Social media is a buzz-worthy topic within the online marketing community.  A lot of options are getting rolled out by popular platforms.  Recently, Facebook and Twitter added social paid options, a great tool for businesses seeking more exposure.  Additionally, the former entity added “sponsored” stories to its newsfeeds.

Why would your brand be interested in sponsored newsfeeds?  As we know, competition is fierce in all verticals, with it spilling over into social platforms.  How can your brand vie for the attention of millions of Facebook users?  Well, the new sponsored stories could be the ticket.

In short, sponsored stories work in the following way: Let’s say someone takes notice of your brand’s Facebook page and “likes” it.  This action creates a story in the user’s newsfeed.  Users’ friends may take notice of the story.  However, sponsored stories are going to be more overt, getting highlighted and placed in the right-column of friends’ pages, thus creating the potential for more exposure and attention.

Facebook has catered a lot to businesses.  Business pages allow brands to erect a virtual “storefront” from the social platform; as mentioned, social paid ads help brands target more consumers; platform options host dozens of opportunities for custom applications and plug-ins; and, now, the social media platform is offering sponsored news stories.  If your brand is not using Facebook, maybe it’s time for reconsideration.  Is time and resources an issue?  Consider outsourcing to social media specialists.

Online marketing specialists are waiting to see how the news feeds will influence user behavior (we know from previous decisions made by the brand, users are more than willing to voice disapproval of new implements) and benefit participating brands.  Facebook representatives have expressed user-centric sentiments: “We want to be really thoughtful about this, so we’ll have a lot of rate limits in place. We hope to show people no more than one Sponsored Story in their News Feeds per day and we’ll clearly label the story. They’ll also be of the same size and treatment as other stories in News Feed.”

The Facebook brand must be careful with its decisions, as it attempts to satisfy a number of parties at the same time: businesses, users, and future investors (we expect Facebook to go public early in 2012).  Being the third-largest Web property in the world, the brand’s decisions get a lot of attention from its 800-million-and-growing users. That must be a good problem to have.