An image of a man with grey sweater doing a skateboard trick, inside of a social media post graphic.

How to create a Facebook story

november 15, 2023

You’ve been watching—or maybe scrolling past—Facebook stories for years. Now it’s time to learn how to craft one of your own to highlight your brand or your next big idea.

What’s a Facebook story?

A Facebook story is a combo of images or video and words with a temporary life span. You’ve probably seen stories from your friends and the pages you follow above your Facebook news feed or messages in Messenger. Stories disappear 24 hours after posting, which cultivates the feeling of an intimate, special, limited-time engagement. Yet while they’re up, Facebook stories can be a creative way to connect with your audience and heighten engagement—in short, another medium to build and express your brand’s identity. Want to craft your own Facebook story now? Here are some technical specs:

  • Stories are 20 seconds long.
  • Images or photos in stories will display for up to five seconds.
  • Videos will display for up to 20 seconds.
  • You can create a story by clicking the “Create A Story” button at the top of your feed.
  • When you’re done, share your story by clicking “Share To Story.”
  • What can you add to a Facebook story?

    • You can use previous images or videos to form the body of your story—just make sure they’re short enough to fit the 20-second window. Or take a photo or two to add to your story on the spot. Just click the “add to your stories” button.
    • Text headlines or sentences to illuminate your story’s content.
    • Music or a voiceover from you.
    • Just like on Instagram or Snapchat, you can add a variety of text headlines or filters to your story—maybe making it sparkle with stars or shine with iridescence.
    • You can also “go live” and make that on-the-scene video into a Facebook story so people can catch with you on the scene. Heads up that your live story will disappear once you end your live.
    • Polls and ratings—find a new way to connect with your fans and customers by letting them tell you what they think of your latest offerings.

    Need a little help adding any of these? Facebook has some easy-to-follow directions in their Help Center.

    When should you use a Facebook story

    Facebook stories have the bonus of including video and audio, so choose a subject with visual pizzazz. They’re designed to be short, attention-grabbing features—a slice of life, a special moment, or a quick insight—and your content should reflect that too. And it should be something that you really want people to see, since it will be at the top of everyone’s feed. Here’s some tips from Facebook and us about best times and places to bust out Facebook stories:

    Announcements Use announcements for things like events or breaking news and product launches. Think of the fanfare about albums dropping and aim for that tone.
    Teasers of some longer content Made an amazing video series? Find a good 20-second clip from you work or make a 20-second trailer, and have followers visit your page or website for the real deal.
    Demonstrations of your art Who hasn’t gotten mesmerized by a paint-swirl or calligraphy video on social media? Or been amazed at a few rapid kickflips on a skateboard? Whatever art means to you, a story is a great medium for a bite-sized snippet.
    Very short how-to videos Can you show your product in action in twenty seconds or less? Did you just discover a funky new way to peel an apple? It’s story time!
    Short, funny moments Do you tell the best (or worst) knock-knock jokes? Are you about to drop a water balloon on your best friend? Just like IRL, a quick bit of comedy or a prank edited for a quick setup and punch line can be an amusing story.

    Tips for creating a story with the most impact

    Keep text short

    Text should enhance but not be your story’s focus. If you have a lot to say, Facebook always has the post function, and hosts videos longer than one minute on its Watch platform. An example of a cool text enhancement in Stories could be someone announcing contest winners for a swag giveaway, where the winner’s name appears in text on the screen after they’re said—helpful if someone doesn’t catch their name the first time and a little extra spotlight for the winner.

    Don’t go overboard with special effects

    Don’t let special effects get in the way of your informational goal. Make sure your audio, visuals, and text complement each other without clashing. Not only is this an aesthetics issue, competing text, visuals, or sounds could mean your story isn’t as accessible or understandable as you want it to be.

    Plan talking points

    Going for candid content? Great—but do a little prep work to make sure you don’t sound silly or offensive. Maybe jot some bullet points to hit while you speak, or for something more formal, even write a short script.

    Use high-quality media

    While it’s one thing if you are literally going live from a chaotic traffic accident, and you don’t have the latest camera phone, anything showcasing your products or brand should have great image and audio quality. That quality will reflect on you, your products, and potentially, your attention to detail in areas like customer service. With text, make sure you’ve spelled everything—especially people’s names—correctly, and brush up on your apostrophe usage and parts of speech.

    While Facebook has a bevy of posting options, Facebook Stories provide plenty of opportunities to make memories last in the minds of your audience—and whet their appetite for your brand’s brilliance, 20 seconds at a time. Get started with professionally designed, free Facebook story templates from Microsoft Create.

    Related topics