Late last year, Facebook began testing collaborative Stories for Groups and Events, enabling members and attendees to contribute, and providing another way to connect with like-minded users. Now, Facebook's rolling out its Group Stories option in all regions, adding another element to its growing push on Stories use.
As explained by Facebook:
"Earlier this year, we introduced group stories as a way to help admins and members engage more with their communities. Now, we're excited to announce that we've rolled out group stories globally with lightweight reactions. Group members can now respond to each other's stories quickly and directly with emojis that show a range of universal human emotions."
As you can see from the above image sequence, adding and contributing to a Group story is fairly straightforward - you tap on the 'Add' option alongside the Story prompt on the front page of the group, select the image or video you want to include, then share it to the Group Story. Group Stories are enabled as an option by the relevant Group admin.
As part of the expanded rollout, admins are now also able to control what, exactly, is available within the Group story feed, with the capacity to approve or delete member stories before they get shared with the community. Admins can also mute individual members, while they can also select an option that allows only admins to post or contribute to group stories, if they so wish.
As noted, the function adds to Facebook's growing Stories push - Facebook executives have repeatedly noted that Stories are the future of social sharing, and will soon overtake the News Feed as the primary social sharing surface. The popularity of the format, originally created by Snapchat, has now seen it spread to Instagram, Facebook, and more recently LinkedIn and YouTube, and as more platforms adopt the option, it becomes more habitual, more commonplace, which will likely see even more Stories use in future.
But Facebook's push does, in parts, seem slightly disingenuous. For example, the platform has been making Stories the default sharing option for some users on the platform, which has seen some Facebook posts coming up as Stories from people who were not aware that they were even creating them. That's not a big problem, they were sharing that content to Facebook anyway, but it does inflate the usage stats for Facebook Stories, as people who may not have intended to be using the option can now be added to the 'active usage' figures.
But even so, the growth of Stories is undeniable.
Over time, as users have become more wary of sharing every aspect of their lives with all of their contacts on social platforms, engagement has shifted towards more private sharing, with messaging app use growing faster than social apps. Stories are a sort of 'in-between', a means to share without adding to your permanent digital profile, while also enabling more creative, fun options, which maintains the ethos and freshness of what social media was originally about.
If you've not factored Stories into your social media marketing plan for 2019, it's worth re-assessing. As noted, Facebook's team is very keen to push Stories use, and with more widespread adoption comes greater momentum and awareness. Eventually, the trends would suggest that you will be looking into Stories at some stage. Better earlier than later.
Facebook Group Stories is now available in all regions - to manage stories in your groups:
- Visit your group settings for story posting permissions and approvals
- Select 'admin tools' on your mobile device or 'moderate group' on desktop to manage pending and reported stories
- Upon viewing a story select settings to mute or block members from contributing