What are Sponsored Stories on Facebook?

There’s lots of ways to advertise your business on Facebook; like business pages and ads – but have you thought about using “Sponsored Stories”?

According to Facebook:

Sponsored Stories are posts from your friends or Pages on Facebook that a business, organization or individual has paid to highlight so there’s a better chance you’ll see them. They are regular stories that a friend or Page you’re connected to has shared with you.

They also published this 2 minute video to explain more about Sponsored Stories.

Facebook’s Sponsored Stories were launched early in 2011 on the premise that people are more likely to be influenced by people in their network than by ads alone. The way that Facebook is set up, when someone has an interaction on Facebook, that interaction is shared on that person’s news feed (custom privacy settings can change this). For example, if I “like” a Facebook page, like or comment on a Page’s post, or check in to a “Place” on Facebook, it will show up in my friends’ news feeds. It also shows up in the “ticker” on the right hand side of all my friends’ Facebook “home” page.

With Sponsored Stories, businesses pay for those interactions to be shared multiple times; so that it shows up in the same news feeds, but more than once and at different times of the day. Not only will the variety of ad placements allow more eyeballs on the ads, but the fact that it’s attached to someone in our network is naturally more compelling to the audience than seeing the ads on the right hand side. It’s like word of mouth marketing, but in Facebook format!

The reason I think that Sponsored Stories are a good way to market your brand on Facebook is because they are all started organically by the user; then they are made more widespread by becoming paid ads. The notifications in my news feed look like any other item, but they usually have some indication that they are sponsored; like a note that says “This is a sponsored story” or “You may have seen this in your news feed before.” Like most people, we turn to our friends for opinions when we’re looking for new restaurants to eat at, cities to visit on vacation, and products to try — this is Facebook’s way of turning those “opinions” or “likes” into advertising content.

There are many ways that Sponsored Stories can be used — like testing your message with different audiences, growing your fan base, exposing your brand to a new audience, or to strengthen your brand. Have you tried Sponsored Stories on Facebook? What has worked for you? What hasn’t? Please feel free to share in the comments section below.

Flickr Image Credit by factoryjoe