Facebook Stories: A Complete Guide

What are Facebook Stories? If you haven’t been on Facebook for a while, you potentially don’t even know about this feature (launched early 2017) which has recently begun gaining in popularity and users on the platform.

So what’s all the fuss about?

Facebook Stories are ephemeral content located at the top of the Facebook feed, totally separate from the feed. Ephemeral you say? That’s right: Stories only exist for 24 hours after publishing, meaning they’re less impacting on your brand image than your permanent posts elsewhere across the social media space. But don’t be fooled by their temporary nature — Stories’ growing popularity means they’re getting more and more attention, so they’re potentially very relevant in the eyes of your community.

Facebook Stories are therefore very similar to Instagram Stories (the idea for which was initially inspired by Snapchat, first seen in 2013). You get the idea: everyone’s making Stories these days, hence the sudden spike in their popularity and usage on Facebook.

But what exactly are they good for? And how can you use them as a part of your social media marketing strategy as a business? In this guide, you’ll get to grips with all the know-how, as well as some inspiration from brands for your own use!

Facebook Stories: A Complete Guide

What kind of content can you add to Facebook Stories?

Just like in your regular feed, content for Facebook Stories can be fairly varied and versatile. The only difference is, with Stories, you don’t have to worry too much about the quality of your content, or about posting consistently on such a strict schedule. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take care when designing your Facebook Stories!

But what kind of content can be made into a Story on Facebook? Short answer: pretty much any kind! Here’s a list of some of the options for your Stories content:

1. Status Stories

You can share a regular status on Facebook and choose to also share it to your Stories (you may have noticed that Facebook now asks you where you want to publish something). These Stories are therefore purely text, on either a blank background, a background image chosen from Facebook’s built-in library or a custom image which you can select yourself from your phone’s photo library.

2. Photo Stories

Take a photo or choose one from your phone’s photo library and upload it to your Facebook Story. The topic can be anything, from a behind the scenes office snap to some pretty scenery that caught your eye on your way to work that morning! Anything that you think could resonate with your community is food for Stories — make the most of it!

3. Video Stories

Just the same as with photos, you can either film a video from within the app or upload one from your library. You can add all kinds of effects to videos, as well as text, GIFs and stickers to spruce them up and make them fun to watch! Skip to the end to read about augmented reality (AR) face filters on Facebook Stories and how you can use them to make unique videos for your community.

4. Boomerang Stories

If you’re a seasoned Instagram Stories user, you’ll know that all this is starting to sound very familiar! Don’t hesitate to go cross-channel and utilize the features Instagram offers, like Boomerang. All you have to do is create your Boomerang in Instagram Stories, save it as a video, and then upload it to your Facebook Story. Simple — and yet it makes for effective and fun to watch content!

5. Filter/Sticker Stories

You can add stickers to your Facebook Stories, just perfect for those times when you can’t find the words! Facebook’s selection of stickers is pretty complete, and reminiscent of Instagram’s own catalogue. Among the sticker options are poll stickers and music stickers. You can ask a question with a poll sticker to gather your community’s opinion on anything from this season’s staple color to a potential new cookie flavor you’re working on. The opportunities are endless! As for music stickers, these basically allow you to choose a track from an extensive library of music, which will then be played while people watch your Stories.

Facebook also offers filter options to spruce up your Stories content: simple color filters to change the hue of an image or video, and even AR face filters which adapt to faces identified by the camera. Check out face filters by opening your Facebook Stories front-facing camera and tapping on the face icon on the bottom right of the screen. Then just swipe left and right until you find the perfect filter for your selfie!

Iconosquare recently created its own set of branded AR filters for Facebook, and you can do this too! To use these AR filters, all you need to do is like Iconosquare’s Facebook Page, open your FB Stories camera, tap on the smiley icon in the bottom, and scroll right until you find the right Iconosquare filters.

How to post Facebook Stories from a Facebook Page

Go to your Facebook Page on mobile and tap on your profile picture, then select the plus symbol labelled “Create story”.

You’ll be asked to select an image or video from your photo library, or alternatively, you can capture a photo or video there and then with Facebook’s integrated camera, for a real spur-of-the-moment Story.

Once you’ve chosen or created your base content, you can begin editing in Stories. There are many options, like adding a location sticker, selecting other bright and fun stickers or even GIFs from the library, adding text to caption what’s going on in the photo, a drawing if the mood takes you, and finally a link if you’re including a call-to-action.

Once you’ve edited your content to perfection and you’re happy with it, you can tap the “+” symbol at the bottom of your screen to add it to your Story. If you also want this content in your feed, tap “Next” (bottom right) and you’ll be given that option.

Why post Facebook Stories as a brand?

You’re probably wondering just how Facebook Stories can be beneficial to your already on-point social strategy, right? Here are just a few of the reasons I’d recommend jumping on the Facebook Stories band-wagon.

1. Amazing visibility

Let me just start this off by saying one word: visibility. When your community members open their Facebook app, Stories are literally staring them in the face, right there at the top of their feeds. So the potential for extra reach on your content is undeniable, purely by their location. Make the most of this real-estate by ensuring there’s always a Story waiting for them from your brand.

2. Easily trackable performance

As I’m sure you know, all marketers love tracking everything, and that’s a point in favor of Facebook Stories: their performance is so easily trackable. So even though the content is only available for 24 hours, you can get a really good insight into who saw it, who interacted with it, who watched until the end, and so on. At any point during the 24 hours after publishing your Story, you can check up on its performance by simply tapping on the eye symbol on the bottom left of the screen (on the active Story itself).

3. Rising popularity

Not to be ignored is the fact that Facebook Stories are becoming more and more popular. There are now more than 1 billion Stories shared every day across Facebook family apps (that’s Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp). According to a recent Facebook study, “56% of people say they use Stories on three or more platforms at least once a week and 57% agree that Stories make them feel part of a larger community”. In fact, once your community is viewing and engaging with your content on Facebook Stories, a brilliant way to put them in the spotlight is to use their own content as yours, and tag them in it. User-generated content is by far the best-converting content out there. Trust between a customer and a brand is so difficult to create and maintain, especially in the social era, so posting genuine, authentic, user-generated content is a surefire way of showing your prospective customers that you already have a loyal and loving community.

Easy-to-watch tutorials and product demonstrations are a simple way to fill your daily Stories quota while engaging your community members and educating them about your brand. Check out what Sephora is doing on Facebook Stories:

4. Opportunity to gain loyalty

A bit earlier I mentioned AR face filters on Facebook Stories. This is a feature which is beginning to take off in recent months as more and more brands realize the potential of the platform as an interactive space, perfect for self-expression and connecting with members of their community. Filters and suchlike act kind of like “goodies” for your customers and brand ambassadors. And let’s face it — who doesn’t love trying out a new face filter!

Conclusion

To sum up, if you’re not already a Stories user, you should definitely jump on board. And if you are a seasoned Stories aficionado, you need to know that Facebook Stories are the new place to be.

With so many possibilities for growth, Facebook is by far the most rewarding social media platform in terms of ROI and Stories are the logical next step for any brand using the platform to keep up to speed with new features and continue to delight their communities on a daily basis. What’s more, the temporary nature of Stories content means that it isn’t time-consuming to create, but still has the potential for impact on your community.

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Emily Marsh: Emily is an Inbound Marketer for Iconosquare, based in the Limoges office. She loves all things social and revels in keeping on top of the social media marketing game by writing for the blog. She’s also a bit obsessed with sushi and Netflix.
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