How to Use Social Media Stories: A Beginner’s Guide

Despina Singh

Karishma Borkakoty

June 7, 20249 min read

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Once considered a fleeting trend, social media stories have become a crucial part of most brands' online presence.

Do you fear the dreaded scroll-by, potentially missing valuable engagement and connections? Or do you feel the “stories whirlwind” at the top of your feed swallowing your perfectly curated profile?

You're not alone. Trust me, I've tripped over the "Swipe Up" link more times than I care to admit.   
Between disappearing selfies and OOTD posts, figuring out social media stories can feel like cracking the Da Vinci code.

And we've all been there — staring at a blank story screen, wondering how to make our fleeting moments actually pop. 
Winning at Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat stories without a solid game plan is a bit like trying to tackle a group project without teamwork. 🫣  

But hold on, your story doesn't have to be a monolog on a Teams call without active team collaboration. Instead, social media stories can be your secret weapon. They are the perfect way to connect with your audience in real time, display your personality, and even boost your business.

And that’s why from platform-specific benefits to killer content ideas and handy tools, we'll leave you armed and ready to conquer the “storyverse,” one swipe at a time.

Let’s start from the basics.

Table of Contents

What is a social media story?

Social media stories are short, snappy snippets that vanish in 24 hours (ish), usually 10-15 seconds each.

Stories are associated with:

  • Off-the-cuff vibes: Stories, in contrast to your carefully curated feed, have a less refined and more spur-of-the-moment vibe. Think backstage sneak peeks, breakfast selfies and hilarious pet antics. 

  • FOMO alert: The fleeting nature of stories can spark that “fear of missing out” feeling. With stories, the aim is to keep your audience hooked with engaging updates, so they'll come back for more.

Why should you use social media stories? 

The immersive and authentic nature of social media stories garners tons of engagement, according to Meta:

  • 73% of people in the U.S. acknowledge that stories offer a gateway to new experiences beyond their daily lives 

  • 65% of individuals say that stories serve to enhance closeness and stay updated with friends  

  • 57% of people say that stories play a crucial role in fostering a sense of inclusion within a larger community 

Given their undeniable benefits, stories have become a hot favorite of brands and marketers alike. You can think of them as the second news feed of social media platforms

Benefits of social media stories on different platforms

The idea behind social media stories is that brands can use them to: 

  • Spark instant connection: Stories vanish in 24 hours, creating a FOMO effect that grabs attention and inspires immediate action. 

  • Foster authenticity: Businesses can use stories to show their “human” side, share behind-the-scenes glimpses and announce things in a less formal way, building trust with your audience. 

  • Build a stronger community: Use polls, Q&As and live features to interact with followers and fuel conversations in real time.  

  • Drive conversions: Seamlessly link story content to your website or products with calls to action, simplifying social selling

Stories are among the top 5 types of successful social media in 2024. Here are the other 4 formats you can capitalize on:  

🎬Long and short-form videos
🤡Memes and images 
📄Text-based posts 
⏳Live streams 

Together, these content formats form the arsenal that every savvy marketer needs for thriving on overcrowded platforms. 

Curious to ace them?

Read this blog: The 5 Types of Social Media Content That Work Best in 2024

Now, let’s explore the benefits of posting social media stories specific to the leading social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube.

Facebook Stories

Facebook is rocking a whopping 3 billion people engaging on it every month. Yep, you heard it right — that's the latest headcount as of the second quarter of 2023, making it the ultimate go-to global hangout spot on the web. 

Back in January 2018, Adam Mosseri, Facebook's Head of News Feed, mentioned they were shaking things up. They wanted the News Feed to be more about connecting with people and less about just consuming media. 

Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post:

“As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands and media. And the public social media content — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”

Since then, Facebook Stories has become a valuable tool for marketers to bypass the News Feed and establish a more authentic connection with their audience.  

Remember, sharing to stories was predicted to surpass sharing to regular feeds, and chances are, it already has.

The icing on the cake? Your stories occupy prime real estate — right at the top of users' News Feeds. 

Here are a few more benefits:  

  • Integrated ecosystem: Stories on Facebook are part of a larger ecosystem, allowing seamless integration with other Facebook features like Groups, Events and Pages. 

  • Adaptability: Facebook Stories support a variety of content types, including images, videos and interactive elements like polls and quizzes. 

  • Advertising opportunities: Facebook Stories provide a platform for social media advertising, allowing businesses to reach a large and engaged audience through short video ads. 

Facebook stories

The Ultimate Facebook Marketing Guide

Instagram Stories

So, my life, unfolding as a string of thoughtfully curated moments, pales in comparison to a cat's Instagram following. This cat's got more followers than me, even on a platform with a whopping 2 billion users every month. 

Well, no surprises there (not that I'm holding back tears). 🥹 

Behold the advantages of posting on Instagram Stories: 

  1. Visual appeal: Instagram is inherently visual, making it ideal for highlighting visually appealing content in stories. The use of interactive elements like polls, questions and quizzes in Instagram Stories can significantly boost engagement. These features allow for direct interaction with followers. 

  2. Explore page exposure: Engaging stories can be featured on the Explore page, potentially reaching a broader audience beyond your followers. 

  3. Direct interaction: Swipe-up feature (for accounts with over 10k followers) allows direct links, driving traffic to external websites or products. 

  4. Influencer marketing impact: Influencer marketing on Instagram Stories is on the upswing, gaining popularity. Consumers are increasingly favoring Stories from their favorite influencers, with 35% expressing a preference for this type of bite-sized content. 

  5. Shoppable stories: You can add product tags to turn viewers into buyers directly from your stories. 

  6. Hashtags and discoverability: You're at liberty to use trending hashtags to make your stories discoverable by new audiences. 

J.Crew's Instagram stories

Snapchat Stories

Did you know Snapchat was originally called Picaboo? Pretty cute, huh?  

So, get this, Snapchat’s daily active users shot up by a cool 12% in Q3 2023, hitting a whopping 406 million.

Let's chat about the benefits of Snapchat Stories, beyond just having a ton of people to connect with.  

On-the-go engagement: Snapchat is the go-to platform for users on the move, making it perfect for brands targeting audiences during commuting or traveling. The dynamic nature of Snapchat Stories allows brands to connect with users in their daily activities.

Social interaction and friendship: With a focus on chatting and sharing content, Snapchat creates an environment conducive to social interaction. Brands can leverage this feature to build a personal relationship with their audience, fostering a sense of community. 

Continuous innovation: Snapchat's commitment to innovation is evident in the introduction of 101 product features since its launch in 2011. Brands can use these innovative tools to create engaging and cutting-edge content. 

Massive user engagement: The platform witnesses over 5 billion daily snaps, displaying immense user engagement. Brands can tap into this active user base to share stories, promotions and behind-the-scenes content to stay top-of-mind. 

Targeting younger demographics: Snapchat is most popular among younger generations, especially those aged 15-25. For brands targeting this demographic, Snapchat provides a direct and effective channel to connect with a tech-savvy audience. 

Augmented Reality (AR) opportunities: Snapchat's filters and lenses, with over 250 million daily users engaging with augmented reality, offer brands a powerful way to create interactive and entertaining content. 

Effective sound-on advertising: With 64% of Snap Ads viewed with the sound on, brands can effectively communicate their message through audio-visual content, providing an opportunity for creative storytelling and impactful advertising.

High ad recall for Gen Z: Gen Z exhibits remarkable ad recall on Snapchat, with 55% remembering ads after watching just 0 to 2 seconds. This makes Snapchat an effective platform for brands looking to capture the attention of younger audiences. 

Impressive user spending power:
Snapchat users hold a significant global spending power of $4.4 trillion. Brands can tap into this consumer base, especially in North America and Europe, to drive sales and increase market share. 

Localized marketing with Snap Map:
The Snap Map feature, engaging over 300 million Snapchatters monthly, offers businesses a powerful tool for localized marketing, ensuring that their content is visible to users in specific geographical locations.  

Snapchat's five core content platforms

YouTube Shorts

Every month, YouTube sees billions of users jumping on board, and YouTube Shorts is keeping things lively with a staggering 70 billion daily views.   

In February 2023, Google announced that YouTube Shorts received 50 billion daily views or 1.5 trillion per month. YouTube Shorts rolled out globally in June 2021 and reached 30 billion daily views in the middle of 2022. 

💪 DIY content dominance: DIY-related content, with videos often exceeding 15 seconds, has garnered immense popularity, exemplified by a video receiving over 560 million views. 

💰 Global monetization: Creators can now monetize their short-form content, opening up revenue streams for businesses and individuals alike. 

⏰ Strategic scheduling: YouTube Shorts now features a scheduling function, enabling brands to plan and optimize their content release for maximum impact. 

🌟 User engagement in the US: In September 2022 alone, 29 million user engagements were generated in the United States, underlining the platform's popularity. 

⚡ South Korean craze: Almost 75% of South Korean users engage with short-form content through YouTube Shorts, making it a cultural phenomenon. 

🚥 Mobile traffic magnet: Over 70% of watch time occurs on mobile devices, emphasizing the platform's accessibility and mobile-friendly nature. Plus, globally, YouTube captures over 25% of mobile traffic, reinforcing its significance in the mobile-driven digital landscape. 

▶️ Daily YouTube usage in the US: A staggering 62% of internet users in the United States access YouTube daily, providing a massive opportunity for brands to reach their target audience consistently. 

📈 Diverse content genres: Gaming, music and dance appear as popular content genres, offering brands versatility in their creative approach. 

🤝 Creator Community: Boasting over 15 million active content creators, YouTube Shorts fosters a vibrant community for collaboration and engagement. 

🎞️ Short video preferences: A whopping 73% of consumers prefer watching short videos to learn about new products or services, making YouTube Shorts an ideal marketing platform. 

Here’s a Shorts creator to watch from the growing YouTube’s Shorts Community referral program:

Social media story best practices

Whether you're an individual wanting to jazz up your online game, a brand figuring out the social media maze or an influencer in pursuit of the ultimate crowd-puller, we've got your playbook. 

Social media best practices for individuals

  • “Share your story:” Open up and let your genuine personality shine through your posts.

  • Spark conversations: Engage with your audience by responding to comments, messages, asking questions and running polls.

  • Find your tribe: Connect with others in your niche, collaborate with like-minded individuals and create a personalized hashtag for your community.

  • Spread positivity: Keep your content upbeat and avoid negativity in your online presence.

  • Be consistent: Stick to a posting schedule and mix up your content with photos, videos and text updates. Quality over quantity.

💡Keeping up with an omnichannel posting schedule can wear you out if you do everything manually. That’s where a tool like Sprinklr's publisher and scheduler can come in handy. It’s designed to keep your content timely and engaging across 10+ channels with features like:  

  • Content calendar 

  • AI-recommended best posting times 

  • Bulk posting 

  • Unified dashboard for performance tracking 

 Go, see it in action with this personalized demo 👇

Social media best practices for brands

  • Find your voice: Establish a consistent tone and style that reflects your brand identity. Create a social media persona for your brand and stay true to it in all your content and platforms. Doing this will foster trust and differentiate your brand from the crowd. 

  • Show, don't tell: Maintain a cohesive visual aesthetic across platforms and tell your brand story through compelling visuals and captivating narratives. 

  • Listen and learn: Respond to customers promptly, share user-generated content, and incorporate trending topics to stay relevant. You can ensure faster response management via Sprinklr AI+ Quick Replies by simplifying responses, modifying their length and tone and maintaining their quality with grammar checks. 

  • Go behind the scenes: Humanize your brand by introducing team members and offering glimpses into your company culture. 

  • Reward engagement: Run contests and giveaways to keep your audience excited. Ensure clear rules and enticing prizes. 

Need inspiration? Here it is: 

When Brookdale Living Senior Citizen living facility took to social media, it stirred up a storm with endearing content and stories showcasing: 

  • A resident celebrating his 106th birthday 

  • Videos celebrating the life of retired veterans 

  • Light-hearted #GranDAD jokes 

Sprinklr partnered the brand as it took its first baby steps in the world of social media marketing, arming the brand’s social team with on-brand content and solid governance.

What’s more?

Brookdale was able to unify the social messaging across its local touchpoints, building trust with the masses and beating competitors who weren’t investing in a unified social media management tool like Sprinklr.

Customer testimonial sourced from Brookdale

Social media best practices for influencers

  • Be real and transparent: Disclose collaborations and partnerships openly, staying true to your values in sponsored content. 

  • Own your niche: Focus on a specific area of expertise and establish yourself as an authority in your field. 

  • Brand yourself consistently: Keep a recognizable profile picture and bio across platforms. 

  • Connect with your followers: Respond to comments and messages, host interactive sessions and diversify your content to keep followers engaged. 

  • Choose your partners wisely: Collaborate with brands that align with your personal brand and resonate with your audience. 

  • Track your progress: Monitor analytics to understand what content performs well and use those insights to refine your strategy 

Pro tip: Use polls, questions, or slider reactions to let your followers shape the narrative of your stories in real-time. This not only boosts engagement but also makes your audience feel like active participants in your content, creating a deeper connection.  

Tools to create appealing social media stories

From snazzy graphics to video sorcery, the following tools are the fairy godmothers of content creation, banishing the woes of dull stories with a wave of creativity.


Best for: templates, designing, graphic design editing  

Give Canva a shot — it's an innovative design tool with loads of templates tailored specifically for social media stories.  

The best part? No graphic design skills needed, thanks to its user-friendly interface.

You can customize your stories effortlessly with a vast library of images, icons, fonts and templates specific to social media platforms.
Canva makes it easy for you by putting all its AI tools in one handy place called "Magic Studio" on the menu. And the cool part is, tools like Magic Switch and Magic Write pop up right where you need them as you work on your design.

Canva's vast library of images, icons, fonts and templates specific to social media platforms.

Canva's arsenal of new AI-powered tools now includes several features.   

  • Magic Media: available in two flavors — Text to Image and Text to Video 

  • Magic Eraser: to select and remove objects you don’t want on your images  

  • Magic Edit: turn one object into another, let’s say — change a vanilla cake to a chocolate cake with candles  

  • Magic Write: to generate short form written content for your social media stories 

  • Magic Design: to upload a photo or enter a text query that describes what you need and generate relevant design templates to match 


Best for: AI-generated creatives

Midjourney, the cool AI art wizard, effortlessly creates stunning art in various styles. Simply input your text ideas, and this nifty art generator transforms them into awesome graphics using a Discord bot. Ideal for unleashing creativity in both personal and professional realms.

Midjourney's home page

 Let’s talk about features.  

  • First off, it's super easy and fun to use.  

  • Midjourney is always making the graphics quality of AI-generated pieces for web design even better. 

  • And the best part? It's all happening within Discord, creating a strong sense of community. 

Sprinklr Social

Best for: unified, end-to-end social media management  

Sprinklr Social simplifies social media management for businesses, providing a powerful toolkit for handling their online presence.  
And when it comes to social media stories, Sprinklr Social has some handy features and benefits to offer such as:   

  1. Multi-platform publishing from just one dashboard: Easily publish stories across various platforms including Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat from a single interface. No more jumping apps! 

  2. Brainstorm story ideas and optimize them for each platform specs: You can get creative, channel-specific copy for posts that can be scheduled in advance, ensuring that your content is consistently published at optimal times using AI-powered Smart Schedule. 

  3. Interactive elements to spruce up content: Enhance story engagement by incorporating interactive elements like polls, quizzes and swipe-up links directly through the platform. 

  4. Measure story success: Utilize comprehensive analytics and reporting to track and optimize the performance of your social media stories by tracking key metrics such as views, engagement and conversion rates. 

  5. Speed up content creation with Sprinklr AI+: Quickly summarize articles, craft listening queries, and auto-generate campaign materials, from briefs to channel-specific posts.

Meet Sprinklr AI+: Your GenAI wingman for on-brand, on-schedule and on-target content

Signing off 

Whether you're sharing your cat's epic nap or unveiling your brand's behind-the-scenes magic, stories are the digital currency of connection. Stories cut through the noise like a ninja with a butter knife.

Your takeaway? Keep it real, sprinkle some humor, and remember: oversharing is so last season.  

For individuals, it's about your daily escapades; for brands, it's a backstage pass to your awesomeness; and influencers, it's your stage — own it.  

Ready to take your social media content creation to the next level? Try Sprinklr Social today and experience seamless integration, advanced analytics and more 👇.

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