How To Setup A Facebook Messenger Bot To Answer Customer Questions

Message based AI’s, sometimes called chatbots, are a growing trend in marketing and sales. You’ve probably encountered a chatbot before when looking for answers to a question online, or through one of your work group chat tools, like Slack.

Many of us also carry around our own advanced helper AI’s in our pockets every day, through software like Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa or Cortana.

Chatbots and AI assistants are a growing trending in the world of marketing, and it’s helping convert sales at a faster rate than ever before, by funneling customers to wherever you want them to go. But don’t worry about the complexities of setting up your own chatbot to help your conversion rate and drive more sales; one of the most popular social media messaging apps, Facebook Messenger, makes it simple for any business to create their very own chatbot!

This article will help you setup a simple chatbot for your Facebook Page, and then show you a few other online services that can help you set up a more advanced chatbot.

Messenger Chatbot

Facebook has its own basic chatbot that lets any business setup a simple chatbot to respond to customers. Facebook’s chatbot is great for letting customers know you are away from your computer right now but will be responding to them as soon as you can.

Giving your customers the reassurance that you will get in touch with them as soon as you can is important for building trust. It can also help increase your response time to customers’ messages, which shows up on your page to let people know how well you respond to inquiries.

To setup your simple chatbot on Facebook, you first need to go to your Facebook Page and then click on Settings. Then, go to your Messaging settings. This is where you’ll find the basic chatbot settings to turn on your instant replies, and customize your messages.

There are three main settings for your messaging bot: Instant Replies, Away Message, and Messenger Greeting.

Instant Replies allow you to instantly send a response back to customers whenever they message your page. You can customize this message to fit your business.

Away Messages are similar to Instant Replies, but they also allow you to keep your responsiveness rating high. These types of messages are great for when you’re away from your phone or computer, but still want to reassure customers that you will reply soon.

A Messenger Greeting is a message that pops up whenever a customer starts a chat with you. It’s a handy little tool that you can use to let customers know what kinds of questions you can help answer for them.

All of these messages can be customized by first turning on the type of response, and then clicking on Change to customize your Messenger bot replies.

Chatfuel

Chatfuel is a helpful third-party application that allows anyone to create a chatbot, without having to mess with tricky and complex coding.

To get started with Chatfuel, you’ll first have to connect your Facebook account that associated with your Facebook Page. Then, select the Page you’d like to use your chatbot with, or, if you don’t currently have a Facebook Page, you can also create a new Page with the help of Chatfuel.

Once you get your Page connected and your free account setup, you can start adding different elements to you chatbot.

Your chatbot can do lots of things for you, including answering customers’ basic questions for more information, sending them to specific links, or helping them buy a product directly from their Messenger app!

Like most chatbots, Chatfuel works based off of recognizing keywords that your customers types out, and pulling information that’s relevant to their questions based on those keywords. You can customize lots of different elements of your Chatfuel bot, and most information can be customized with a simple text box and drag-and-drop feature.

Botsify

Botsify works in the same way that Chatfuel does, with easy to customize blocks and text boxes. They have a basic free version that anyone can use, but they also have tiered paid versions, if you happen to manage more than one Facebook Page or you’re the social media manager of a much larger company.

Not only can you create simple and effective chatbots for your Facebook Page, Botsify also allows you to create a chatbot for your website, for an affordable price.

There are tons of cool features available from Botsify to get your up and running with your brand new, effective chatbot for business!

Chatbots are a fantastic new tool for marketing that tons of businesses across the globe are integrating into their marketing strategies.

Experiment with chatbots and see how they can help funnel your sales and earn you more business than ever before.

Update Your Business Information To Help Your Customers and Your Ranking

It’s always important to keep your customers up-to-date on information that they might be interested in. One of the most important bits of information that always needs to be monitored and kept up-to-date is your contact information.

When’s the last time you checked your listed phone number, or address, to make sure it reflects your current, most accurate information? Many times, this information is looked at whenever a business moves to a new address or acquires a new phone number or email address for their business. But sometimes, in the chaos and confusion of moving, this information gets forgotten about, and your old contact information could be left on your website, your social media pages, or your business cards.

This causes a problem, not only for your customers who are trying to contact you or find the location of your business, but also for search engines such as Google who might get confused and list your business improperly on Google Maps.

Not only that, but mislabeled information for your business could hurt your websites and cause you to not rank as high on search engines as you would like to be.

When claiming a business on Google My Business, you’re giving Google basic information about your business so you can show up properly on both their Maps service and on search engine results. If this information is out-of-date, or incorrect, Google and search engines could punish you and cause you to rank lower. It’s always important to have the most up-to-date information on your website and sent to services like Google, Apple Maps, and Yelp.

The same goes for your social media accounts, especially Facebook. Your Facebook Page for your business has a section where you can list all of your important contact information, including your physical address, phone number, and email address. Lots of customers use social media to research your business before deciding to shop at your store or buy from you online. If your information is incorrect or outdated, that’s an immediate red flag to people. They’re less likely to trust you with their money, and might even think you’ve gone out of business!

Keep all the important info current on your contact sections of your website, social media pages, and other promotional materials to make sure your customers always know how to reach you.

Building Your Sales Email To Answer The 5 Ws (And One H)

In journalism, one of the most basic lessons they teach you in your intro to journalism class is the concept of the 5 Ws (and one H). The 5 Ws are questions that every proper journalistic story should answer. They, along with the one H, are:

  • What
  • Who
  • Where
  • When
  • Why
  • How

Every story you read, no matter if it’s in a newspaper, a magazine, or online, answers these same basic questions.

But you’re not a journalist, and this isn’t a newspaper you’re trying to sell; it’s your products and services. However, the 5 Ws can still be used to apply to your marketing techniques, especially when it comes to email marketing.

What

To create a successful email, you first need to ask the question “what is the purpose of this email?” Are you trying to sell a new product? Retain customers through promotions? Give them some helpful info that will keep them interested in your brand? The “what” of your email is where you always need to start.

Who

Next, it’s important to understand who your target audience is. Is it new customers? Customers who already have your business? Customers who need a specific product that you’re selling? Figure out who you’re selling to, and build your email around their needs.

Where

When we talk about “where” in marketing, we’re usually talking about the place that your customers are getting their info, but with emails, we already know the “where” is through emails. However, the “where” in this situation could also be where you can lead your customers through your email, aka your Call To Action. If you want them to click into your website, or call you directly with a listed phone number, then ease them into making that decision through a finely crafted CTA.

When

When are your customers most likely to open their inbox and see your email? Different customers are online at different times, and if you miss your window of opportunity, the customer may glance over your email and accidentally delete it without ever seeing your message. Experiment with sending your emails at different times of the day and days of the week and see what works for you.

Why

Why are you making this email? Is it to sell more products, bring in more customers, increase brand awareness, gain more social media followers, or retain returning customers? There are a number of reasons to send an email, but you need to figure out why you’re sending your email before it’s time to send it to your customers.

How

Although it’s not a W, the “how” of an email is just as important as its alphabetical counterparts. The “how” of your email is a final question that you have to ask before sending out your email; How is this going to help my business? Think about how your email is going to help your business grow, and what you expect to get from your email before you’re certain you want to send it out to your hundreds or thousands of customers. Remember, you can’t take your email back once it’s sent out to your customers. Be sure of the message and how it will affect your business.

Remember the 5 Ws when considering any marketing strategy your business has, not just with email marketing.

Using Instagram Ads To Boost Your Business

Instagram is quickly becoming one of the most popular social media platforms available, surpassing both Twitter and Pinterest in the number of daily users, according to a study by the Pew Research Center.

It’s also the second most popular platform for millennial users, with 59% of those surveyed between 18-29 saying they use Instagram, second only to Facebook, with 88% saying they use it.

It’s clear that Instagram has a huge influence over consumers, and businesses should be coming up with strategies to take advantage of the great marketing opportunities afforded by this platform. One of the ways to engage with customers is through advertising on Instagram.

If you’re new to Instagram Ads, don’t worry, we’ve got some great info today that can help get you started and on the path to earning yourself more business.

Different Types of Ads

With Instagram, you have a few different options for advertising your products and services to customers. Instagram is primarily a photo sharing platform, but videos have been growing exponentially in the service, thanks to the addition of minute long videos, live streaming, and Stories.

Routine picture posts are the simplest way to show off your products on Instagram, but videos are better at showing a more accurate representation of what you’re selling and keeping people interested in your post for a longer time. However, be careful when you post a video. If you don’t grab a user’s attention within the first few seconds of a video, then they’ll scroll right on past your content.

With Instagram’s new Multi-Upload feature, you can now add up to 10 photos to one single post, leaving the door open for lots of unique advertising opportunities.

And let’s not forget about Stories, Instagram’s unabashed clone of Snapchat’s own Stories feature. Certain brands have access to advertising capabilities in Stories and feature their ads in between a user’s follower’s Stories, but this is only open to a select few companies right now. Instead, think about using the normal Stories feature to give your followers something exclusive to check out, like behind-the-scenes access to your business operations, or exclusive promotional codes.

How To Setup An Ad

Sponsored posts in Instagram work a little bit differently than in other places. In order to set up an Instagram Ad through their service, you first have to have a Facebook Business Page. Facebook and Instagram advertising are tied together, which makes sense when you consider that Facebook bought Instagram back in 2012.

You’ll also need to make sure your Instagram account is set up as an official business account.

You’ll need to connect your Instagram account to your Facebook Page by clicking on Settings on your Page, and then going to the tab that says Instagram Ads on the left side of the screen. Connect your Instagram account using your username and password, and then add the accounts you want to Advertise on to finish up.

Next, navigate to the Ad Creation page, and then select your marketing objective from the list of options. Facebook makes it easy for anyone to create an ad, even if you’ve never done one before. If you’re unsure what one of the marketing objectives is on the list, hover over the “i” icon and Facebook will give you a brief description of what each type of objective does for you.

The next step involves selecting who your target audience for the ad will be, based on various demographics such as location, age, gender, interests, and more. You’ll also have to decide how much you want to spend on your advertising campaign, and whether you want to increase your engagement or impressions. Don’t worry if you don’t know what to do here; Facebook makes it very easy to set up a campaign and explains every part of the process in great detail.

The last thing you need to remember, and maybe the most important thing, is to add appropriate and engaging captions and Call-To-Actions on your advertisement. The ultimate goal of an ad is to drive users to your website to make a purchase, right? If you publish an ad with no CTAs to lead them to clicking on a button or making a call to your business, then your ad will be unsuccessful.

Lead your customers from your Instagram post, to your website, to making a purchase on your website. It’s all about conversions with advertising, and Instagram ads provide a new tool for you to get more sales!

What An Ad Can Do For You

Users on Instagram are far more likely to engage with branded posts than they are on both Facebook and Twitter. In fact, Instagram is known for having an extremely high engagement rate compared to other social media platforms.

According to data collected from YotPo, 30% of Instagram users have bought something they first spotted on Instagram. Not only that, visitors from Instagram stay on a site for an average of 192 seconds, meaning they’re a much more engaged audience than Facebook or Twitter users.

Instagram ads have proven year after year that they’re the kings of online engagement. Try advertising on Instagram today and see what it can do for your business.

For more on getting started with Instagram Ads for Business, check out their help page.

Keep Your Emails Fresh and Exciting With These 3 Tips

A lot of times, we as business owners get into a tired routine of sending out the same emails to our email lists. These emails oftentimes lack innovation or a real and engaging voice, and they are usually ignored by customers.

When putting together a great promotional email, you have to take into consideration what your customers are thinking when they open their inbox every day. Even more important, think about what makes you open an email in your own inbox. Is it a catchy subject line? Great deals? Interesting content?

As it turns out, it’s a combination of all of these things. Find out how you can revamp your email strategy, with these three tips.

Craft Engaging Subject Lines

Your subject line is where you have the first opportunity to either reel in customers and convince them to open your email, or turn them away off of what you’re trying to sell to them. So how do you create a subject line that’s enticing to people?

There are lots of different ways to approach your subject line, but one of the most effective ways is to craft a subject line that leads customers directly into your email. Usually, this involves a question, like “Want to know a secret?” or “Have you seen these deals?” It can also be a tantalizing line, like “You’ll never believe these prices” or even broadcasting the promotion directly in the subject line, such as “Get 40% off these great products.” Create a great subject line, and you can lead your customers into opening your email.

Give It A Voice

How do you write the content that fills your promotional emails each time they’re sent out? Do you write in a way that’s strictly sales-minded, or do you try to make them more casual?

Most people, especially those from the millennial generation and younger, are gravitating toward businesses who have found a voice that sounds like how they communicate with each other. What does that mean? Well, it’s all about authenticity. While many people might think the younger generation is obsessed with fake online personas, they actually care more about real, authentic experiences than you might think.

One of the most important things for people to feel when you’re trying to sell a product to them is a sense of authenticity. Write your emails like your trying to form a relationship with your customer, not in a way that makes it seem like you only care about selling to them.

Lead Them To What They Care About

As anyone who does email marketing knows, the email is only the beginning of selling to a customer; you also have need to convince them to click through to a landing page on your website.

One of the obvious ways to lead a customer to your website is through a CTA, or call to action, button at the bottom of your email. A CTA typically says something like “Learn More” or “Get Started.” Those CTA’s are fine, but they are often overused and uninteresting.

To write more engaging CTA’s, you need to figure out a way to spin the CTA in a way that hasn’t been presented to a customer before. Sometimes, it’s as simple as a one-word phrase, like “Start” or “Subscribe.” Other times, you can put what they’re getting on the button, like “Get A Free Trial,” or “Save 50% Today.”

You could also try the whimsical approach, like “Begin Your Adventure” or “Let’s Be Friends.”

CTA’s can be used in a number of effective ways, so don’t neglect the power of this simple tool.

Emails are effective tools for marketing to your customers, but sometimes they are neglected when it comes it new ideas. Try implementing these tips into your next promotional email campaign, and see what it can do for your business!

3 Ways Millennials Use Social Media To Research Products Before Buying

Millennials can seem like a tricky age group to target. Lots of companies have found a way to target this niche group with their marketing strategies, but others have tried and failed, which ends up making them seem inauthentic in the process.

If you’re trying to target millennials, inauthenticity is the absolute worst first impression that you could make on them.

You could make arguments on either side whether you think social media is an authentic or inauthentic place for people to gather, but there’s no denying that it’s where most millennials go to find their information. And now, it’s also the place where most of them go to check out your products before committing to making a purchase from you.

Social media is the new way that people are researching your products. Here are three popular social media platforms, and the ways that millennials are using them to search for your products.

Facebook

Most businesses have a Facebook Page. If they don’t, well, a lot of millennials won’t even consider buying from them. That might seem like a harsh reality, but it’s the truth.

A Facebook Page is more than just a place to give updates on your business. It’s also a hub for reviews, photos, videos, customer complaints and more; all things that millennials consider when deciding whether to buy your products.

These buyers will come to your Facebook page to see what other customers are saying about you, how your products and customer service have been reviewed, and whether they can find videos and pictures of your products being used. In some cases, if you have the options enabled, people can also buy directly from your Facebook Page through a custom Facebook Store.

Instagram

Facebook might be the most popular social media service among millennials (41% of millennials say they use it every day), but Instagram is quickly becoming a powerhouse in the social media world. This is partly due to its simplicity, and fun new features, such as Stories, that have been added in the past few years.

Instagram is like a stripped down, bare bones version of a Facebook Page. It’s where millennials will look to find helpful short videos and, of course, pictures of your products in action. Millennials can also smell a company that’s trying too hard on their Instagram post from miles away. Remember to keep your posts authentic and grounded, so your customers know they can trust you when buying from your business. Like Facebook, Instagram also has a Buy Now shopping option so customers can buy directly from your account. Lead them into buying from you through a great post showing off your amazing products.

YouTube

YouTube is often seen as a video sharing service, but it’s so much more than that. Did you know that YouTube is also considered one of the most popular search engines, in the same vein as Google and Yahoo?

That means that, like most search engines, people are using YouTube as a way to search for answers to their questions. YouTube is full of tutorial videos ranging from the popular makeup tutorials to more obscure interests like how to make your own McDonald’s Big Mac sauce.

Companies use their personal YouTube accounts to show off how some of their products work, troubleshoot problems through help videos, and promote something new that they’re selling. Millennials are more likely to watch a video tutorial than reading a lengthy written tutorial. Videos save time, they’re more interactive, and they’re more fun. Consider creating some interactive and informative videos to attract millennial consumers to your page.

Millennials are the age group of instant access and quick info. Cater to their needs, just as you would any other generation of consumer, by properly utilizing all the helpful features of your social media accounts.

Why Online Trade Shows Are More Effective Than Live Trade Shows

Trade shows are the bread and butter of wholesale businesses. It’s where vendors go to show off their amazing products, and retailers browse for those amazing products and services.

People in the wholesale industry will plan out trips to these trade shows, often months or years in advance, and make it a big part of their annual business plan. They aren’t always close by, either. Many of the trade shows are spread throughout the U.S. and Canada and require expenses to travel to them, as well as lodging and food. But what if there was a way to get all the variety and experience out of a wholesale trade show without the time and expenses required to attend them?

The good news is, this kind of thing already exists, and you’re currently on a website where we just so happen to provide such a service for both buyers and sellers of wholesale products.

FGmarket is an online wholesale directory that’s always open and available to you. Here are a few reasons why we’re better than other trade shows.

Always Open

Unlike other trade shows where you have to show up to a venue at a designated time and date, online trade shows are always open. It’s really a no-brainer: the internet never closes, so why would an online trade show? You have 24/7 access to thousands of vendors, all in one spot. And you can shop on your time. No more time constraints and scheduling your work time around a trade show’s time. If you’re a vendor looking to get listed in an online directory, online trade shows also allow you to be available to your customers at any time of the day, no matter where they are.

Greater Variety

Sure, you can go to a trade show with a specific industry focus and find many things you need at that trade show. You can also go to trade shows that cover a wide variety of industries and interests. The problem, however, with both of these options is that they can’t cover everything. Physical trade shows are limited by available space, time constraints, money, and more.

If you’re a buyer looking to get amazing products into your stores that will drive more sales to your business, then an online trade show is the place to peruse. With hundreds of categories to browse through, including categories for natural, organic, vegan, eco-friendly, and Made in the USA products, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for!

Saves You Money

We’ve already talked about the ways that an online trade show can save you money if you’re a buyer or a seller. Travel expenses, booth reservations, tickets to the event, and more add up in the long run and will cost you more than you need to spend to find great products and services. Keep in mind how much money you’re forking out just to go to an exclusive trade show when you could be easily finding the same high-quality products on the internet through an online trade show like FGmarket provides.

Great Customer Service

Online trade shows also offer something that physical trade shows could only dream of having: great customer service. FGmarket’s sales representatives are happy, friendly, and helpful people who want to make sure you get the services you deserve to help your business succeed in the B2B marketplace. When you sign up for an FGmarket listing, you will be shown all the amazing tools available to you through your vendor profile. There’s no question about it: online trade shows are more friendly toward vendors and buyers.

Added Bonuses

Let’s not forget all the added bonuses that come with an online trade show that live trade shows simply can’t provide. Specifically, the reach that online trade shows provide far exceeds what a live trade show can give you.

The internet is vast and far-reaching. Whereas live trade shows are limited to a specific city, state, region, or even country, the internet is a global entity. It can reach from one side of the globe to the other, and connect people on the other side of the world in a matter of seconds.

Plus, FGmarket also gives vendors the option of getting their own personal wholesale website set up through us. A website gives your customers an even more personal connection to your company and allows you to stay connected with them in a more efficient way.

Not to mention, we give you plenty of extra tools, like page analytics, forms for customers to leave reviews, and vendor spotlights highlighting your awesome company to sweeten the deal!

No question about it, online trade shows are simply better for your business than traditional live trade shows. Get connected with an online trade show today, like FGmarket, and see what it can do for your business.

3 Great Email Newsletter Ideas For Your Business

Your newsletter is your direct line to reaching customers, no matter where they are. While social media and advertising can reach customers efficiently in most cases, you have to rely on chance with these mediums. Emails are sent directly to your customers, whereas social media and advertising rely on placing your content somewhere that your customers might see it, but there’s no guarantee that they will see it.

Because of this, emailed newsletters are the best way to give your customers information that they’re interested in. But how do you make sure that your newsletters are doing their job, and leading customers to a purchase, or something else on your website? It’s easier to spruce up your newsletter than you might think.

Reuse Your Old Content

Do you have an old blog post that was popular at one time, but doesn’t get as much page traffic as it used to? Why not reuse that old blog post in a newsletter? There’s no rule that says you can reuse your popular content and introduce it to new customers. You might need to revamp the post and update it with new, more relevant content, but it can still be the same post.

Throw in one of your old blog posts into your next newsletter, and direct customers toward that page on your website to give it a boost once again!

Feature Your Customers

Do you have a loyal customer that you’d like to show off or someone that has an interesting story to share? People love hearing stories from real customers, and a newsletter is a perfect place to show off those awesome people!

If you’re looking to feature one of your customers in a newsletter, one of the best ways to do it is to include a picture of the customer and a short teaser paragraph of what they do. Then, link to a full blog post about that customer. That way, you’re bringing more traffic to your website, which gives you a better chance of attracting more people to buy from your website.

Write Interesting Subject Lines

Your subject line is equally, if not more important than your actual newsletter content. Why? Because it’s the first thing people will see when they get your newsletter in their inbox. Without a compelling and attention-grabbing subject line, customers have no reason to open your email. They’ll see it, and either delete your email immediately or mark it as spam.

To write an interesting subject line, think about what’s going to make your customers want to open your email. It could be an interesting blog post subject, or it could be something that uses words like “Exclusive.” Conveying to your customers that they’re getting something that no one else is getting is a great way to get them to open your newsletter.

Your newsletter is a fantastic tool for reaching new and existing customers and funneling them toward your website. Make your newsletters interesting, and see what kind of change it makes for your business.

6 Growth Hacks That Will Change Your Business

Everyone loves a helpful hack, especially businesses. If there’s an easy way to do something, that results in more customers and more growth, what’s not to love?

Growth hacks, as they’re called by marketers, are simple ways to get great results that grow your business. Today, we’ve got a few tips that can help you “hack” your own business and grow it exponentially.

Recycle Old Blog Posts

When you publish a blog post, it’s fresh, interesting, and new content for your website. But, over time, that blog post that once was bright and new, can become old and outdated. It’ll eventually stop ranking as high as it once did, and will become lost among the hundreds of other blog posts you publish in a week, a month or a year.

Try recycling your old blog posts by updating the content on it, adding different keywords, and reposting it on your social media accounts.

Create Video Content

Video content is the way of the future, as far as content marketing goes. Think about when you scroll through your Facebook or Twitter feed these days. Do you see more video content or links to a website?

If your feed looks anything like mine, video content takes up more than half of all the content I see posted each and every day. And studies have shown that people are more likely to pay attention to video content rather than a link or picture post. You can also embed videos into pages on your website, or attach them to blog posts. Try integrating video content into your marketing strategy and see how it can boost your social interactions and your website traffic.

Focus On Keywords

Have you researched how important certain keywords are for your websites search engine ranking? Specific keywords help search engines to pull up your website whenever people search on Google or another search engine for specific things.

For example, if you spread keywords like “wholesale,” “organic,” and “Made in the USA” throughout your website and in blog posts, you’re more likely to be found by people searching for those specific keywords when they’re on a search engine. Try boosting some of your old blog content with new, fresh keyword and see if it increases traffic to your website.

Invest In Social Advertising

Advertising is a marketing tool that’s as old as shopping itself. If you want people to buy from you, you have to make yourself known to them and show them why they need your product.

Advertising in the modern age has moved away from traditional mediums, such as billboards and magazine ads, and focused more on digital advertising on places like websites, search engines, and social media. Invest a few extra bucks into social media sponsored posts on places like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to target those customers who you might not be able to reach through old-school advertising methods.

Talk To Sales/Customer Service About FAQs

When’s the last time you asked your sales or customer service teams what kinds of questions they get the most from customers? They probably get a lot of the same questions over and over again. You can take this information, and craft your next blog post or email around it.

Find out what the FAQs (frequently asked questions) are for your business, and craft an amazing blog post around those questions. Your customers will appreciate seeing that you’re listening to their questions, comments, and complaints.

Make Email Interesting Again

How’s your email marketing going? Do you find yourself thrown into your customer’s spam folder more often than you’d like to be? Are people responding positively to your sales emails? You might need to rethink your email content.

Try changing up the way you speak to customers through your emails. Maybe take a more lighthearted approach to marketing, and craft the tone of your emails in a more conversational way.

It’s also important to check your emails for its spam risk. There are lots of free services out there that can help assess your email for its spam risk, but a general rule is to make sure you have a higher text to picture ratio in your email to avoid being accidentally tossed into the spam folder.

These six growth hacks aren’t the only ways to boost your sales, but they’re a great first step. Explore more growth hacks in your business, and see what works for you.

Stories: Facebook vs. Instagram vs. Snapchat

Finite content, a.k.a. content that only appears for a short amount of time to certain followers before disappearing forever, seems to be the hot new trend in social media. Snapchat popularized the format, beginning with its instant disappearing messages sent between two or more people, and evolving into 24-hour pictures and videos that all followers can see, called Snapchat Stories.

Instagram was the next social media platform to jump on the Stories bandwagon, releasing Instagram Stories in late 2016. Instagram Stories follows the same basic format that Snapchat popularized, with a few variations in what you could do with it. So it’s no surprise that Facebook, the most popular social media platform and the one that more than 1 billion people across the globe choose to use, recently decided to jump on the Stories train. Sidenote: Facebook bought Instagram in 2012, so it makes sense that Facebook Stories appear almost identical to Instagram Stories.

With all these new versions of Stories appearing on various social media accounts, it seems like this is the new way that people will be interacting with social media in the future. Whereas sites like Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter paved the way for the idea of connecting millions of people online in an instant, that idea is no longer unique. There are now thousands of different ways to instantly connect with anyone you want to in the world, and consumers are looking for something different. Stories are more interactive than traditional social media posts are, incorporating photos, videos, and live streams to create a new form of social media.

There are now thousands of different ways to instantly connect with anyone you want to in the world, and consumers are looking for something different. Stories are more interactive than traditional social media posts. They incorporate photos, videos, and live streams to create a new form of social media.

But which one is best for you and your business? Should you go with the one that started it all and use Snapchat Stories, or target more people using a more established form of social media like Facebook?

Don’t worry, we’re here to answer your questions about the exciting new ways you can connect with consumers using Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram Stories.

Snapchat Stories

Snapchat was the pioneering company for 24-hour Stories that anyone who followed your profile could see. Snapchat came out with Stories in 2013 as an addition to their already popular disappearing messaging feature.

Adding a Story to your Snapchat accounts works in the same way that sending a Snap to your friends works. When you capture a photo or video, you can choose whether to send that Snap to your friends list, save it to your phone, or add it to your Story. To add a Snap to your story, simply press the button that looks like a square with a + symbol in the corner.

Snapchat Stories
Snapchat Stories

Once you’ve selected the button to upload a Snap to your Story, you can choose to either add it to My Story, which is your personal Snapchat Story, or Our Story, which is a global Snapchat Story where millions of people all over the world can upload their Snaps together. Our Story Snaps are usually grouped together based on certain topics.

If you’re a business looking to connect with your customers through Snapchat, My Story is your safest bet for reaching your customers directly, but Our Story is a great resource for increasing your company’s reach across the globe, and maybe bring in new customers. However, you can choose to upload your Snap to both My Story and Our Story. So why not use both to maximize your visibility?

Instagram Stories

Next, is Instagram Stories. Although Instagram has been around a lot longer than Snapchat (it launched in 2010) and popularized photo sharing, it has only recently joined in on the Stories phenomenon.

To add a picture or video to your Instagram Story, you’ll have to first navigate to your newsfeed in your Instagram account. Then, swipe right to access the Stories section of Instagram. This screen will look a lot like how you upload Snaps to your Snapchat Stories, but with a few small changes.

Whereas Snapchat allows you to either take a picture or video to upload to your Story, Instagram gives you a few more options. In addition to pictures and videos, Instagram lets you upload a looping gif to your story, called a Boomerang. You can also easily start a Live video from the Story section by clicking on Live Video. Your followers will get an instant notification whenever you start a video, so it’s great for letting people know as soon as you start your content.

You can add filters, stickers, and text to your picture or video upload, just like on Snapchat, but Instagram’s button for uploading content to your Story look slightly different. When you snap a picture or capture a video, you can either send the content to someone you follow, save the content, or upload it to your Story.

You’ll notice that the Your Story button is clearly labeled on the screen, and is a circular symbol instead of a square. After uploading the content to Your Story, followers of your account can view your story by clicking on the circle with your profile photo at top of their newsfeed, or by clicking on your profile photo on your profile page. Just like Snapchat Stories, the content upload to your Instagram Story disappears after 24 hours.

Facebook and Messenger Stories

Finally, we come to Facebook Stories and Messenger Stories. Although Facebook could be considered “late to the game” when it comes to Stories, they’ve made great strides in bringing this new feature to their userbase. Facebook launched their version of Stories on their separate Messenger app first, but have now brought it over to the main Facebook app as well.

Again, Facebook and Messenger Stories work in the same way that both Snapchat and Instagram Stories function. Pictures or videos are uploaded to a hub area where your followers are able to view your content for up to 24 hours. After that, the content disappears forever.

In Messenger, you can access your Story functions by clicking on the circle in the bottom center of the app, or by clicking on the “Add To Your Day” button under the Shared Days header. After snapping a pic or video, and adding fun doodles and filters, you can add the content to your story by clicking on the arrow in the bottom left corner of the app screen.

Facebook Stories works in the same way, except you add content to your Stories in the same way that you add it on Instagram. You can either click your profile picture at the top of your newsfeed, or you can swipe right to access the Facebook Camera.

Your Story will disappear after 24 hours but will be viewable for as many times as your followers want during that time period.

Marketing to your customers is all about fostering unique relationships, and Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and Messenger want to make it easier for you to do this through Stories. Try each of these services out to see which one will work best for your business and your customers.