Stories are taking over social media.
Head onto Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook, and you’ll regularly be directed by the user interface towards your friends’ and followers’ latest stories.
These are usually a collection of photos, videos or captions added over the course of a day that chart key moments, achievements and stuff people want to share.
They’re big business, too, which is why brands invest considerable time and expense in creating their own stories.
So, what can WhatsApp bring to the table? In fact, did you even know the world-renowned instant messaging platform had a stories feature?
What are stories on WhatsApp?
WhatsApp doesn’t call its story feature by that name (although they do have their own stories worth reading here), but most people use it in a similar fashion to features like Instagram Stories.
Known as the ‘Status’, this is a section of WhatsApp where you can add photos, videos or text. Just like the other platforms offering similar functionality, the updates appear one after the other and can be viewed by other people.
How do I use WhatsApp stories?
So, you’re a business. And now you know that you can use WhatsApp’s status feature as a storytelling device.
But how could this fit into your marketing campaign? More importantly, is it really an element of WhatsApp marketing?
This is open to much debate, but there’s no escaping the fact that it demands some exploration if you’ve started using WhatsApp in your business as a way to communicate with customers. This useful guide to WhatsApp Business app is a great starting point.
Just like Instagram Stories, you can use Instagram to capture key elements of your business during the day and post them for people to see. The key here is to tap into the desire to gain a behind-the-scenes glimpse at what goes on within your business.
Photos could be taken in your office, at events, or of staff. Captions could be used to tease new products that are on the way and you could use video to capture brief customer testimonials or staff opinion.
What’s the difference between WhatsApp stories and the rest?
We’ve already noted that WhatsApp doesn’t refer to this feature as a ‘stories’ option, and that’s probably the biggest differentiator against the social media based competition.
The other is the fact there is no algorithm. On platforms like Snapchat, an algorithm dictates who gets to see specific stories, but WhatsApp statuses are available to anyone who has access to them (more on that in a moment).
Also, you can’t include links as easily as you can within Instagram stories, making the inclusion of calls-to-action rather tricky.
Don’t expect any pay per click options any time soon, either, because WhatsApp isn’t pitched as an advertising platform – yet.
In recent years, WhatsApp has had a strong commitment to privacy, and the same can be said for the Status feature.
It’s entirely up to you when it comes to who can see your status updates. Press the ‘Privacy’ button at the top of the screen, and you can choose to only share your stories with contacts or specific people. You can even exclude specific contacts from seeing your statuses.
We’ll reiterate again that WhatsApp isn’t really designed for stories use, but the status feature is a compelling option for presenting a very specific, close-knit group of people with updates on what your company is up to.