Using Facebook Group Stories To Engage With Your Audience
This year, Facebook has introduced Stories across all its platforms, and it is also now an important feature within Groups. With the addition of this new feature, Group members can become involved in any story by collaborating with each other, and contributing to an ongoing conversation. Since a great many businesses and brands do maintain social media Groups such as this, a tremendous opportunity is presented for boosting engagement.
The recent rollout of Stories for Groups also includes some more playful reactions, so that members of any of the groups can respond with emoji’s. It will also give group administrators more control and easier access. With these new features being incorporated, businesses will have the opportunity to increase engagement with their target audiences in a manner which is entirely separate from their newsfeed ads.
Earlier this year, Facebook announced that it was offering ads for businesses within the Stories feature, so this adds on and enhances capabilities within Stories. Across its various platforms, Facebook users participate in millions of Stories daily, so providing more opportunities for engagement was a logical progression which would theoretically appeal to more users. In addition, the greater controls for administrators allows them to choose whom they will allow to contribute.
During the rollout, Facebook made special mention of the new administrative features which will allow admissions to manage Group Stories more effectively, while simultaneously maintaining a safe place for members where sharing can occur freely. In fact, Group Administrators will be able to delete member Stories or approve them, prior to having them shared with the rest of the community. Administrators will also have the capability of muting members and selecting settings which allow only fellow administrators to contribute to Group Stories.
Posting Stories to Facebook Groups
Since the new features were announced, members of Facebook Groups will have the capability of using their iOS mobile device, their Android device, or a desktop for the purpose of viewing Group Stories. However, in order to add to a Story, a mobile device must be used. In order to add to a Group Story, a member will be required to press the Story button which is situated on the Group mobile page, and then also selecting the Add button.
After doing this, a Group Member will be able to add their own photos, videos, text, and other content, as well as to react to any given Story with an emoji. Administrators will be able to directly interact with Group members, and also to use any of the new features to contact their membership. This all begins with a feature that allows administrators to approve members before they are allowed to enter any content into a Story.
The administrator tools on a mobile device, or the Moderate Group feature available on desktops can be used to manage Stories which have been reported or which are pending. Those Stories can potentially be muted, and contributing members can be blocked and thus prevented from entering any further contributions. Any member who posts a Story video or photo which is considered to be unrelated to the Group, will be subject to deletion by the administrator.
Better engagement with more control
Behind the addition of these new features, is an intentional strategy on the part of Facebook to deal with privacy issues. These are being addressed by providing administrators with greater control over membership, and the kinds of material that can be posted by members. This is in direct response to the discomfort Facebook has felt for the better part of two years now, because of the incidents regarding Russian hackers, the Cambridge Analytic a case, and all the associated privacy issues which have attended these international incidents.
By providing users with greater control over their Groups, membership can be monitored much more closely by administrators, and any content which is deemed objectionable for any reason can simply be removed.
Encouraging original content
The whole idea behind Stories is to encourage more original content from Facebook users. Over the past two or three years, Facebook recognized that many of its users were not creating their own original content, but were instead opting to share information and links from other sites on the web. At the same time, the habit of sharing personal content like videos and images, appeared to be shifting over to smaller platforms with more discrete communities like Snapchat, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram.
With Stories, Facebook has attempted to introduce the concept of temporary content such as videos that disappear after 24 hours to a far greater audience than any platform has ever attempted before. Nearly 2 billion people use Facebook’s mobile app in any given month, and many of these users have not encountered Stories-style content before, unless they have used Snapchat or Instagram Stories.
From the perspective of user content, this makes a great deal of sense for Facebook, because the platform has made its name by providing videos and photos to users, of all their connections and friends. When fewer of those users were posting videos and images, many Facebook followers felt they were missing out on those aspects of the platform which were most appealing originally. With the introduction of Facebook Stories and Stories for Groups, the platform is helping to establish a return to the widespread posting of images and videos which accounted for its original popularity.
Since the introduction of Facebook Stories and Stories for Groups has been so recent, there really hasn’t been time to assess whether the strategy will achieve the success intended by Facebook executives. Although Facebook is primarily a platform for friends to engage with each other, it does have a much broader network than some of the other platforms like Snapchat, Messenger, and Instagram, where users are generally far more selective about who they interact with, and whom they share content with.
The main app within Facebook is one of the company’s last properties to embrace the Stories format, which is all about user-generated video and photo content. Other platforms have had success with the Stories format, and it is to be presumed that Facebook will as well, but just how successful it will be, is yet to be determined. One thing is for sure though, which is that businesses will certainly be able to engage more with their followings with Group Stories.
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