The Future of Connection on Facebook: How Stories May Change the Marketing Game

How Facebook Stories Will Change Social Media Marketing

How Facebook Stories Will Change Social Media Marketing “You have part of my attention – you have the minimum amount.” This scathing remark, delivered by actor Jesse Eisenberg while portraying Mark Zuckerberg amidst a heated deposition in the 2010 film The Social Network, has a certain pertinence today with regards to the company Zuckerberg founded back in 2004. As Facebook’s news feed algorithm becomes increasingly restricting for brands and publishers, many of us are finding it difficult to capture even the minimum amount of our audience’s attention on the platform. The search for elusive reach on the world’s largest social media channel has led some marketers to explore Facebook Groups as a way to stay visible with users. But it appears the more critical frontier may be Facebook Stories, a feature that is rapidly on the rise and — according to the company’s own top execs — represents the future of connection on Facebook. [bctt tweet=”#FacebookStories — according to the company’s own top execs — represents the future of connection on #Facebook. #SocialMediaMarketing” username=”toprank”]

A Primer on Facebook Stories

The Social Network, referenced earlier, is a biographical drama depicting the inception of Facebook and the power struggles that took place. The film was extremely well received, earning eight Oscar nominations and winning three: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, and Best Film Editing. Certain people portrayed in the movie have criticized its inaccuracies (it wasn’t exactly kind to Mr. Zuckerberg, as the opening quote in this post illustrates), and writer Aaron Sorkin doesn’t deny playing loose with the facts. “I don’t want my fidelity to be to the truth,” he told New York Magazine. “I want it to be to storytelling.” A reputed screenwriter, Sorkin understands the power of stories, which have an ability to hook and captivate audiences in a way few other styles of communication can hope to match. This dynamic is undoubtedly driving the growth of “Stories” — series of images and videos played in succession, perfectly suited for mobile screens — across all social media platforms. This chart via Block Party’s report, Beyond the News Feed: Why Stories Are Becoming the New Face of Social Media, visualizes the unmistakable trend well: Facebook Stories Usage Trend Interestingly, Snapchat — which largely sparked the popularity of this format when its “My Story” feature launched in 2014 — has remained stagnant while other players have gained fast traction. You can definitely count Facebook among them. Originally rolled out on mobile in 2017, Facebook Stories made their way to desktop earlier this year and the feature now boasts 150 million daily active users. Like the versions on Instagram and Snapchat, this content is ephemeral — Facebook Stories and all of their comments disappear after 24 hours. But the convention itself is here to stay. “We expect Stories are on track to overtake posts in feeds as the most common way that people share across all social apps,” said Zuckerberg (the real one, not the Eisenberg character) during a fourth-quarter earnings conference call. This sentiment is shared by Facebook’s Chief Product Officer, Chris Cox, who laid out a more specific and imminent timeline at the company’s annual conference in early May:

The increase in the Stories format is on a path to surpass feeds as the primary way people share things with their friends sometime next year.

Needless to say, this is a story marketers need to be tracking.

The Other Side of the Story

Okay, so we know that Stories are quickly becoming a mainstream method for sharing content on social media, and we know that Facebook is making a firm commitment to the format. What does all this mean to us as marketers? Add to Your Facebook Story This is definitely a tool that companies can use, if they are so inclined. You have the ability to post them from your brand page, and (at least for now) it may increase your content’s odds of getting noticed. Relatively speaking, this feature isn’t being used all that much, and Facebook’s clear emphasis on growing it means that Stories are carving prime real estate above the news feed. Some view this as the next great social media marketing opportunity on the platform. Earlier this year, Bud Torcom wrote in a piece at Forbes that Facebook Stories are “like California’s mines and creeks before the 1849 gold rush.” He sees this format transforming campaigns through experimentation, experiential marketing, influencer integration, and visual pizzazz. Michelle Cyca sees similar potential, as she wrote on the HootSuite blog, calling Stories “a way to reconnect with users who aren’t seeing your content in their Newsfeed the same way” and calling out examples of campaigns that drove lifts in awareness by incorporating the tactic. The idea of added organic reach is enticing (if fleeting, knowing that the onset of ads will turn this — like all Facebook marketing initiatives — into a pay-to-play space), but what really intrigues me about Stories is the almost infinite grounds for creativity.

Facebook Stories Examples
Facebook Stories Examples from ModCloth and Mashable.
It’s a very cool method for visual storytelling. It’s a low-barrier entry point for social video (no one is expecting premium production quality on these). And it presents an accessible avenue for toying with emerging technologies — most notably, augmented reality, which is being strongly integrated into Facebook Stories in another step down the road Snapchat has paved. [bctt tweet=”The idea of added organic reach is enticing, but what really intrigues me about #FacebookStories is the almost infinite grounds for creativity. – @NickNelsonMN #SocialMediaMarketing” username=”toprank”]

Where Does the Story Go Next?

“You don’t even know what the thing is yet. How big it can get, how far it can go. This is no time to take your chips down.” This advice — delivered to Eisenberg’s Zuckerberg by Justin Timberlake’s Sean Parker in The Social Network — referred to Zuck’s budding Facebook venture, but could just as easily apply to any social media marketer eyeing Stories as a way to connect with their audience. The downside is minimal. What have you got to lose? A little time and effort, perhaps. The possible benefits are extensive however. These include:

  • Prioritized placement on user feeds
  • Engaging bite-sized video content
  • Powerful visual storytelling for brands
  • Ability to experiment with new content styles and emerging tech like AR
  • Gaining familiarity with a format that could well represent the future of social marketing

More than anything, though, Facebook Stories are intriguing because they offer a real chance to capture part of a user’s attention — maybe even more than the minimum amount. [bctt tweet=”#FacebookStories are intriguing because they offer a real chance to capture part of a user’s attention — maybe even more than the minimum amount. – @NickNelsonMN #SocialMediaMarketing” username=”toprank”] And since brands generally aren’t tapping into this functionality as of yet, early adopters can jump ahead of the curve and beat their competition to the punch. If there’s one primary takeaway from Facebook’s story (as reflected in The Social Network), it’s the tremendous business value in being first. Just ask the Winklevoss twins. At TopRank Marketing, we’re all about helping companies tell their stories through a wide variety of digital channels and tactics. Give us a shout if you’d like to hear more. What are you thoughts on the future of Facebook stories? Tell us in the comments section below.

The post The Future of Connection on Facebook: How Stories May Change the Marketing Game appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


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What Does ‘Quality’ Really Mean in Content Marketing?

Quality in Content Marketing

Quality in Content Marketing Have you heard the good news about quality content? It’s the latest innovation that’s sweeping the nation. It’s going to revolutionize your content marketing efforts. If your current strategy is to crank out crappy content, then quality content is going to blow your KPIs away! Okay, sarcasm aside: Every content marketer knows their content needs to be good to be effective. We call it “quality,” or “value,” or “usefulness.” But all of these traits can vary widely depending on your audience. For example, conventional wisdom might say that 500-word blog posts don’t connect with readers. But that word count may be just the right length for the people you want to reach. So, when we get into the specifics, quality is relative and highly subjective. But it’s possible to define quality content marketing in a more universal way: Quality content demonstrates to your audience that you are listening to them. It’s that simple. Well, one step further: Quality content demonstrates that you’re listening and you care. We often think about what action we want readers to take. That’s a valid question; in fact, it’s the foundation of content marketing strategy. But for quality content we need to consider the flip side: How will the reader’s life be better after reading this content? Or, to really boil it down: What’s in it for them? That’s the essence of quality content. And here’s how you can make sure your content passes the test. First, at the broadest level, there are two minimum requirements for quality:

All Content Marketing Should Be …

#1: Hyper-Relevant

We talk a lot about best answer content at TopRank Marketing, content that:

  • Serves a proven search need
  • Addresses a customer’s burning questions
  • Is substantial and comprehensive

Basically, it means that you’re putting in time and effort into researching your audience, what they need and how they’re searching for it. Then you’re crafting content that acknowledges that search and makes a genuine attempt to give them exactly what they’re looking for.

#2: Non-Promotional

It’s hard to convince people you’re listening to them if all you can talk about is how great you are. Quality content has to be non-promotional. Now, some brands take this advice to heart, but create content that’s still promotional, just with a thin veneer of solving a problem. They’ll publish a “10 Ways to Be Better at X,” but each way just leads to their solution. That’s a cheat. Real customer-centered content gives away valuable information that people can use even if they never buy from you.  For example, here’s Quicksprout’s “Advanced Guide to Content Marketing.” It’s massive. It’s ungated. Only a tiny fraction of it is related to the solutions they sell. Advanced Guide to Content Marketing Example Of course, your content mix should include some bottom-of-funnel content that will show how your brand solves a problem. But the majority of your content should focus on the reader. [bctt tweet=”It’s hard to convince people you’re listening to them if all you can talk about is how great you are. – @NiteWrites #ContentMarketing” username=”toprank”] So, quality content demonstrates to your reader that you’re listening and care about them. It does this by being hyper-relevant and non-promotional. It’s a good working definition, but still a little vague. Here are five ways you can approach content to guarantee quality:

Five Ways to Create Quality Content

#1: Tell a Story

Humans are storytelling animals. We’re wired to process narratives, to get pleasure from a good tale and retain the information within it. This is why people have a favorite novel or movie, but few have a favorite white paper or instruction manual. Tell a story that shows your reader you understand what their world is like. Tell a story that shows you understand what they wish their world was like. Even better, make them (or someone very much like them) the star of the story. [bctt tweet=”We’re wired to process narratives. This is why people have a favorite novel or movie, but few have a favorite white paper or instruction manual. – @NiteWrites #ContentMarketing” username=”toprank”] Read: Be Honest Like Abe: How Content Marketers Can Build Trust Through Storytelling

#2: Show Vulnerability

One of the quickest ways to make an emotional connection is to reveal your own shortcomings. Everyone has moments of failure; they’re what makes us human. Use your brand’s failings, and the lessons learned from them, to connect with the reader and help them improve. The Buffer team is great at the kind of honest, meaningful discussion I’m talking about here. Their “5 Times We Failed at Diversity Big Time (and How We Fixed It)” is a good starting example. Buffer Quality Content Example

#3: Help Them Look Smart at Work

What do most working people have in common, regardless of industry, function or seniority level? We all want to look good in front of our boss. If you are the boss, you want to look good in front of shareholders. Everyone can benefit from a little competitive edge, a tip or a trick or a bit of wisdom they can pull out at the next meeting.

#4: Help Make Their Job Easier

Another thing all working people have in common is that we would prefer to not work so hard. Anything that can help us get the job done quicker, with less effort, without sacrificing quality, is incredibly valuable. Keep that idea in mind when writing checklists, tools and tips, or how-to posts. It’s not just “here’s how you do this,” it’s “here’s how you do this better, regardless of your current skill level.”

#5: Help Them Improve Themselves

Your audience’s lives are bigger than their interaction with your brand. They’re bigger than the pain points your brand has the expertise to solve. If you can reach out to the broader sphere of their life experience, you can bring quality in new and unexpected ways. This piece from LinkedIn’s* Jason Miller, “How to Survive a Mid-Career Crisis in Marketing,” is a stellar example. It’s a guide that’s not really about marketing at all; it’s about finding your true voice and pursuing passion. Bonus: Notice that the piece tells a story and shows vulnerability, too. LinkedIn Quality Content Example

Quality Is Job One

Have you ever said to anyone, “I consumed some quality content the other day?” I sincerely hope not. Instead, you likely said, “I saw the greatest article,” or “Check out this cool video.” When content is useful, valuable, and meaningful, it’s not part of the deluge of content that surrounds us. It’s signal, not noise. That’s the only type of content we should be in the business of making. Not just because it gets better results — it does, but that’s only part of the equation. When we create quality content, that means the work we do is useful, valuable, and meaningful. Personally, I wouldn’t waste my time doing otherwise. [bctt tweet=”When content is useful, valuable, and meaningful, it’s not part of the deluge of content that surrounds us. It’s signal, not noise. – @NiteWrites #ContentMarketing” username=”toprank”] Create content that connects. Check out these 10 powerful lessons in resonance from some of the industry’s top marketing minds. Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post What Does ‘Quality’ Really Mean in Content Marketing? appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


What Does ‘Quality’ Really Mean in Content Marketing? posted first on http://www.toprankblog.com/

Digital Marketing News: Google’s New Ad Tools, Facebook’s Snoozefest, and LinkedIn’s QR Code Refresh

Facebook's New Custom Snooze Tool

Google leans more on algorithms for ads as critics highlight risks
Google has unveiled a slew of new ad-buying tools that incorporate machine learning, and expanded availability of a utility for running the best text-based search result ads. What will the new ad tools announced Tuesday offer for digital marketers? Reuters

Facebook Adds Keyword ‘Snooze’ Option to Help User Avoid Spoilers
Facebook has launched a new feature allowing users to hide certain words, effectively snoozing them for 30 days. How might marketers be affected? Social Media Today

Google’s New Speed Update Works On Gradual Scale; Small Improvements Matter
Google has shared information about its latest search algorithm update, which has a greater focus on site load speed that takes into account even the smallest increased efficiencies. SEO Roundtable

500px Nukes 1M+ Creative Commons Photos
Popular image hosting firm 500px has removed access to over a million Creative Commons photos, as part of its move urging marketers to instead use Getty Images and VCG. PetaPixel

Google announces Google Marketing Platform Partners program
Google announced the consolidation of its marketing partner program, with individuals, companies, and sales partners on a new approved-training list. Marketing Land

Internet mainstay StumbleUpon shuts its doors
One-time Internet mainstay StumbleUpon has finally shuttered its 16-year-old service, while the site’s founders simultaneously launched a new content aggregation site, Mix. Fast Company

July 13, 2018 Statistics Images

Instagram Releases New Guide to Creating and Uploading IGTV Content
Instagram has put out a new video tip and content-creation guide for digital marketers looking to use the company’s recently-released IGTV long-form video platform. Social Media Today

LinkedIn adds QR codes to make sharing your profile easier
LinkedIn (client) has implemented QR-code-based profile sharing to make it easier for users to swap links via apps, websites, lanyards, and other means, a move that comes in conjunction with the company’s recent major language translation feature. Engadget

Instagram is testing a persistent Stories bar that follows you down the feed
Instagram has bumped up the on-screen visibility of its Stories bar with the test of a version that keeps following users as they scroll through their feeds. Will marketers find it helpful or annoying? The Verge

“I Was Devastated”: The Man Who Created the World Wide Web Has Some Regrets
“Get out your broomstick,” was among Web-creator Tim Berners-Lee insights as he offered up his latest thoughts on the future of the Internet. Vanity Fair

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

Marketoonist Tom Fishburne July 13 Cartoon

A lighthearted look at innovation dreamers, realists, and spoilers by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Punk Algorithm Tells You What’s Not Trending — The Hard Times

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden — The Top 5 Content Marketers and What You Can Learn From Them — Entrepreneur
  • Lee Odden — 10 Common Reasons Why Influencer Marketing Campaigns Fail
    Social Media Today
  • Lee Odden — Influencers and Media Partners: How to amplify the reach of content — Orbit Media

What are some of your top content marketing news items for this week?

Thanks for reading, and we hope you’ll return next week for another round-up of the latest digital marketing news, and in the meantime you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don’t miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.


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The post Digital Marketing News: Google’s New Ad Tools, Facebook’s Snoozefest, and LinkedIn’s QR Code Refresh appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Digital Marketing News: Google’s New Ad Tools, Facebook’s Snoozefest, and LinkedIn’s QR Code Refresh posted first on http://www.toprankblog.com/