Social media managers rejoice.
Today, Facebook has announced the addition of some new features for its Business Suite management platform, including Stories scheduling for both Facebook and Instagram, along with a new business discovery process from the News Feed.
We'll start with the big one - Facebook is launching a new option in Business Suite, its newest business management platform, which will enable users to compose and schedule Facebook and IG Stories within the planning element.
As you can see here, the new option will enable you to compose Stories within the app, then schedule them to go live on both Facebook and Instagram. Your scheduled posts will then be displayed on your content calendar within the Business Suite app.
This is the first time that Facebook has offered Stories scheduling - in one of its other management tools, Creator Studio, you can schedule feed and video (IGTV) posts across the two apps, but Stories scheduling is still not an option, which has long been a frustration for social managers. Some third-party tools offer workarounds for this, but native scheduling could be a significant process upgrade, enabling you to better map out your full content strategy, using a single calendar tool across Facebook and IG.
As you may have also noted in this example, Facebook will also now enable Business Suite users to save their Facebook and Instagram posts as drafts, adding even more planning flexibility for your Stories approach.
Given the rising usage of the Stories format, more brands are logically looking to incorporate the more mobile-native, vertical format into their outreach strategy, and as such, it makes sense for Facebook to provide more planning to tools to better enable brands to maximize their Stories approach.
Though that has also been a point of contention. The ethos of Stories is that they're less polished, facilitating real, in-the-moment type updates, and it does make some sense for all usage, even by brands, to better align with that off-the-cuff approach, as opposed to building more glossy, polished promotions.
But flexibility is key, and as the Stories format has evolved, improving digital creation tools have inevitably made them look more professional either way.
As such, stories scheduling now seems like a more logical fit. And it'll certainly be a more beneficial one for marketers.
In addition to this, Facebook's looking to add a new business discovery element, via related Page recommendations below posts in the News Feed.
As you can see here, the new process will highlight related content from Facebook Pages below posts when users take the time to check out (or hover over) certain updates within their feed. That will then able people to tap through on a new, dedicated feed listing of images from these Pages that may be similar to their interests.
Facebook has been trying to work topic-based recommendations into the News Feed for years, even testing out separate, topic-aligned News Feed listings at one point. This new approach is slightly different, in that it focuses on business discovery, and is more related, in this respect, to Facebook's broader eCommerce push via Shops and other tools.
Facebook says that the new recommendations will show up under feed posts related to topics like beauty, fitness and clothing, as well as restaurants, enabling users to explore content from related businesses.
The recommendations are being tested with a small group of users at this stage.
In addition to this, Facebook's also rolling out some new ad options, including:
- A new 'Conversion Leads' goal for Lead Ads, which will enable advertisers to optimize for leads most likely to convert, versus pure volume. That could make Lead ads more functionally valuable, as opposed to going for reach.
- The option to convert Lead ads forms into Messenger templates to follow up with leads
- New 'Call Ads', which will enable advertisers to display a 'Call Now' CTA button in their ads
I mean, that won't work for Millennials, who notoriously dislike phone calls, but it will provide more capacity to connect and prompt direct contact from your Facebook promotions.
These are some good, valuable additions, which will have significant implications for many brands. It'll definitely add to your planning options - and no doubt there's going to be a new rush on users switching to Business Suite, as opposed to Facebook's other planning tools, in order to capitalize on the new Stories scheduling capacity.
You can find out more about Business Suite, which can be accessed on desktop or via dedicated mobile apps, here.