Beginning April 12th Facebook will be opening up Instant Articles to anybody with a website and a Facebook page. The question becomes, if you're not publishing a massive amount of content daily like the Washington Post or the NY Times, how should a small business utilize Facebook Instant Articles (if you should at all).
We've all been scrolling through our news feed on our phones when we've come across a piece of content that peaks our interest. After clicking on the link you're taken to a white screen while you wait for the content to load. Depending on a publisher's individual hosting platform, this wait time can become a huge barrier. With dwindling attention spans, audiences aren't willing to wait for content to load and will often click off. For brands that rely on their content to make sales or that make money from advertising, this can be a big problem.
Utilizing the same technology their app does to create fast load times for photos and videos, Facebook has created a new tool for publishers called Instant Articles. Allowing the content creator to publish directly on the Facebook platform allows articles to load instantly, dramatically increasing the chances of a mobile reader clicking through to the content.
On top of that, audio, video and pictures are integrated seamlessly into the article. Video is set to autoplay in either newsfeeds or within the actual content. Pictures, which before you had to pinch and zoom to view can easily be shown close up simply by tilting your phone left or right. Audio captions can be created, so the narrator can actually explain to their audience what is going on in an image. All of these combined streamline the process of consuming content to create tiers of information for the reader.
All pages are completely customizable with fonts and colors and also included is the ability to add advertising directly within the articles This can be done through your own advertising outlets or through Facebook directly. Still a little confused? Check out this pretty cool video on the features of Instant Articles.
So the question now becomes, how does a small business utilize something like this? To me, if you're not publishing content on a daily basis this tool is a little less valuable, however, worth checking out. No matter what you're business is, we've talked about the importance of content to drive traffic and increase SEO on your own website. If you can make it easier for your customers to get your content, why wouldn't you? You may not benefit from the ads and the video integration like a blog can, but adding just one more step to your publishing routine can help your customer's experience when interacting with your brand.
The great part about this is Instant Articles are published directly from an RSS feed pulled from your current content management system. This means that on top of being able to utilize the fast loading technology of Facebook, content is still published directly on your own website, giving you all the juicy SEO benefits of all those keywords.
You can Click Here to read more about the how-to nitty gritty of Facebook Instant Articles as well as sign up to become a Facebook publisher when the platform opens up to everyone on April 12th.