Top image: Facebook Stories engagement

Facebook Stories: 5 novel ways brands can use Stories to increase social engagement

Facebook Stories have emerged as a powerful tool for brands to enhance their social media presence and create a sense of authenticity to connect with their audience on a more personal level. With the added functionality of stickers, polls, and swipe-up links, brands can drive engagement, gather feedback, and direct traffic to their website or other desired destinations. By leveraging Facebook Stories, brands can leverage the platform's extensive reach and tap into the power of social media to build a loyal customer base and achieve their marketing objectives.

The number of monthly active Facebook users is nearly 3 billion as of Q1 2023, while over 2 billion people use it daily. With that kind of potential growth to reach new audiences, Facebook Stories has become a useful avenue for brands to amuse, impress, and connect with their customers. 

Before we explain how you can make the most of this feature, let’s take a look at why brands should include Facebook Stories in their marketing strategy. 

Advantages of using Facebook Stories for social marketing

There’s no doubt that Facebook is one of the best social media platforms for marketing. It is estimated that US advertisers will spend more than $65.21 billion on Facebook Ads, which is a 12.2% increase from last year.  

It’s no wonder, as Facebook provides advanced audience targeting capabilities, audience and persona analysis, and various content formats such as Live video to engage audiences. Adding Facebook Stories to social media marketers’ tool chests offers another great way to connect with audiences in a more authentic way. In fact, one billion stories are shared on social media across Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp every single day.

Today, many brands use storytelling to promote their services and products because they realize that it’s a much better strategy to win the trust of their customers than blatant promotion. Storytelling can increase brand awareness and brand visibility, and build stronger relationships with customers. It’s a cost-effective method that can also help to drive greater organic traffic. 

Facebook Stories vs. Reels: What’s the difference?

In late 2021, Facebook introduced a new feature called "Reels" to compete with the rising popularity of short-video content on platforms like TikTok. This strategic move not only aimed to engage the younger audience, but also attract more Gen Z users to the platform. 

Reels, unlike Stories, focus on entertaining and educating the audience through various content formats such as how-to videos, quick transformations, and re-enactments of trending sounds. The intention behind Reels is to create viral content that reaches a broader audience, tapping into untapped user segments. On the other hand, Facebook Stories offers a more intimate and personal connection with your audience, allowing you to engage with them on a deeper level. 

Although Facebook Stories foster a stronger sense of engagement, they typically have a narrower reach limited to your followers.

Why Facebook Stories matters for brands and marketers

1. Prominent location

Facebook Stories is an easy and effective way to get the attention of Facebook users. 

Stories appear at the top center of your page, right underneath the status update (or above the status update on desktop), giving you an opportunity to showcase your brand via the best location in the app – and on the desktop site. 

2. Creative freedom

The Facebook Stories feature offers creative built-in tools such as effects, video masks, and filters. Without investing in any other tools, you can create attractive, compelling, and engaging stories. 

There are so many possibilities to help you craft creative stories to help you stand out and grab the attention of your audience.

3. Authentic format  

It's not easy to gain the trust of your target audience. Authenticity is a key factor in gaining your audience’s trust. 

Facebook Stories allows you to showcase the human side of your brand and win the trust of your community. You can use Facebook Stories to show behind-the-scenes footage or share interesting use cases of your products or services. You can also introduce your employees to your audience so they get to know the talented people behind your organization.

4. Trackable performance 

Facebook is a great platform for analyzing and improving your audience targeting, which can help you get better results from your marketing campaigns. Facebook lets you track who’s viewing your Facebook Stories. This can help you analyze your audience sets and improve your strategy to target relevant people.

5. Rising popularity

Be it on Snapchat, WhatsApp, or Instagram, the number of Stories users increases every day. Facebook/Meta Stories has over 500 million daily users. It’s safe to say that Stories has gained immense popularity over the years as a way for brands and users to interact with others as it has become more favored in the algorithm. 

How to maximize engagement with Facebook Stories

As we mentioned earlier, storytelling can help brands attract customers and gain their trust effectively. Facebook videos can grab the attention of audiences and increase engagement. So storytelling and videos are a powerful combination that makes Facebook Stories immensely popular. Let’s take a look at how you can make the most out of Facebook Stories.

1. Go beyond promotion

Always remember that an effective social media strategy involves much more than just promoting your brand. You need to think beyond promotion and actively engage your audience. Some people might want to know more about your products, offers, and discounts. However, you can engage them better by helping them get to know your brand on a more personal level.

You can create stories that can help you connect with your audience. For example, to announce the launch of new products or services, share your achievements, or celebrate milestones. You can even share photos and videos of your amazing team and give your audiences a sneak peek into your company culture.

For example, Mercedez-Benz used Facebook Stories for their new vehicle and engaged their followers by asking them to take part in a poll and choose between either the red or green vehicle.

Source: Penji

2. Publish brand-focused content

Facebook Stories offers many effects and filters to make your stories more engaging and eye-catching. You can use them when you create your stories or edit your content before posting to Facebook. You can add filters by simply tapping the Effects icon that appears in the top-right of your screen, and even make your stories more fun by adding music, stickers, and text.

However, when you use components such as fonts, colors, and themes, make sure they align with your brand’s image.

3. Build unique content

Even though you can cross-post your Instagram Stories on Facebook, try not to use the same content on both platforms. Each platform is unique and has its own set of characteristics – and advantages. Some people in your audience might be following you on both platforms, so publishing the same content on both platforms might be off-putting. It’s better to create a personalized marketing approach through content that’s customized, and based on the platform your target audience is on. 

The use of visual content has witnessed a significant surge among marketers. A survey conducted by Venngage in 2021 revealed that over 51% of marketers reported incorporating visuals in 91% to 100% of their content, with 36.4% of those specifically utilizing original infographics or illustrations within that range. By integrating a greater emphasis on visual communication within your Facebook Stories, you can effectively captivate and engage your audience, fostering a deeper emotional connection and a more tangible experience with your brand content.

Here’s an example of Chanel using an image with a link to their website to attract users who engage with their content. 

Source: Penji

4. Create memorable content

A great customer experience goes a long way toward boosting customer loyalty and retention. So you should create stories that provide a great experience for your audience. What’s better than videos to leave a lasting impression in the minds of your audience? 

When done correctly, videos can create a deep impact and enhance the experience of your audience. Facebook Stories gives you the ability to:

  • Produce exceptional videos, experiment with your marketing strategies, or announce an event. 

  • Feature your speakers or distinguished guests from your events in photos and videos.

  • Create collaborative stories with social media influencers or industry experts

When done correctly, collaborative stories can increase your brand’s reach significantly. 

5. Create a sense of urgency

The content on Facebook Stories is short-lived — it only exists for 24 hours. While some might think that stories can’t do much to help their marketing strategies, this is what makes Facebook Stories fascinating. 

With Facebook Stories, you can create a sense of urgency and leverage people’s fear of missing out (#FOMO). Your audience follows your brand on social media because they want to stay updated about new products and offers. By creating urgency with time-sensitive content, you can successfully get your customers' attention. That could come in the form of stories that offer limited-time discounts or offers, or even giveaways or competitions to drive engagement with your customers and give them a chance to win.

The takeaway 

  • Through Facebook Stories, brands have the opportunity to leverage the wide-ranging outreach and cultivate a devoted customer following and accomplish their marketing goals.

  • Facebook stands out as one of the premier social media platforms for marketing purposes. Current estimates indicate that US advertisers are projected to allocate over $65.21 billion toward Facebook ads, representing a significant 12.2% increase compared to the previous year.

  • Facebook Stories presents an excellent opportunity to engage with audiences in a more genuine manner. Remarkably, a staggering number of one billion stories are shared daily across various social media platforms including Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp

  • Establishing authenticity plays a crucial role in earning the trust of your audience. By utilizing Facebook Stories, you can effectively demonstrate the human aspect of your brand, thereby gaining the confidence and trust of your community.

  • Marketers have experienced a notable increase in the adoption of visual content. Findings from a 2021 survey by Venngage indicate that more than 51% of marketers incorporated visuals in 91% to 100% of their content. Among that group, 36.4% specifically leveraged original infographics or illustrations within that spectrum.

  • The content shared on Facebook Stories has a limited lifespan, lasting only 24 hours. Your audience chooses to follow your brand on social media to stay informed about new products and offers. By utilizing Facebook Stories, you can generate a sense of urgency and tap into people's fear of missing out, compelling them to engage with your content.

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