What are Facebook Stories?
Facebook Stories are Instagram and Snapchat-style quick updates that disappear after 24 hours; they don’t stick around like normal Facebook statuses.
When you add a photo or video to your story, it appears in the new Stories section at the top of the news feed. Your profile picture will also appear in this row at the top of your friends’ news feeds, and they can tap it to see your story for 24 hours.
Initially designed for the mobile user where you can add-in cool effects and graphics, Facebook stories have now appeared on desktops giving greater appeal to business users.
The biggest pro for Facebook stories is that they appear in a prime location on peoples Facebook pages for the allotted 24 hour period. This means it is most likely to be viewed more than other posts. Other Pros is the ability to see who has watched your video or story and be able to interact with the directly afterwards.
Currently, you can’t choose to only show your Facebook stories to certain groups of people or and only to those who are your friends on Facebook. If you’re going to use stories to talk about business, be prepared for the fact that Auntie Mabel might be watching!
As Facebook currently limits friends to 5,000, marketers will have to think creatively about using Facebook Stories as a marketing tool.
How you can use it for your Business!
#1 Share Behind-the-scenes Footage
This is perhaps the most obvious use for Facebook Stories: share more of your life as an individual businessperson or small business. Allowing people a sneak peek into your day will make them feel special, especially if you make it obvious that you don’t share this anywhere else. For example, take your audience with you when you attend or speak at events, or show them what your staff does every day and how talented and friendly they are.
#2 Demonstrate Your Expertise
You can use Facebook Stories to share tips and short how-tos as a series of images with text overlay and/or videos. These work well for giving your audience extra value and positioning you as an expert. You could even develop a schedule of different themes for each day of the week. To encourage engagement, ask people to reply and tell you which tips they found most helpful.
#3 Signpost to Bigger Content
To tease bigger pieces of content, share only small snippets of what you included in a recent blog post, video, vlog, or live stream. Be sure to include a call to action to direct your viewers to your larger content piece.
#4 Provide Exclusive Offers
If appropriate (given that your audience is your Facebook friends), Facebook Stories could be a great way to unveil exclusive offers only for people who see your story. To build an audience of potential customers as Facebook friends, let your friends know you release limited offers via stories to encourage those connections.
#5 Share User-generated Content
Showcasing your customers and their images or videos (with their permission, of course) in your Facebook stories could be a fantastic way to make your customers feel valued, encourage engagement, and subtly provide social proof of your goods or services.
#6 Find Out More About Your Audience
You could ask for opinions on ideas for a new product or service, for example, or find out how your audience feels about your industry. Or maybe you want to find out more about them and their lifestyle. Ask questions requiring quick one- or two-word answers and you should see good engagement (in the form of direct replies). The fact that replies are private might encourage more people to speak up than in more open formats such as Facebook groups.