When it comes to social media people love to share. But, telling a story is simply irresistible…

According to Facebook’s chief product officer, Chris Cox, we are on the cusp of a new era in social media; Stories! He says that “the Stories format is on a path to surpass feeds as the primary way people share things with their friends”. And, he says that it will happen sometime next year.

With over 970 million user accounts already across Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Snapchat, Stories are indeed the format of social media future and content marketing.

But, the lure of the Stories format may have posed a problem for online marketers. While it seems that everyday users are enjoying the transition of creating these short-lived slideshows, advertisers are experiencing some side effects. People previously needed to scroll past feed ads to get to their destination, but now it takes only a second for them to do so on Stories. This has led to a roadblock for online advertisers and for the social media giants.

So, what does this mean for your social media marketing efforts?

We suspect that it won’t be too long before the gurus at Facebook, and the other online giants, come up with a way to make the Stories ad format work better for them and for their advertisers. This may lead to more expensive ads for marketers, or a premium subscription for users to work with ad-free apps.

Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, even recently admitted that the company is focused on rectifying the situation and working towards monetizing Facebook Stories.

“(We want to make sure) that ads are as good in Stories as they are in feeds. If we don’t do this well, then as more sharing shifts to Stories, that could hurt our business”, he said.

If you haven’t jumped onto the Facebook Stories bandwagon yet, and want to see what it is all about for yourself, here is a quick guide on how to get started.

How to use Facebook Stories

A story starts with a new photo, a new video or by using content already stored on your device.

To begin a story

Find the circle which appears at the top of your news feed with a ‘+’ beside it. Then, if you need to access the Facebook camera, just tap on it.

To add more images or video content to an existing story

This requires you to access the camera. You can do so by swiping right from your news feed or by clicking on the Direct icon, then the blue box that reads ‘Send Photo/Video’ at the bottom. The Facebook camera looks similar to that on your phone with the ability to add a filter or a mask if you desire.

Videos can be captured up to 40 seconds in length and you do so by holding the camera button down. If you want to select an existing photo or video, you can do so here. Note, any images captured in landscape orientation will be published to Stories in portrait mode.

Before publishing a new photo or video, you also have the option to add text, add another layer, and save the image to your camera roll. Make sure you have a play around with some of the cool effects that can be added to your images, including interactive overlays.

Once you are happy with your content, post it by tapping the arrow icon. You can post to your mobile timeline, on a message direct to one or more of your friends, or to your story.

Facebook Stories disappear 24 hours after posting your content.

To see who has viewed your story

To keep track of the Stories which create the most impact, just click onto your story circle at the top of your news feed. The dots which appear here represent each element of your story. An eye icon is visible when you click on each dot – this shows the viewer count. Tapping that icon further allows you to see who each of the viewers are.

Try capturing a screen shot of these stats each day to create your own analytics and performance of your Stories.

How content marketers can capitalise on Facebook Stories

Savvy content marketers can use Facebook Stories to grow their business and brand. Just think about how you can capitalise on Stories for your business.

Following are a few ideas to help get you started:
  • Share some behind-the-scenes footage of your business
  • Conduct quick tips and how-to sessions on Stories. You could use images with text overlays or video footage.
  • Share intros and teasers of your blog posts via Stories
  • Publish exclusive offers or promos
  • Generate some interaction and engagement by asking for feedback or questions requiring quick one and two-word responses

Facebook Stories generates a way to deliver smart, time-sensitive content to your network. How well you leverage the opportunity comes down to how well you create engaging content that promotes your business and brand.

Need a hand with your content marketing or looking for a good story-teller? Just get in touch with our Stories gurus at Social Media Mastery. Click here to start your very first chapter!