Top 7 Social Media Challenges Businesses Face in 2016

Co-authored by: Sara Gomach Peck

Earlier this month, Acumium sponsored the monthly Social Media Breakfast Madison event. We love going to Social Media Breakfast, and as one of the sponsors, we wanted to give something back to the members. We asked everyone at the event to tweet us their biggest social media challenges of 2016. We rounded up the top seven responses and have provided our two cents on each issue. We hope you find it useful!

1. Promote Team Members/Brand Ambassadors Engagement

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Getting co-workers and stakeholders to participate in your social media strategy can be challenging, but also rewarding. These are the people who live and breathe your brand every day. It is important to respect that some may want to keep social and work separate, but for those who are interested in participating, we suggest making it as easy as possible.

Encourage Team Participation

  • Create a social media best practices tool kit that employees can reference.
  • Offer information they can use to improve their own personal social media accounts. For example, you could offer a lunch hour workshop and give tips for improving employee LinkedIn profiles.
  • Sometimes the easiest way to get people involved is to ask. At Acumium, we send out a reminder when new content has been posted to our channels so team members can share with their networks.

Grow Your Influencer Network  

While growing your brand influencer network can appear more challenging than growing engagement from your internal influencers, the same principles are involved. Chances are, you have plenty of current influencers already, you just need to tap into them.

  • Engage in social listening.
  • Start a conversation.
  • Retarget your current email list on social media.
  • Use a social lead generation tool to target conversations, interests and keywords.

2. Be Heard in a Crowded Space

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With the amount of content that is pushed out daily, oversaturation is a concern. The best way to be heard is to make sure you’re targeting the right people.

  • Understand your audience. A great way to do this is by conducting a persona exercise.
  • Don’t write content for the sake of content. If you’re struggling to think of ideas, a competitor audit can be really useful. Take a look at what others are doing successfully and use those ideas and mold them to match your audience.
  • Pay to Play. Unfortunately, social media is anything but free these days. Sure, you can still reach around 2 percent of your fans organically, but what about the other 98 percent of people who opted in to see your content and aren’t able to? Creating a paid social media strategy will help you grow your channels, resulting in more insights into audience demographics, behaviors and interests. Done right, even the smallest of budgets can go a long way.

3. Managing Similar Brands Without Being Repetitive

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Creating unique and fresh content is a never-ending challenge. Not to mention, managing multiple accounts is a challenge of its own. Here’s what we recommend:

  • Create a social media strategy for each client and define what channels will work best; channels can be approached in phases.
  • Define strategic and audience differences with a persona exercise.
  • Create a monthly content calendar for each account to stay organized and to keep track of posting schedules.
  • Test your content to determine what your audience engages with most – you may be surprised at what the results bring back!
  • Listen to your data and the story it is telling you. Use this information to think outside of the box.

4. Managing Social Media While Also Balancing Other Work

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For the first part of this social media challenge, we’re going to suggest a mixture of answers from previous social media challenges addressed in this post:

  • Create a social media strategy and monthly content calendar to keep you on track and hold you accountable.
  • Create content specifically geared towards your audience personas.
  • Implement a paid social media strategy to reach your audience.

Now to address the bigger part of your question about balancing social media with your overall workload. We know that many times social media and community management is an add-on to another role within an organization. Make sure to discuss the scope and expectations of your initiatives, including hours per month, as allowed by your schedule. Next, set achievable goals with your company management so you are not overestimating what can actually be achieved. If your goals exceed your capacity, consider hiring an intern, a dedicated social media specialist, or partnering with an agency.

5. Managing Social Media for Multiple Retail Locations: Does Each Store Deserves a Dedicated Page?

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This can get complicated depending on the type of business, as well as merchandising strategies across multiple locations. However, for most retailers with multiple locations, we suggest using the Facebook Locations tool, versus establishing multiple, independent business pages.

Creating multiple business pages opens up the opportunity for posts to get off brand. Not to mention, this can become an analytics nightmare. With one company account you can control your brand story. Facebook Locations allows a brand to:

  • Maintain consistent messaging on the main (parent) business page
  • Allow customers to find the local (child) pages in searches
  • View location maps and check-in
  • Create advertising campaigns with local targeting and messaging
  • Manage comments and questions from multiple locations in one place
  • Access all location analytics in Ads Manager

6. Creating Conversions to Prove Social Media ROI

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While there is no magic answer to your question, Kris, we understand your concerns. Proving social media’s ROI to stakeholders is one of the hardest challenges associated with social media marketing. While likes and retweets may not appear to be enough, consider what a conversion actually means to your company.

Is a conversion solely monetary? Or, can the definition of a conversion include: new followers, clicks to your website, adds to cart, gated content downloads and new email subscribers? It’s important to remember that social media should be part of your overall digital marketing strategy, not your entire digital marketing strategy. Making sure you have a strong paid search advertising, email marketing, SEO, and retargeting strategy in place is just as important as having a thoughtful social media and content plan. Remember, it can take 7-10 touch points before a customer actually converts.

That being said, if you have a paid strategy in place, make sure you are receiving a good cost per website click on your ad spend. Knowing industry standards and brand history will help to determine what is reasonable for your company. Keep in mind, social media tends to be extremely cheap when compared to other marketing channels.

7. Managing Social Media Analytics

Social media analytics can be daunting, especially for those of us right brainers! However, monitoring the right KPIs is crucial if you want to show successful results. The first step is to identify what your top social KPI’s are. You need to define what success on social looks like for your company. Once defined, track monthly KPIs consistently. Take the time to learn to love your data, because it will help you prove social’s worth in dollars to those who are still skeptical about the importance of a robust social media program. Numbers can be scary, but if you don’t understand what story they are telling you, you will struggle with proving relevance.

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