Why you should tell stories on social media

Telling compelling stories with multimedia has never been more attainable. The “Stories” feature on Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook gives journalists and communicators easy to access tools that help them tell fast, punchy and easy to publish stories.

Stories are now on all mainstream social media platforms and being seen by hundreds of millions of people every day. Here are our top reasons for adding this method into your storytelling arsenal.

Increased interaction

The key to increasing engagement through stories on social media is to use the ingredients effectively. Any combination of text, audio, photos, video and graphics on video can give your story that added punch which whets your audience’s appetite. Social media makes it easy to interact with followers and acknowledge reactions and views. Content is also accessible and easy to consume.

The beauty of social media stories is that they are designed with people’s short attention span in mind - they disappear in 24 hours. This means users will wake up craving something new, unique and exciting from your handle everyday. This also means that an Instagram Story doesn’t need to be as technically perfect as a post, because it won’t be visible for as long.

It's easy to learn

Editing for photos and videos is located within the social media platforms and it’s easy to learn. Composing and editing text, using photo filters and trimming videos is what many users do in their day to day posts anyway. There’s nothing extra for the journalist to learn besides figuring out how to make public interest issues fresh and engaging.

The fastest way of weaving together an engaging narrative for your audience to nibble on is to plan the different elements on your story and to simply weld them together. Decide if you want to start with text, use video and graphics in the middle and end with an image. Any combination will have impact if it is well thought out and the ideas have an easy flow to them. The resources you have will give you a good idea of how the narrative will come together.

Remember that if your content is random and unconnected people could swipe away with each image, but if you tell a coherent narrative you can keep people engage image after image.

Instant publishing

Day to day publishing involves following complicated processes covering the creation of the story, filing and publishing. In worse cases policies can hold up social media posts until they aren’t relevant any more.

Vertical, one touch multimedia stories are instant. Whether you use Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp or Facebook, your smartphone publishes them at the touch of a button. All that is required of the poster is basic selection of elements, and layout in the app.

Sourcing content

Stories can be told using a variety of rich media and there is almost no limit to what you can include. You can produce content with your phone in the field, or you can draw on media that you produced previously. You can even bring in elements that were filmed on professional cameras or animated on computers.

The other option is to use stock media found online, or even get creative. Instead of finding an establishing shot online or taking one yourself, why not take a screenshot of a location from Google Maps?

Remember that many of these platforms also let you livestream. Livestreaming is among the best sources of engaging content because it captures news incidents as they happen. News travels from your thumb straight to the public.

Scale stories across platforms

Storytelling on social media platforms can just be the beginning of an exciting journey with your audiences.

Remember that if you produce content within any specific app, you can only publish it from that app. But if you film it separately you can publish it in whatever app you choose - allowing you to easily tell stories on multiple platforms, tailored for each of your audiences.

Do you need social media training? Follow the frayintermedia Social Media Tools playlist on YouTube. frayintermedia provides training to leading media organisations across the African continent. Find out more here.

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