Facebook announced on Tuesday it is testing a number of new features for creators and public figures on the platform. Among the new features is a Collaborative Stories function that allows multiple public figures to post within a single Facebook Story. Facebook is also releasing new ways for creators to engage with fans and more monetization opportunities.

Collaborative Stories. Facebook’s Collaborative Stories feature aims to help creators build more exposure on the platform and grow their audiences. Multiple artists who performed at the music festival Tomorrowland were given access to the new feature, including the band The Chainsmokers who saw 92% of their Story views coming from Facebook users who do not follow the band on the platform.

Tomorrowland Collaborative Story with The Chainsmokers.

Facebook said it is “exploring ways” to expand Collaborative Stories to more public figures in the coming months.

More ways to engage with fans. On Tuesday, Facebook launched Fan Reply Stickers, a feature designed for Page owners that allows them to create a call to action within a Story asking fans to reply with a photo or video. Any responses by fans can then be re-shared to the Page owner’s Story.

Before being released, the Fan Reply Sticker was tested by the band AC/DC, AFROPUNK and the NBA. “They [the NBA] asked fans to share photos of who they were supporting and how they were cheering on their team. Hundreds of fans replied with photos and videos featuring family members wearing jerseys and holding memorabilia and team-related stickers,” wrote Facebook’s VP of Product Management Maria Smith and the company’s VP of Global Entertainment Partnerships Sibyl Goldman.

The company also rolled out Facebook Stars to video creators, a feature that was previously available for gaming creators on the platform. Fans can send creators Facebook Stars during a creator’s livestream on the platform — creators can then reward fans who use the star feature.

“Creators have already used Stars in a number of interesting ways. For example, makeup artist Braannxo offers rewards like one-on-one makeup tutorials for the top weekly and monthly star senders,” writes Smith and Goldman.

Monetization features. Creators already have access to a “swipe-up” feature in Facebook Stories, making it possible to include a link within a Story to products they want to promote to their audience. Facebook said it is working on more ways to help creators monetize their content, such as the ability to tag products in their Facebook photos and videos — a feature it is expanding to Facebook Stories.

Facebook also mentioned its new checkout feature for shoppable posts by public figures: “We’re also simplifying the checkout experience for shoppable posts, making it possible for fans to easily tap on a tagged product to learn more about the product and then purchase directly on Facebook.”

Facebook’s in-app checkout feature.

Facebook’s checkout experience, a feature that lets users purchase items directly in the app, has been available to a limited group of brands on Instagram since earlier this year. The company announced this week it was testing an in-app checkout feature for dynamic ads in the Facebook News Feed.

Surfacing more creators in the News Feed. Facebook is also testing new features that would surface more creators in the News Feed based on a user’s activity, such as the public figures they are already following and content they have engaged with on Facebook.

“This is a small test for now,” said Smith and Goldman. “We’re exploring different approaches to introduce people to both familiar faces and emerging talent.”

Why we should care. Facebook is aiming to build out a welcome environment for creators, releasing new features and monetization opportunities that put it in direct competition with YouTube in terms of being a creator-friendly platform. The Collaborative Stories and fan engagement tools will help creators and public figures grow their following, which in turn, puts them in prime position to take full advantage of Facebook’s monetization capabilities.

Source: Facebook gives creators new ways to build audiences via Stories, more monetization features

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