The recent news that Facebook has cloned one of Snapchat’s leading features (again) has sent the social media sphere into meltdown. Once known for being something of an innovator in the social media world, Facebook has once again been accused of copycat behavior, a pattern only reaffirmed by rumors that Facebook staff often use the mantra “don’t be too proud to copy.”
Mimicking Snapchat’s popular feature is apparently a ploy to stay ahead of the competitor, but is Facebook Stories actually a worthy rival or just a poor replication? Here we give you the lowdown on Facebook Stories, explore how the copycat feature can be used for better business and improved interaction, and, at the other end of the spectrum, reveal what Snapchat is doing to fight back.
What is Facebook Stories?
For those of you unfamiliar with Facebook Stories, it is pretty much the same as Snapchat’s key feature. Like Snapchat, Stories acts as a short photo or video montage that simply disappears after the 24-hour viewing window. Whilst Facebook Stories essentially acts as another news feed, it differs as it relies on visual information rather than the statuses you write and share. Due to their expiration, your Stories don’t appear on your news feed or timeline by default, but you can choose to post them there for all to see or alternatively share them with a select group of people or even one individual in particular. In fact, unlike Snapchat, stories that are sent direct via Facebook can be replayed twice before they disappear for good.
Stories’ similarities with Snapchat don’t end there; you can add and use effects, overlays and filters. In regards to the range of filters and overlays available, many critics are reporting a better experience with the newly introduced Stories feature with most enjoying the more varied choice available via Facebook Stories. With Facebook Stories you can add to your collection or montage through the day or whenever the mood strikes you within that 24-hour period. Another thing that differentiates Facebook Stories from Snapchat is that there are no captions or text overlays, meaning your montage could very much be open to interpretation.
How can I use Stories to market my business?
When discussing a social media feature, funny filters aside, we have to put our business hats on at some point. Just like Snapchat and Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories is already becoming a vital marketing tool, and can be used in a similar way to achieve social media success. Creating a story is the best place to begin; get started by using the circular icons found at the top of your news feed. Choosing your content carefully is a major consideration when gearing your story towards marketing your business. Facebook Stories is great for sharing behind the scenes or ‘day in the life’ type footage of your company or role as a business person, demonstrating your expertise through a series of short tips and how-tos, providing access to exclusive offers and discounts, offering teasers or introductions to larger pieces of content based elsewhere, celebrating company milestones and events, or sharing the user-generated content that really makes your customers feel engaged and valued.
Once your short lived creation is complete, your story can be edited accordingly and analytics viewed, information that will reveal which images or videos garnered the most views, and which caused viewers to switch off. Like Snapchat and Instagram Stories, responding to replies is a key part of using Facebook Stories for business. Replies can be sent and your messages checked from your Direct inbox, a feature unique to Stories and separate from Facebook Messenger and Facebook notifications.
Is the end near for Snapchat?
While Snapchat is very much the creator of Stories, recent research has shown that Facebook Stories may not be playing second fiddle for long. Mashable and Morning Consult ran an online survey asking 2,202 adults what they thought of Snapchat, Facebook and Stories. Whilst a large proportion of those surveyed knew it was Snapchat that created Stories, 20% said that they plan to use Stories on Facebook compared with the 12% who favored Snapchat. Facebook is also still the most popular social media platform amongst 18- to 29-year-olds with Snapchat a close second.
Apart from the odd bit of shade throwing on the likes of Twitter, Snapchat executives have so far kept quiet about what they intend to do to ‘fight back’, if they intend to do anything. However, following the launch of Facebook Stories, one unusual demand has gone viral – a request that Twitter doesn’t create its own version!