Facebook Spotlight: celebrating its 10th birthday with a new focus on ‘Paper’-based Storytelling

Along with celebrating its 10th Birthday (which is being celebrated by offering users the chance to nostalgically ‘take a look back’ on their time on Facebook in video format), the big news for Facebook this week is the launch of ‘Paper’. The new publishing app has been designed by the social media giant’s Creative Labs team to combine news curation and self-publishing. It’s being pitched as a ‘game-changer’ for the way in which we interact with social media platforms – and it’s a nice coincidence that it’s launch coincides with National Storytelling Week.

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This video demo tells the story of how Paper works https://www.facebook.com/paper. It pulls in news stories, photos and videos from a Facebook news feed which are then displayed in a customisable picture led grid and users can also read stories by browsing content from partner publications. The app allows you to explore and share stories with friends the same way you’ve always been doing on Facebook, except it also brings in news curation on topics of interest, and features an immersive new design with less distractions and more natural navigation movements. This is the ‘game changer’ bit because Pinterest has proven that when users can tailor content in their newsfeeds to their specific interests, the revenue potential for brands becomes much stronger. It’s about quality, not quantity of audience.

We are massive advocates of the power of storytelling. For our client Prashad, for example, encouraging customers to share their own content is as important as the content that we create and share to engage them. Whether it’s pics of their favourite dish or telling a story about how the food has changed the whole way they look at cooking and eating vegetarian food, it helps bring to life the Prashad story for everyone – and win the hearts of other customers. They tell and shape the brand’s story for us so listening to them and allowing them to story-tell is incredibly important.

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However, the big challenge for brands on Facebook is that your ‘fans’ have to come directly to you – they can’t just stumble across you while browsing content relevant to their interests as they can on Pinterest and Twitter. Not only that, but brands on Facebook have to fight against the myriad of ‘real life’ stories of weddings, births and deaths in people’s news feeds. This is where ‘Paper’ comes in.

As Facebook turns 10 there is the ongoing debate into whether it is losing relevance with some predicting the ‘death of Facebook’, particularly amongst the younger audience, many of whom are switching to platforms such as Snapchat and Whatsapp. Apparently it’s no longer cool to hang out in the same digital space as your parents and the demographic is shifting to an older audience. A straw poll at Engage Comms HQ confirms this theory, I as the 30 (something) cite Facebook as my favourite platform, for Helen a few years younger it’s Twitter and our intern Erin at 20 uses Snapchat on a daily basis.

Whether or not ‘Paper’ will be the saviour of Facebook only time will tell, but its launch is a sign that in-depth storytelling is gaining recognition. In a world of 140 character tweets and instant picture sharing, we still want to get our teeth into a good old fashioned story full of multimedia content. The demo video for Facebook ‘Paper’ demonstrates that itself.

If you need help with engaging your audiences through storytelling, then tell us your story, we’d love to help!

 

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