Your Business Story – Facebook’s Free Pseudo-Videos for Business Owners

March 5th, 2016
Your Business Story - Facebook's Free Pseudo-Videos for Business Owners

Facebook has introduced Your Business Story, which they describe as a “tool that makes it easy for business owners to showcase what their company brings to the world.” With three million businesses actively advertising on the social media giant, this could be a massive step forward for small business owners that cannot, or are not willing to, pay for professionals to create their marketing content and videos.

I do think that smaller companies will really appreciate the ability to quickly and easily create an image movie, free of charge, and add a fitting soundtrack. In all honesty, nice little additions like this are probably one of the reasons that the popularity of Facebook advertising is growing so quickly—you know, aside from the fact that the site has an audience of 1.59 billion for advertisers to share their stuff with!

Could Your Business Story Affect Commercial Production Companies & Freelance Filmmakers?

After reading the international coverage of the Your Business Story release, my brother asked me how this simple tool might have a knock on effect for filmmakers. Could it change anything for people in the trade of creating corporate and marketing videos for companies to use as part of their online presence? After all, the global economy is still recovering from when “the bubble burst” in 2008, and small to medium business owners still must keep costs down to keep their heads above the water.

Cutting the budget for marketing to survive times of financial hardship is something that many business owners have to do—despite how counter-intuitive that may be (marketing should bring more custom and, subsequently, more revenue). This is because marketing is one variable of small to medium businesses’ cash flow that is entirely at the discretion of the owners.

While that would appear to spell doom and gloom—or, at least, a problem—for filmmakers who cater to small businesses’ marketing needs, I don’t really think it’ll have much of an effect at all. In fact, I’d say that this change will be barely noticeable to anybody other than the businesses that opt to use Your Business Story and their loyal customers.

I think that those entrepreneurs that understand the value of professionally made video content will continue to make use of it. They may even use Your Business Story alongside their traditional video content—I just cannot see them abandoning their corporate video roots, though. As nice as an image movie with text and music may be, I do not think that it could ever compete with the work of an experienced freelance filmmaker or production company.

In fact, if Your Business Story is a success, it could even increase the number of small to medium business owners who are willing to use video as a marketing tool; especially if they themselves experience a successful viral campaign!

Your Business Story Landing Page

Let’s Create a Business Story!

It didn’t feel right commenting on Facebook’s new video tool without trying it out for myself—after all, it is free! I documented the process, too, to save Cinema5D’s readers having to navigate to the site and try it for themselves. Upon reaching the Your Business Story landing page, you’ll be invited to create your video—once you click on that, you’ll be asked to provide Facebook with a few permissions, including publishing.

Create Your Business Story

Then, you’ll be asked which of your pages you’d like to create a Business Story for. I have a few pages, so I chose a dead one for the purpose of this walkthrough (I didn’t want to unintentionally market something!) but it is worth noting that I have no idea what would happen if you had no pages or groups associated with your profile—perhaps a reader can let me know, please?

your business story choose a page

We’re now asked to choose 8 images from the page that we are creating the video for. These will be the backdrop for Your Business Story and should be picked carefully as there will be white text (you can’t change the color) over the top of them at various intervals. At this point, I was interested in seeing what would happen on a page that didn’t have 8 or more images—turns out, it doesn’t work. Having 8 images is a pre-requisite to using this tool. Once we have selected the backdrop for our short movie, we need to arrange the images in the order we’d like them to appear.

order your business story images

Once we’re happy with our backdrop, we get into the storytelling aspect of Your Business Story. You’re asked to input a brief summary of your business, in 90 characters or less. Easy enough!

your business story

Finally, you get to choose one of four soundtracks for Your Business Story. Included are a simple guitar track, a keyboard track, a synth track, and a drums track. They’re all equally short and innocuous and make for quite nice listening, in all honesty.

your business story music

Voila! All done. I’ve included my particularly terrible creation for you to mock, laugh at or cringe about.

Your Business Story, My Opinion

The tool is extremely simple to use, easy to navigate, and does seem to do exactly what it says on the tin: tell a brief story. I definitely think that really small companies and local businesses that do not have the resources for real productions could benefit from creating a video for themselves. It is really simple and doesn’t cost a penny—they don’t have anything to lose by trying it.

However, unsurprisingly, a fifteen-second slideshow of stills that provides very little in the way of customization lacks the flexibility and production value that the world of online business requires—filmmakers rejoice, your jobs are safe!

It’s Your Business Story, what do you Think?

Is Facebook for Business’ latest addition just a nice gesture that we’ll all soon forget about? Or could it spell the beginning of the end for small businesses utilizing video as a marketing tool? Let us know what you think in the comments!




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Nick Lam
MemberMarch 6th, 2016

Yes there is the word “tell” in “storytelling”. But the truth is, showing is more powerful than telling.

It seems like this Facebook “tool” is limited to the “telling” aspect and can’t create an emotional connection with the audience.

This appears to be nothing more than a slideshow that speaks to the “What” then the “Why”.

It also speaks to the mind and not the heart.

So no, this is not a threat to storytellers (filmmakers who use story as the core of the craft).

 Erkki Juurus
Erkki Juurus
MemberMarch 6th, 2016

I agree. By the look of it, if the FB Business Story was to have an impact on the corporate video business in the first place, it would most likely do so in the ‘bottom feeder’ segment of the market, where there’s no money to be made in the first place.

In its current form, it might be a bigger issue to an online slideshow business like Animoto rather than to a small business doing real corporate videos.

Although this is just their first version, and who knows what it might evolve into, eventually. But so far, it looks like yet another gimmick to help herding the FB cattle inside FB.

Nick Lam
MemberMarch 6th, 2016

I don’t think automated storytelling can ever exist.

The fundamental to creating that kind of reality is understanding emotion.

I don’t believe anyone has created a math model for emotion yet. That needs to take place before they can automate storytelling.

 Erkki Juurus
Erkki Juurus
MemberMarch 7th, 2016

Yes, I totally agree about the storytelling part, but that’s beside the point. Don’t get too hung up on the name of the tool FB have come up with. It’s not that relevant.

Even if FB’s “Your Business Story” tool evolved to allow video clips and other such customisations (á la Animoto) at some point, it’ll still have nothing to do with actual storytelling, obviously. Despite the ‘fancy’ name of the tool.

It’s just another part of FB’s marketing efforts to keep their cattle on the path, and thus make sure they can carry on monetising it with minimal effort. Hence the simple online app with a catchy name.

Doug Laurent
MemberMarch 7th, 2016

It’s amazing how shortsighted these posts about free or very cheap services are. In the end nearly all creative people behind recorded music, film productions and other media jobs will not be able to survive anymore, because you can get any form of content for next to nothing.

Nick Lam
MemberMarch 7th, 2016

Doug Laurent:

That’s my point though, “creatives” are invaluable.

Content is a creative expression.

Creativity cannot be automated or undercut. You simply cannot replicate and replace my creative vision.

The X-Factor is that Storytelling is rooted in biology, only human beings can create the emotional connection between the content and consumer.

GuestMarch 10th, 2016

Thanks for the insights Tom…the “permissions” that the software asks for seem rather ominous in the amount of control you give up: what does “Your Business Story would like to manage your Pages and publish as Pages you manage” mean exactly? And is it really only for this one time, or do they potentially keep that permission door ‘open’ to do other things out of one’s control in the future?

 Emma Rust
Emma Rust
MemberApril 25th, 2016

I´ve been wondering the same thing about the permissions being given to facebook, does anyone understand what they mean? “Your Business Story would like to manage your Pages and publish as Pages you manage”. Sounds worrying to me!

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