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The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Stories in 2019

Love them or hate them, Facebook Stories are set to be big in 2019.

In fact, Facebook Stories is on track to beat Snapchat with 150 million daily active users, according to data from Facebook!

That’s a huge, active audience that your brand should be reaching out to and building a community around.

And now that Facebook has introduced the option to add custom links to Facebook Stories, there’s even more reason to use them — as you can drive your audience back to your site and grow your traffic!

With easy-to-use features, a prime viewing location on Facebook’s News Feed, and ample opportunity to promote your brand and business to new audiences, now’s the time to tap into Facebook Stories as a valuable marketing resource for your brand!

Ready to jump on board with Facebook Stories? Here’s everything you need to know to get started:

Table of Contents:

  1. Why Use Facebook Stories for Business
  2. How to Use Facebook Stories for Business
  3. Creating Content for Facebook Stories
  4. Using Facebook Stories’ Creative Tools
  5. Adding Custom Links and Buttons to Facebook Stories
  6. Sharing Your Facebook Stories
  7. Tracking Your Facebook Stories Analytics
  8. How to Create a Facebook Stories Strategy for Your Business
  9. What to Post to Facebook Stories
  10. How Often to Post to Facebook Stories
  11. When to Post to Facebook Stories

Why Use Facebook Stories for Business

When Facebook first announced that it was creating a native stories tool in late-2016, everyone was a little bit surprised. Especially because Facebook just launched Instagram Stories a few months earlier!

Fast-forward to May 2018, and Facebook Stories has managed to draw-in over 150 million daily active users — just around 50 million shy of Snapchat’s 203 million daily active users.

Instagram stories daily user stats

Image courtesy of TechCrunch

With no signs of slowing down, we think it’s definitely time to start creating and sharing content on Facebook Stories!

For brands and businesses, Facebook’s organic reach continues to decrease. A frustrating trend that’s only likely to continue thanks to Facebook announcing that they’re de-prioritization marketing content on people’s News Feeds.

But the good news is that Facebook Stories could be the best opportunity for brands to grow their engagement, build brand awareness, and strengthen their relationship with their Facebook audience.

facebook stories engagement

And a lot of it has to do with where Facebook Stories are located.

Unlike regular Facebook posts, which appear on people’s feeds, Facebook Stories are displayed right at the top of the Facebook app. So when one of your followers opens their profile, your stories will be the first thing they see!

This is prime real estate for businesses trying to catch their audience’s attention.

Facebook Stories

And while user adoption rates for Facebook Stories are growing, the number is still low enough that you can stand out from competitors and grow your organic reach!

Plus: It’s super easy to cross-post your Instagram Stories to Facebook! Meaning that if you’re already sharing stories on Instagram, the transition to Facebook should be a pretty easy one.

So if you have great content on Instagram Stories, with minimal effort, you can begin to share it with your Facebook community.

facebook story controls

At the end of the day, Facebook Stories presents a new way to share fun and lighthearted content that’s more likely reach your target audience — so it’s definitely worth investing in if you haven’t already!

Later makes it easy for you to plan, manage, and schedule your Instagram & Facebook posts! Sign up for a free account today! 



How to Use Facebook Stories for Business

If you’ve ever shared a story on Instagram, the process is almost the exact same for Facebook Stories — except for the first step.

Whereas anyone can create a story on Instagram, if you’re a business, you need to create a Facebook Page before you can start sharing stories with your audience.

There are a few other differences between Instagram and Facebook Stories — we’ll discuss these a little later on. But for now, let’s jump into a step-by-step guide to setting up for Facebook Stories for business:

Step #1: Create a Facebook Page

In order to share Facebook Stories as a business, you must be the admin or editor of a Facebook Page. (If you already have an active Facebook Page for your business, feel free to skip to step 2).

Start by clicking here to create a Facebook Page and select a category for your business.

choose category facebook stories

Next, you’ll be prompted to give your page a name (if you’re a business, it’s best to use the actual name of your business) and provide more details, like your address, phone number, and more.

add your website

Once you’ve submitted the required information, you can pick a profile picture and cover photo for your page.

And that’s it!

Step #2: Getting Started with Facebook Stories

With your Facebook Page live, you can immediately get started with stories!

Unlike Instagram Stories which can only be shared from the mobile Instagram app, you can create and share Facebook Stories from your computer, the Facebook app, Facebook Lite, and even the Facebook Messenger app!

We recommend using the Facebook app for creating and sharing your stories — it offers more options and tools than Facebook’s desktop version.

When you share a photo or video to your Facebook story, it can be viewed in the stories section at the top of your friends’ or followers’ News Feed on Facebook and in a row at the top of your Messenger inbox.

And like Instagram, your Facebook Stories will be visible to your selected audience for 24 hours.

Once you’ve downloaded the Facebook app and signed into your account, tap the hamburger button (three horizontal lines) in the bottom-right corner of the screen.

Facebook Stories

Here you can select the Facebook Page that you’re creating stories for.

To get started with Facebook Stories, you can either tap the ellipsis button in the top-right corner of the screen, which will open several options including Open Camera.

You can also scroll down to find the Your Page’s Story section and tap the Add to Your Story button, which will also open the Facebook camera. However, if you follow this option, you won’t be able to access the Live or Video shooting options.

add to facebook stories



Step #3: Creating Content for Facebook Stories

Let’s start by reviewing the Facebook Stories camera and the creative features you get access to.

The great thing is that, save a few differences, Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories have a very similar user interface. So if you’ve ever created and shared a story on Instagram before, you shouldn’t have much trouble adapting to Facebook Stories.

1. Front and Rear-Facing Camera  

Like Instagram Stories, you can switch from front-facing camera to rear-facing camera and vice-versa by tapping the flip-camera button.

Unlike Instagram, however, you can actually change camera views while you’re recording! This is a great little feature that can help you add context to your story and easily swap in and out of selfie mode!

how to flip camera in facebook stories

2. Lighting Settings

You can select from three different lighting settings when creating a story for Facebook: flash on (the lightning bolt icon), flash off (the moon and x icon), and low-lighting settings (the moon and cloud icon).

light settings in facebook stories

3. Camera Settings

Tapping the gear icon in the top-right corner of the screen will open your Camera Settings — although they shouldn’t really call it “camera setting” since you’re only given one setting option:  the ability automatically save the content you create to your device.

camera settings in facebook stories

You can also tap the “Something isn’t working” if you run into a problem.

4. Face Filters

Facebook has invested a lot into AR (“Augmented Reality”) Filters in the past year. And while we’ve already discussed the impact it’s made on Instagram, they’re actually way more advanced on Facebook!

Facebook currently offers dozens of user-created filters for stories. All you have to do is tap the smiley face icon and you can scroll through all of the options.

Note: Like Instagram, in order to access some branded AR filters, you first need to follow the account that created the filter.

find a face in facebook stories

5. Uploading Pre-recorded Content

You can also upload a previously taken photo or video from your camera roll by either tapping the photo icon in the bottom-right corner or by swiping up on the screen.

prerecorded content facebook stories

6. Facebook Stories Recording Options

Facebook currently offers four different recording options: Normal, Video, Boomerang, and Live.

With Normal, you can tap the record button to take a photo. Or you can press and hold the button to take a video up to 20 seconds in length.

If you select the Video mode, you can tap the record button once to start a video and tap again to stop it.

 Facebook Stories Recording Options

The Boomerang option works just like it does on Instagram. All you need to do is tap the record button to stitch together a burst of photos to create a short animation that plays forward and backward.

And Live! Just like Instagram, when you select the Live option, you’ll be prompted to start a live video broadcast that your followers can tune into.

start a live video broadcast

Step #4: Using Facebook Stories’ Creative Tools

After you’ve recorded a photo or video, you can use multiple creative tools to make your Facebook story even more awesome — like stickers, text, user tags, links, drawing tools, effects, and backgrounds!

And while Facebook Stories doesn’t offer quite as many tools as Instagram Stories, there’s still a ton you can do. For example, you can use name stickers to highlight other accounts or poll sticker to gather feedback from your audience about your products.

Using Facebook Stories stickers

You can also use the “@ TAG” sticker to tag other users from a dropdown list as you type their account name, just like on Instagram Stories!

Facebook Stories tag users

And you can tap the magic wand icon in the bottom-left corner to access dozens of cool effects and animations.

magic wand icon facebook stories

Once your happy with your design, you can add a custom link or CTA button to your stories!

Facebook has recently released the option to add a custom link to a story — finally allowing users to drive traffic to a specific URL!

add custom links to facebook stories

When a custom link is added, viewers will be able to select “See more” to open the page within the Facebook browser — similar to how links work in Instagram Stories.

custom link in facebook stories

Note: It’s still unclear if the ability to add custom links will be available to all accounts, as it is currently only visible for some page owners. However, this could be because the feature is still being rolled out across all business accounts.

Alternatively, you can add a CTA button to your stories, such as “Shop Now,” “Buy Now,” “Get Directions” or “Learn More,” to drive your viewers’ to a specific page that is already linked on your Facebook account.  

Step #6: Sharing Your Facebook Stories

Once you’re done adding some creative touches to your story, you can easily save it to your device (this will happen automatically if you toggled this option on earlier), share it to your News Feed and page’s story, or share it with individual followers.

Sharing Your Facebook Stories

Step #7: Tracking Your Facebook Stories Analytics  

There are a few ways to track the performance of your Facebook Stories.

The first option is to navigate to one of your active stories and tap the eye icon in the bottom left-hand corner. This will pull up a list of people who viewed your story.

You can also see stats on how your Page’s stories are performing once you turn on your Facebook Stories Insights. To do this, head to your Page on desktop and click on Insights at the top.

facebook stories insights

In the left column, click Stories and then click “Turn On.”

Now when you return to your Insights (which can also be accessed from the Facebook mobile app), you’ll be able to see more information about:

  • Publish Date: When an admin or editor of your Page created the story.
  • Story Items: A thumbnail of what your Page’s story looks like.
  • Status: If the status of your Page’s story is active, it means that an admin or editor of your Page created the story in the last 24 hours and it’s still visible to the public. If the status of your Page’s story is ended, it means that more than 24 hours have passed since your Page’s story was created and it’s no longer visible to the public.
  • Unique Story Opens: The number of people who opened your Page’s story.
  • Forward Taps: The number of times someone taps to skip to the next piece of your story.
  • Backward Taps: The number of times someone taps to go back to a previous piece of your story.
  • Forward Swipes: The number of times someone swipes to skip to the next account’s story.
  • Exits: The number of times someone leaves the stories viewer to return to their News Feed.

facebook stories insights

Tracking these metrics is super important if you want to know which content is resonating with your audience. The more tailored your stories are, the more effective they become.



How to Create a Facebook Stories Strategy for Your Business

With more and more people using Facebook Stories, it’s important to build a strategy around your specific goals, whether that’s getting more engagement on your Facebook Page or growing your number of followers.

What to Post to Facebook Stories

One of the biggest questions we receive from our Later community is whether they should be creating original content for Facebook Stories or simply repurposing their Instagram Stories.

It’s a great question. With so many businesses using Instagram Stories already, and with a native Instagram-to-Facebook resharing tool available, it makes sense to start out by leverage all that great content you’re creating for Instagram!

To start sharing your Instagram Stories posts on Facebook, just head to your Instagram profile settings and look for the Linked Accounts heading.

What to Post to Facebook Stories

Next, tap Facebook and enter your Facebook login info.

What to Post to Facebook Stories

Once your account is linked, you’ll be able to share both your Instagram posts and stories to Facebook.

Just head to your Instagram profile settings and then scroll to Story Controls. Now toggle the button next to Share Your Story to Facebook. And voila! All your future Instagram Stories will also be shared as Facebook Stories.

Instagram Stories will also be shared as Facebook Stories

Once you get more comfortable with the Facebook Stories, you should definitely consider creating original content for the platform, whether it’s a time-sensitive campaign, announcement, or something else entirely!

In time, you’ll get to know your Facebook audience and your Facebook Stories analytics better. And these will help you find inspiration for your Facebook Stories content strategy.

For example, your Facebook audience may have a longer attention span and they tend to watch your stories from start to finish, with a low exit rate. In that case, you might want to experiment with longer-form videos like tutorials, Q&As, product showcases.

But there’s really no limit to what you can do with Facebook Stories! For example, if you’re a publisher like @moneymagazine, you can use Facebook Stories to drive traffic to your articles and blog posts.

drive traffic to your articles on facebook stories

You can also use Facebook Stories to share important updates and announcements like @wanderlust.

use Facebook Stories to share important updates

Or you can use Facebook Stories to share fun and interactive content with your audience, like @popsugar often does.

use Facebook Stories to share fun and interactive content

Ultimately, the goal is to create a space on Facebook Stories that is unique to Instagram Stories content. Your followers will know where to turn to for different types of content — for example, if you were a fashion brand, Instagram Stories could be where you share behind-the-scenes snippets of your business and product announcements, while Facebook Stories is for longer, in-depth video guides on how to style your clothes!

How Often to Post to Facebook Stories

There’s no hard-and-fast rule when it comes to how much you should post on Facebook Stories — it really comes down to your content and what your followers would like to see!

Some accounts can get away with posting a dozen stories a day, while others are better off posting just a few times a week.

How Often to Post to Facebook Stories

If you’re not sure where to start, pay close attention to your Facebook Stories analytics for clues on what frequency your audience likes!

If you’re seeing high exit rates on your Facebook Stories, that could be a sign you’re posting too much, or your audience is bored of your content. But if you’re seeing a pattern where a high percentage of your followers watch til the end of your stories, it might be a sign that they want to see more from you.

If you’re just starting out with Facebook Stories, get experimenting with frequency and monitor your audience’s behavior!

When to Post to Facebook Stories

When it comes to regular Facebook posts, it’s very important to post when your followers are most active as the News Feed timeline is so sensitive.

But for Facebook Stories, you have a little more freedom.

Due to their ephemeral nature, Facebook Stories exist for a maximum of 24 hours. But that’s a 24-hour window of being at the top of your followers’ News Feeds!

Facebook Stories exist for a maximum of 24 hours

Even if you post when your audience isn’t online, they’ll still be able to see your Facebook story at the top of their News Feeds when they log in. For this reason, you may see higher engagement with your Facebook Stories than your Facebook posts.

In other words, don’t stress out too much about posting your Facebook Stories at optimal times, especially if you’re just starting out on the platform.

Once you start posting regularly on Facebook Stories, you’ll start to see trends in when your audience engagement spiked. When you’ve pinpointed that sweet spot for posting, you can plan your content calendar around that window.

The key is to have current, interesting content that will hold your audience’s attention, regardless of what time it was posted.

facebook stories content

As the organic reach of Facebook posts continues to decrease, Facebook Stories could be the best opportunity for businesses to grow their engagement, build brand awareness, and strengthen their relationship with their Facebook audience.

If you’ve been planning on getting started with Facebook Stories, we recommend that you do so immediately! There’s no better time to get in on the ground floor and build an audience around your Facebook Stories content!

Ready to grow your business on Facebook in 2019? Get started for free now!



Written By

Benjamin Chacon

Benjamin is a Content Marketing Strategist at Later and recent transplant from Toronto. You can follow his day-to-day on Instagram @benjaminchacs.

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