It’s undeniable that content plays a huge role across the social media space right now. As a result, many of the recent updates made by social networks were done with your content strategy in mind. Facebook specifically has undergone a series of content-focused updates, from its algorithm and News Feed redesign to the launch of Paper, its standalone news reader app.

Brands have been trying to gain more exposure in the News Feed for years. Although Paper is rather new, people using it explore an average of 80 stories each day across five to six sections. While Facebook is still the most popular section, Headlines, Tech, LOL, and Pop Life are the next most read. The app is also seeing more avid use of some of its more tailored sections, like Pride.

You might be hesitant about adding yet another social app to your overall strategy, but if branded content is among your top priorities, then you should consider integrating Paper, and here’s why.

More Branded Content

In addition to a distraction-free layout, Paper shines a brighter light on branded content. For instance, custom article covers help stories stand out while creating a more consistent visual experience for the publisher. Facebook is currently working with select publications to add more personalized details to the design. For example, a story from National Geographic now includes a yellow box around its image, similar to its print version.

The most recent updated added nine more publishers to the collection, including Bloomberg News, Mashable, FT, kottke, Fox News, Popular Science, The Hollywood Reporter, Vanity Fair, and Hacker News. Custom covers make it easier to spot articles from these publishers, which can snowball into more views and higher engagement.

Even if you don’t have access to custom covers you can still use Paper to your advantage. For example, a food brand or restaurant might write a long-form post on its website and promote it in the Flavor section of Paper. We can’t guarantee that you’ll see a financial boost from this placement, but it will help to drive traffic back to your website.

Make Better Use of Pages

Right now your Timeline acts as a cornucopia of communication. Here you juggle sharing branded content and relevant articles, customer or product updates, and replies to customer feedback or inquiries. It can be challenging to find a happy balance. The adoption of Paper isn’t quite there yet, but as more people turn to it for content consumption, it could potentially free up your Facebook Page for more direct communication.

Your Page will always be used to distribute important updates, but general content sharing could take place on Paper in a format that’s designed to drive engagement and off-site traffic. However, this would require a bit more work on your part as you’d have to decide what’s worth publishing on Paper versus your Page. Just as with discovering which content resonates best on Pages, after some experimentation, it should become more obvious what type of stories flourish on Paper.

At the end of the day, whether you choose to work with Paper or stick to using Facebook exclusively, your primary focus should be on creating valuable and engaging content. That said, we do want to point out some of the other features included in Paper’s most recent update. In addition to more custom covers, version 1.1 also includes support for events, photo comments, and group updates. Additionally, an arrow indicator will now tell readers when there are new stories in other sections.

You can download Paper for iOS today from the App Store. We recommend taking a tour of the app and its features, then brainstorming with your social team to see how you might be able to work Paper into your overall content strategy.

[Image credit: Kate Ter Haar]