Writers have been using Facebook to share their stories almost since the site began. But in the past few years, Facebook has been working to make news stories and web articles a bigger part of the site. They gave us subscribe buttons as an alternative to a follow and I recall an effort to run news stories down the sidebar?
In the end, most media outlets have settled for pushing their content into the newsfeed in the same way everyone else does it – with a Facebook Page and a lot of tenacity.
Now Facebook is trying to up the media profile one more time with a tool they call “Stories to Share.”
The tool scrapes your media website, then pulls out the stories Facebook thinks you should share with your social media followers. You can then share these stories as posts right from the Facebook Page dashboard.
The best thing about this tool is that it saves time. Without it, you need to find the story on your site, grab the URL, log-on to Facebook, past the URL and write a post. The tool turns that into a one click / one site process. If Facebook would let people use social sharing buttons to share on a Facebook Page instead of forcing you to your personal profile, it would be a simpler process. . . alas. . .
If you manage a Facebook Page for a media site with a lot of content, this tool is particularly invaluable because it’s a good way to sort through and pick out the best content on a daily basis.
One thing – a commenter says that the tool keeps suggesting stories she’s already posted. I suspect this is because she’s posting with a variation of the URL so it’s not picking up the duplication. If the tool isn’t smart enough to know which stories have been posted and which haven’t, then it’s useless for large content providers.
Facebook also doesn’t say how it picks the stories to share. Is it looking at traffic or popularity or matching the keywords to your followers interests? I doubt it’s that complex but I’m willing to be proved wrong.
Facebook says the point of the tool is to encourage media sites to post more content, because increased posting leads to an increase in referral traffic.
We worked with 29 media sites over a seven-day period to find out exactly how their referral traffic could be impacted if they increased the number of times they posted to their Facebook pages. The net result: posting more frequently increases referral traffic by over 80%.
Within that week, the media sites averaged an increase in the number of articles they posted to their pages by 57%. This resulted in an 89% increase in average outbound clicks to their domains. Additionally, the amount of Likes per post increased by over 10% and the number of net fans per page went up by 49%.
Facebook follows with a caveat that says this test included a small number of media sites so their results may not be typical. They suggest you try it yourself and see.
Keep in mind that this isn’t an open-ended option. Five posts might convert better than 1 but 50 doesn’t convert better than 10. Edgerank suggests no more than 1 post every 3 hours. If you’re a large media site with 10 exclusive stories, I’d break that rule and get them out there.
Stories to Share is in test mode so it may not be available on all Pages but Facebook assures us they’re working to diligently to solve all of our problems with the click of a button.