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The Rise of Stories – Why Stories are important to tell – on every platform

The Rise of Stories on digital platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and Co. has been apparent not only since the ISSUU Generators Summit in early December. However, not it’s high time to look at the basics, ideas for stories, and useful tools to make the creation of stories easier for your own »Rise of Stories«.

In early December, Thea and I were guests at the ISSUU Generator Summit in New York City, a conference for publishers, activists, content creators, and change makers – basically, all the »generators« who create content today.

»The Rise of Stories« was a major theme at the conference. Two recent developments have helped accelerate the trend: On the one hand, we are increasingly on the lookout for exciting stories that are well researched and passionately created in an era of lurid headlines and fake news. On the other hand, platforms like Snapchat and Facebook’s Instagram have released story functions that allow us to think, tell, and share content in fast-paced, narrative formats. Stories evolve simple snapshots of life towards a more curated form of expression that combines photos, videos and texts.

We took this opportunity to examine the »Stories« Phenomenon more closely and explore the various platforms that offer Stories features. This led to a conversation with Anne-Laure Joliot, an ISSUU expert and product manager who is responsible for the development of ISSUU’s Stories feature.

How did »Stories« on Social Media start?

It all started in 2011 with Snapchat, which invented short videos that disappear after a while and can be enhanced with text, filters, and GIFs. Five years later, Facebook copied this functionality for its photo-sharing app, Instagram, and quickly made it omnipresent. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently predicted that people will post more stories than photos from their Facebook and Instagram profiles in the near future. It’s easy to understand, then, why Stories is such a big hit for the company.

Which platforms offer a Stories feature? Which are the most popular?

Most of us will be familiar with the Stories features of Snapchat and Instagram. However, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Messenger also have their own Stories functionality. Facebook is the only company that has released metrics for its various platforms: WhatsApp Status boasts 450 million daily users, followed by 400 million Instagram Stories users. Around 300 million users are active on Facebook and Messenger Stories every day.

How do Stories work? How do I post a Story?

The functionality varies between Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp and Messenger. The foundation are essentially photos and videos played in the chronological order in which they were uploaded. Every individual part of the sequence stays online for 24 hours before disappearing.

At the beginning, it was only possible to post content recorded from a user’s in-app camera. This was expanded soon after to include the ability to upload content from one’s entire photo and video library.

Photos and videos uploaded as part of a Story can be modified with special filters and masks. It’s also possible to include text, hashtags, polls and geotags.

Users are notified of new Stories by an eye-catching circle around the profile photo of a user who has updated their Story. An algorithm determines which profiles, and in turn which stories, appear at the top of your Facebook, Instagram, or Messenger app based on how likely you are to be interested in the content.

The »Direct« function gives users the ability to react to Stories with emojis or comments.

How do the Stories functions differ between these platforms?

Instagram Stories has evolved especially rapidly over the last two years. Highlights, for example, allow users to recall previously disappeared Stories and give them a permanent home on their profile. Business accounts, meanwhile, are able to include swipe up links to their Stories. This makes it possible to direct traffic directly to one’s website or online shop.

Facebook’s Group Stories functionality presents a completely unique offering. For example, anyone attending an event can contribute to a shared story feed hosted on the event page. The organizers of the event have the advantage of being able to moderate the contributions.

What are some common applications for Stories?

These days, the possibilities are endless! Hootsuite has provided a comprehensive breakdown of when and for whom each platform is suitable in an article titled »Snapchat, Instagram Stories, or Facebook Stories – Which is Right For You?«, Snapchat performs best among the 13-to-18-year-old crowd, especially for spontaneous, behind-the-scenes content. Instagram attracts an older demographic (19-49) and is particularly adept for Q&As. Facebook, meanwhile, is used by all demographics and has a stronghold on events.

Ideas for Stories

Anyone who wants to fill and curate an Instagram account – whether for personal reasons or in professional life for a brand – quickly realizes how much »content« is needed to fill Instagram/Facebook/ Whatsapp Stories day in and day out. Therefore, here is a first small collection of ideas for your editorial calendar. There will be even more ideas, tips and hacks in #sisterMAG45!

Tutorials: Whether it is photos or more elaborate videos: How-To Tutorials and Step-by-step instructions are super interesting and are well received in Stories. Whether it is beauty, DIY or food: There is no tutorial that won’t find its followers!

Behind-the-Scenes: You built a great light reflector for your photo shoot? Only a small corner of that DIY tutorial was clean and around it was pure chaos? This content now has a designated place in your stories reel! And we promise: people will love it!

The newest news: Discount codes, special promotions or news in your life: The Stories format makes news more personal and will let them appear even more »in the moment«. In addition, Business Accounts offer the very practical Swipe-Up function to access other sites or URLs directly from your story.

Lists and Top10: What already works like a charm on Pinterest or on your blog will prove itself in the stories as well: Share the 10 best restaurants in your city or Top 5 outfits for your favourite Fashion item. Such content is also perfect for saving in your Highlight reel.

ISSUU STORIES – Third Party Apps offer first solutions

Whether Instagram, Facebook, Messenger, or WhatsApp, publishers and content creators are required to produce Stories that fit the structure of each respective platform. Everyone working in Social Media or working on a brand account knows hoch much extra work goes into the content for stories. ISSUU has encountered this problem first-hand with its generators, which prepare content as long-form magazine articles but also want to share it with readers via Snapchat or Instagram Stories. We talked with Anne-Laure Joliot about ISSUU Stories. It is a tool that will help publishers to spread their content on any platform’s Stories format more seemlessly and with less effort to create the content.

How do ISSUU Stories work?

Content available on ISSUU can be transformed into a mobile story using the ISSUU Stories Tool, which converts the magazine PDF into a mobile-friendly format. Three templates (Voice, Inspire, Connect) are used to compile images and videos from the PDF into a story with a user’s own fonts and design elements.There is also the possibility to add additional information.

How can ISSUU Stories be integrated into the Stories of other platforms?

ISSUU Stories will be created in such a way that they can be used as a basis for sharing across all story- relevant platforms. The first integration will be for Instagram Stories.

How will ISSUU Stories develop in the future?

The new ISSUU Stories feature is already a further development of ISSUU Mobile Articles, which are available today and give ISSUU publishers the opportunity to convert their content into a mobile friendly format. These mobile articles can be shared directly on Instagram from the ISSUU app.

Tools like the new ISSUU Stories format will make it even easier to prepare longer articles for sharing on social media and story platforms. They combine the two initial reasons behind the »rise of Stories«: We are increasingly interested in exciting content, which we search and find more and more on Stories platforms.

Do you have questions about the Stories functionalities of the various platforms mentioned? Feel free to ask us via email at mail@sister-mag.com or direct message on Instagram or Facebook. We will answer them in the second part of our Stories Special in sisterMAG 45!