Social media evolves every time Facebook updates an algorithm or Instagram adds a new feature – which happens every other week, if you keep up to date.

A lot of these changes are cosmetic tweaks. Others open the floodgate for an industry shift.

Enter Snapchat stories, circa 2013.

Snapchat stories began as a supplement for news feeds, but with a catch – whatever you post only lasts 24 hours.

Three years after their conception on Snapchat, Instagram introduced its own Stories features, allowing users to share live, bite-sized content in addition to their traditional news feed. By March 2017, Facebook and Facebook Messenger hopped onto the Stories bandwagon, followed by Skype Highlights in June and YouTube Reels in November.

And when the rest of the industry was playing catch up, Snapchat was taking their tool to the next level.

Stories on Stories on Stories.

Beginning in July 2016, Snapchat users could subscribe to ‘Official Stories’. Publications like Vox hopped on the platform with teasers linking back to their traditional long-form content. Other brands began their own experimenting, putting their products in front of Snapchat users that had yet been unreachable. Stories quickly became the new frontier.

But no one figured it out like Instagram did, tailoring its platform specifically for e-commerce. Businesses could finally turn their social platforms into sales platforms through the ‘Shoppable’ stickers on their stories. Brands began teasing products just a swipe away from customer carts – now users could see, swipe and buy like never before, without ever leaving Instagram.

Brands could engage, sell and receive feedback all from within the Instagram app. The possibilities became as endless as their creativity – and sometimes that meant restructuring businesses from the ground up.

So How Does that Translate to Dollars?

Dr. Brandt Skincare ended 2016 with 30,000 Instagram followers – nothing to bat an eye at for sure. Then, they integrated the Shoppable tag into their business model and turned their social media page into a de facto storefront. In six short months, Dr. Brandt more than doubled their follower count, reaching 79,000 and a new outlook on sales: social media first.


As priorities shifted, so did their budget: social media campaigns reached $30,000 a month at times. Now, Dr. Brandt has 201k followers a swipe away from their products whenever they open Instagram.

Now that story platforms are increasingly being turned into self-contained marketplaces, small brands with big-brand creativity (like Dr. Brandt in 2016) have a fighting chance. The only question is, how can the stories evolution improve a larger business strategy?

It all starts with content:

  • Plan your social media stories like traditional media outlets schedule programming. Everytime you update your story, think about how it fits in the content right before and after it. And most importantly, what story are you trying to tell?
  • Don’t just show, engage. With Instagram tags, you can create polls or ask questions and receive live feedback from your audience.
  • If you’re showing something for sale, make sure your viewers know how and where to buy it. The shoppable tag may make Instagram your next big sales spike.

And stay on top of social media updates and marketing trends to keep your business connected with the customers that keep it going. How do you do that? Follow Innovations Branding House on LinkedIn or check out more articles on marketing news here!

Article Written By:

Connor Jaschen

Content Strategist/Writes Raps at His Desk When He Thinks No One is Watching