Facebook’s Testing the Ability to Cross-Post Instagram Stories to WhatsApp Status

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Snapchat may have created the Stories format, but Facebook is taking ownership of it. After seeing success with Instagram Stories, and rolling out Stories variants to Facebook, Messenger and WhatsApp, The Social Network is now working on re-focusing its Stories tools, which could provide significant benefits for brands.

Their latest effort on this front is a new test which would enable Instagram users to cross-post heir Instagram Stories to WhatsApp Status.

Facebook's Testing the Ability to Cross-Post Instagram Stories to WhatsApp Status | Social Media Today

Instagram on the left, WhatsApp cross-posting on the right (w/Instagram originator logo)

According to TechCrunch, the functionality’s currently being tested among some users in Brazil, with no timeline for a wider rollout at this stage.

Facebook has implemented similar mergers in functionality with their other Stories tools – back in November, Facebook announced the merger of their two under-performing Stories tools, Messenger Day and Facebook Stories, into one – meaning that when you upload a Facebook Story, it’s now also viewable on Messenger (and vice-versa).

In October, Facebook also confirmed that the ability to cross-post your Instagram Story to Facebook was also in the process of being rolled out (this is not available to all users as yet). Combining the two changes, that means that if you post an Instagram Story, you can also have that same Story appear in the top bar on Facebook and Messenger, presenting significant reach and exposure potential for those utilizing the cross-posting option.

And soon you’ll also have WhatsApp as a cross-posting option.

The linking of all their Stories apps could save social media managers a heap of time. There are additional considerations to take into account – some have reported that their Instagram Stories are being cropped when they cross-post to Facebook, while there’s also the potential of ‘Stories fatigue’, particularly if your audience members are following you on several channels. But still, cross-posting is likely worth experimenting with, with the addition of WhatsApp, in particular, providing expanded opportunities for those looking to reach specific markets.

As we reported recently, social interactions are changing, with the big four messaging apps now seeing more users than the big four social apps.

Facebook's Testing the Ability to Cross-Post Instagram Stories to WhatsApp Status | Social Media Today

Messaging is clearly on the rise, and should not be ignored – just this week, WhatsApp reported that they saw a new record in messages sent on a single day with 75 billion shared on New Year’s Eve.

Both Messenger and WhatsApp now have more than 1.3 billion users, providing huge reach potential – but more importantly, both apps have significant reach in different regions, as shown on this map.

Facebook's Testing the Ability to Cross-Post Instagram Stories to WhatsApp Status | Social Media Today

As such, the addition of WhatsApp as an option for sharing your Stories content will no doubt hold significant allure for businesses looking tap into different markets – while international brands could help subvert Stories overload by cross-posting to each app as they choose, enabling more focused messaging.

The other impact with the expanded potential of WhatsApp Status, prompting more users to consider re-posting and likely increasing overall usage, is that WhatsApp has reach into many regions where Snapchat has little presence. By further encouraging more use of their Stories options, Facebook continues to put more pressure on Snap Inc. – if Snapchat does make a larger push into these regions in the hopes of building their audience, Facebook’s Stories options will already be entrenched, making it harder for Snapchat to get users to switch themselves, and their established friend networks, across.

Really, it’s a fairly logical, and somewhat expected, move by Facebook, though TechCrunch does make a good suggestion in relation to avoiding Stories overwhelm.

“Ideally Facebook is also working on a way of calibrating Stories, so that if you’ve already seen one in one app, like Instagram, the same exact thing won’t be popping up for you again in a Facebook Story and then a WhatsApp Status.”

That would be a logical addition, ensuring that cross-posting doesn’t lead to over-exposure, and diminish the value of Stories. But then again, the user data will reflect any potential issues on this front – if people are still clicking, Facebook will keep showing them Stories, even if they’re repeats from other platforms.

Over the past year, Stories has become a much more significant and important part of the social interaction process, and as noted, messaging apps have also been on the rise. Given this, it’s definitely worth brands considering ways in which they can incorporate Stories into their 2018 strategic approach, and whether expanded cross-posting might be of benefit in connecting with their audiences.

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