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How to use LinkedIn Stories to build stronger customer relationships

It was only rolled out at the end of October, but LinkedIn Stories is a fantastic tool for proactive companies to invite their connections, clients and prospects in for a more relaxed, behind-the-scenes look at their business.

But what is this new feature? How does it work? And how can you use it to strengthen the bonds with your customers or suppliers? Here’s everything you need to know…

What is LinkedIn Stories?

If you’ve used the Stories feature on Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat before, LinkedIn Stories works in much the same way.

It’s a fast, easy and highly engaging way of sharing a quick blast of bite-sized content with your audience on LinkedIn. And just like with the other platforms, the Stories you post expire after 24 hours.

It’s only available on the LinkedIn mobile app at the moment. You may have already noticed it - the little circled heads of you and some of your most active connections just beneath the search bar.

 

How does LinkedIn Stories work?

LinkedIn Stories is intuitive to use. To upload a new Story, head to the LinkedIn app homepage and at the top, you’ll see a bubble with your profile picture in and a little plus symbol (your story). If you run a LinkedIn company page, there’ll be a bubble for that too (Clear’s is shown here). Tap that bubble, and you’re good to go.

There are two types of content you can post: images and videos. You can take a photo or record a video using your phone’s camera, or upload one from your gallery. Videos can be a maximum of 20 seconds long.

Before posting your picture or video, there are a few things you can do to enhance your content:

  • Add text overlays as a caption to explain what’s going on
  • Tag one of your connections in the Story – their name will show up on screen
  • Add a sticker from a selection of illustrations or animations
  • Share LinkedIn’s “Question of the day” as a conversation starter

Once posted, your Story will be shared to your followers, and they’ll be able to share onto their connections.

One of the only downsides we’ve seen so far is that Stories can only be uploaded from the app, so you can’t post or view them from your desktop or laptop. This means a fair percentage of your audience won’t see them.

Unless you do this…

LinkedIn Stories Hack. Once a connection has reacted to your Story, you’ll see a screengrab of it in your DMs. View the message from your desktop or laptop, click on the screengrab and it will play in a window.  

Copy the URL at the top and you have a permalink to your stories that you can add to regular posts, directing people to watch your previous 24 hours’ worth of Stories. In initial tests, we’ve seen a 3X increase in Story views by doing this!

5 ways to use LinkedIn Stories to enhance your brand

Of the 660 million global LinkedIn users, only around 1% share content regularly. And because LinkedIn Stories is a novel and untested feature, only a small percentage of that 1% will be using it.

This makes it a great opportunity to cut through the noise and put yourself and your brand at the top of your connections’ and followers’ homepage.

Here’s how you could use it…

 

1. Take people behind the scenes

The public perception of your business will be very different to what goes on day-to-day. Stories allows you to show the real goings-on, so your audience can see your premises, your people, and the way you work in an honest and open way. This builds trust.

So rather than talk about your ‘drive for innovation’ on your website, you could show it through Stories by giving people a glimpse into processes which are hard to explain in words.

And instead of resorting to the clichéd “We’re delighted to reveal our state-of-the-art kit” post, you could demo your new equipment in a series of videos to show off your expertise and the investment you’re making in an informal way.

 

2. Show the people behind your brand

It’s an old saying, but “people really do buy from people”. And LinkedIn Stories brings you and your team to the fore.

To introduce the ‘dedicated’ and ‘hardworking’ team you talk about in your company brochures, you could post daily profiles of your staff talking about what they do, or mini-interviews of them revealing what they get up to in their spare time.

Whether you keep it focussed on work, or let your guard down a bit to show the personalities in your company, it brings your business to life, and allows your audience to warm to you before they’ve even got in touch.

 

3. Enhance your recruitment strategy

When you show the camaraderie of your team, the fun stuff that goes on behind the scenes, the training days you go on, or even your secured car park that means people won’t have to pay £12 a day to park in a nearby NCP, you’re planting little seeds in people’s minds that your business is a great place to work.

Stories lets you do this every day, reinforcing your employer branding in a really casual way by showing people all of your benefits rather than telling them in the traditional way.

 

4. Make things easier to digest

Time is of the essence in today’s 100mph world, so if you’ve got some research you want to share, a white paper you want to get people to download, or a new service you want to showcase, Stories lets you serve them up in quick, manageable chunks.

You could pull out the headline statistics of a study, give a chapter overview of your new report, or shoot a quick video series showing the top three features of your latest service that cuts to the core of what you’re offering.

 

5. Broadcast live events

Are you starting a new project? Or attending an awards bash? Then shoot short, snappy Stories throughout the day or evening to welcome your LinkedIn audience into your world.

Giving people a 360-degree insight into your business shows that you’ve got nothing to hide, and allows you to build trust, convey your personality and demonstrate your expertise all at the same time.

 

The 3 elements to a great LinkedIn Story…

Being real

Because of their quick, accessible format, there’s a certain charm to Stories feeling more off-the-cuff than scripted YouTube videos or polished team photos. Audience engagement comes from authenticity, so don’t worry too much about getting everything perfect every time.

 

Selling second

The feature is called “Stories” for a good reason. So rather than seeing it as just another vehicle to push your standard sales messages through, focus on your story first, and your sales spiel second.

 

Delivering value

Like any marketing message you put out, your Stories should always carry value for your audience, which could be tips, advice, knowledge, entertainment or insights. Don’t just post for the sake of it – make it a worthy investment in people’s time, or they’ll skip you in future.

 

And that’s all there is to it. If you’re yet to try Linkedin Stories, have a flick through your connections’ Stories first to see how they’re using it.

 

If you need any help with your Stories strategy, or ideas on what to post, contact Rachel Arquati on +44 1285 626000 or email r.arquati@clearb2b.com.

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