How To Make The Most Of Sponsored Stories

Facebook's newest type of advertising, sponsored stories, combines content that's earned, owned and paid for. That calls for a different set of tactics than what you might use for other promotions on the social network.

Facebook’s newest type of advertising, sponsored stories, combines content that’s earned, owned and paid for. That calls for a different set of tactics than what you might use for other types of promotions on the social network.

The brands that will have the most success with Facebook’s sponsored stories will make a conscious effort to engage with fans in a positive manner. This can include providing coupons or other promotions. However, this form of advertising gives advertisers less control over the message, which is all generated by users. At least in the beginning, measuring the reach of these ads might be hard to determine, and could seem like they have smaller audiences than other types of promotions.

Depending on where advertisers choose to place them, sponsored stories might cost more than other types of advertising sold by Facebook. They need to be part of a larger social marketing strategy.

Only brands with a dedicated team managing the Facebook page should attempt to buy sponsored stories. This is not a campaign for a brand that has never strategically worked in the social media sphere before. A clear message, brand voice and overall social media strategy should already be firmly established before paying to leverage earned media for a brand.

Marketers should not try to solicit more posts from people interacting with the brand in order to inflate their repositories of sponsored stories. This type of promotion works best with authentic content.

Begin with small tests of sponsored stories and track the results compared to other Facebook initiatives. Once you see enough data to demonstrating that sponsored stories work, then allocate more money for these promotions, while fine tuning strategies for placing them.

Considering that sponsored stories only target friends of your existing fans, adding keyword or demographic targeting will limit the audience. Prioritize which targets you want in order to get the most impressions.

Jackie Cohen excerpted this post from an opinion piece submitted by the advertising agency 22squared.