When asked the question, “Notice anything new on Facebook?” — besides the company’s  filing for an IPO, of course — my guess is you would answer it with gusto and say “Timeline” or “Ticker.” And you would be correct — at least for the most part. There was another large change that managed to fly quietly under the radar, one that’s incredibly important to marketers taking advantage of Facebook Ads: Featured Stories.

In January, Facebook rolled out Sponsored Stories in users’ News Feeds and called them Featured Stories. Now marketers can promote user activity, including posts from their page, a user’s friend liking a page or post, and a user’s friend checking into a place, playing a game or using an app.  Users only see Featured Stories in their News Feed if they are already connected to the page or through their friends’ activity. In other words, individuals will not see posts that wouldn’t pop up organically.

Featured Story

Not only does this mean a possible foray into mobile advertising (remember the Ticker and Sponsored Stories/Ad column, which have been the current ad locations, haven’t been included in the Facebook mobile webpage or app) but it also means that Facebook is putting a stake in the ground by emphasizing content and their Open Graph over traditional Facebook advertising. So what does this mean for marketers? It means the time has come for Facebook advertising to (gulp!) take the plunge and commit to Facebook content.

The Secret: Loop In Your Social Media Team

When was the last time you ran a Facebook ad or Sponsored Story and tapped into the knowledge of your community manager(s) or the individuals overseeing, monitoring, creating content and building the strategy for your social media platforms?

Your community manager, social media director, and/or social media strategist is sitting on a wealth of knowledge about your consumers, customers and fans. Not only are they closely tied to the data, metrics and analytics, but they are also the daily touch points for your fans. Inviting them to share that knowledge will shed an incredible amount of insight onto who your fans are, what content they like to engage with, and what’s important to them.

They Know Your Top Audience And Your Best Content

Knowing your audience is the cornerstone to any great advertising campaign. Delving deep into the numbers, the research, the hard data and heavy statistics offers a fantastic amount of information to build a campaign. However in social media, particularly Facebook, you can take this a step further from knowing your audience through data to knowing your audience through interaction. Engaging your day-to-day social media team will allow you to know who’s behind the demographic data — names, faces, relationships, super users and your biggest advocates — thus identifying what content will speak best to your audience and their connections.

The success of integrating Facebook content with advertising lies in the fact that it complements how users are already interacting with Facebook — to keep up-to-date on individuals and brands in their network, not to interact with ad copy. A test done by TBG Digital showed that Facebook’s Sponsored Stories ad units received a 46 percent higher click-through rate, a 20 percent lower cost-per-click, and an 18 percent lower cost-per-fan than Facebook’s standard ad units.

Additionally, Facebook has not been one to lay low when it comes to marrying content with advertising. Aside from effectively bringing Sponsored Stories into the Ticker (without a major backlash) and now integrating these ads into the News Feed, Mark Zuckerberg has stated in “The Facebook Effect” that “The basic idea is that ads should be content. They need to be essentially just organic information that people are producing on the site.”

As Facebook continues to stress Sponsored Stories, Featured Stories and what we can only assume will be additional advertising features that center on social content, it becomes essential to tap into your Social Media Team. Their dedicated focus on content will heighten engagement, traffic, and ROI from your advertising. When it comes to understanding what resonates with your audience look no further than to those who are optimizing your social media content, strategy and editorial calendar day in and day out. By taking a more holistic approach you will be able to garner valuable information that can and should be leveraged in any Facebook media campaign.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Social Media Marketing | Facebook Marketing Column

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About The Author: is the Social Media Communications Director at Deep Focus, she is responsible for leading the team focused on social engagement, social strategy, community interaction, blogger and influencer outreach. Michelle is also an Adjunct Professor at New York University, where she teaches Social Media for Brand Value.




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