When thinking of Facebook Marketing, you might think about engaging with fans on your Facebook Wall. Or about advertising through standard Facebook Ads. Or about making special offers to your fans.
Well, there’s also a marketing vehicle on Facebook called Sponsored Stories that can provide your business with a crazy good marketing boost. Sponsored Stories are unique from other forms of Facebook marketing, in that they are leveraging the positive mentions and buzz already taking place by your audience.
In other words, people are already talking about your brand. Sponsored Stories enables you to leverage this by distributing their comments and publicizing their actions more broadly.
Heck, if one person is saying that your brand ROCKS, why not let others know??
When a person engages with your Business Page, App or Place Page, the comments appear in the news feed of the person’s friends anyway. Due to the dynamic nature of the news feed, though, the majority of friends may never see the comments. Sponsored Stories increases the likelihood that they will see it by placing the comments in the right-side of the page (the Sponsored Story ads are 240 pixels wide) for longer periods of time.
There is the question of whether you feel comfortable using your fans’ comments and actions as what amounts to “advertising copy” for your business. Of course, many businesses already use customer testimonials in their marketing, so it’s actually not such a stretch from what you might be doing today. And these comments are already being distributed in the regular news feed to one’s friends. You are simply “republishing them.”
However, just be aware that some people have an issue with this type of marketing, even though customer testimonials have long been a part of standard marketing practices. The main reason is that customer testimonials typically involve a confirmation process with the customer prior to the actual usage, whereas Sponsored Stories do not. It's up to you and your business to decide if Sponsored Stories is right for you, or if this type of usage of customer activity just doesn't feel right.
If you are interested, though, in exploring the use of Sponsored Stories, here are seven crazy good methods as described by Facebook in their recently published Sponsored Stories Guide:
Page “Like” Story
When someone “Likes” your Facebook Page, you can let others know through Sponsored Stories. The ad includes a “Like” icon so that their friends can click and “Like” your Page right from the ad itself.
Page Post Story
This option publishes the latest Page post as the Sponsored Story. The ad includes a “Share” icon so that your fans can click and immediately share with their own friends.
Page Post “Like” Story
Let’s say one of your Business Page fans “Liked” one of your posts in the past seven days. With this option, you can let their friends know about the “Like” action.
App Used and Game Played Story
If someone uses your app or plays your game at least twice for at least 10 minutes in the past month, you can use this information in your Sponsored Ads to let their friends know. A “Play” icon is included in the ad to take anyone who clicks right to the game.
App Share Story
If someone “Shares” a story from your app in the previous seven days, you can include this content in your Sponsored Stories. You can also include a call-to-action link in the ad.
This option publicizes a check-in or claimed deal within the prior seven days. You can include a “Like” icon right in the ad itself so that friends can “Like” your Place.
If in the past seven days someone “Likes” or “Shares” content in your website or alternatively includes a link to your website in one of their posts, then you can promote this through Sponsored Stories, as well. A “Share” is included in the ad itself to promote further sharing of the content.
You can start your Sponsored Stories advertising program by visiting http://www.facebook.com/ads/create/. Just remember that you should do this type of advertising only if you already have a good presence on Facebook and have sufficient activity by your fans that can be leveraged.
Next time you think of Facebook marketing, remember that it’s not just Wall posts. And it's not just display ads in which you create and control 100% of the messaging. You now have the option to promote the good feelings that others are already expressing about your brand. And with these seven crazy good options for Sponsored Stories, your business is sure to gain a lift through the broader reach and exposure.
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