Social Stories and What to Focus On

There's a trend with our social networks these days. All the networks and apps call it "stories." It's on Facebook now, just like it is on Instagram, Whatsapp, Messenger, and Snapchat. It's a way of showing others your day, or, documenting it with video and photos and making it a story. This media that has been added to our daily feeds of consumption is obviously difficult for people who haven't learnt to filter out information that they don't need. I follow over 400 people on Instagram, so if each one has a story for me to watch my day will be filled up watching stories which is a lot of time to spend on things that might not have a positive effect on our daily productivity or work.

But, although it's hard to keep up with all of these stories, and it takes a lot of time to make these stories, and watch people's videos, it's a good way to show people your skills and what you are busy with. Instagram is certainly a portfolio space for many photographers, and now you can show how you achieve making these images. I've decided I need to to choose the social networks that's best for me to focus on and not waste time on all of them and spread myself too thin.

Why I Need to Focus

Peter Mckinnon recently had a collaboration video with Jesse Driftwood, who's a videographer and photographer. He focuses on shooting videos primarily for his Instagram stories that he posts daily. He breaks it down to 15 seconds of video which he posts every day, which isn't as complex as a daily vlog of 10 minutes that you also need to edit. It's quite different experience to shoot only for the stories. He holds his camera and frames his shots upright, as a portrait. 

I like what he does, and these stories can be a great marketing tool. To make an impression, you have to make your videos interesting. I understand that we're on screen most of our day, and that most of us would rather hold a camera in our hands than a phone or video camera, but it can be a good way to show who and where you are, and what you find interesting during your day. Low angles, facial expressions, and street shots of passers-by can all show potential clients a certain interest which directly influences a style. We can show people how we see the world while on the go. The personal benefit is that it can also teach me to shoot for the edit.

Brands want to see your editing style. They need stories for their feeds, and they might want you to create ones for them. You need to already produce great stories for clients to see, to show you know what the network is about, and what you're capable of. In the words of Hunter S. Thompson, you need to "buy the ticket" to "take the ride." 

Which to Choose and Focus On

It's a hard decision to make, and I suffer from the fear of missing out. I recommend choosing two networks that you believe best fits your business and social brand landscape. For me, it's Instagram first. I choose it because I have an international, loyal following that's had a slow growth but makes the network a pleasure to use and post on. It's not just friends and family, it's people who like my work, the thing I am most passionate about. It's a network I can grow, that responds to my images and provides commentary on my work. The people that follow me and view my work are loyal and active on a daily basis, so posting story videos here includes my almost live-feed of what's going on in my world.

The second network is YouTube. I choose it because it's not owned by Facebook, and secondly, I choose it because I know video is a big deal. If you think about how you spend most of your time online, and I would take a bet on it, is that it's spent watching videos. And, this is just the start for YouTube. I believe in the next couple of years we'll see amazing things from the Alphabet-owned network.

For a personal brand development strategy, my approach would be to produce videos that showcase my skills and personality and what it would be like to work with me. It's not just good to get into the production side of things, but it's a referral program that is there for the taking, and you don't need a wing-man to introduce you to possible clients at events, you're the editor, and you decide how you want to be portrayed. It's a great way of creating an impression without even meeting the interested potential client. 

From a business point of view, brands are already using video for content marketing, and it's going to become more and more important to produce videos about who you are and what you do. If these ad agencies and marketing teams can see the work you've done and like your style of editing, they'll pick up the phone and call.

Conclusion

Stories can be great, and focusing on just the important ones to your business is important. If I could be consultant for YouTube, I would advise them to get in on the stories like the Facebook networks have done. Imagine YouTube bringing out stories on their mobile apps just like the others do, but with features where it edits it all together automatically using the Google Photos cloud, scripts with great transitions, and the option of adding some audio. The next level of the daily vlog might be upon us, and I'll add it as one of the networks I'll spend time with developing. Until then, it'll be Instagram and YouTube for my work and showcasing my photographic eye, video editing style, and what you'd get if you're thinking about commissioning me to do a video or shoot.

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