The disappearance of social media stories has begun. With Twitter and LinkedIn both announcing the removal of their Fleets and Story features, what does this mean for other platforms with similar offerings? Let’s take a look.

What is a social media story?

Originally a Snapchat staple, social media stories were first introduced in 2013, with the aim of offering Snapchat’s snappy features to a wider audience instead of one-to-one chats.

Snapchat was growing fast at the time, reaching 10 million active users only a year after it launched. Stories was credited as being its “first big move into becoming a major platform” by creating its own social language for users to communicate with.

Its growth didn’t stop there and Snapchat is now reported to have over 290 million daily active users.

A similar feature was launched on Instagram in 2016, with Twitter and LinkedIn not far behind, both releasing their comparable features in late 2020.

This style of content sharing promotes quick news and time sensitive content that users may not deem worthy of a main feed post.

Stories are also a great way to interact in real time with audiences, for example sharing live event coverage or receiving fast, free customer feedback with poll and quiz options added.

Influencers have been quick to adopt the feature too, using short clips of day-to-day activities to form mini vlog-style story posts and an additional channel to engage with followers and fans.

This was beneficial for businesses, providing a quick and easy way to reach with their audiences and gather live preferences and opinions on product launches, event feedback and so much more.

LinkedIn stories in a nutshell

LinkedIn Stories launched in October 2020 as the platform’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, offering the business world an opportunity to share professional experiences in a more visual format than had previously been available.

For professional story users, this feature provided the perfect place to share your working from home setup or a behind the scenes glimpse at your business at a time when most physical meeting and networking was restricted, and in some cases eliminated altogether.

However, LinkedIn has announced that from 30 September 2021, LinkedIn Stories would be removed from the homepage, stating instead that they were working “to reimagine the video experience” – leaving users anticipating the introduction of a similar feature in the near future.

A fleeting look at Fleets

Hot on the heels of LinkedIn, Twitter launched Fleets, the platform’s own Story feature in November 2020; however, in July 2021 Twitter announced that its Fleet feature would be ending.

Fleets were designed as an easy way for Tweeters to share their fleeting thoughts and encourage more people to participate in conversations on the platform.

A short-lived trial, Fleets ceased on 3 August 2021, but the brand still hopes to introduce new features with the same aim in the future as they undergo “rigorous” testing to perfect the platform.

Vice President of Consumer Product Ilya Brown explained:

“We’re evolving what Twitter is and trying bigger, bolder things to serve the public conversation. A number of these updates, like Fleets, are speculative and won’t work out. We’ll be rigorous, evaluate what works and know when to move on and focus elsewhere. If we’re not evolving our approach and winding down features every once in a while, we’re not taking big enough chances. We’ll continue to build new ways to participate in conversations, listening to feedback and changing direction when there may be a better way to serve people using Twitter.”

Fleets and stories and stickers, oh my!

While Fleets and LinkedIn Stories are closing shop, Instagram is developing its Stories feature to make it even better.

The platform recently announced some changes to Stories, leading us to believe that it will be sticking around for some time yet.

From 30 August 2021, Instagram swapped the popular ‘swipe up’ link option in favour of a sticker option. Swipe up links were popular among businesses and influencers as a way to direct consumers to a certain webpage, a popular option for advertising campaigns.

Link Stickers will provide greater creative control for Instagrammers, allowing them to adjust the style, size and placement of the link on their stories. Instagram users will also have the ability to reply and react to linked stories, just as they would regular, unlinked Instagram Stories.

The future of social media stories

LinkedIn and Twitter may have cancelled stories on their platforms but will channels like Facebook and Instagram follow suit?

Presumably, Snapchat will be keeping the feature given that it is one of the main focusses of the channel but what about the Facebook family of social networks? Will Instagram keep them in the long-term? Perhaps a similar feature will emerge on WhatsApp. Watch this space!

With Facebook and Instagram Stories sticking around, check out our top tips on how to get the most out of them for your business.