Facebook Canvas: tell a story to your fans


6 years ago

Have you ever seen a BuzzFeed story on Snapchat? Today, I want to teach you how to do something similar, but on Facebook. This can be done with Facebook Canvas, which is a great way to show a story made of a combination of images, videos, text and links inside the Facebook mobile app, just like Snapchat does with Discover Stories.

This feature is visible only in Facebook’s mobile app because it is an immersive experience optimized for smartphones. Likewise, the insights of all your Canvas posts can only be viewed from your phone (which is weird).

#Ideating your story

The first step before diving deeper into the tool is to ideate our story. In my case, I want to share our best marketing-related courses with Platzi Page’s fans. This leads me to join forces with my design team to create a flow of how my story will go:

Likewise, you should try to think of the different elements of your story before getting started. Once you have a clear view of what you want to share, you can move on to the next step; so let’s see what the tool can do for us and how to implement our idea into a Story for our page fans.

#Get Started with Canvas

Canvas is a new feature that Facebook has been testing. If you want to start creating stories, you need to request early access through this form.

If you already have access to Canvas, you can go directly to your page and navigate to Publishing Tools in the top menu. Then, on the right menu, you’ll see the last option: “Canvas”. If you tap on it, you’ll be able to see all the canvases that you have created and start new ones.

When you click on “+ Create” to start a new canvas, you’ll see a window with options to modify your canvas, as well as a preview of what you are doing. The first menu lets you choose between a black, white, or custom theme; this will define the color schemes of your Canvas.

The next menu is the header; here, you can upload your logo and choose some style options for a bar that will be at the top of your canvas. Your logo must have a size of 120x44 pixels. The background color and opacity level are up to you.

##Image Component

Now that we’re done with setting up the initial options, let’s move on to the elements of our Story! For example, the first item is an image, and one of the available options is to upload one. Facebook’s minimum recommendation is a width of at least of 640px and a resolution of some 72dpi, but if you want to fill the screen, the recommended size is actually 1080x1940px (don’t worry if you don’t understand, just tell this to your nearest designer).

After you have uploaded your image, you’ll see three display options. The first one, which is also the default one, will redirect users to the URL of your choice when they tap on an image. As for “Tap to expand”, it will let them take a closer look at an image in its original size, while “Tilt to pan” lets people tilt their device to see the parts of the image that extend beyond their screen. The last two options don’t let you redirect users to a URL such as your landing page’s.

##Button Component

It is the second element that Facebook lets you integrate into your canvas story. This one allows you to create a button and redirect people to your site. You can customize your copy, background, font color, button style and button position. You can also decide whether you want to include the button throughout your story or as another element.

##Adding other components

If you click on +Add Component, you’ll see the other types of components that you can use: carousel, text block and video, which have similar setup processes to the image and button component we have described.

Remember to save as a Draft as you advance with your canvas. When you are ready and totally sure that you have completed your Canvas, click on Finish… but remember: you can’t modify your Canvas after that.

If you want to preview your Story on your smartphone, you need to click on Preview on Device. Facebook will send a notification to your phone through which you will be able to preview your Canvas.

#Posting your Canvas

When you are done, Facebook generates a URL that you can use to share your Canvas with your fans and will lead them to your Story.

Warning: Sometimes, when you post the URL on Desktop, Facebook will say that there’s been an error publishing your post, when in fact it has been posted correctly. This error shows up because the post is visible only in the mobile app and not on computers. I know, it’s confusing, but it’s how it works.

Share the story that you will illustrate on Facebook Canvas in the comments, I’d love to read your ideas!

Juan Pablo
Juan Pablo


6 years ago

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I’ve never used this feature. Tnanks for describing how Facebook Canvas works and how I can improve my visibility. I often post my book illustrations. It could be a perfect chance to boost Facebook presence.