With LinkedIn soon launching LinkedIn Stories, will B2B professionals now follow Snapchat’s intention of “communicating with the full range of human emotion - not just what appears to be pretty or perfect”?
Where Instagram and Facebook go, LinkedIn tends to follow – and this time they're trialling LinkedIn Stories. To many, it may seem like a strange concept to introduce ephemeral content into a B2B professional platform. The whole concept effectively started with Snapchat; an app used widely by teenagers that wanted to share more freely with friends without having to stop and think about the potential ramifications.
Yet when you strip it back to Snapchat's core intention, to show every aspect of our emotions - the good and the bad – without fear of reprisal, it's an opportunity to become much more authentic for B2B brands. (Although it's still unclear how long LinkedIn stories will last and if they'll leave a footprint, which may diminish the very authenticity it's seeking to achieve.)
Either way, we’ve already seen with LinkedIn Live that a lack of filter generates more engagement – people still want authenticity in their professional life. LinkedIn’s data shows that live streams see 24x more comments and 7x more reactions than native videos. Newsfeeds have also become filled with much more storytelling, showing the people (or person) behind a brand.
If LinkedIn follows Facebook footsteps, your stories will take a prominent position at the top of newsfeeds too, so if you're keen to capitalise on this and experiment with providing a more human touch, here are a few ideas to generate the greatest impact.
Tap Into The Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO)
LinkedIn Stories was created in part to because Millennials and Gen Z are now a significant portion of the workforce and they've grown up with using Stories on social media. This demographic is known (rightly or wrongly) for an intense fear of missing out, but the reality is that it's a psychological strategy that you can use across all age groups.
The very fact that stories are only available for so long already creates a sense of urgency. When you combine that with exclusive offers for your Stories readers, it's an even more potent combination and there are a variety of ways to do so:
- Share a series of mini-interviews with your industry's influencers
- Provide sneak peeks of upcoming product or service launches
- Host competitions and giveaways
- Show limited-time sales and discount codes
- Provide behind-the-scenes footage of event preparations
Provide A Fly-On-The-Wall Look Into Your Office Life
There’s less pressure with stories to get things “just right” and employees will probably be more willing to open up for ephemeral content, so they’re a great way to authentically share insights into your culture, your values and purpose. Doing so helps you improve your employer brand and build trust with prospects and customers – Gyro’s “Group.MInd.Set: How Group Dynamics Impact B2B Decisions” survey shows that B2B buyers are most motivated by a company’s culture, purpose and values.
There are so many ways you can do this but here are just a few:
- Curate snippets of employee answers to topical questions
- Use Go-Pro snippets to share what an employee typically gets up to in their day
- Provide office tours that show how it changes on a weekly or monthly basis depending on different factors
- Share a timeline of events from your social events
- Share the most interesting/amusing remarks from customers/prospects to date (but be careful with confidentiality)
Tap Into The Power Of User Generated Content
Some of the most successful Instagram stories tap into User Generated Content (UGC), rounding up the best posts of real customers telling their stories – it's compelling social proof. Instagrammers who see a user-generated photo have a 4.5% higher conversion rate and this increases to 9.6% if they interact with the post, according to Gartner.
When we think of UGC, beauty, fashion and interiors often spring to mind. Yet there are plenty of ways for B2B companies to get creative by using UGC within stories – like HootSuite’s #IWorkFromHere contest or global commercial real estate company CBRE’s round-up of the best architectural photos.
So how can you make UGC work for you in LinkedIn Stories?
- Like Hootsuite, run a contest for the best/most creative/inspiring use of your product or service .
- Post a SlideShare of your employee's most recent LinkedIn recommendations, along with your comments on why it was great to work with them too.
- Target a broader theme related to your business, e.g. If you offered a time tracking software or a productivity app like Toggl you could encourage people to share their best productivity hacks (and the productivity drainers!). Or if you were a manufacturing company, you could ask your audience to share their best photos of robotics in action.
With LinkedIn Stories only being tested internally by LinkedIn right now, there are a lot of unknowns. We don’t know whether it’ll feature Instagram features like stickers and the ability to upload GIFs and it’s not even clear how long stories will remain public. Either way, as with most aspects of B2B marketing, experimenting is always crucial. As we say here at Tribal, “If it works, it’s obsolete.”