Solving a media puzzle

3 New Opportunities for Brands in Social Media (And the Challenges that Go With Them)

Smartbrief recently published this article by me about new opportunities and challenges for brands in social media.  They’ve been kind enough to let us reproduce it in full below. 
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In the constant-changing social space, there are new opportunities coming to marketers nearly every single day – all presenting unique challenges along with them. In this post, I wanted to share some of the overarching opportunities that I see for marketers in the space and the common challenges that go along with them.

1. New Social Advertising Units

Opportunity: Nearly every single day there are articles about new advertising opportunities available on social networks that marketers can take advantage of. From buy buttons to new partner integrations like the Twitter and Square tie-up to drive political donations, the proliferation of these units offers exciting new ways to drive business objectives via social.

Kiev, Ukraine - February 2, 2013 - Businessman solving rubik's cube with logotypes of well-known social media brand's. Include Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, Vimeo, Flickr, Myspace, Tumblr, Livejournal, Foursquare and other logos.

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Challenge: With the rapid pace of these new ad units being added to the market, marketers have a tough time keeping up with the latest information – including details like required minimum budgets, the process for getting involved in a beta, or even truly understanding if these units have been tested to work (something the networks aren’t really helping with). Marketers must wade into these murky waters without losing focus of the actual social communities these ads exist in, and must resist the temptation to slip into some bad habits that have plagued the world of advertising (push messaging instead of pull messaging).

2. New social networking players

Opportunity: With the rise of mobile messaging applications, marketers have even more channels to reach and engage with different audiences.
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Challenge: Determining which applications make sense to engage on (and when) will mean that marketers have to rely on data, their business objectives, a sound social strategy, and a bit of their gut to ensure they are in the right places. Given the immaturity of these networks in analytics and SMMS tools, some marketers may decide to wait based on resources or business priorities.

3.  New video formats

Opportunity: The increased competition within social networks to capture video views has resulted in many of the networks rewarding video content through increased visibility in feeds. Many of our clients that leverage video are seeing impressive performance at a lower Cost Per Engagement when comparing to other forms of content posted and boosted to the channels.
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Challenge: This opportunity presents an obvious challenge on how to generate effective video, efficiently, on an ongoing basis. This will raise content creation budgets for social, because content developed for social often performs better than repurposed videos. Additionally, with recent announcements of platforms adding live streaming capabilities and with Facebook allegedly working on a 360 degree video application — social media marketers will need to be even more integrated across broader marketing efforts to be able to further leverage media partnerships, celebrity involvement, and events that may help create more engaging video content.
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Overall, marketers must approach these opportunities with enthusiasm and realistic expectations on the implications and challenges these opportunities may create. As we head into planning for the upcoming year, many of these opportunities should have an impact on social strategies and budgets.

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