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Once Upon a Time on Facebook...

Facebook has gotten a lot of flack recently for privacy slip-ups and design mishaps—what better time to flood the web with as much praise about themselves as possible? Enter Facebook Stories, a new app that allows users to publish accounts of how the social media platform has positively affected their lives. Narratives are organized by theme (love, friendship, peace, communities, etc) and origin, with a searchable map that lets users navigate the world for stories that might interest them. Potential contributors are directed to this form, with the promise that members of the Facebook team will potentially stop by your home town to get your Story in person on the Facebook Stories road trip. So, aside from the feel-good weepies you’re likely to experience perusing the ever growing collection, what can you get out of Facebook Stories?

Personal Branding

If you happen to be a good writer, Facebook Stories is an excellent way to showcase both your talent (in 420 words or less) and your social media savvy. It's also a good way to remind users of your past social media successes. Keep in mind, all Stories are posted on news feeds and personal pages automatically, so make it good, and then repost. Got something especially juicy? Follow the example of Mashable blogger Ben Parr, who recounted an extended version of his most memorable Facebook experience on the site here—if anyone was previously unaware of his personal connection to Mark Zuckerberg, they’re certainly aware of it now. But remember, posting your story on Facebook allows the site "an irrevocable, perpetual, royalty-free, worldwide right and license (with right to sublicense) to use, distribute, reproduce, create derivative works of, perform and display Your Content, in whole or part, on or off the Facebook site for any purpose, commercial or otherwise without acknowledgment, consent or monetary or other compensation to you"-- gotta love that fine print.

Campaign Ideas

If you're not looking to showcase your writing, look to Facebook Stories as a source of inspiration for your future social media campaigns! The new app has the potential to become the most comprehensive database of emotionally stirring and/or effective Facebook campaigns ever collected, with as many submissions from Facebook partner non-profits and politicians as individual users. At the very least, you'll learn how others are successfully using tools like Facebook ads and news feeds to connect to others. Alternatively, take a cue from Facebook Stories itself—Toyota has started its own “Auto-Biography” campaign, encouraging customers to share stories about the “fun and excitement of car ownership”. Over 175,000 people have "liked" the Toyota page, over 5,400 posts have been added, with eight of those stories selected for YouTube and national television spots.

And There’s Always Market Research…

What better way to find out what your target demographic likes to do with social media than to read about their personal experiences with the platform? Look at which categories are more popular among specific locations, ages and genders, and target your Facebook campaigns accordingly. Keep in mind, however, that Facebook Stories should be taken with a grain of salt—an unprecedented number of off-topic narratives (beware the Justin Bieber love letter) have already threatened the integrity of the app. Want more info on Facebook Stories? See how the concept evolved via this slideshow! You can also view Mark Zuckerberg's video introduction of the Facebook Stories app here.