The Storification of Social

Donovan Mitchell is on trend! Since 2016, the rise of stories and the story format in social media has dramatically changed the way we consume content. First, it was Instagram in 2016, debuting stories to much success. Then Facebook in 2017, followed by LinkedIn and Pinterest in early 2020 and finally, Twitter has joined the story party with it’s latest feature: Fleets. 

As of 2019, Instagram reported stories had over 500 million daily users (Statista) who spend an average of 32 mins ( watching 250 million (broadbandsearch) uploaded stories per day. So is Donovan Mitchell right about Snapchat’s story interface being stolen and applied to other platforms, OR has the “storification” of social media taken over united the formerly disparate platforms under a single communication language format?

Twitter Fleets

While the general public (perhaps unwisely) clamors to add an edit button to the platform, Twitter instead rolled out their latest feature: Twitter Fleets, a stripped-down version of Instagram and Snapchat stories, disappearing in 24 hours. While this initial interface of Fleets feels exceptionally bare (you can only add colored text to your post, with no further customization options like stickers, GIFs or tagging), the question remains … should brands be using it? 

Currently, the roll-out has fallen rather flat: the brands (and personal accounts) using it the most, seem to be only replicating their organic tweets, or repurposing Snapchat and Instagram Story content.

And that might be the best solution for now: because they are sized so similarly, it is very easy to put your already-created IG Story content on the company’s Twitter, (especially if you simply wanted to try out the new feature). But there is no way to “swipe up” or for your audience to engage further. 

The one thing to note for companies is that an automatic Direct Message occurs if someone replies to your Fleet. So maybe there is an untapped market for “Support Fleets”, directing all clutter complaints safely away from the more public newsfeed. But then again, maybe not.

Adding a further complication to a platform that has thrived because of its simplicity seems like a losing decision in the long-term. It will be interesting to see if the feature lasts (occupying such valuable real estate at the top of the mobile app), especially as usage continues to already fizzle out.

LinkedIn Stories

Snapchat has revolutionized social media with platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and now LinkedIn hoping on the trend of adding stories to their social media platforms. But are stories best for every social media platform? We’ve seen much success on Instagram with stories while Facebook and newly added Twitter Fleets struggle to gain popularity with their stories. How does LinkedIn fit into this equation?

In September 2020, LinkedIn gave the platform a new, fresh update featuring LinkedIn Stories although stories are only available via mobile device. With features like stickers and text LinkedIn Stories covers the basics although not as user friendly as Instagram Stories with the custom-ability and swipe up links. 

I believe LinkedIn Stories has some promise but for now it seems link another un-asked feature people aren’t excited about. I see LinkedIn Stories being successful as a way to reshare what has already been published on IG stories.

Instagram Reels

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? Instagram Reels launched in August of 2020, timely due to the governmental disdain of TikTok so folks could pivot and share their quarantine content on Instagram. Reels lets you create 15-second multi-clips of content and add effects like visuals and audio when editing. Users can add songs from the Instagram music library, filters through AR Effects, speed up or slow down their videos and cut multiple clips so they transition seamlessly.

This new feature bolstered Instagram’s Explore page and gave users an even wider array of content to discover. The kicker is, creators with public accounts can share their content through Instagram’s Explore tab, specifically and separately from Instagram Stories. This opens the eyes of all users (public or private) to creators who are looking to expand the reach of their content in a way that makes them top of mind and served to relevant users (thanks to Instagram’s algorithm).

Now while funny, relatable WFH Reels are welcome, Instagram Reels is arguably more appropriate and easier for brands to leverage over TikTok. Most brands (we hope) are already on Instagram and know how the platform and its algorithm work. They can also rest easy knowing they’re making relevant content for an audience that already exists (their followers), while at the same time getting in front of potential followers via the Explore page. Branded content can include quick product demos, influencer try-on hauls, recipes, the list goes on! And it can all be done in a way that doesn’t require a full production day.