Understand the business side of social media

Integrating social media with brand strategy is the new normal. While it takes talent to tell a story in 140 characters, it’s important to understand the evolving business behind each social media platform. This includes anticipating how the decisions made by social media companies affect users and the way a brand engages with them.

For example, in May of last year, Facebook held its initial public offering (IPO) to much fervor and anticipation. Since then, the company’s stock price has steadily declined.

Why is this significant? As Facebook works to pay its investors back, its user experience changes, sometimes daily, with new efforts to generate revenue. In the past, users simply clicked “Like” to receive updates and interact with brands. Now fans are asked to take additional steps to see this same material in their News Feed. Promoted Posts have become a point of contention for many pages and groups as they learn to navigate their content through new algorithms. Anticipating and being flexible as a result of these changes will strengthen marketing strategies and ultimately make content more effective.

Another example is the copyright infringement issues faced by Pinterest in early 2012. At the height of Pinterest’s newfound popularity, the content-sharing service faced backlash from users after a blog post that was critical of the site went viral. The author pointed out that the terms of use held users legally responsible for shared materials that may have fallen under a trademark or copyright. This affected public perception of the website and discouraged users from engaging with brand and product boards.

Staying current with the business side of social media will enable you and your teams to adapt quickly, and effectively counsel clients. Experienced professionals can develop rich content, but those that understand the business of social media will truly be at the top of their game.

Lisa Roe is an account executive and Lindsey Paulsen is a senior account executive for Milwaukee-based Branigan Communications.

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