Social media marketing is no longer optional for most businesses in play today. With so many businesses battling for the diminishing attention span of consumers, there are a lot of businesses and organizations winning the hearts of their audiences one tweet, snap, and post at a time. But not every brand has social media figured out and many of them run into problems. Here are five of the most common social media problems and how to go about solving them!
Lacking a Strategy
Problem: So much of social media marketing is being conducted without any clear strategy in place. Perhaps this is a result of there being 31,200,000 Google search results for the search phrase of “the importance of social media marketing.” Whatever the reason, the certainty of being successful with your social media is much closer to 0% than 100% without a plan in place.
Solution: Like any other facet of digital marketing, sound social media strategy starts with clear objectives. These objectives need to tie into the needs of the business. Social media objectives could include community building, branding/awareness, lead generation, engagement, driving traffic/audience building, and others. From there, you’ll need to outline specific strategies and tactics that support your organization accomplishing its objectives and benefiting the business.
Too Much Automation
Problem: Too many brands are automating important social media tasks, and you know what? Their fans can tell. This isn’t to say that automation and social media are incompatible. Automation can help you scale a function of your business and gain benefits from improved efficiency. But if you’re relying on a tool to do all of your liking, commenting, following, or posting, you likely aren’t going to build a connected audience that confers lasting value to your business or organization.
Solution: Speaking broadly, we only like to automate “back end” social media tasks. Tasks relevant to scheduling, reporting, and analyzing our client’s presence. This means we leverage tools like Buffer, Hootsuite, ManageFlitter, Iconosquare, IFTTT, rules inside of Facebook Ads Manager, and others to effectively manage social media. None of these tools have a significant impact on how our clients’ accounts interact with their audiences over social media. Essentially, none of these tools post content we didn’t write or like, comment, follow, or send spammy DMs to other accounts.
Anti-Social on Social Media
Problem: Businesses miss the mark with social media when they treat social media like a megaphone where they shout directions, “Click here! Read this. Retweet that!”. Too often they hit publish on a link to their latest blog post or a fun picture from a recent company activity and wonder why clients are not lining up to buy products or services from them. This is because they are not investing time in others, they see social media as a one-way channel.
Solution: Successful brands treat social media more like a group therapy session (a bit of an awkward analogy, we know) where they are the discussion facilitator. They start important conversations around topics relevant to their audience. They help solve problems. Most importantly, they listen and take the feedback necessary to improve the situation (solve your audience’s problems with content, customer service, or even a sale).
In practice, this means you shouldn’t just hit the “publish” button and logout for the day. It means you should share the content your audience is looking for AND spend time engaging with them and adding value even if you don’t stand to benefit right away or at all.
Problem: Businesses disengage from their audiences when their social media posts and activity resemble those written by a robot. This is related to some of the common problems we’ve outlined above, namely lacking a strategy and engaging in antisocial behavior. A brand is behaving more like a robot when they are hesitant to share opinions, utilize key hashtags, express emotion, and use emojis.
Solution: Envision your brand as if it were a person, a friend. Your friends have opinions, they have humor (hopefully ;-)), and they have a personality. They even make mistakes, grammatical or otherwise. They like, comment, and share posts from their friends. They get excited. They get sad.
To create a brand personality, we suggest an in-depth review of the brand’s value proposition, posting language, and opinions by key members of the executive, marketing, branding, sales, and customer service teams. If you work for a smaller organization, meeting with the founder can be an insightful experience and can really help you identify ways you can help your brand engage in human-like behavior.
Problem: A lot of brands, especially smaller ones, struggle to be consistent in key areas of social media marketing. Inconsistent posting, inconsistent engagement, and inconsistent analysis, just to name a few. Unfortunately, inconsistent effort leads to inconsistent results which reasonably leads to doubts about the performance of social media as a viable marketing channel.
Solution: Once you’ve put a strategy in place, put your plan on a calendar. Map out big picture phases and activities over longer periods of time (months or years), campaign level initiatives over intermediate periods of time (weeks to months), and short term activities that push your objectives along in your daily calendar. This includes carving out time for engagement, research, posting, analyzing and reporting.
Do any of these social media marketing problems sound familiar? Did you have any of these problems and you worked out a solution? If so, let us know how in the comments or by reaching out on Twitter.