Let me start by asking you - do you spend your mornings and evenings scrolling through the Facebook News Feed catching up with what your friends and family have been up to, seeing what events are happening in your town at the weekend, and even being tempted by your favourite brands and their offers?
We’re used to seeing the Facebook News Feed just as it is now - but as all things digital, it’s time to move on. Especially for businesses.
Facebook has found a decline in original content posted by brands, faced privacy issues in 2018, and has even admitted that the News Feed can have a negative impact on the mental health of users. It’s no surprise that the platform has decided to make some changes - some of which we have seen rolling out already, but let’s focus on how the Facebook News Feed is evolving - especially for businesses.
Mark Zuckerberg has posted to say:
“Recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands, and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.”
The News Feed has become crowded and messy, and users are quickly disengaging. Facebook had to make drastic changes so it has announced that the News Feed will be focussing on updates from people, not brands. Queue screams from all social media marketeers.
But before you freak out, we have a lifeline: Stories. One billion of accounts are now using stories daily as a way to engage with their friends - and their customers. Stories are even set to be more popular than the News Feed. Personally I use Instagram stories daily and I can see that the more I engage with my suers on Stories, the more engagement I get on my posts, landing in my inbox, and clicking on my website. If my Stories are dead, so is my engagement.
Stories allow us to be our authentic selves - another topic circling social media in 2018 is how fake accounts have become on social media. We trust brands because they bring us closer to the behind-the-scenes and connect with us on a personal level, but recently it seems that both brands and influencers have polished all their flaws and are presenting us with something that feels too far out of reach.
On the opposite side, Stories have also allowed brands to place ads and promote their offerings through the so called ‘Stories Black Hole’ - you know, when you start watching and you just can’t stop? Then half an hour is gone ad we’re all caught up with our favourite accounts’ day-in-the-life-of. This is the perfect time to reach your audience and tell them about your all important service or product.
There will be hurdles for Stories on Facebook, however I have no doubt that the genius behind FB will overcome issues like getting businesses to choose Stories over News Feed; and how Stories are presented. Although we’re creatures of habit and like what we’re used to, we’re also very quick to adapt as consumers and as marketeers.
Your notification has landed: Stories are here to stay and work for you.
Here are 3 ways you can utilise Stories to work for your business:
Let your audience see behind-the-scenes of your business
We all love a little snoop behind the scenes so take your audience with you on a trip, or to your workshop, a client meeting location, or simply tell them how your day is going. Remember people buy from people, and showing them a raw unedited clip of you business will help customers connect to your business.
Remember to cross post between Instagram and Facebook
Creating engaging content is time consuming so save yourself some time by utilising the fact that Instagram is owned by Facebook which means we can cross post the content from Instagram to Facebook!
Share the content created by your fans
User generated content builds trust and ‘want’ for products and services - so when your users tag your brand in their Stories, make sure you re-post this. Not only is this free advertising and content, it helps you build trust around your brand!
What do you think about Stories? Does your business use them or are you planning to utilise this strategy in the new year?