Facebook is testing a new feature that allows users to cross-post Facebook Stories to Instagram. This is part of a wider campaign to increasingly merge Facebook with several of its properties, which include Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp. This plan, which is encountering certain roadblocks, will have significant implications for marketers as well as users.
The Stories feature was introduced by Snapchat but copied by Instagram in 2016 and, about a year later, by Facebook. Stories quickly became an extremely popular feature on both Instagram and Facebook. Shortly after offering the feature, Instagram allowed users to post their Stories to Facebook. The reverse, however, wasn’t possible. Now Facebook is testing this function, making it simple to post Facebook Stories to Instagram. This would, in effect, make Stories seamless on the two platforms.
Facebook’s Goal of Merging its Platforms
It’s clear that Mark Zuckerberg would ultimately like to completely merge Facebook and several of its holdings. If you use Instagram, you’ve probably noticed the new “From Facebook” branding that appears when you sign on. Facebook has owned Instagram since 2012. Until recently, however, the two sites were treated as mostly autonomous.
Facebook is trying to integrate messaging on Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp. This would be convenient for users, as it would be easier to connect with people who might be on another channel. Not everyone, however, is on board with this plan. There are potential privacy and security concerns. Furthermore, the FTC might block such merging efforts. While Facebook is eager to bring as much as possible under its own brand name, others are worried about one company having too much influence. Some even want to break up Facebook as well as other internet giants such as Google.
Even if Facebook’s efforts to completely combine its platforms under one brand are thwarted, it’s still possible to merge features such as Stories on Facebook on Instagram. This isn’t so different from applications that allow users to post simultaneously on separate platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
Benefits of Publishing Stories to Two Platforms
Although Facebook’s cross-posting feature is still in the testing phase, it will most likely be available to all users at some point. Stories are already a useful tool to build awareness for your brand. The ability to post on Facebook and Instagram at the same time will make the process simpler.
What are the advantages of publishing Stories to both Facebook and Instagram? The first and most obvious benefit is that you have a wider audience. There’s also the ability to reach a different demographic. While many people use both platforms, there are also many who use primarily one or the other. Facebook has a larger audience overall, but the average age of users is older. While younger users usually have Facebook accounts, they tend to log into Instagram more often. The whole point of cross-posting is that you don’t have to choose between one and the other.
Facebook and Instagram also have distinct layouts and features. If you haven’t paid much attention to Stories on both platforms, you may be wondering if it makes any difference whether you publish to one, the other or both. The fact is, while Stories are similar on both sites, there are differences between the two.
Distinct Benefits of Instagram vs Facebook Stories
As HubSpot points out, Instagram Stories work especially well for brands that cater to younger users who are interested in fashion, beauty, fitness and other lifestyle topics. Instagram users are also more receptive to influencer campaigns. Instagram, of course, is a mostly visual platform so users appreciate stunning photos and videos.
With Facebook, one of the main advantages of Stories is that it gives your content more visibility. This is true on Instagram as well. However, many businesses were affected by Facebook’s algorithm changes that make it harder to see business-related posts.
Facebook also offers Group Stories, which isn’t yet on Instagram. This works very well for events when you want participants and co-presenters to contribute. Group Stories can also be integrated with Facebook Groups, which can have their own Stories. Thus, Facebook Stories can be leveraged to encourage followers to submit user-generated content.
Is There a Downside to Cross-posting?
There are quite a few benefits to posting your Stories to both Instagram and Facebook. Are there any disadvantages? The one potential downside is that if you have many followers on both platforms, they’ll be seeing the same Stories on each. This is similar to the unintended effect of using automated software to post simultaneously to multiple social media sites. People can get tired of seeing the exact same content everywhere.
While this is a concern, it doesn’t mean you should never do auto-posting of Stories or other content. It just means you should give it some thought. For some Stories, you may be better off creating slightly different versions for Instagram and Facebook. There may also be Stories, however, that are perfect for both.
You also have to consider your analytics. If you have a large audience that follows you on both platforms, it’s worth considering if you’re showing followers redundant content. However, if a large percentage of your followers are on one site or the other, there may not be much overlap. The point is that you need to use such automated and multi-posting tools with discernment.
Instagram and Facebook Stories Help You Build Your Brand
Stories on both social media platforms are a powerful tool for engaging with your audience. The ability to cross-post on both sites will make it easier than ever to implement a multi-channel marketing strategy. As we noted, it’s important to consider when it is and isn’t optimal to post the same content to multiple sites.
Stories, like many social media features, are always evolving. Their popularity indicates that many users are extremely interested in ephemeral content. Businesses that want to maximize engagement should keep a close eye on both Facebook and Instagram Stories so they can make the most of these tools.