Facebook Notes recently got a face-lift. The enhanced feature now looks similar to Medium blogging but offers a more powerful way to reach a wider audience through access to Facebook's massive, built-in user base.
Currently only available to Facebook Profiles and certain types of verified Pages, the Notes feature has been updated to be more visually appealing and offer a better user experience aligned with the way content is shared in the News Feed today.
More options for brands are coming, though anyone can still access the old format of Notes, as The New York Times has used in the past. Here are three examples of what the new Notes look like, from Vadim Lavrusik of Facebook, Robert Scoble of Rackspace Hosting and Scott Monty of Scott Monty Strategies.
Considering Notes for your brand? Here's what you need to know-including how this improved feature can help your content stand out in an increasingly competitive landscape.
Long-Form Content on Facebook
If you visit any Facebook Page, you'll find regularly shared posts with concise copy-arecommended best practice to improve engagement. Still, Facebook allows you to share more than 60,000 characters within a post, an attribute most Pages don't leverage.
Room to Read, A Mighty Girl and Humans of New York, however, break away from Facebook's recommendations all the time: All three brands frequently include lengthier copy in their posts, providing greater context without making people leave the channel.
These types of posts act as a summary of a subject and include strong images along with data points, statistics, links to other resources and tags pointing to other relevant Facebook Pages and Profiles.
Blogging from Facebook could provide these brands the opportunity to engage people more deeply by sharing a full article, especially when an audience has grown accustomed to a certain content cadence.
Monitor how others are using long-form content, and see what strategies might apply to your blogging with Notes.
Experimentation Is for Winners
Start experimenting with blogging for your brand to better understand Facebook Notes. Placing small bets and risk-free investments can help your team determine if long-form content works for your audience before you launch a full-court press.
Facebook has been known to give priority to particular types of content in the News Feed when trying to increase user and brand adoption (e.g., what the platform is currently doing with native video).
Brands have stopped sharing as many YouTube videos on Facebook, once native videos were upgraded with better functionality for uploading and measuring as well as added News Feed distribution.
Notes could also see this level of adoption. Thus, having a tentative strategy in mind, supported by your early tests, will help your brand better prepare.
Instant Articles are another foray into Facebook's attempt to have users stay on site to consume content, splitting advertising revenue with key publishers. But for brands, this illustrates an ongoing push by the social network to compete with other blogging platforms.
Republishing to Start Smart
So where to start? First, republish content produced elsewhere-from newsletters to blog posts-since you don't technically own your Facebook Page. This will enable you to test Notes with minimal investment and risk. It will also help you further distribute the information your brand has already spent so much time producing.
This doesn't mean your organization shouldn't also publish original content on Facebook Notes-just not a majority of it, as you wait to see how broadly this feature is adopted.
It's also important to know that you'll never receive the full benefits from your content when it is published solely on a third-party platform. For instance, Facebook could decided to delete the blogging feature down the line, eliminating all your original content efforts. What's more, any links to this content won't benefit your web presence, as they will be pointing to Facebook and not your owned properties.
Cater to the Facebook Audience
You also need to know how to package your content to fit the medium. For one, be sure to include an image in the header of a Facebook Note along with other visuals, such as native video within the body of the article itself. By adding media, you will help your post stand out in the News Feed.
Continue to format the post as your team would on other blogging platforms by breaking up each section into paragraphs composed of a few sentences. This spacing throughout an article will make it easier to consume your work across Facebook on desktop and mobile.
Choose topics that aren't too niche in the beginning as you test to see what resonates with the majority of your audience. For example, if General Electric started publishing on Facebook tomorrow, it would more likely see success republishing this piece focused on why businesses should be more eco-friendly than it would with this article discussing analytics for actuaries. The first article appeals to wider segment of the GE audience, making it a better choice for the social network's demographic.
Is Facebook Blogging the Right Choice?
The short answer: It's worth testing. Most brands have a well-established presence on Facebook, and it's not difficult to make a small investment to see if Notes align with your bigger business objectives. Start by learning from brands already using long-form posts. Then, let these insights inform how you repurpose your content into Notes that resonate with your audience in just the right way.
The article originally appeared on the Sprout Social blog.