|Photo Credit: Techjaja|
A Brief HistorySnapchat was the pioneer of the Stories format back in 2013. In 2016, Facebook released its Stories clone for Messenger and Instagram, which became a huge success with more than 150 million users just 14 months after launching. Facebook Stories was officially launched in 2017. According to Techcrunch, Stories now have 500 million daily users across Facebook and Messenger, versus just 190 million for Snapchat. In April, COO Sheryl Sandberg announced that 3 million advertisers have bought Story ads across Facebook’s family of apps, which also include WhatsApp and Instagram.
Facebook has begun to prioritize news feed content from users’ friends and family over brands and businesses. As the organic reach of Facebook posts for businesses continue to decrease, the growing popularity of Facebook Stories offers a great opportunity to build brand awareness, engage, and strengthen their relationship with their audience.
What are Facebook Stories?Facebook Stories are made up of visual content in video or slideshow format that can be created with your smartphone camera or uploaded from your gallery. Similar to Snapchat, they last about 20 seconds and will automatically disappear after 24 hours.
When users view a story, they can share it with their friends, react with emojis, interact with call-to-action buttons, or swipe up to reach an external webpage. Additionally, they can interact with the content poster through Messenger. On a mobile device, users can navigate backward or forwards through the story by tapping the right and left side of the screen, or swipe to skip the story.
|Photo Credits: Instapage|
Why Your Business Should Use It
- A Huge Opportunity for Reach and Engagement
With the massive amount of daily users, Stories are without a doubt one of the fastest growing ways to communicate. Facebook’s organic reach has been declining for years, and Stories are a great way to combat this problem. Stories are forecasted to surpass feeds as the primary platform for sharing in 2019. Their placement, at the top of the News Feed on mobile and at the top right hand-corner on desktop, ensures that they are the first to greet users every time they open the app. New and unseen Stories are highlighted with a blue ring around the page’s profile picture, coaxing users to open and view the posts. The disappearing nature of the Stories also create a sense of urgency,
- An Organic and Authentic Way to Connect with the Audience
The biggest lures for Stories are the video format and storytelling potential. Unlike News Feed videos, Stories do not have to be pristine and perfectly edited. They can be raw and personal, creating a more authentic experience. In fact, 94% of consumers say they are likely to be loyal to a brand that offers complete transparency.
As Gary Vaynerchuk explains, “It’s not about how many followers you have, it’s how many care.”
Use Facebook Stories as a way to show a peek into the inner workings of your business, enrich your customers’ experience with tips and guides, share a live event or behind the scenes, or make important updates and announcements. Most importantly, use this amazing platform to build an intimate connection with your followers and to enhance your business image.
- Measure Your Campaigns Easily
You can easily track the performance of your Stories through “Stories Insights” on Facebook. Here, you can view the number of people who opened your Page’s Story, tapped forward or backwards through your Story, swiped to the next account’s Story, or exit to return to their News Feed. In this way, you can analyze the kinds of content that gets the most engagement and find out who’s interested in your brand. You can also keep track of past stories in the Archive section or save them to your phone for your own record.
- Low-cost (or completely free!)
If you would like to expand your content to new potential clients, you can purchase ads on Story. Ad pricing is dependent on a variety of factors, including audience, placement, or daily budget. As an example, Buffer reports that they spend just $0.06USD per click on their own Stories ads compared to $0.30-$0.06 per click on their Facebook feed ads. Coupled with the higher engagement rates, Stories ads are certainly worth the investment. If you decide not to purchase ads, you can still interact with your followers through authentic, personalized content at completely no cost!
How to Use Facebook Stories for Business
The Stories function can only be accessed through the mobile Facebook app, not in the desktop version. On your business’ Facebook Page (not a personal profile), tap the three dots in the top-right of the screen indicating the menu, then select “Open Camera.” Alternatively, scroll down to your Page, and tap “Create Story.”
Step 2: Create Your Story
Once you have the camera open, you’ll be able to record a short video or snap a quick photo. Since Facebook Story only allows a maximum of 20 seconds for a video, you can use apps such as Kapwing or Story Slicer to trim or split your video into shorter sections. You can add text, location, fun filters, and stickers to your story to liven it up, but be sure to keep them consistent with your brand image! Facebook stories have recently added CTA buttons that makes it easier for people to interact with your stories, such as “Shop Now,” “Contact Us,” or “Get Directions.” You can also create more polished images and video outside the app, then upload them from your phone’s camera roll by tapping on the album icon.
Step 3: Share Your Story
When you are satisfied with your creation, you can share your story by tapping the ‘Your Story’ icon with the plus (+) sign. Once published, your story will be available for 24 hours before automatically deleting itself. If your business already has great content on Instagram, you can also easily cross-post your Instagram Stories to Facebook. Instagram Stories have additional features such as polls or “ask a question,” allowing your followers to engage further with your business. Sharing stories between both platforms is a great way to expand your audience!
The Final Verdict
Facebook is constantly updating its platform to deliver a more personal and authentic experience to its audience by identifying trends in the way people share and consume social media. Following Snapchat’s pioneering format for sharing in real time, Facebook is betting that in the near or medium term, Stories are the future of the platform. It is one of the richest and most immediate way to share and connect with an audience, and it is sure to be around for a while. Don’t miss out on a perfect opportunity to enhance your business image and enrich your customers’ experience!
Speak with an UpOnline representative today to see what mix of online marketing is best suited for your company.
Related article: The Evolution of Snapchat Ads