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What is Facebook Paper?

On Feb. 3, Facebook released an iOS application called Facebook Paper. Similar to Flipboard, this little app has created a new way for users of Facebook to “explore and share stories from friends and the world around you.”

Facebook Paper features the ability for users to post to their Facebook profiles, as well as consume content from “Sections.” The primary section of the app is the users’ Facebook newsfeed. The additional sections keep Paper true to its name, such as “Tech,” “Pop Life,” “Headlines,” “Enterprise,” “Score,” “Flavor,” “Ideas,” etc.

These paper sections are curated by a team of editors at Facebook. Each section is easily accessible by swiping to the left and right, with article content at the bottom of the screen. Linked articles and content can be opened within the built-in Web browser, and each piece of content can be liked and commented on from within the application.

What does this mean for my owned media or content marketing team?

Three quick rules for making sure your content is awesome on Paper:

  1. Write Great Content – Currently it seems that content that shows via Facebook Paper follows the same rules as a user’s timeline. If you are creating content relevant to your audience, they should be able to see it on Paper, just as they do in the current Facebook mobile app.
  2. Make Sure Your Website Is Responsive – Paper is also a great way for Facebook fans to enjoy longer-form content, due to its simplified interface, but make sure your website is responsive, as the built-in browser will be linking straight to you.
  3. Use High-Quality, Compelling Images – Images attached to linked content will show up in the upper area as a thumbnail; the higher resolution the image, the better view users will get into your content. Sharing photos has an interesting twist, with a really amazing tilt to view. Obviously, this requires some great-looking photos and is yet another way for users to view your content. As a rule of thumb for photos: You’ll want to make sure your photo has something compelling in the center of your photos.

I’ve created a quick reference guide to use and included it below. Use this to help guide your content creation and make sure those high-resolution photos’ “rule of thirds” doesn’t leave your photo without a center point.

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Paper is a great tool for digesting content via Facebook, and while we haven’t seen any brands bubble to the top as far as pushing organic content throughout the app, last week’s takeover of the “Ideas” section by TED is a great example of how Facebook is using Paper to curate great content in the app and could be a pre-cursor of things to come.

Personally, I imagine a future where brands will be able to have their section of the Paper app, similar to Flipboard’s publisher tools. With the sheer volume of brands and marketers currently utilizing Facebook, I’d image we will see this sooner than later, but I hope for an iPad version of Paper much sooner than that.

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