Social media is as popular as ever and almost every business understands the importance of building a following on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. However, you may have found that it’s not always simple to succeed on these platforms. Many business owners and even experienced social media pros run into certain obstacles. Let’s look at the top 5 social media challenges businesses face in 2019 along with some guidelines on overcoming them.
1. Finding the Time
When done properly, social media marketing is a time-consuming activity. You need to build your pages, engage with followers, find engaging new content, and do market research so you know which topics to cover. Many businesses find that such tasks interfere with other valuable activities such as other types of content creation, SEO, customer service, and product research. Here are a few possible ways to save time with your social media marketing.
- Focus your efforts. You don’t need to use every single platform. Focus on the ones where your audience actually participates.
- Create a schedule. Make sure you create specific goals and assign them to the appropriate team members each week. Or, as the case may be, schedule a time to complete these tasks yourself.
- Use automation tools. You can save time by using tools that schedule your posts automatically.
- Work with an agency. It’s often more economical to outsource social media marketing to an agency than to hire dedicated staff. This way, you can pay for only the projects and services you need.
2. Avoiding Social Media Blunders
Sometimes businesses get social media wrong and it backfires on them. We’ve all seen cases of companies getting into trouble for ill-conceived tweets. Unfortunately, one social media mistake can undo months of goodwill you may have built up. Here are some tips to help you avoid making such gaffs.
- Have a social media policy. Make it clear what you want to avoid. To some extent, this depends on your brand. However, there are some things everyone wants to avoid.
- Separate personal and business accounts. It’s usually best if employees and business owners have separate personal and business accounts. This can prevent customers from seeing irrelevant content and possibly material they find offensive.
- Don’t get into public battles with customers or competitors. Even if someone attacks you, avoid the temptation to respond in kind. If someone is trolling you, block them. However, it does nothing for your image to get into heated public debates.
- Apologize when appropriate. If you do make a mistake, admit it and don’t try to deny it. Learn from the mistake and move on.
3. Maintaining Personal Engagement
Too many businesses leave out the “social” in social media. While you can and should use platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to spread the word about your products and services, you don’t want to simply barrage your followers with ads and offers.
- Don’t rely too much on automation. We’ve already noted the benefits of automation for posting on social media. However, you also need to monitor your accounts and respond to followers personally when appropriate.
- Don’t be too serious. It never hurts to throw in some humor or personal content to lighten the mood. While you need to stay relevant to your customers’ needs, almost every audience appreciates a joke or personal story now and then.
- Provide valuable non-salesy content. You probably understand the need to explain how your business solves problems. However, you can also use your social media pages to provide some free advice as well. People will appreciate getting relevant information, news, and links that aren’t outright sales pitches.
4. Knowing Your ROI
Measuring your results with social media can be tricky. You’re probably using multiple platforms, which means you need to track metrics for each one. More fundamentally, in order to measure results, you need to first set specific goals. Here are some ways to make sure you understand whether or not you’re getting the results you want from social media.
- Set measurable goals for each campaign. You may want to get opt-ins/signups to your newsletter, downloads of your app, white paper, or eBook, or actual sales.
- Be careful about focusing on vanity metrics. The most alluring of these are followers, likes, and shares. While it’s nice to be popular, this doesn’t always translate into qualified leads and sales.
- Don’t overlook costs. Costs for social media campaigns include time as well as money spent on paid advertising, tools and services you have to buy, and any outsourcing you do.
5. Finding Content That Engages Your Audience
One of the most challenging aspects of social media is that the landscape is always changing. What worked last year might not be effective now. This can be due to changes in the algorithm, as when Facebook made it harder for organic posts to rank about a year ago. It can also be due to new features and technologies getting more popular, causing old strategies to lose their appeal.
- Keep up with the latest features. For example, you may find it easier to engage with your Facebook followers using Stories or Live Video than with traditional posts. This doesn’t mean you should post anymore but that you might also add some of these new strategies.
- Post appealing visuals. One trend that’s been very consistent over the last decade is the increasing appeal of visual content, including photos, videos, infographics, and memes. Research shows that images get more engagement than text. Using original or at least high-quality images will get you better results than using generic stock photos.
- Encourage your followers to contribute. Ask provocative questions. Post polls and surveys. Run contests. Invite people to send in their own stories, photos, and videos. This not only helps to keep your audience interested, but it also keeps your pages active and provides you with free content.
These are some guidelines to help you deal with the most common social media challenges experienced by businesses. No matter what type of business you have, it’s important to create a social media strategy that’s goal-oriented and that understands your followers’ most pressing needs.