Last week, Facebook announced that Facebook Stories, their Snapchat clone within their main app, would soon be made available to all Pages, meaning brands will be able to make use of the option in addition to regular users.
You’re probably thinking ‘so what?’ Few people seem to use Facebook Stories anyway, and many see it as an annoyance, a step too far in Facebook’s efforts to quell Snapchat. Opening it up to brands likely won’t have any significant impact, right? That may be true, maybe Facebook Stories will never take off the way Instagram Stories has.
Or maybe it will – but even if it doesn’t, Stories for Pages does provide some interesting considerations and opportunities that could be worth exploring.
Here are five potential opportunities of Stories for Pages.
1. Prime Real Estate
The first key consideration you need to take into account is that Facebook Stories presents an opportunity to take up prime position in the app, right at the top if user feeds.
That’s a big benefit – getting your brand to the top result on Google is a key goal because it puts your business front and centre, and gets the most attention. Granted, the process is a little different (people are actually searching for related keywords on Google), but still, having the capacity to get your brand right at the top of the feeds of your Page fans is a key benefit, and one that could help generate results.
Of course, Facebook has been experimenting with hiding the Stories bar with some users, which could negate this potential opportunity.
It’s unclear if Facebook’s going to roll this option out to all users (I’d suspect not), but still, having a tool which enables you to put your brand message right at the top of user feeds - appearing not only in the feeds of your Page likers, but with the capacity to appear in other feeds too by making your stories ‘Public’ - is a valuable opportunity which shouldn’t be overlooked.
2. Cross Post from Instagram
Facebook recently confirmed that they’re in the process of rolling out the ability for users to cross-post their Instagram Stories to Facebook.
There’s no official word yet as to whether the same capacity will be extended to brands, but logically, you’d assume it will. As such, if your business is already creating Instagram Stories, it makes sense to at least try out Facebook Stories cross-posting – you’re essentially boosting your exposure potential with no additional effort.
There could be an annoyance factor to consider – maybe the same fans follow you on both Instagram and Facebook and they don’t want to see the same content on both platforms. But still, the added exposure potential of reaching the broader Facebook audience with minimal extra creation effort could give your Stories content a boost, and improve brand exposure.
A simple way to boost performance.
3. Rising Stories Use
While Facebook has been criticized for putting Stories everywhere (in WhatsApp, Messenger, Facebook and Instagram), there’s a reason why they’ve done this. Stories, as a communications tool, is on the rise, with more and more people now using the Stories format to communicate and connect.
Stories has proven to be a very popular format, which is why Facebook’s been so keen to push it across all their apps. Yes, slowing the Snapchat migration among younger users is also a motivator, but if the addition of these Stories options saw usage rates of their apps decline, you can bet Facebook would get rid of them. They haven’t, which suggests that even in Facebook Stories, Facebook is seeing some usage benefit.
With the Stories format rising in popularity, it makes sense for all brands to be considering how they too might be able to use it to advantage, and Facebook Stories is another element in that equation.
4. Countering Reach Declines
Organic reach on Facebook is in decline for all Pages – granted, some are still seeing growth, but in general terms, reach is well down on what it once was.
Back in August, BuzzSumo released a report which showed that the average number of engagements with Facebook posts created by brands and publishers has fallen by more than 20% since January 2017.
With organic reach dropping, brands are looking for alternate ways to ‘beat’ the algorithm and maintain steady levels of Facebook referral traffic – if this sounds like you, Facebook Stories should definitely be on your radar.
As noted, Facebook Stories are given prime positioning in the app, which could help boost exposure, while the ability to post public Stories could provide even more opportunity for your content to appear in more user feeds.
If you can create compelling, interesting Stories content, it could provide a new way to boost interest and engagement, and get more of your fans coming back to your Page, and ultimately your website.
It provides another option to connect and raise awareness of your offers and content, which is important, considering the declines in overall exposure on the platform.
5. Creative options
And the last key point to consider is that the Stories format offers a range of new creative options, including filters, effects, video masks and live-streaming.
All of these tools give you new ways in which to tell your brand stories – you don’t have to have a huge budget or access to dedicated tools, necessarily, as these features are all available within your Facebook app.
Of course, the way in which you use them to create a compelling Story is what will differentiate your content in the Stories feed, but the opportunity is there to do so, to make your business stand out and generate interest and attention via Facebook Stories. And if few people are using the option, that may provide even more potential for your content to stand out. Maybe Stories doesn’t work out, and no one ever uses it, but it may be worth experimenting either way.
None of these options are prescriptive – given the slow adoption of Facebook Stories, it’s impossible to say whether there will or won’t be significant brand benefit in using the new option for Pages. But there is potential there.
Worth considering, particularly as you go about planning for 2018.