Using Stories – Snapchat, Tik-Tok, Instagram, and Facebook

image of man with speech bubbleEditor’s note: This article was originally posted on November 18, 2018. It has been updated.

The concept of telling good stories isn’t new. Even Greek philosopher Aristotle, born in 384 B.C., understood the importance of a good story and gave advice on storytelling.

Why has it been such a powerful tool for so long? Because stories Inspire people to take action. They activate the imagination and engage emotions. A story activates parts in the brain that can make a listener turn the story into their own experience.

Here’s how to use the art of storytelling to
engage and persuade your board »

An authentic story from your association can improve trust, which can have a great impact on your membership numbers and the bottom line. Let’s look at the social media tools that let us do just that.

Social Media Stories Feature

Snapchat was onto something big in 2013 when they introduced the “My Story” feature into their app. It was so successful at creating a sense of urgency that Instagram and Facebook followed suit three years later encouraging users to share content through a very similar “stories” feature.

It is hard for organizations to know the difference, and regular app tweaks keep them very competitive with one another. They have similar functionality, so let’s start with what is the same across all platforms when using Stories:

  • Content (videos/images) disappear after 24 hours (TikTok videos/images don’t expire).
  • Filters, drawings, emojis, and text can be used to enhance content.
  • Content can be shared publicly, privately or just to followers.
  • The number of views can be monitored while going live.
  • Individually delivered messages can be viewed twice before going away. (TikTok videos/images don’t expire).

Instagram Stories vs. Snapchat Stories Comparison Infographic. >>


The best way to describe Snapchat Stories is to think about it as texting through videos and still shots – used mostly by teens and early thirty-somethings. It turns content into a live video that creates an urgency to watch and compels the audience to come back often.

Even though many features have been duplicated, Snapchat still maintains a unique and fun feel. Here is what keeps them different:

  • All Stories must be created natively on a mobile device through the app – there’s no option to upload from another source.
  • Snapchat is only available as an app; there’s no website for content creators or consumers to visit.
  • The conversion Snap Pixel feature for company accounts can measure conversions and retarget site visitors to help create niche audiences.
  • Unique and dynamic geofilters can be found in their ad platform.
  • Snapchat Stories take up an entire screen and create that focus.
  • There is no newsfeed (to steal away follower’s attention) that most of us are accustomed to seeing.
  • Reach younger Millennials (age 25-29) by partnering with micro-influencers to grow your following.

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More on Snapchat for Associations here↓


What is TikTok? It’s a social media app for making and sharing short videos. The user is able to “duet” with others, film a live video, use other people’s sounds and music to lipsync, text and special effects, create original content, etc.

  • Ideal for a young target audience (the majority of users are 16-24, but 29% are over age 25).
  • Good for lifestyle brands, product placement, niche influencer marketing (on the rise) and original content for B2C marketing.
  • Effective way to show off your organization’s “fun, quirky side”.
  • Videos are 15-60 seconds and full screen.
  • Some marketing options include Brand Takeovers, Promoted Hashtag Challenges, Branded Lenses.

Instagram (IG) Stories

Instagram Stories allow sharing content in a slideshow format rather than the 10-second video clips found on Snapchat. Once pictures and videos are taken (natively or on the camera roll), users can then add story filters, text, stickers, drawings, and include mentions of other users.

Here’s what else makes IG different and appealing to an association:

  • Add links and mentions to content are two key features that differentiate Instagram Stories from Snapchat.
  • Create and send live Stories that automatically notify your followers who can interact in real-time.
  • Option to post Stories to your public profile feed keeping it visible as long as you like (instead of disappearing after 24 hours). Using the Stories saver feature, you can instantly store all of your images and videos for future use.
  • Instagram Stories feeds are uniquely organized. More “average” posts (not just viral ones) filter to the top of users’ feeds. Frequency, consistency, and engagement are just as crucial as posts from more popular feeds.
  • The polling functionality in Stories means a business or an Influencer can post a question to followers and get real-time feedback and get a sense of who is consuming your content.

Searching for topics to post to your association’s social media?
Check out this list of 30 (yes 30!) ideas for associations.

Facebook (FB) Stories

The Facebook Stories function first rolled out in the Messenger app. Last to the “story party,” now it can also found on Facebook Pages for business. They live above the Newsfeed just like IG Stories, but they comprise of two separate parts – Stories and Direct.

  • Facebook Direct offers a private messaging function that allows views of content sent directly to the follower. Conversations in Direct can only be started through video/image and not through text.
  • Like with IG, Facebook Stories do not show up on your timeline. As mentioned they sit at the top of the Newsfeed displaying as circles. Clicking on them will reveal pictures and videos representing FB
  • Since Facebook has been around for far longer, most likely, your association already has a following on this platform or relationships with possible influencers, making the FB Story feature more appealing than Instagram. It depends on your overall strategy.
  • It is easy to promote influencer posts directly via Facebook. Your association can also retarget relevant influencer content in a transparent manner and manage multiple influencers at the same time.
  • Just like with Instagram, Facebook Stories are a great resource to show off events; or provide an inside view of your association at work or play – thus, humanizing your business.

No matter which platforms you choose, using the “Stories” feature will help to engage your members on a regular basis and it can help grow your membership. Plus, they are all lots of fun to experiment with.


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