On August 31st 2021, LinkedIn announced they would be closing down their LinkedIn stories feature on September 30th to make way for improvements following user feedback.
If you’ve ever spent time on social media, you’ll know that stories are a well-loved feature.
Started by Instagram, the most prominent social media giants have now incorporated this fun element into their sites. And following this success, LinkedIn joined the game too.
Stories are a great way to spread quick information in a way that is accessible to many audiences.
Many companies already leverage the likes of Instagram and Facebook stories to grow their business by creating meaningful connections with their audience.
Stories work well in this new digital era. A 2015 study conducted by Microsoft found that the average attention span lasts just 8 seconds! So that’s 8 seconds that you have to grab attention and convince your audience you are worth sticking around for.
All is not lost though; research suggests that the average attention span will increase significantly through the use of videos.
What is a LinkedIn story?
Before being able to understand all the valuable reasons why LinkedIn stories existed to help you grow your brand, we should first clarify what it actually was.
LinkedIn stories were 20-second videos or photos that last for 24 hours on the platform, after which they disappear.
You could add text, emojis, filters, GIFs, and music to give your stories a personal touch and cement your brand’s presence on the platform. They did not appear on your newsfeed but can instead be found on the dedicated stories section of LinkedIn.
Why did LinkedIn choose to terminate its stories feature?
With the success seen from Instagram stories, why on earth would LinkedIn shut down this incredible marketing tool?
According to their announcement, users felt that the stories feature provided by LinkedIn did not fully live up to expectations.
Contrary to LinkedIn’s beliefs, users wanted to be able to save stories to their profiles beyond 24 hours, giving their profiles a more personal and informal insight into their experience. This is a feature already available on Instagram.
Additionally, users felt that the stories would benefit from adding more features that add to the stickers and “question of the day” offerings by LinkedIn.
It is interesting to note that LinkedIn recently acquired the renowned high-quality “how-to” video service Jumprope. As such, Jumprope’s official app and site have been shut down to be integrated into the LinkedIn family. I would not be surprised if we saw any future LinkedIn stories endeavour to incorporate Jumprope as a result of this acquisition.
How do social media stories help businesses grow?
You’ll have noticed that the landscape of advertisement and business-audience relationships has changed dramatically over the past decade, thanks to social media.
No longer do you have to pay hefty sums to get the word out about your business or rely on third-party media to distribute news about you.
You can take the narrative back. And that’s the most significant asset social media has afforded businesses.
Nothing beats organic engagement with a personal touch – which is precisely what stories can offer your brand.
According to Instagram, over 500 million users engaged with their stories feature every single day. They have been able to seamlessly integrate stories into business profiles for a personal touch that boosts engagement.
The same amount of users reportedly use the Facebook stories feature. Not only this, but 90% of users follow a business on Instagram, and 50% of people surveyed admitted to being more interested in a brand if they saw it on the platform.
Five ways LinkedIn stories helped to engage your audience and grow your business.
1. Share the latest information on your events and products
Stories are a quick and engaging tool to communicate news to your audience. This interactive exchange captures attention leading to more engagement and more people finding out about your business.
The great thing about stories is you don’t have to restrict yourself to a pre-recorded advert. Instead, you can share short videos and photos from a live event.
After all, FOMO (fear of missing out) is a great driver for action – your audience will want to be part of the live event as it happens! They can even comment on it in real-time and feel like they were there in person!
2. Build a community with your audience
There is a reason films release behind the scenes footage for promotion – people are nosey by nature. We want to know what goes on behind closed doors and get a feeling for who people really are.
We also like to feel involved, as if we were in the room where it happened.
LinkedIn stories provide a unique opportunity to let clients, consumers and potential new recruits see behind the curtains of your business.
You can foster genuine connections with your audience by making them feel like part of the team. Seeing the people behind the brand builds valuable trust that will bring your audience coming back for more.
3. Track your engagement and demographics
LinkedIn stories come with some significant statistic breakdowns for you to really understand your audience. You can experiment with advert styles, colour schemes, wording and product/service ideas and see how they rank with your audience.
This impressive, free, market research tool will help you guide future business endeavours in the right direction and allow you to better understand the wants and needs of your target audience.
You’ll also learn a lot about your target audience and may gain a better understanding of the products and services they want to see more of, allowing you to steer your business more confidently in the right direction.
4. Encourage interaction from your audience
The stories feature allows viewers to send direct messages based on the content you have uploaded. In this way, they can quickly give their opinions and ask questions about your business.
They can also share your stories with their LinkedIn connections, allowing your content to be seen by a much wider audience.
You can also add “swipe up” links on stories showcasing your products and services. This takes your audience straight to your platform while they are still excited about your story, making the conversion to sale more likely to happen.
5. Provide professional tips from your industry
Your stories don’t have to be all about you to gain an audience. By sharing your best industry insider knowledge, you cement your status as a trustworthy company that knows what they are doing.
Consumers are much more likely to buy from people they perceive to be knowledgeable, so don’t be afraid to share and watch the audience numbers flock in.
In doing this, you may also find yourself attracting more qualified candidates during recruitment drives that would like the opportunity to work with your brand and collaborate with you to grow your business.
Now you know the advantages of using LinkedIn stories, here are some quick tips for making sure your stories stand out.
How to make sure your stories stand out
1. Content calendar
Create a content calendar to organise posts and ensure you get the most out of your social media presence.
Use the statistics from your stories to plan which times your audience is most engaged and what type of content resonates with them best.
Also, make sure you post regularly and predictably. If your audience knows they can expect new content every Monday morning, for example, you’ll find your engagement will increase.
2. Create a unique brand theme
Create a colour and style theme that you can use throughout your stories. This should complement your website and other social media profiles.
Your statistics will be able to guide you on whether it is working or not. This way, your audience will recognise your brand easily, helping you stand out from the crowd.
Along with aesthetics, think about the tone of your brand.
Is it funny or serious? Is it personable or more information based? Do you prefer to add more extras like emojis and music or keep it strictly to photos and videos?
Understanding your brand’s voice and using it uniformly across your social media presence will help you get noticed.
3. Add swipe up links
Use swipe up links on key stories to help navigate your audience around the internet to your various platforms and ensure you keep them engaged in your content for longer.
This will also help with sales.
For example, if your story directly relates to a product or service you sell, using a swipe up link can act as a sale funnel to attract more buyers.
Not to mention, if the content of the story is good, your audience may share it, leading to even more sales.
4. Authenticity is key
Be authentic to your brand. Audiences can spot when you try to fit in with a trend or copy a successful concept started by someone else. Instead, find your brand’s USP and create original, organic content that highlights what makes you unique.
Don’t be afraid to be personal with your content; an authentic connection builds trust between brands and clients, attracting more people to your business.
LinkedIn stories were a great tool that aimed to recreate the success of Instagram and Facebook stories in a professional landscape.
While we wait for LinkedIn to bring us a new generation of Story features that help grow businesses, make sure you arm yourself with the strategies necessary so that you can get ahead of the curve and use LinkedinStories to grow your business.
Here at ArXe Ventures, we specialise in helping brands maximise their potential to grow their business to new levels. So take advantage of our services and see how we can help you level up here.