Harness the power of microvideo storytelling: 8 actionable tips

Go Vertical with snackable content

Snapchat, Instagram stories*, and microvideo in general, is experiencing its heyday. From Snapchat to Instagram and Facebook, stories and video are performing at record highs. Nicknamed “snackable” for its easy-to consume format, addictive quality and often light-weight character, snackable content really embraces all short-format content, including infographics, snapchats, and generally all easily consumable content.

Here, we focus on the art of storytelling with Snapchat and Instagram Stories.

chriskja_storytelling social media


*Snapchat and Instagram Stories are lumped together in this post because of many commonalties. Don’t make  the mistake of repurposing the same content or thinking it’s the same audience.

(See also the post people not platforms and 8 other steps to social media success.)

“Storytelling is the new content marketing”

More than any other channels, Snapchat and Instagram are not selling channels.

Sure, they can be used for marketing and commercial purposes, but the general  user base of snapchat is accustomedo changing the channel when anything commercial pushes it’s way on screen. They are impatient. They want their snackable content to be relevant.

So be relevant.

One way to be relevant is to engage through storytelling and to work with relevant influencers to tell fun, engaging, or educational stories.

Creators are the new celebrities

At #komfosummit, Carlos Gil said it almost as a side-comment. “Creators are the new celebrities.”

Creators often = Influencers. One of the biggest takeways and trends from komfosummit was influencers. In my humble opinion, smashing together Influencers and snapchat/stories is exactly one of the best ways to get success with microvideo storytelling. Working with a relevant influencer to tell a story, whether it’s on your platform or theirs, can have great effects.

Remember that influencers can take on a variety of shapes and forms. Maybe a micro-influencer on snapchat is the right way to go for you. Or maybe you have a student employee who is also a bit of a local celebrity on the highschool football team. Perhaps you want to pay a big-time blogger or you-tuber to do a bigger campaign. There is no right or wrong answer.

Go Local

If you’re a small or local business wondering if microvideo is relevant for you, fear not! Several of the functions -especially on Snapchat – are actually more than relevant for local use. Especially if you want to consider fostering relationships with local micro-influencers.

Geofilters, discover function, or hacking into local events are just a few low-budget tools you can use to tell local stories or connect with a local audience. Tell behind-the-scenes stories, promote local events, tell stories about real people, like your employees (or better yet – let your employees tell stories by doing behind-the-scenes takeovers for a day).

The new context cards also show promise, but I’m personally still awaiting public verdict and cases for better actionable insights. Would love to hear your thoughts though!

8 curated actionable tips for Snackable Storytelling

The nitty-gritty. I’ve curated some actionable tips and tricks from around the interwebs, from Komfo Summit, from listening to Podcasts, and from playing with Instagram stories myself:

  1. Create original content: don’t use leftovers or crossposted content. Each platform has it’s own audience, features, and tone of voice. Respect it. Rule of thumb: Snapchat has double chins and behind-the-scenes, Instagram tends to be a bit more polished and water-combed.
  2. Respect the process: Create a story with a beginning, middle, and end (with a clear CTA). Create a storyboard with a clear concept.
  3.  A good tip is to start with the ending and work back from there. Ask yourself: How will we get to the desired end? AND How will we capture the audience from the very first frame? Remember you only have the first frame or first video (from 0.5-5 seconds, base on different research) to catch attention.
  4. Generally, you can choose to be either: fun, engaging, or educational.
  5. The ideal total length is about 2-3 minutes OR equivalent to about 10-15 pictures/videos, depending on length of each.
  6. While the general advice is to caption video, you can’t really ‘caption’ live microvideo. But you can add descriptive text, hashtags, stickers etc. to describe what’s going on, thereby enticing viewers to turn on their sound.
  7. Take advantage of and experiment with the features ……For Snapchat I like bitmoji and for IG stories the new polling feature has lots of fun potential. You can tag other users and hashtags to link those accounts to your stories, adding volume, traffic, and social proof.  With instagram, you can upload content created outside of the app, meaning you can edit or animate in external programs like photoshop or Adobe Spark.
  8. Above all: make it work for your brand, brand story, and tone of voice



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