3 Social Storytelling Platforms to Know

Here is the low down on three of the latest ‘live’ storytelling platforms on social media.

Stories are an integral part of human interaction; We exchange tales to gain and pass valuable knowledge, using descriptions to help others visualise ideas in a relatable way. But more than just for entertainment, storytelling is a growing focus for brands, because they capture attention. A compelling storyline lingers and inspires people far better than plain factual information, igniting lasting brand impressions without even addressing them directly.

Likewise, today’s social media landscape is all about advocating a personal narrative, as the everyday person has the tools to broadcast what’s going on in their lives. Instead of being passive receivers, we are now active creators who seek interaction. Tall tales and fantastic fables won’t cut it; Instead, we love being in the now and find interest in observing what’s happening on the scene.

What’s important is thus having an accessible, approachable and spontaneous aspect. Currently, Snapchat, Instagram Stories and Facebook Live are the most widely used social ‘storytelling’ applications, offering ‘live’ content through photos and videos. Brands are increasingly looking into them to weave their brand story and provide consumers the instant, personalised coverage they crave. However, if this storytelling thing is still something new to your business, which platform would be most suitable for your needs? Here, we draw up some comparisons between the three.

Photo Credit: A snap into the life of Free People, a fashion brand. 

Snapchat Stories 

What is it?

Snapchat was the game changer that first started the whole revolution for instant content. Integrating video, photo and text with unique features such as geo-filters and other interactive add-ons, it gives users free rein to develop a limited-time narrative of their day-to-day lives.  Users can create snaps, which are photos and short videos taken, edited and published on the spot. Besides sending individuals, snaps can also be added to ‘My Story’, which collects and runs them on an uninterrupted stream for 24 hours.

How can it benefit brands?

Snapchat’s innovative yet restrictive features make it an effective tool for showcasing exclusivity and spontaneity. Its real-time recording component enables brands to capture actual moments, providing consumers a glimpse of life in their shoes. Similarly, time limits on snaps means that brands can create easily digestible, realistic storylines that retain an air of rarity; When the day ends, new stories that can be developed for the next, adding variety to the overall brand story arc. 

What are some drawbacks? 

Though Snapchat is slowly gaining an older audience, with 50% of new users over the age of 25, it is still primarily a platform skewed to younger generations. Using the application might come as second nature for these millennials, but older beginners might find it a struggle to grasp its many features with a lack of clear instruction. Another major drawback is its lack of discovery functions – Users are unable to find brands, unless they scanned a QR code linking to the brand feed, or entered the exact username.

Photo Credit: Instagram 

Instagram Stories

What is it?

Instagram’s new feature, aptly named ‘Instagram Stories’ integrates a Snapchat-style feed alongside its main image based counterpart. In many ways, its almost identical to Snapchat’s offerings, with customisable stickers, handwriting and text functions for instant photo or video posting. And like it, content is shown in a slideshow format, lasting 24 hours.

How can it benefit brands?

Before, users had to switch between Snapchat and Instagram to gain access to different social media feeds. Instagram was the place to see and be seen; Meanwhile, Snapchat was its laid-back cousin, covering off-the-record moments. Yet, despite its uncanny similarity to Snapchat stories, what enables Instagram Stories to hold its own is that it combines with its original photo-sharing feature. Instead of being a standalone, the app brings the best of both worlds, providing brands a consolidated environment where they can relate stories that spur inspiration and maintain approachability.

What are some drawbacks? 

Instagram Stories definitely beats Snapchat convenience-wise; Stories of accounts that you follow appear immediately at the top of the main feed for easy access. However, it loses out in terms of its authenticity (after all, its concept was openly admitted to be taken wholesale from Snapchat), and lack of comprehensive features. Basic text effects and animations are there, but branded geo-filters might still be a thing for future development.

Photo: Facebook Newsroom 

Facebook Live

What is it?

A live-video streaming service, Facebook Live presents an extended, highly interactive way for brands to express their narrative. Unlike Snapchat and Instagram Stories, which emphasise on impermanent shots of content, users are able to record up to 30 minutes of real-time video. The best part? We can see how many viewers are tuning in, watching interactions happening and responding to them immediately. Even when the Live session ends, it remains as a video post on their timeline, keeping a permanent record for review.

How can it benefit brands?

Facebook Live is an exciting development, because it paves the way for intimate conversation and interaction with audiences. Here, there is no lag between publishing and response; Content creators don’t have to wait for viewers to stumble upon their feed and give feedback. Its instant reactions and comment feature allows them to suss out consumer sentiment and implement changes along the way. More importantly, this interactivity means that brands can not only convey stories on their end, but can also call upon audience participation to develop personalised ideas for the business.

What are some drawbacks? 

The person behind the camera (or actually facing and talking to it) has to always be on the ball. Coordination might be a problem, especially when going ‘live’. It might be difficult for a lone video recorder to ‘perform’ for the audience without losing track of interactive responses. Thus, a team might be needed to help the featured person attend to comments. Even though this feature encourages spontaneity, brands have to make sure whatever they are streaming is long and entertaining enough to retain viewers and make it more discoverable.


Written by: (www.script.com.sg) 

Edited & Illustrated by: Script Consultants Pte Ltd



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