All big social media fans will know that Facebook’s ‘Stories’ was introduced earlier this year and allows users to create montages of their day by a collage of photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours. The function is similar to Instagram and Snapchat’s story functions that have been wildly popular with users and brands alike.
Snapchat created the original ‘story’ function that comprises of a collection of ‘snaps’ forming your own individual story lasting for a day – unless you delete it sooner. Unlike sending a regular ‘snap’ to a friend, your story can be viewed by all your friends (or even public if you enable the setting), and users tend to put up the best of their day such as funny moments, an interesting place they may be visiting, or maybe even what they’re having for lunch or dinner! Stories can also be annotated with funny filters on their selfies, colourful writing, stickers and emojis to make them stand out or to add to the effect. Celebrities also add to the hype, as you can follow your favourite famous person and watch them go about their daily life in their story. From Rihanna to Jennifer Lopez, celebs of all shapes and sizes got in on the game, and it’s a great way for people with a higher social status to maintain the public’s interest in themselves and their brand.
The service was essentially replicated first by Instagram, and followed by Facebook. It was slow to get going on Instagram, but soon picked up, and now even rivals Snapchat regarding the popularity of the function, with over 150 million people updating their Instagram story across the world. Facebook Stories was much slower to get going, however, and is still yet to pick up speed. Perhaps there’s something about how exposed you are on Facebook that makes it less popular? Maybe the stickers and filters are worse than Instagram’s and Snapchat’s? Maybe people just don’t need 3 story functions?! Whatever the reason, Facebook has hugely struggled with getting the function off the ground and is now opening it up to its ‘Pages’ (as used by celebrities, brands, public figures and businesses) in order to encourage use of it.
Facebook’s Production Manager Amy Sun commented in a statement; “We’ve been listening to our community and [are] working to make it fast, fun and easy for people and Pages to create Stories on Facebook. Over the coming month, Pages will be able to create Stories to share with the people who follow them.” The stories will pop up on the Stories tab amongst other individual Facebook users’ Stories, and will function just the same as user-generated ones with regards to being deleted after 24 hours, and having the same editing functions.
Marketing Land brings up an extremely valid point, however, that the one upside to Facebook Stories’ poor performance with individual users means the stories part of people’s feeds is often empty, leaving the space for brands and businesses to utilise the function for their own good. The space means they will show up first and not have to compete with other brands or bid on Facebook to get the top spot.
Perhaps the new use of the function by brands and pages will encourage individual users to create their own story on Facebook and improve the use of the function across the board. This might be what Facebook was aiming for when it decided to expand the reach of stories, but only time will tell whether it will become more popular. If this happens, then the advertising game would really kick-off, with brands paying to be in the first spot on user’s story feeds in the race to gain the most exposure possible. Using the function wouldn’t cost a penny, but there’s not a lot of point in brands putting time and effort into creating great content that doesn’t get seen!
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