With the worldwide social media boom, apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have become integrated into a daily aspect of most of our (filtered) lives. But, rather than using these platforms solely to watch viral videos, post a cute selfie, connect with old friends, or stay in-the-know, there are various tools available to actually help build a successful business — tools that the Facebook team says can be leveraged right here in Dallas.
Facebook Stories were launched last year following the rise in organic ephemeral content, pioneered by Snapchat, that allow followers a disappearing glimpse into daily happenings (that can be adorned with filters, text, GIFs and drawings). The use of Stories grew so quickly, Facebook announced this year that the format is “on a path to surpass feeds as the primary way people share things with their friends sometime next year.”
“Whether it’s television or retail, there is this hunger for a connection. And Stories, as a product, enables that to happen in a way that’s easy and frictionless.”
But while Stories are a way to share everyday experiences quickly and easily, when executed with best practices, the universal feature can also be used to connect with customers and build a brand.
“I think we live in a culture and a society now where people expect businesses and influencers to show up with their authentic selves,” Dantley Davis, director of product design for Facebook Stories, says. “And whether it’s television or retail, there is this hunger for a connection. And Stories, as a product, enables that to happen in a way that’s easy and frictionless.”
Davis says Stories can be used to literally share your story — something that small business owners and entrepreneurs might find advantageous, depending on their background.
“The hustle that accounts for making your goals a reality is a universal thing that all people have an affinity towards,” Davis says. “Business owners being able to tell their story through that lens has a lot of impact in terms of inspiration and loyalty for those following.”
Davis was in Dallas last month at the inaugural DFW Black Restaurant Week, where chefs from across the North Texas region gathered to celebrate the flavors of African-American, African, and Caribbean cuisines. It was there that the Facebook team presented Aroma, a culinary panel discussion exploring the best social media practices for restaurateurs or food truck owners. In addition to Davis, the panel featured Chef Cynthia Nevels, Soul Good Food Truck; Richard Thomas, The Island Spot; Chef Jermaine J. Paddio, Shells and Tails 2 Geaux; and Eric Baker, Radio One (moderator).
The evening kicked off with Facebook Stories School, in which the experts at FB demonstrate key features to help bring Stories to life.
“With us being based in California, it was really humbling to be in Dallas and meet people who were using the Facebook product to help improve both their business and their connection with their customers,” Davis says. “Just playing a small part in that, for me, filled my cup with goodness, and I hope that we can come back to Dallas and spend more time.”
Why (and how) to use Facebook Stories
While it’s been around for over a year, Davis says Stories are still a relatively unfamiliar format for a lot of people, but the value trumps any new-user apprehension. So, he shared tips and tricks with Dallas Innovates for using the trending tool, and how to maximize the different elements to grow, share, and promote your startup or small business.
It’s creating connections
There are many moments that are fleeting, but might describe how you’re feeling or how your day is going. By posting a Story about a new product, an event, or an upcoming promotion, a following can be built in a more exciting way. Once established, Davis says business owners are able to create a channel of connection to their customers: “When they’re showing their trials and tribulations of running their business — both the ups and downs — they’re able to show those moments through Stories. And, they can create a separation in those everyday moments and how they’re actually building out their business. … Their followers, I think, reshape that and see that there’s a human on the other side of this page.”
It’s quick and easy
The Stories interface is actually really similar to other social media platforms, like Instagram. Photos or videos can be captured using the Facebook Camera within the app, or can be added from the library already on your phone. And, Stories can only be viewed for 24 hours — that way, they’re relevant and timely. This is helpful when you don’t necessarily want something to live on your page forever, but you want to let your followers to stay updated in that specific moment.
Creative touches can help give a Story context and create more engaging content. Using tools like text, stickers, or frames can allow personality to shine through, elevating how you really see the world. Facebook Stories are located at the top of the News Feed, and can be viewed by tapping each rectangular preview. If you don’t want to see something, just tap away.
It’s all right there
Davis says Stories are “apart of a broader ecosystem of tools available” at the fingertips of business owners. Within the Facebook app, the Local section allows for the discovery of small businesses near you, whether it be a brick-and-mortar or online store. By creating Event or Group pages, business owners can more closely connect with their audience, even allowing people to sign up to attend. And, when small business owners have a Facebook page, they are able to see how much traffic they have for free within the app.
It’s for Dallasites
Davis says that there’s a culture in the Dallas-Fort Worth area where business owners understand the nuances that make the culture so vibrant. “Those nuances about the local community are hard sometimes to get across in traditional advertising or media platforms, but products like stories can help provide those connections in ways that’s difficult with other social media products,” he explained. “Stories, as a format, allow that to come through, more-so than a text post or just a standard photo.” Dallasites can add tunes from local musicians, discuss their favorite cuisine from the area, comment on the culture, or complain about the latest rainstorm, all while connecting to their niche audience.
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