Facebook’s incorporation of ‘Stories’ feature should mean something to #SchoolPR people

I laughed at the headline when I first saw it. But maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised.

Because of course they are.

Ever since Snapchat hit mainstream — especially with younger audiences — Facebook has been copying Snapchat’s unique features and capitalizing on their popularity. For proof, look no further than when they launched Instagram Stories.

Well they’re at it again. Facebook is bringing the Stories concept to their main app. They are currently testing these ephemeral stories with users in Ireland. Facebook is looking to make this feature available to the rest of the world in the coming months.

From The Verge:

The feature centers on Facebook’s new in-app camera that acts a lot like Snapchat’s. Users can put fun filters over their faces or add visual geolocation tags to their photos and videos. It’s accessed — like Snapchat — by swiping to the right on the mobile app.

Business insiders have wondered whether this move is being done to take a little bit more wind out of the sails of Snapchat ahead of their planned IPO. No matter the reason, it’s clear the Stories feature is something Facebook values and wants to bring to their audience.

For most SchoolPR professionals, Facebook is their largest and most engaged audience. If you combine all of Snapchat and Instagram’s total users, that would still only account for less than half of Facebook’s 1.8 billion total active audience (Pew Research).

That’s a whole lot of people who haven’t experienced Stories yet. An untapped market trying something new for the first time. That excites me very much.

The way people and organizations share content is changing. Today, we rely much more on visuals — photos, videos, emojis — to convey messages. If you’ve paid attention to the development of the NewsFeed, you’ll notice it’s almost all visuals .What Facebook is attempting to do with the incorporation of Stories is to make sharing much more fun, easy and personal for its audience.

This should be music to your ears as a SchoolPR professional. We need to put the audience at the center of the experience. Our communications need to be intentionally designed to be more personal, because what’s happening more and more is that our audience is demanding that.

Facebook is responding to that demand. And that’s good news for communicators.