Broader Battleground for Event Engagement in 2018

December 10, 2017 Susan Douglin

Social media stories are progressively increasing in popularity. It has become the quickest and easiest way to share key moments as they’re happening. Where events are concerned, stories are the perfect tool for creating FOMO (fear of missing out). How can event professionals make the most of stories and encourage attendees to share the load?

Little did Snapchat’s founders, Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy know, when they created Snapchat in 2012, they created more than a photo app. Snapchat was the first to change the way people interact and share their photos and videos with friends and then changed the way people interact with online content. In 2017, all the other social media platforms caught on and now the story reigns supreme across many of the major social media platforms.

What’s the Story with Stories?

Stories will allow a user to seize short moments by way of photos or short videos and easily share those experiences with other social media users. The photos and videos are stitched together by the platform to create a chronologically ordered narrative. After 24 hours, the story then disappears, never to be seen again, adding to the sense of urgency.

While social media platforms and websites come and go, this feature seems to have transcended platform and is becoming a communication standard. With stories on Snapchat becoming so popular, it didn’t take long for Facebook to cotton on, rolling out its own version of stories across all corners of its empire. Even Google has woken up and implemented the stories feature on YouTube.

Why Stories Are Important to Event Professionals

Firstly, many attendees are already sharing their event experiences using stories. Offering social media users a quick and easy way to share moments in real time has made the format ideal for capturing event experiences as they happen.

It’s that immediacy that leads us to the second reason. From the point of view of the reader/viewer, stories represent what is happening right now. From that standpoint, seeing that a friend is having a great time doing something awesome, somewhere awesome and with awesome people, creates instant FOMO (fear of missing out). Stories allow your attendees to give friends and followers just enough of a taste of your event to make them want more.

Great Experiences Make Great Stories

The growth of this new social media feature provides another opportunity for event professionals to promote their events and get their message out to a broader audience. In turn, this creates FOMO (fear of missing out) which makes ticket sales soar. However, as with many forms of social media, your attendees are the ones in control of most of what is shared. Of course, you can always post stories from event social media channels, but the real power is in what the attendees share themselves.

Snapchat Stories

Snapchat entered the scene first in line by providing its users the ability to save short-lived photos and videos from their mobile device camera to a feed called Stories. This feed is accessible by the followers of the poster. As the photos and videos disappear after 24 hours, so does the story.

Instagram Stories

The first platform to copy Snapchat’s stories was Instagram with its own imaginatively titled product, Stories. Like Snapchat Stories, Instagram Stories allows users to post short videos and photos from their mobile phone camera to a feed which is viewable by followers of the poster at the top of the timeline in the Instagram app.

Facebook Stories

At first, Facebook adopted social media stories in a similar way to its sibling site, Instagram. Via the Facebook mobile app, users can post videos and photos to a story stream which appears at the top of the newsfeed for other users of the Facebook mobile app.

Facebook has since taken the feature up a few notches by allowing Facebook pages to post stories to their followers and introducing collaborative stories for group pages and events. The new collaborative stories allow any member of a group or subscriber to an event join in and post content to the group or event.

Facebook has since taken the module and kicked it up a few notches by permitting Facebook pages to post stories on their followers and presenting shared stories for events and group pages. The new collaborative stories permit any individual who is a member of an event group to also post content to that particular event.

Facebook Messenger Day

Facebook also took stories to its messenger product. Initially, the feature was called Messenger Day and was isolated to the Messenger platform alone, allowing stories to be recorded with Messenger and viewed by Messenger contacts only.

Facebook recently phased out Messenger Day in order to introduce Facebook Stories. This now means that stories that are recorded using the Messenger platform would be viewable on the main Facebook platform where most users spend most of their browsing time.

WhatsApp Status

What’s good for Instagram is good For WhatsApp. Facebook also integrated the stories feature into its private messaging platform, WhatsApp. The innovative stories-like feature originally replaced the text-based status updates but due to outcry from users, WhatsApp users can now choose to have a text-based status and a story if they wish.

YouTube Reels

Even Google wants a piece of the story action and is rolling out a new feature called Reels. Different from the other platforms’ adoptions of stories, YouTube’s Reels won’t expire and instead of appearing at the top of a feed, they will live on a separate tab on a creator’s profile. For now, it’s more like a set of playlists for short videos than an exact feature copy.

Which Stories Platform Should Events Use?

Usually, a cookie-cutter answer similar to “use what your audience is using” is the right answer to this question and as far as getting your message out on your own channels, it is that simple. However, Facebook makes a very strong case and is clearly the frontrunner of the pack. Merging Stories into Facebook Events and Pages has made it easy for events to get their own message out whilst also providing a branded space (the Facebook Events page) for event attendees to collaborate on event focused stories.


In Conclusion

From the looks of it, Social media stories will be around for a while regardless of what happens to be the most used social media site of the day. With publishing power in the hands of the user, it’s more important than ever to create a great event experience with lots of shareable moments.

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