Reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong has uncovered another couple of Stories tools that Facebook is working on - and these ones look set to be of particular interest to social media marketers.
According to Wong, within Facebook's back end code, there are in-development options for both link and mention stickers for Facebook Stories, unreleased, and unannounced as yet, but very likely to be coming soon.
The main option of interest is the ability to add referral links. At present, the capacity to post links to Facebook Stories is available to some users, but access is very limited. Selected users have been able to post links in their Facebook Stories as part of a test, while it is also possible (for certain Facebook Pages which meet the required criteria) to cross-post from Instagram Stories, and have Instagram's 'swipe up' links active on both platforms. But the capacity to post swipe up links to Instagram Stories is only available to Instagram profiles with at least 10k followers, or a verified profile, limiting your options.
If Facebook were to provide another way for brands to post links to their Stories, that would certainly spark more interest in the option. While Facebook Stories haven't caught on as The Social Network would like (though usage is reportedly on the rise), Stories do occupy prime real estate in the app. If there were a functional way to drive direct traffic from them, marketers would pay more attention.
But they might also pay too much attention. Facebook knows that in order to keep Stories from becoming spam-fest, it needs to be careful with how it rolls out such options. That may mean that, if the link sticker is, in fact, rolled out, it might only be made available to selected users - i.e. the same situation as right now. But only Facebook knows the plan on this front.
The other option being tested is the mention sticker - you can see it with the yellow icon below the red arrow in the image above. As demonstrated by Wong, the mention sticker would enable you to tag other Facebook users in your Facebook Story - the same as you can on Instagram.
It's actually somewhat surprising this isn't already available, and it'll no doubt be coming soon. The option will give you more ways to raise awareness of your Stories content - while for brands, it'll provide another way to boost engagement with your audience.
As noted, Facebook Stories still hasn't become a key part of the broader Facebook experience. But it is growing - Zuck and Co. appear very confident that Facebook Stories is the future, that it will become the key social sharing option.
And as usage habits evolve, brands will need align their strategies in-step. If you're not using Stories yet, it's worth considering, and worth keeping tabs on the latest features, like these, to maximize your strategy.