Facebook Stories: The Complete Guide for Businesses in 2018

Facebook Stories

It all moves so fast, doesn’t it?

Every day there’s a new app, feature, or tool to learn about – like Facebook Stories.

I mean, what is it? Do you need it? Is it the same as Instagram Stories and Snapchat? Heck, what’s the whole “Story” thing about anyway?!

I feel ya.

Stories creation and consumption is up 842 percent since they launched in early 2016, and Facebook expects sharing via Stories to surpass sharing through feeds in 2019.

In Facebook’s Q1 2018 earnings report, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “Stories is a big part of the future of video sharing, which is why we’re all in on it across our family.”

So like it or not, Stories are the future of social media.

This presents an incredible opportunity for those willing to learn the ropes before the majority realize the potential and jump on the bandwagon.

Is that you?

In this article, you’ll learn all about Facebook Stories – what it is, why you need it, how to get started, and how it works.

Let’s dive in.

What is Facebook Stories?

Facebook Stories is a feature which allows users to share photos, videos, and animations that disappear after 24 hours. It’s very similar to Snapchat stories, which was introduced back in 2013.

Facebook released the following promotional video to showcase the benefits of Stories – “Let your camera do the talking”:

Today, we’re excited to introduce the new Facebook camera. We think it’ll give everyone more ways to express themselves and share what they’re up to. So from now on, you can just let your camera do the talking.

Posted by Facebook on Monday, March 27, 2017

Unlike most social media posts, Facebook Stories doesn’t have comments or likes. Instead, when viewers respond to Stories, the interaction happens through Facebook Messenger.

Where Can You View Facebook Stories?

Content shared via Facebook Stories doesn’t appear in the News Feed. Instead, Stories appear at the top of the Facebook app or Messenger app.

Facebook Stories

And on Facebook desktop, Stories appear at the top of the right-hand sidebar.

Facebook Stories Desktop

To view someone’s Facebook Story, just tap on their profile picture. If there’s a Story that you haven’t yet seen, the user’s profile picture will have a blue ring around it.

Facebook Stories appear in full-screen. You can skip backward or forwards by tapping the left or right side of the screen.

So why should your business use it?

The Power of Facebook for Businesses

Facebook is King.

With more than 2.2 billion users, it’s the largest social network in the world.

Facebook Users

But are these users engaged?

Yep. More than 1 billion people log in to Facebook every day, and according to comScore, the average user accesses Facebook eight times a day.

These users are so valuable that Facebook Ads totally dominates social media advertising, with a massive 93% of social media advertisers using the service.

Facebook Ads Rule

But what about Facebook Stories?

The Rise of the Stories Format

When Snapchat launched Snapchat Stories in 2013, the world watched and waited to see if the concept would take off. Snapchat evangelist Gary Vaynerchuk even denounced the Stories format as a bad idea.

But Snapchat Stories were a huge hit.

Just a few months after the launch, Mark Zuckerberg saw the potential and offered to buy the company for a cool $3 billion. However, the offer was turned down as Snapchat’s growth exploded.

Still, if you can’t buy them, you can always copy them, right?

Fast forward three years. In August 2016, Facebook launched Instagram Stories, and then just six months later, Facebook WhatsApp Status.

Finally, Facebook Stories was launched in March 2017 to complete its all-out assault on Snapchat.

So who’s winning?

Although only 10% of Facebook’s 1.45 billion daily active users have adopted Facebook Stories, Statistica reports that “Facebook’s Snapchat clones are beating the original.”

Facebook Beats Snapchat

It’s true that Facebook Stories is currently the least used out of these apps, but with Facebook determined to push the Stories feature, that seems set to change.

“The way people create content is changing to be from text to photos and videos,” said Connor Hayes, product manager for Facebook Stories. “This is, in turn, changing the way they’re sharing with one another and interacting online.”

He added: “This is something that Snapchat has really pioneered.”

Obviously.

Facebook Stories is Replacing the News Feed

Let’s be real for a moment: Facebook’s organic reach sucks.

It’s been declining for years.

Facebook Page Organic Reach

To make matters worse, this trend looks set to continue.

In January 2018, according to Facebook’s Head of News Feed Adam Mosseri, Facebook began to “shift ranking to make News Feed more about connecting with people and less about consuming media in isolation.”

Sorry, what?

Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post: “As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard – it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”

*Eek*

Essentially, this means that marketing content is to take a backseat to content by friends and family – an earlier Facebook value that it’s trying to return to.

So what can marketers do?

Start harnessing the power of Facebook Stories. This format provides a way for you to bypass the News Feed and reach your target audience organically. Remember, sharing to Stories is expected to surpass sharing through feeds sometime in 2019.

Plus, your Stories will be featured above user’s News Feeds.

But that’s not all.

The Power of Facebook Stories for Marketers

Today, Facebook Stories has more than 150 million daily active users, and as users migrate from the News Feed to Facebook Stories, this number will continue to grow.

Plus, because Facebook Stories disappear after 24 hours, they possess an urgency that most forms of social sharing don’t.

There’s nothing like a little FOMO to catch people’s attention.

And as Gary Vaynerchuk explains, “It’s not how many followers you have, it’s how many care. It’s not width, it’s depth. It’s not how many impressions you get, it’s how much attention you get.”

Facebook Stories

Facebook Stories is also perfect for sharing authentic content in real-time.

This level of connection and authenticity can be incredibly powerful. In fact, 94% of consumers say they’re likely to be loyal to a brand that offers complete transparency.

Plus, it’s free, in a time when many marketing tools aren’t.

What’s more, there’ll soon be the option to place paid advertisements in Facebook Stories – which will likely contribute to Facebook’s dominance in social media advertising.

Bottom line: Facebook Stories is the future.

It gives you the opportunity to communicate more intimately with your audience throughout the day.

So how can you start using Facebook Stories to build your brand?

How to Use Facebook Stories as a Page

First things first: If you’re a business or brand, you need a Facebook Page – not a profile.

To share Facebook Stories, you must be an admin or editor of your brand’s Page. Now, let’s run through how to share Stories to your Page:

Step 1: Open the Facebook App (iOS / Android) on your mobile device.

Step 2: Tap the three horizontal lines in the bottom-right of the screen to bring up your Pages and Groups. Then tap your Page.

Step 3: Once you’re on your Page, tap the three dots in the top-right of the screen indicating a menu, and select “Open Camera.” Alternatively, scroll down your Page, and tap “Create Story.”

Create Facebook Story

In summary: You need to access the Facebook Story camera from your Page to share Stories to your Page’s followers.

How to Share Your Instagram Stories to Your Facebook Page

Do you already create and share Instagram Stories? If so, you don’t have to also manually upload each post to Facebook Stories.

Instead, you can link your accounts so that your Instagram Stories are automatically posted to your Facebook Page.

Cool, right?

To share Instagram Stories on a Facebook Page, you need to have an Instagram Business profile.

Now, if you need to convert your normal Instagram account into a business profile, just scroll down the Instagram settings and tap “Switch to Business Profile.”

Instagram Business Profile

Then, follow the instructions and Instagram will prompt you to connect your account to your Facebook Page.

Instagram to Facebook Integration

If you’ve already got an Instagram Business profile, tap the three lines at the top-right of your profile indicating a menu, and then tap “Settings.”

Instagram Menu

Next, scroll down and click “Story controls.”

Instagram Story Controls

Then, scroll to the bottom and enable sharing to your Facebook Story.

Share Your Instagram Story to Facebook

Next up:

How to Create Content in Facebook Stories

Now that you’re ready to share Facebook Stories on your brand’s Page, let’s run through a quick overview of the Facebook Stories content creation features.

The Facebook Story Camera

The first time you use the Facebook Story camera, you’ll need to enable access to your camera and microphone.

Facebook Story Camera

Use Both Cameras

As usual, you can use your front-facing camera or your rear-facing camera.

But here’s the cool part: Unlike most other video recording apps, you can change cameras while you’re recording. Just like you would on a Facebook Live stream or video call.

This is awesome.

Now, when recording a Facebook Story video, you’ll want to capture both what’s happening and your reaction and comments.

So don’t forget to switch it up!

Facebook Story Camera View

Choose Your Lighting Setting

The Facebook Story camera provides three lighting settings:

  1. Lighting bolt: The flash is on.
  2. Moon and ‘x’: The flash is off. (It looks like a moon to me anyway!)
  3. Moon and cloud: This will brighten up darker settings.

Facebook Story Camera Options

Just tap to cycle through the options:

Facebook Story Flash

Automatically Save Your Content

The Facebook Story creator allows you to automatically download the content you create to your device.

This will enable you to upload it to other social media sites, or simply re-use your photos and videos in future content.

To do this, tap the cog to open your Facebook Story settings.

Facebook Story Settings

Then, simply opt to “Save shared photos.”

Facebook Story Save Settings

The 4 Facebook Story Content Formats

There are four different content formats that you can capture:

  1. Normal
  2. Video
  3. Boomerang
  4. Live

Let’s take a quick look at each of them.

The Normal Setting

This is the setting first shown when you open the Facebook Story camera.

You can use Normal to take a photo by tapping the large white circle. You can also record a video on this setting, but you need to hold your thumb down to keep recording.

Normal Facebook Story Setting

The Video Setting

This setting allows you to take videos without holding your thumb on the white circle. Facebook Story videos can last up to 20 seconds in length.

The Boomerang Setting

Boomerang creates an animation from a burst of photos like a GIF.

Facebook Story Boomerang

Just tap the main icon once and the screen will flash as the photos are taken in quick succession. While this happens, make a small movement, such as taking a step forward or winking to the camera.

Here are some fun Boomerang ideas!

 

If this feature becomes a favorite of yours, you can download the dedicated Boomerang App (iOS/Android) to create animations to share on other platforms.

Boomerang for Instagram

The Live Setting

To go Live on Facebook, just tap “Start Live Video,” and Facebook will notify your followers that you’re live.

To learn more about Facebook Live check out our full guide, “The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Live Video.”

Add Media from Your Device

If you’ve already captured content, you can post it to Facebook Stories by tapping the media icon in the bottom-right of the screen.

This is particularly useful if you ever want to share content with a higher production value than the Facebook Stories creator allows.

Upload Facebook Stories

6 Ways to Customize Your Facebook Stories

It’s time to get creative.

Add Effects and Animations

Facebook Stories provides countless animations and effects to help you create eye-catching and engaging content.

Facebook Story Stickers and Effects

To access the animations and effects, tap the magic wand icon in the bottom-left of the screen.

Facebook Story Effects

Now, at the very bottom of the screen, there are five icons that represent each category of effects and animations. And just above them are the effects and animations in each category.

Facebook Story Effects

Simply scroll through them to find one you like!

A lot of these effects and animations react to your movements while you capture your content. But you can also add effects after you’ve captured content, just use the same method.

Add Effects Facebook Story

Get Creative with 3D Drawing

To access this innovative feature, simply tap on the icon that looks like a spring at the top of the screen.

Draw Facebook Story

This feature allows you to draw something on your screen that will stay in the same place even when you move the camera.

To see 3D drawing in action, watch this video from Techcrunch:

Now let’s take a look at some of the ways you can customize your Facebook Story after you’ve captured your content.

Add Stickers and Emojis

To do this, tap the smiley sticker icon at the top of the screen.

Facebook Story Stickers

There are tons of stickers and emojis to choose from.

Facebook Story Stickers

One of the most useful is the new poll sticker.

This allows you to directly engage your followers by posing a question and having viewers voice their opinions.

Poll Stickers Facebook Story

Add Text to Your Story

Compared to 3D drawings and poll stickers, adding text to your stories might be old school, but it’s still an essential tool.

To add text, simply tap the “Aa” icon.

Add Text Facebook Story

Plus, Facebook lets you customize the position, orientation, font, color, and size of your text.

Facebook Story Text

Use the Drawing Tool

Once again, it might not be 3D, but if you want to add a static drawing to your Story after you’ve captured your content, tap the squiggle icon in the top-right of the screen.

Facebook Story Draw

You can customize the size, color, orientation, and position of your drawing.

Facebook Story Drawing

Saving, Publishing, and Reviewing Your Content

If you haven’t set Facebook to automatically download your content, tap “Save” to save your Story content to your device.

Save Facebook Story

Next, share your content quickly by tapping “Your Story.”

Facebook Story Share

Or if you’d prefer, tap “Next” to share your Story to your Page’s News Feed.

Facebook Story Sharing

Lastly, you can easily view your Facebook Story history on the mobile app. Simply tap on “Your Archive” above the Stories at the top of your News Feed.

Facebook Story Archive

How to Gather Insights from Your Facebook Stories

Facebook provides a few different ways to learn about the performance of your Stories.

To see who’s viewed your posts, navigate to your Facebook Story and tap the eye icon in the bottom-left of the screen.

Facebook Story Views

This will bring up a list of the people who have viewed your Story.

You can also keep track of how your Facebook Stories perform using Stories Insights on your computer.

To find Stories Insights, navigate to your Page, click the “Insights” tab, and then click on “Stories.” Then, to start gathering Facebook Stories data, click “Turn on.”

Facebook Story Insights

Stories Insights has four columns:

  • Published: The date and time that your Page’s Story was published.
  • Story items: A thumbnail of your Page’s Story.
  • Status: Whether your Page’s Story is still active or not.
  • Unique times story was opened: How many different people have seen your Page’s story.

Facebook Story Insights

Although Stories disappear after 24 hours, Stories Insights remain visible for 14 days.

Summary

The Stories format is the future of social media.

Snapchat’s innovation has enabled people to connect more effectively in real-time.

And with Facebook pushing Stories across all of their main platforms, you can expect this social format to continue growing at a fast pace.

So get started now.

Leverage Facebook Stories to connect with your customers and build your brand.

Is your business using Facebook Stories yet? Let us know in the comments below!

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