that any call to action calls for a story. Quiz, Polls, DM Me, Swipe Up to watch/read/buy/download/register all these are call to actions.
If you have something that others can relate to, it makes for a perfect fit for an Instagram story. This is where the ‘being real’ factor comes into play.
So finally, should you share stories? Ofcourse you should. Should your stories follow all the rules mentioned above? Not necessarily. End of the day stories last only for 24 hours. It is fine to have fun and post whatever you feel like. As long as you can have some folks check out your stories even if you keep posting motivational quotes 20 times a day, go ahead and do that. All the best.