Brands familiar with Snapchat and Instagram marketing will soon be able to apply that same know-how to Facebook, with the social media platform rolling out its “Stories” function to business pages.
TechCrunch reports all Facebook Pages, whether these have been set up for businesses, entertainers, news companies, or nonprofit organisations, will soon be able to post updates in the form of videos and images to a 24-hour expiring social channel.
‘Stories’, a sharing feature first introduced by photo-sharing app Snapchat, has been replicated across a number of Facebook’s products, including Instagram and Whatsapp. The function has seen great success on the Instagram platform but hasn’t taken off to the same extent on Facebook’s main app.
“We’ve been listening to our community and 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,” Facebook product manager Amy Sun told TechCrunch.
It’s currently unclear when the feature will be available for Australian businesses, but following the process of recent feature launches, it shouldn’t be more than a few weeks after its availability in the US and UK.
SmartCompany contacted Facebook regarding the Australian rollout but did not receive a response prior to publication.
Facebook-owned Instagram recently introduced advertising into its Stories feature, and lead strategist at digital agency The Online Circle Lucio Ribeiro believes as businesses get on board through Facebook Stories, associated advertising won’t be far behind.
“Facebook is finding new ways to expand their inventory and ad placements, and as this has been quite successful on Instagram, they’re taking it to their main platform,” Ribeiro tells SmartCompany.
Give it a go, but let the big players work it out
Ribeiro says Instagram Stories have “absolutely taken off”, but he’s not sure if Facebook Stories will gain the same traction. His advice for SMEs is to let the big players work it out first.
“For brands, it’s a chicken and egg situation, we have no idea how it’s going to be used, or if it’s going to take off,” he says.
“If I was an SME, I’d play around with it – but don’t put too much attention on it. Let the bigger businesses play with it and spend on it, and learn how to use it from that.”
“But do give it a go, there’s not much to lose.”
Businesses in the services and finance space may find themselves out of luck when considering channels like Facebook Stories, with Ribeiro believing the offfering would best suit businesses looking to provide “behind the scenes” insights for customers.
“Anyone in entertainment or media, or even your mum and dad fish and chip shop. You could post a video on ‘five steps to cook the perfect piece of fish’,” he says.
“It can also be a space for retail and creative stores to show off their wares.”
For brands considering Facebook Stories as a potential new channel for reaching customers, Ribeiro reinforces SMEs should give it a try, especially if you’re already familiar with Instagram and Snapchat marketing.
“It can give you a lot of extra reach – we’re 24 million in Australia and 17 million of us are on Facebook, compared to eight million on Instagram. Replicating the same story is no problem, it’s all about the size of the audience,” he says.
“Give it a go, you might be surprised.”
Facebook has been focused on further connecting with small businesses of late, recently launching its “Street Smart” campaign in Mordialloc, Victoria. The company took over the main street in the suburb in order to teach local SME owners how to market their businesses using the platform.
In a statement, head of marketing Facebook and Instagram in the ANZ region, Alexandra Sloane, said Facebook was focused on helping out the millions of Australian SMEs with all the “tips and tricks” of marketing on the platform.
“With 83% of people on Facebook connected to at least one SMB in Australia and 77% of people on Facebook in Australia connected to at least one SMB in a foreign country, small businesses are using the platform to reach their desired customer both locally and overseas,” she said.
“Facebook wants to champion small businesses and Street Smart is just one example of the many efforts the company is doing locally to continue to empower the SMB community with the available tools.”