Facebook Stories are a great opportunity for brands to get in front of their audiences with engaging content and offers. But to make stories work for you, as with everything in marketing you need to create a strategy. One that includes specific goals, what metrics to track and a realistic posting strategy to ensure you can consistently produce creative and personalised content that helps keep your brand top-of-mind.
What are Facebook Stories?
Facebook Stories is a multipurpose content sharing feature allowing users to share photos, videos, animations, polls, text posts and music. Stories have a 24-hour expiration date and are similar to Instagram Stories. For example, like Instagram, comments don’t show in a feed, instead, they are sent directly to Facebook Messenger for brands to respond.
Why Your Business Should Be Using Facebook Stories
One of the reasons why Facebook Stories get so much attention is due to how easy they are to find. Located at the top of a user’s feed, they are on prime real estate. As the first thing your audience sees, you can position your brand directly in front of hungry fans and customers.
Developing a Facebook Stories Strategy
Your stories need to be a part of your social media marketing campaign, and like all campaigns, you need to have a strategy. Here are a few tips for developing your Facebook Stories strategy using the SMART method.
- Set Clear and Specific Goals
Know what you want to accomplish and make sure your goals are directly related to the most important goal in your business e.g. revenue generation or brand awareness etc.
- Use Relevant Measurables
Identify the metrics you’ll track and make sure they are relevant and directly related to your bottom-line. For example, if you want to increase sales using video, focus on conversions and not how many comments a video receives.
- Establish Attainable Deliverables
Ensure you have access to all the resources to help you accomplish your goals. For example, do you know who will be creating your posts? How often will you produce the content?
- Set Realistic Growth Goals
Focus on smart goals that are based on data. For example, if you know that Boomerang videos stories with call to action buttons generate more clicks than text-based stories, establish exactly what your conversion rate is and experiment to increase it.
- Develop Time-Specific Campaigns
Determine when you will end your campaign and gather all results to see how effective your efforts were. It’s worth noting that it will take time to get the momentum going so you will need to create content regularly to generate results you can measure.
Facebook Stories Content Options
Users are given five content options. You might not use them all and with time and experimentation you’ll find out which types you prefer using that allow you to create a collection of engaging and useful content for your audience.
Here are the 5 Facebook Stories content options available:
- Text: Allows you to create a text story by combining text on a background colour of your choice.
- Selfies: The option to post a selfie along with a filter.
- Boomerang: All you need do is point and shoot and it does the rest to turn your content into a GIF-like animation.
- Polls: Polls are a great way for brands to gather feedback related to your brand, products or services.
- Music: Allows you to search through an extensive list of songs. You’ll be able to find music for anything from a party to something to play along with your story on pets.
How to Create Your First Facebook Story
Creating your Facebook Story may seem a little daunting, but once you’ve got to grips with the features and had a little practice, you will be a master in no time! Here’s a breakdown of the features and functionality you should be aware of before you take to creating your first story:
- Gallery Access: Here, you’re able to tap on the gallery icon and get access to all images saved on your phone.
- Lighting Options: Lighting, along with sound, are the two most important elements when producing great video. Facebook Stories uses a Lightning Bolt to help users pick the right lighting. This indicates whether your flash is on or off.
- Image and Video Filters: Facebook introduced filters to give users the ability to create an image or video with a certain kind of look and feel. Facebook’s 4 filter options are: No filter, Warm, Glow and Cold.
- Stickers: A widely used feature, once you’ve taken a picture or recorded a video, you’re able to add a sticker to it. Stickers are also available for use as calls to action.
- Text: Facebook Stories includes a text option along with the ability to pick a size, choose a colour, and select a font type. Perfect if you want to add a catchphrase, heading or annotate an image.
- Freehand Drawing Tool: With this tool you have the option of controlling the thickness of the paintbrush and access to a wide variety of colours.
- Effects: A collection of skins that you can apply to both images and video stories.
- Face Filters: Face filters are fun to play with and grab attention.
- Use Front and/or Rear Camera: A unique feature to Facebook Stories is the ability to switch between front and rear cameras while recording.
When you share a photo or video to your story, it will be available to your selected audience for 24 hours. You can revisit your stories in your story archive.
To share to your story:
- Go to the Stories section at the top of your News Feed.
- Click + Add to Story.
- Type an update or click Photo/Video to add a photo or video from your computer.
- Next to Your Story, you can click the audience selector (example: Public or Friends) to choose who can see your story.
- Click Post.
Facebook Stories Analytics
Facebook Stories success can be tracked in two ways:
- Individual stories: Locate an active story and tap the eye icon in the bottom left-hand corner to see a list of people who have viewed your story.
- Facebook Stories Insights: Available via desktop, locate your page and click on Insights at the top. In the left column, click Stories and then click “Turn On.”
Access to your Insights will show you a wealth of information such as:
- Story Items: A thumbnail of what your Page’s story looks like.
- Unique Story Opens: The number of people who opened your Page’s story.
- Forward Taps: The number of times someone taps to skip to the next piece of your story.
- Backward Taps: The number of times someone taps to go back to a previous piece of your story.
- Forward Swipes: The number of times someone swipes to skip to the next account’s story.
- Exits: The number of times someone leaves the stories viewer to return to their News Feed.
Quick Content Ideas for Facebook Stories
Facebook Stories are generally easy to create and low budget, here are a selection of content ideas to get you started. As a top tip, to create interesting content, create a storyboard and plan your stories. This should include letting people in your team or company know that you want to record content. Also, consider doing a series of trial runs before posting content. The more you shoot, the easier it will become to generate more content.
- New Product or Service Launch New product or service launches are a great way to attract customers. When you create yours try to include an offer that customer can capitalize on.
- Behind-the-Scenes Footage Its humanising and endearing to show the people behind the scenes in your business, especially when it’s interesting content.
- Holiday Messages Harness the great opportunity in capitalising on holidays. Don’t just wish people well, take the opportunity to give them a seasonal offer they can’t say no to.
- Special Events If your business is hosting a special event, make sure you produce content from the event the entire day.
- Customer Praise Generate social proof by pulling the strong and impactful statements out of your testimonials and customer praise. Try screenshotting the post from a customer then adding your own text and a sticker to personalise and share it with your audience.
- Competitions Competitions are always a crowd magnet. Make sure you plan ahead and spread the word about your competition before it goes live to keep people excited about it and focus their attention on your brand.
- New (and Different) Ways to Use Your Product Some of the most useful content comes in the form of how-to videos. Storyboard your ideas to ensure that you present cohesive ideas and address challenges and questions your customers may have. Importantly, ensure that you focus on providing simple and easy-to-understand instructions in a pleasant tone.
Are you wondering about using Facebook Stories for your business? Or have you started using Stories already? Let me know how you are getting on in the comments!