While Facebook is certainly no stranger to making money, it’s fully unleashed a new technology that doesn’t have a truly clear indication of what it might become. But then again, when has the world’s largest social network ever done so with its releases? In the early going, it seems that publishers are to panic over what looks like cord cutting on a digital scale: Facebook Instant Articles. By now, you’ve probably heard enough about it, or perhaps, you’re just stumbling onto it.
Basically, the social giant is pulling publisher content and placing it square on its own proprietary network, adopting in an instant, the same look of the publisher’s native platform. Doing so means that users can just cruise or peruse through the content without ever having to click to be redirected to the publisher’s site. Ha ha, so that’s the big kneeslapper — what a funny Facebook! Knee slapping in jest is just knee jerk — it was only a matter of time before social media learned it can curate content and keep people in-place.
How to use Facebook Instant Articles for Business
Aside from the bet-hedging predictions, the rattled cages, and even the meh, it’s best to think about this and learn how it can be leveraged to help businesses trying to reach more consumers. After all, that’s what Pages are all about, but, if you take a moment to digest the nearby quote, you’ll see that it’s not all doom and gloom. Let’s face it, Facebook is little more than a place where you’ll find a friends rant on a terrible restaurant experience, romping puppy pictures, inspiring or annoying meme sharing, and some of the world’s cutest kitten clips.
The product is in its infancy, but publishers are already looking for early indicators of how Instant Articles are performing, particularly compared with the links to their own properties. The New York Times, for example, said its Instant Articles content is being shared more than links it posts to Facebook so far, in part because it loads faster on phones. —Wall Street Journal
Apparently, the social network understands this and knows it’s in danger of losing audience. So, why not be a part of what it’s willing to promote? The social property is only following a growing trend, as 64 percent of all U.S. adults use the site, and nearly half, 30 percent, get their news from it, according to Pew Research. About half of those users, or, 46 percent, have shared or discussed content they’ve found on Facebook. So, it’s still a useful medium and publishers’ efforts to get noticed are not all for naught (cool double negative). Another way to look at it is unless you’re in the publishing business, there’s not a whole lot of there, there because readers aren’t seeing and clicking-through non-existent ads on your proprietary site.
Ways to use Facebook Instant Articles for Small Business
What all this means is that if you’re in a professional trade, selling merchandise, or in a similar commercial enterprise, you aren’t relying on ad revenue. Since it’s reach that interests you and users taking action, take advantage of this fact by doing the following:
- Write a strong title. Users are naturally inclined to peek at what interests them. If you’re title is weak, they’ll wince and swipe or scroll away. Consider your strongest keywords and weave those in a way that entices. A strong word of caution: don’t go too bold and get away from what the content actually delivers.
- Include a compelling image. Images should represent the content’s message, but, it should not be misleading. It should also not be cheesey (unless, that’s part of the lure).
- Use hashtags. This is a tricky strategy because if users who would normally otherwise engage but click or tap on hashtags, you run the risk of them losing interest and moving on to something else. On the other hand, it does help to promulgate your brand to a larger audience.
- Include a clear call-to-action. This is a staple of marketing and it’s no exception in this instance. To make your content the most effective, have a click-to-call button on your website and it will show-up right inside the Instant Articles ecosystem.
Of course, you really need to share useful content regularly. It’s okay if it’s new blog posts or other types of content, but this is the single best way to increase engagement with your brand.
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