August 29, 2012 2 Comments
There’s been a lot of talk recently about the success of Facebook’s Sponsored Stories. It makes sense, really. Sponsored stories are posts you’d see anyway in your newsfeed, so they aren’t as disruptive as, say a popup ad. Your friends interacting with brands on Facebook or brands that you’ve already liked are being featured in your newsfeed often because the brand paid to increase the Edgerank of the post.
Let me explain.
Without paying for a Sponsored Story a brand would need to rely completely on organic likes, shares and comments to increase the EdgeRank of a post. After all, Facebook has admitted that only 16% of your fans see your posts in their feeds at any given time. So, the more clicks, likes, shares and comments, the higher the EdgeRank, and the more likely it is to show up in their fans’ newsfeeds. With Sponsored Stories, brands can PAY for that positioning. But before you get all excited and forge ahead, check out this Forbes article on why Facebook is standing on shaky ground here. Social media and paid advertising, to me, seem counter intuitive.
There’s also a lawsuit over the use of Facebook user’s photos and profiles to promote these stories, specifically the fact that one of your friends “liked” a page and that Facebook is using their photo and name without their permission. I’ll keep watching to see how that plays out. Facebook may end up allowing an opt out to these stories.
Let’s remember though, the whole key to social media is the social part. People are there to chat with their friends, share funny photos of their cats (yes I’m simplifying) and talk about their family vacations. Sponsored stories about brands in their newsfeeds borders on the “let’s have a party and sell something” side.
This is why brands wanting to connect with fans need to be even more creative about the content they post, especially if you plan to use Sponsored Stories. Your fans still want to look smart in front of their friends, share funny photos and feel like they have a connection to something larger than themselves. Even if you pay for that positioning, these rules still apply. To my sense, the most logical use of a Facebook Sponsored Story is paying for the likes of a page, to promote a deal, or for a poll on something relevant to your brand.
My friends at Social Fresh have some great examples of ways to use Sponsored Stories, so check that out if you’d like to give it a try.
Have you had experience with Facebook Sponsored Stories? I’d love to hear your results. Share them with me here in the comments.