Comment: Martin Kubler discusses Facebook Stories

Reinventing the wheel, badly - but our columnist predicts mass adoption is not far away

Opinion, Columnists

I rarely admit that I’m wrong, but guess what? I was wrong about Instagram Stories.

For a while after it launched, I thought Instagram Stories were pretty stupid and probably a reaction to Snapchat’s success than a long-term feature. But they went from strength to strength and, eventually, even grew on me. These days, I can’t even remember why I didn’t like them back then.

It’s no secret that Instagram’s owner, Facebook, is struggling with retaining and growing its user base, while Instagram soars ahead, seemingly unstoppable and able to avoid Facebook-centric criticism on privacy violations and user data.

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Snapchat is not what it used to be either, so perhaps unsurprisingly, the world’s largest social network decided to copy from within rather than from competitors when it introduced a Stories feature for Facebook.

I had a deja vu moment when it launched, because my first thought was “That’s just stupid!”

Alas, I’m not making the same mistake again, and I am herewith declaring 2019 ‘the year of Facebook Stories’. Don’t get me wrong. Right now, Facebook Stories are actually pretty stupid (and I’ll explain why shortly), but I predict fast progress on the road to mass adoption.

Here’s why: stories, regardless of which platform they’re posted on, are very popular with users. That’s no surprise, because they take us back to our childhood. Everybody likes a good story. Even my son, who’s as digitally native and glued to his devices as the next nine-year-old, puts down his iPad when I read him the next chapter of the latest adventure book we’re currently devouring.

Facebook Stories, though, are currently still stupid, and I would dearly like to ask Mark Zuckerberg one simple question: why didn’t you just copy Instagram’s Stories feature completely and port it to Facebook? Instagram Stories are much easier to create and have a lot of cool features that Facebook Stories currently lack.

How do you create a story for your Facebook page, then?

Firstly, the stupid bits: You can’t (yet) create Facebook Stories for your company pages from the Facebook Pages Manager app or from Facebook Business Manager.

The easiest way to create a story for your company page is with an iPhone or iOS device. Simply share your Instagram Stories to your Facebook company page (provided you have an Instagram business profile and it’s linked to your Facebook company page).

However, all the snazzy interactive elements in your Instagram stories (such as polls and clickable usernames) won’t work on your Facebook page.

Stupid? Of course!

Android users, you can create stories for your page relatively easily, provided the personal account you use for your Facebook app is linked to your company page either as a page admin or as an editor.

If so, simply swipe right from your Facebook app’s home-screen to open the Facebook camera. Create your first story panel and then click the little ‘Next’ icon on the bottom right of the camera screen. Then select your company page as the destination for the story you created.

You can also navigate directly to your company page from your native Facebook app and select to make a new post – you should get the option to post a story or a regular post.

If you normally use Facebook’s Business Manager or Facebook’s Page Manager apps, prepare for some frustration – so far, neither support Facebook Stories.

I’ve found two work-arounds for this so you can create Facebook Stories.

The protracted method first: set up Facebook Business Manager to give users the choice of posting as the business or as themselves when creating content for pages. Activate this option and then, when you want to create a story for your page, select “Use personal account to manage business activities on Facebook’. The downside is that you may mistakenly post as yourself on your page if you do anything else but create a story.

The easier way: from the Page Manager app, go to your company page and click on Insights – look for the section with Facebook’s Tips for your Page. Usually you’ll find a tip there about creating a story for your page. Click the link in it, and it will let you create a story from within the Pages Manager app.

The lack of people using Stories on Facebook pages presents an opportunity for brands to fill that void. Currently only a few businesses are using this feature despite its prime real estate: Stories appear at the top of users’ Facebook news feed on both desktop and the mobile app. I’m fairly positive that Facebook will move very fast to bring the missing interactive elements to its page stories.

Whatever you do: tell more stories!

About the Author: Martin Kubler is the founder of Iconsulthotels and the CEO of sps:affinity. Iconsulthotels is now sps:hotels — a leading hotel management consultancy that provides its clients forward-looking business strategies, keeping them ahead of the market. Email: hello@spsaffinity.com.

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