from the inside post header
From the Inside

Getting serious with Stories

Estimated read time: 4 minutes

It’s time for one last round with our first From the Inside columnist – Loughborough University’s marketing maestro, Liam Ross. This time, it’s all about stories, so settle down and get comfy.

For me, the social/digital buzzword of 2017 was storytelling. The seemingly unstoppable power of authenticity through Snapchat set the big players on edge, with Instagram, having launched their Stories in August 2016, still being seen as the dirty Snapchat copycat. Facebook, and even WhatsApp (what on earth was that all about?), tried to capitalise on the popularity with their own offerings; both of which never really went anywhere. 

whatsapp stories screengrab
Nobody has ever used this

If you’d spoken with on-the-ball UK youth/higher education digital & social professionals 12 months ago, you probably would have discovered a split in resources between Snapchat and relatively-newly launched Instagram Stories. Back in March 2017, we were just about to sign up for a trial with Snapchat management tool Mish Guru, so, although we were experimenting with Instagram stories, we still weren’t sure where it fit into our offering on social. Nowadays, it’s looking like Instagram might have come out on top of that battle; particularly since a tweet calling for a rollback of Snapchat’s redesign became the fifth most retweeted tweet of all time

Here’s our personal experience; we ran one Snapchat takeover on the 10th, and one on the 11th February, when the redesign went live for the majority of users. Our story on the 11th had around 800 fewer unique viewers. It sounds like we’re not alone; a few of my peers in the UK & the US are starting to leave Snapchat by the wayside. I think this is a little upsetting; we’re still seeing a great number of views, high completion rates and follower growth on Snapchat. But we recognise that Instagram is equally as important! 

Whichever Story channels you’re using, or considering using, it’s worth approaching them in the same strategic manner as you would any other channel. You wouldn’t go four days without tweeting, posting on Facebook, or checking your Instagram messages (I hope). The way we monitor our brand, engage with our audience, and create content with Stories is different, but our ethos isn’t.

loughborough university trello board
We use Trello to schedule our content

Get serious about Stories – look into a solution which might be able to give you a hand uploading, scheduling and reporting. Create a content calendar and plan out your activity in advance. Work your branding into the look and feel of your posts. Write sensible, clear guidelines for takeovers. Prove the worth of your activity in reaching a genuine audience on channels which aren’t as traditionally visible to management.

loughborough university snap
Our Snapchat branding brings an episodic vibe to our Stories
loughborough university snap

Right now, I’m a firm believer than Snapchat and Instagram are still the two giants when it comes to reaching young people in the UK; who knows what the next 12 months will bring? (If someone knows, sharing would be ace.) 

My time writing these Insider pieces for The Native has sadly come to an end. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them; I’ve certainly enjoyed taking time to reflect on my, and my team’s work, by writing them. Maybe Dave will let my ramblings back on his site soon (editor’s note – he definitely will); until then, find me on Twitter moaning about learning Spanish and retweeting photos of dogs I won’t own.