In a bold move to compete with Snapchat, Facebook just rolled out Facebook Stories. The popular format for sharing videos and photos is now available on Facebook. For marketers, it is a new component of the social network that can help them expand their message.
In this article, we will discuss how Facebook Stories works, how it fits in with the larger stories framework on social media, and how to use it for your business.
Understanding Facebook Stories
According to The Verge, Facebook Stories “on iOS and Android has three parts: a redesigned in-app camera, a new feed of ephemeral stories at the top of the News Feed, and a private messaging feature called Direct. Taken together, the features represent the biggest changes to Facebook’s core product in recent memory.”
The new platform works like Snapchat, with filters and capabilities for recording videos and photos directly to Facebook. Furthermore, stories disappear after 24 hours, just like the videos on Instagram and Snapchat.
Which brings up another point. It is interesting that they are launching this now, since in August of last year Instagram Stories started on Facebook’s sister platform. Instagram has over 600 million monthly active users compared to Snapchat’s 300 million users.
Add in Facebook’s 1.68 billion users, and you can see how the new Facebook Stories could pose a serious threat to Snapchat. However, few users are engaging with Facebook Stories right now.
According to Marketing Mag, Facebook Stories “started using greyed-out photos of users’ friends, seemingly because this is better than leaving a blank space because no one is actually posting stories.”
Ironically, this seems similar to when Google copied Facebook with Google Plus in 2011. That social network has limped along ever since. The key difference here is that Facebook has a strong social presence, and Google was trying to start an entirely new platform.
Using Facebook Stories for Marketing
- Add Targeted Friends: At this point, you can only post Facebook Stories from personal accounts. That does not mean they will not add fan pages in the future, just that for the initial launch, you can only use this tool on your personal account.
Furthermore, only your friends can see your Facebook Stories at this point in time. That means if you want to use Facebook Stories to market your business, you need to add targeted friends to your list.
One challenge is that you can only add 5,000 friends to your personal account. This means that businesses looking to use this on a large scale might struggle with using this on Facebook as compared to Instagram and Snapchat.
Therefore, you might want to do this in conjunction with your marketing on Facebook groups. You can use the right Facebook groups to help you find targeted friends who would be interested in your message.
- Use it as a tool to build relationships: Since this is for your personal account, it is just as likely that your family will see your marketing message as your targeted market.
This means you should focus on building relationships. Don’t worry about selling, but instead focus on helping. Use the videos and photos you share on Facebook Stories as brand ambassadors for your message.
The people you connect with on Facebook groups will also gain a greater awareness of your thought leadership.
Furthermore, you can also respond to other group members’ Facebook Stories. There is no better way to demonstrate your interest in them than by using a public Facebook Story to support a potential customer, influencer, or partner.
- Different types of Facebook Stories: The biggest challenge most marketers face regarding videos and photos is what to feature in them. Here are a few different Facebook Stories you can create.
- Behind the scenes footage: People always want to know how a product is created. Give them a sneak peek by showing how you prepare for an event or create specific products.
- Thought leadership: We mentioned thought leadership posts above, but they are worth mentioning again. By demonstrating your expertise in a specific area, you can help your customers with their questions and build a foundation for them to use your services.
- Drive traffic to content: Generally, social media is a great outlet for driving traffic to other content, like blog posts, videos, podcasts, or other media. You can give people a peek at this content and use a call to action to drive traffic to the main content piece.
- Exclusive offers: As we mentioned earlier, your Facebook friends can include both family members and customers, which makes it tricky to use a personal page as a marketing platform. However, if you believe it is worth it, you can provide exclusive offers once in a while.
- Ask questions: Not all content is about talking. Some content should be about asking for information as well. From time to time, ask your audience what they want. The more you know, the more you can improve your marketing.
Facebook Stories is still in its infancy, so it is difficult to determine the best practices for marketing your business via this new tool. However, if you want to get the most out of your Facebook marketing, then you should consider using it as another avenue for connecting with your prospects.
Test out what works best, and look for changes in the future to see how you might be able to incorporate this into your Facebook business page marketing strategy.
If you still have questions about how to take advantage of Facebook Stories, give us a Shout. We are happy to help you craft a message that works for your business.