Remember when people thought social media was just a fad?
They thought the same way of jogging in the 70s. Both are now deeply entrenched in our society.
Businesses that jumped on the social media marketing train early probably found some success. They've also seen a lot of changes.
Today, and moving into 2017, there is a great deal of competition on social media.
Gone are the days of simply posting and instantly reaching a ton of people. But that doesn't mean you should give up. You just have to be strategic.
And it helps to know what kind of challenges you can expect to face. That way you can be prepared and find a way to overcome them.
Here are five social media hurdles that every business needs to conquer:
1. Developing a Social Media Strategy
There’s no surprise that this is high on our list of challenges. Creating a social media strategy can be daunting. The first thing you need to know is exactly what it is. A social media strategy is a summary of everything you plan to do and hope to achieve for your business through the use of social networks.
Start by creating a list of social media objectives and goals. The more specific you are, the more effective you’ll be at implementing them. These objectives should align with your broader marketing strategy and business goals.
Keep it as concise as possible and make sure they’re attainable. The purpose of a social media strategy is to guide your actions, but it’ll also be a measure by which you determine whether you’re succeeding or failing.
The metrics you choose to monitor will be influenced by the goals you set; however, we recommend that you look beyond vanity metrics like your number of followers. To really get an idea if your efforts are paying off, focus on things like leads, link clicks and impressions.
2. Measuring Social Media ROI
The tricky thing about it is that social media ROI is different from traditional online marketing. It can be hard to see the value of your Tweet or post getting shared compared to clicks on an ad.
Social media ROI is based on your specific business goals, so how you’ll go about it will differ from another businesses’ approach. Before you can start measuring your ROI, you need to have clearly defined goals in place. This is why your social media strategy is so important.
Make sure you have one in place with quantifiable goals. You have to be able to attach a number to them in order for your goals to be tracked. For example:
- Newsletter sign-ups
- Downloads of a whitepaper or app
With strategic goals in place and the right tools, understanding what you’re getting back from social media isn’t too difficult.
3. Knowing Which Social Media Platform to Use
- 66% of adults in the US use social media.
- 74% of consumers use social media to make a buying decision.
- 90% of people use social media to communicate directly with brands.
With stats like those, it’s obvious that your business should be active on social media. Deciding which platform to build a presence on, however, can be a bit of a challenge. Fortunately there’s an easy solution, and it all comes down to one thing: your audience.
On which social networks does your target audience spend their time? You need to familiarize yourself with the demographics for each social network and see if your target audience is among them. It’s not enough to know where they are; you need to know where they’re active.
Amassing hundreds of followers doesn’t necessarily mean that you have an audience. There are abandoned and fake accounts to consider. You need to find out where your target audience is actively contributing because if you’re not reaching the right people, then you’re not meeting your business goals.
4. Improving a Decline in Organic Reach
You put a lot of time and effort into your content strategy, so it’s discouraging when something you publish doesn’t perform well. It’s understandable, but it’s indicative of a larger issue: over-saturation.
Every day, 95 million photos and videos are uploaded to Instagram, over 500 million Tweets are sent on Twitter and more than 350 million photos are added to Facebook. People are inundated with content so it’s not as easy for yours to stand out as it once was.
The key to driving reach is finding the right content mix for your audience. Use a social media management tool to monitor the engagement with your posts. Track which posts are performing well and which ones aren’t. Do you notice any performance trends? For instance, are posts with photos performing better than those without. Use these insights to make data-driven decisions about your content strategy moving forward.
Regardless of which platforms you’re using, your goal when it comes to content is to keep it engaging, educational and entertaining. Never publish content just for the sake of making an update. Think back to your social media strategy and focus on publishing content that fulfills your business objectives. Always track your performance and be flexible enough to make adjustments where needed.
5. Pushing Your Content to the Next Level
People only retain about 10% of the information they hear, but when paired with a relevant image, that number jumps to 65%. You want your message to stick with people. Photos and videos have become powerful tools for marketers looking to communicate effectively with followers.
Visual content has taken over almost every major social network, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. In fact, content with relevant images get 94% more views than content without them.
Not only can adding an image to your social media posts increase engagement, but it can also help you tell a great story. Visual content can easily distill complex information and helps brands tell stories quickly with impact and emotion.
Tapping into emotions can drive deeper engagement, so make sure that the visuals you’re using align with your broader objectives. In other words, make sure the images or videos you’re using are relevant and aren’t there for the sake of taking up space.
What other social media hurdles have you faced?
You can find five more social media challenges over at Sprout Social.