biz2com-fb-article-monday

Extra! Extra! Hear all about the newest form of newspapers – social media.

In today’s world of 140 characters, more people turn to social media to get the latest updates on situations. I, personally, went straight to Twitter when I saw a backup on the San Francisco Bay Bridge the other night.

Social media offers a real-time platform that’s hard to resist. Anyone can publish anything – which is also the scary part of it. But most people use it to share their vantage point. As a collective whole, story gaps are often filled in quicker than journalists can gather the facts, write an article, have the article edited, and then hit publish. Ask yourself, when was the last time you went to read a 5 min article when you heard about breaking news? You didn’t. You heard about it on Facebook, and that’s where you gathered all your “intel” on what’s happening.

Facebook Wants a Piece of the Pie

Facebook isn’t naive to this method of using social media. That’s why they recently started hinting at a possible revenue share offer for publishers. The only catch? Publishers will need to put their content on Facebook, and more often than not, exclusively.

On the surface, this doesn’t seem like a big value-add for publishers. Facebook gets the traffic and the glory. However, when considering the slow load times on mobile devices, this benefits publishers to put content directly on the social network. Since the majority of Facebook users access content via a mobile device anyways, publishers can tap into this by getting their stories seen first.

The biggest challenge for publishers is the lost ad-revenue. And, considering sites even like ViralNova was able to generate $400k a month, imagine how much someone like Buzz Feed could potentially lose. However, to combat that objection, Facebook is letting publishers receive a good chunk of the ad-revenue they make off the publisher-exclusive content. Facebook will keep about 30% of ads, according to the latest reports, while publishers would get the remaining 70%.

This new development is expected to launch soon. The content will be called, “Instant Articles” and it’ll contain content from a variety of publishers, including BuzzFeed, the New York Times, National Geographic, and more.

What This Means for Companies

As a brand, this could be game changing. In my email signature, I have always written, “Your brand is a media company FIRST!”

Brand journalism is in full swing. More companies are using platforms like Facebook and their website to promote content that tells a stronger story. By positioning Facebook as a new newspaper, brands have a better chance at getting their best content in front of a highly targeted audience on Facebook.

But Facebook isn’t naive to how brands use their platform. That’s why they’ve started rolling out a new algorithm to limit organic page reach (which I explain in more depth, here). Instead, brands will have to pay to have their content seen. Although, it’ll likely be a small price compared to traditional advertising costs if Facebook turns its platform into a news service, it let’s brands realize they cannot solely rely on SEO anymore.

What are your thoughts? Do you publish content as a brand? Eager to see the next step for Facebook?