When most of us think of social media stories, our thoughts instantly go to the likes of Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram. We associate the funny filters and location tags with platforms for our own personal use, but do we recognise these platforms as the powerful marketing tools they are?

The popularisation of video marketing means that storytelling through visual media opens new doors for marketers in terms of truly connecting with our audiences. Facebook even predicted that by 2021, the platform will be all video with no text. So, what does this mean for us as digital professionals? To begin with, using video marketing is no longer an option – but a necessity. How you use multimedia will determine the success of your campaigns moving into 2020. 

The increased use of storytelling has realigned two major platforms, while Instagram has taken the route of long-form video with IGTV, YouTube has made the shift to story-based content. Appearing first, in 2017, as ‘YouTube Reels’, YouTube stories takes a similar form to the stories we see on Instagram and Snapchat, a collection of 10 to 20 second videos merged into one story.

Interesting, right? Although it seems like the most obvious choice for story content, YouTube has long been associated with influencer tutorials and ‘how-to’ videos, not the short and engaging stories that we see on Instagram and Facebook. But before we explore that, let’s get into the details of how YouTube stories work.

What are YouTube Stories? 

The stories feature is only available to those with a subscriber base of 10,000+, making the platform’s goal for the feature crystal clear. YouTube stories aims to encourage creators to keep an informal connection with their fans, using short-form content to build their community.

Instead of posting a weekly video, they can now freely upload short video content to form a daily story. Similar to that of Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat, YouTube stories enables fans to interact with the content – liking and commenting as they go, and the creator can directly respond to any messages from viewers. To keep in line with their primary purpose of staying a video channel, YouTube stories are available to view for 7 days instead of the average 24 hour lifespan.

After this, creators can see the interactions from fans for up to 30 days in the YouTube studio, a highly valuable tool for influencers. This also allows their temporary content to live on the site for longer than Instagram.

Source: Econsultancy

Take a Look Around 

Video: Similar to the other platforms, YouTube stories allows you to record story content up to 15 seconds. However, use these short snippets wisely. The big test here will be how creators differentiate between the standard YouTube video and the story. Interviews, or tutorials can remain within longer form videos.

Alternatively, a simple 5-step guide on preparing for a race, for example, fits better in the story format than a long-life video. Plus, it encourages people to engage with the content before it’s gone and keep checking, so that they don’t miss the exclusive.

Still Image: YouTube stories don’t have to be limited to short videos, they can also include images. In the same way you would add a photo to your Snapchat story, add shots of new products, collaborations or upcoming content lists to your YouTube story. 

Edits: Don’t worry! The funky fonts are there and ready for you to use when you post. Simply choose a font that best matches your brand identity, enter your text and continue.

Source: Wibbitz Blog

Creating a Killer Campaign 

For influencers, a great campaign on YouTube stories can act as a teaser for a longer video on your channel. Like a blurb in a book, using the story feature on YouTube and other social platforms can give viewers a preview on the contents of your full length video. So, how can we make this collection of short videos pop like that of a movie trailer? The key is fluency. Whether you are a brand or an influencer, your campaign must tell the story coherently across all of your channels.

Just like in a story book, we need a setting, a key event and anticipation. Set the scene by establishing your brand’s tone of voice and showing existing and new followers who you are and what you’re about. Then, entice them with a key event (a collaboration, competition or an announcement).

But, most importantly, build anticipation with a call to action. For example, why not have viewers guess the collaborator? Above all, use your YouTube stories for short and concise content. Use it to cut down longer videos and act more as your news feed to keep your viewers updated.  

Why Stop at Campaigns? 

Here is an opportunity to get creative. For brands and influencers alike, a new marketing tool means a chance to make your mark. So, go beyond campaigns and utilise the story feature to the fullest. 

  • Condensed Tutorials: Based on 2018 Instagram story stats, brand stories should be less than 10 minutes long for the best “view to completion” rate.
  • Collaboration Announcements: Use a YouTube story to do a brief announcement in collaboration with others to build anticipation within your fan base and maximise on views from both communities.
  • Competition Launch: Competitions can boost engagement across social, but first consider whether or not this is your key metric. Then, beyond that, do you want to bring in a new audience? Increase your existing audience? These are questions to consider when thinking of an incentive for fans to enter. 
  • ‘A Day in the Life’ Story: A story of this kind adds a human element to your channel. Allowing your fans to see what you get up to during the day and giving them a sense of familiarity with you. 
  • Releasing Product Launch Dates: For brands, YouTube stories offer yet another instant route for you to reach your consumer with exciting product news. 

Get Involved

Moving into 2020, brands will choose YouTube as one of their primary marketing tools. With 1.9 billion active users, watching 1 billion hours of video per day, it’s no surprise that 81% of brands currently use it as a key marketing device. The time is now for brands to utilise stories for marketing – and what better place to start than with the world’s most popular social video platform?

For the first time, YouTube, at 37%, has now surpassed Netflix (35%) in being the most favoured platform for streaming video by teens. Watch this space, this rising demographic, Generation Z, will make up 40% of all consumers by 2020. This modern consumer group does not wait. They are looking for consistent, killer content that represents you as a brand. Are you ready to create your YouTube stories? 

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