We live in the era of speed. We are ready to move on to 5G internet speed, we have an app for everything to give us access to information and shopping. And we want to get to the gist of what we’re interested in within just a few minutes. These trends gave rise to a new content format on social media networks: short and perishable videos, generically named Stories.
The Background of Facebook™ Stories
It all started with Snapchat, a social media platform that allowed users to upload videos of themselves using various filters (from dog to alien) that would disappear as soon as the intended audience viewed it.
This concept proved so popular that Instagram adopted it. And this is where it really took off. Instagram Stories are one of the most frequently used formats by vloggers and celebrities to share their updates with the throng of followers.
Since Instagram is owned by Facebook™, it was just a matter of time before this format was made available to the users of the social media network. As usual, Facebook™ started rolling out Stories to private accounts first. But now Facebook™ Stories is available to business pages, as well.
How Does Facebook™ Stories Work?
In Facebook™ Stories, you can upload a video, a photo or a mix of videos of photos on a certain topic. The maximum duration of a story is 20 seconds (in Instagram, you get only 15 seconds). Once you’ve uploaded your Story, it will stay online for 24 hours and then it will disappear.
Just like in Snapchat and Instagram, you have a wide range of filters and effects available to personalise your story and make it more appealing. You can add music, take a video directly with your phone camera or upload a pre-recorded video.
Why Should You Start Using Facebook™ Stories?
The fact that your content disappears in just one day may sound discouraging. However, you should still give Facebook™ Stories a try. In Mark Zuckerberg’s own words: “We expect Stories are on track to overtake posts in feeds as the most common way that people share across all social apps.”’
Here are other reasons to include Facebook™ Stories in your social media marketing strategy:
1. It Is Free
Sharing a Story does not cost a thing. It is not (yet) a promotional type of content and you have free reign to share your messages with followers. If you are at the beginning of building your brand identity, Facebook™ Stories can help you do that with minimum effort and expense.
2. Stories Are Located at the Top of the News Feed
No one can miss the Facebook™ Stories section, either on the mobile app or on the desktop version. It is at the very top of the news feed, clearly separated from regular posts. This position is similar with the area of the Google search results reserved for Adwords ads.
3. You Can Build Your Reputation
Facebook™ Stories is an excellent content format to share tips and tricks, behind the scene images and your work in progress. You can create a series of drip videos to prepare a product launch. You can challenge your followers to have their photos and videos shared in your Stories.
4. A/B Test Visual Content
In Facebook™ Stories, you can choose the Direct option to select the users who will see your story. This gives you huge opportunities to test videos and photos that you want to use at a later date in ads and other promotional materials. It is the next best thing after the disappearance of dark posts.
5. Create Flash Sale Offers
In true Groupon style, you can share special discounted offers, available to users for as long as your Story is online – 24 hours. This sense of urgency is extremely appealing to shoppers. They feel that they must take advantage of the offer, otherwise they will regret not acting faster.
Last but not least, remember that at the present only 300 million out of the total of 1.5 billion Facebook™ users are posting Stories, and many of them are individual users. You still have your followers’ undivided attention, before all the brands jump the bandwagon. And once they do, most certainly Facebook™ will start monetising Stories for business pages.