Over the last decade, the use of social media has excelled in popularity, creating a vast range of marketing opportunities along the way. As profiles, both personal and business, began to grow, so too did the opportunities accessible to business, especially SMEs.

These dynamic social marketing platforms, most notably Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, have quickly adapted to suit their market. The industry has evolved from only supporting general engagement, such as comments, likes, shares, following and tagging, to an industry that now offers more tools than ever before, including image and video posts, direct messaging, live broadcasting and stories.

Traditionally, social media stories are temporary posts displayed for 24 hours, featuring short video clips or single image posts that your followers are able to engage with. Their fast-growing popularity has encouraged social platforms to expand their uses, with stories now often offering an extensive range of interactive features. So, what platforms offer what?

Instagram was the first social media site to introduce social stories back in August 2016, adding live stories months later in November 2016. This coincided with the rise of Instagram Influencer culture, allowing users to build their profile and interact with their followers easier. In the last four years, Instagram has built an impressive list of features for their stories, supporting videos, images, boomerangs, polls, Q&As, quizzes, face filters, swipe up links, location stickers and much more, all of which you can add to your profile ‘highlights’, allowing other users to view them again. It is now estimated that over 500 million Instagram accounts use stories every day.

Instagram Social media stories

Facebook was the second social platform to introduce stories, following Instagram and making them available to their users in March 2017. Due to both Instagram and Facebook being owned by Zuckerberg, an opportunity to connect these two platforms more closely became viable. Profile users of both networks can now link their Instagram profile with their Facebook profile, sharing posts, including stories, from their Instagram account to their Facebook account at the same time. Although this is the most common way to post on Facebook stories, users can also create story posts on Facebook alone, with a limited selection of features available to use compared to Instagram.

Facebook Social stories

LinkedIn caved to the story trend recently, releasing their social stories feature in September 2020. As we know, LinkedIn is specifically geared towards businesses and working professionals, often reporting on insights into the economy and offering workers a place to centre their job search. The introduction of stories to their main feed provided a unique opportunity for their B2B audience, promoting businesses growth and new partnerships further. The features available to users are not as extensive as those available to Instagram users yet, mostly due to certain Instagram story features being inappropriate for a corporate platform. However, it will be interesting to see how the app grows and diversifies its story features, and is definitely a space to watch.
LinkedIn Social stories
Twitter is the final of the big four social networking applications, and is also the final app to introduce stories, making their debut as ‘Fleets’, as in ‘fleeting thoughts’, last month. When marketing Fleets, Twitter described them as the thoughts you want to express that don’t quite make the cut to be a tweet in their own right, so Fleets are the best alternative – disappearing after 24 hours in traditional story fashion. Much like LinkedIn stories, it will also be interesting to review the performance of Twitter Fleets, as they are still considered to be in their trial period.

To conclude, it is evident that the use of social stories has grown in popularity in the last few years, now taking pride of place as an essential tool on social media, for both personal and business.