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Short user-generated stories that disappeared after a period of time helped put Snapchat on the map. In 2016, Instagram created its own version of stories, which became wildly successful. In 2017, another social media giant followed suit and Facebook Stories were born. Today, over 500 million people use the feature daily. And if you’re a Facebook influencer or you’re promoting a business or brand, it should be a big part of your Facebook marketing plan.

Facebook Stories

What Are Facebook Stories?

Facebook stories are clips you add to your page or profile. They’ll appear at the top of your friends’ or followers’ pages on the Facebook mobile app or desktop site. They can be either a photo or video, and they disappear after 24 hours. Facebook itself describes them as “fullscreen, short-form, ephemeral.” The platform also claims they “offer all sorts of creative, customizable overlays, which means more ways to be authentic and less pressure to be perfect.” Consider them an alternative to your news feed.

Still, pictures play for five seconds, while videos play for 20 seconds. Viewers can respond by sending a comment or sending one of the regular Facebook emojis. Only the poster can see the responses. Alternatively, you can use the feature to broadcast live for as long as you like, but the video will disappear once you end your broadcast. You can adjust the privacy settings and use captions, filters and other fun settings to enhance your stories.

How Do You Create Facebook Stories?

You can create a story from all places Facebook, including the mobile app, the desktop site, Facebook Lite and Messenger. All you need is a personal profile or a business page. Simply go to your page, and click on “create story.” It doesn’t get much easier than that. From there, you can choose a photo or video from your camera roll. Or you can use the Facebook Camera to snap a pic or film something right there in front of you.

If you happen to have an active Instagram account and create a story there, it will automatically share to your Facebook Stories too. Your Facebook Stories will also share to your Instagram account. Just make sure the accounts are connected. It’s a great way to save time when posting across social media platforms.

Are There Ways to Get Creative With Facebook Stories?

A simple photo or video is a great place to start, but why not spruce up your stories? You can add text to explain what your audience is seeing or make a comment or joke about the content. You can also add music or boomerang mode, which plays your video forwards and backwards on a loop. You can add gifs and stickers under the “mood” setting. Or you can add a poll to your story, which is a great way to encourage viewer interaction.

You can draw on your stories, add info such as the time, temperature, geographic location or a feelings emoji. You can also add links, encourage people to donate to a cause and add other special effects.

Is the Facebook Stories Feature Good for Business?

So, should you use Facebook Stories for business? Absolutely. If you already own a business page, you probably know that reaching a large portion of your followers when you make a post is practically impossible. And it becomes harder with each passing year. In 2018, Mark Zuckerberg himself announced that his goal was for the Facebook algorithm to spark conversation. He claims users would see “less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media.”

If you’re marketing a business or brand, that’s bad news. But the good news is that Facebook Stories allow you to get around that algorithm. Your stories appear at the top of your viewers’ profiles and pages. And the feature is becoming more and more popular with each passing month. It’s also free to use, and, as Facebook claims, it does allow you to give your customers an authentic look at your brand.

What Should a Business or Brand Post on Facebook Stories?

Not sure where to start? The possibilities are endless. But you’ll want to make sure you share content that is engaging and interesting, not just an advertisement for your business. Some ideas of what to share to your business page’s story might include:

  • Announcements or breaking news about your business or brand
  • Sneak peeks at new products or services
  • Reminders about sales or deadlines
  • Polls that allow your customers to rate your products or vote on specific details
  • Other requests for feedback
  • Behind-the-scenes videos
  • Tips, how-tos and tutorials
  • Snippets that direct your audience to other types of media, like a YouTube video or your blog
  • User-generated content
  • Content from an event you sponsored

When Should I Post Facebook Stories to Benefit My Business?

Since Facebook Stories only last for 24 hours, there isn’t much to worry about when it comes to timing. As long as your audience logs in during those 24 hours, your stories will appear on their feed. Over time, you may choose to post when your audience is more active, but this isn’t always necessary.

As for how often you should post stories, that’s up to you too. As with other social media platforms, you don’t want to bombard your audience with content. But you don’t want them to forget you’re out there. Aim for at least once a day. If you decide to post more frequently, take a look at your analytics. If your audience enjoys your first and second stories but drops off after the third, stick to two at a time.

How Can I Check My Facebook Stories Analytics?

Now you’re probably wondering how you can check your Facebook Stories analytics. The easiest way is to see who viewed your story. When you watch your own story, the number of people who viewed your story appears in the bottom left corner. Click on the arrow above the number. The viewer list will expand so that you can see a list of which of your friends or followers actually watched.

If you’re the admin for a business page, you can also check your analytics by looking at the Stories Insights tool. Just make sure you have them turned on for your page. Here, you can look at metrics like unique opens or how many unique people viewed your stories within a certain period of time. You can also measure engagement or interactions and see how many stories you’ve published within the last 28 days. Your Stories Insights tool also allows you to see your viewers’ basic demographics, like age, gender and geographic location.

You can even view how many times someone tapped forward or backward on your stories, how many people visited your page based on your stories, how many people shared your Facebook Stories and much more.