Eighty-two percent of Americans have a profile on at least one social media platform. However, even as more businesses realize the importance of having a solid social media strategy, new challenges arise.
Standing out from the competition and reaching your target audience is increasingly difficult in the age of ad-blockers, when people mentally block out social media ads and targeted posts from businesses. Following are the eight most prominent social media challenges for businesses and how to overcome them.
1.) Creating and Managing Strategies
Social media is one of those things that you can’t go into blindly. You need a solid action plan and strategy going forward. A social media strategy will allow you to reach the right people and get more engagement, but creating one isn’t always a walk in the park.
There are many components of an effective social media strategy.
Some things you need to consider include:
- Determining your target audience
- Attracting the right followers
- Creating posts that don’t come across as overly promotional
- Using A/B split testing to optimize your strategy
- Using the right tools to automate your strategy
I suggest you sit down with your team and work on a plan. First, determine who your ideal customer is and create target audiences based on that. Then, decide on an ad budget and figure out the types of ads you will run.
Use different calls-to-action, depending on your ad objectives. Try to encourage engagement and interact with your followers and fans.
You also need a plan for attracting followers, which may include:
- Using hashtags
- Commenting on popular posts
- Following users
- Liking posts
- Discussing trending topics
One challenge many businesses struggle with is managing strategies.
How do you know if your plan is working or if it’s time to switch strategies?
Analyzing your data is the only way to know that. You need to look at the analytics the social media platform provides you and set up third-party tracking, using tools like Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager, to measure your conversions.
You must also constantly tweak your strategy using minor optimizations like changes in your CTA wording or different graphics. Something as simple as using a different color or model in your ad graphic can make a big difference.
A/B split-testing involves running two almost-identical versions of the same advert and comparing the results you get. It allows you to see how small changes can make a big difference in your overall results.
2.) Choosing Which Platforms to Use
Deciding which platforms to use can be tricky. I recommend using more than one platform, as that allows you to reach a wider audience. However, spreading yourself out too thin isn’t a good idea either. Which 2-3 platforms should you focus on the most?
Here is a quick breakdown of which platforms are most suitable for different demographics:
- Facebook: While Facebook is the most popular social media site in the US, it’s fallen out of popularity among Gen Z (under the age of 25). Unless your target audience is Gen Z, you should be using Facebook due to its leading position in the market.
- Instagram: Instagram is best for visual-based industries, but any company can advertise on it. Its most extensive user base consists of Gen Z users, and it has more females, but it’s on par with Facebook in importance.
- Twitter: Twitter is popular among millennials, but it tends to be more popular among college-educated folk interested in breaking news, new studies, etc.
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn is best if you are targeting professionals and white-collar workers.
- Pinterest: Pinterest’s most extensive user base includes middle-aged females.
- TikTok & Snapchat: These platforms are targeted toward Gen Z users, including teenagers. They are both highly visual in nature.
3.) Controlling the Brand Narrative
Social media is an open forum. Anyone can comment, and any tweet or post can go viral. That makes controlling your own brand narrative particularly difficult. If a negative tweet about your brand goes viral, it can quickly seem like things are spiraling out of control.
The key is to realize you can’t control it on your own. You need to rely on your followers to help you. However, you also need to lead from the top down.
What that means is that you have to create meaningful campaigns that are intended to go viral. You need to create hashtag campaigns, for example, by incentivizing followers with free product lottery entries. This encourages your followers to spread good news about your company to drown out any negative press.
Creating campaigns that encourage users to post user-generated content is one brilliant way of doing that.
4.) Creating Engagement
Creating engagement can be challenging. Far too many businesses seem to be posting in an echo chamber with no engagement.
The trick to generating engagement is to put yourself in your followers’ shoes. If you focus solely on promoting your products, nobody will engage with you.
Instead, post memes, GIFs, and tips that people will want to share. Ask questions, so people will answer in the comment section. Ask people to ask questions, so you can answer them.
By sharing links to your own blog posts on social media, you’ll also get more organic global and local backlinks.
5.) Creating Content That Generates Leads and Conversions
At the same time, you need to create content that generates actual leads and conversions. Getting likes, comments, and shares is cool, but if they don’t translate into actual sales, you won’t be getting a satisfactory ROI from your social media campaigns.
One method is using a mix of value-added posts and promotional posts. You can use a 70:30 ratio, for example, with the majority of your posts adding value and focusing on content, and with the remainder pushing people to take action. Even in some of your content-focused posts, you can end with CTAs that lead to conversions.
Here are some additional ways to generate leads:
- Create scarcity with time-limited deals or limited-use coupons (that only work for the first X amount of people who use it).
- Upload video testimonials or highlight user-generated reviews to create social proof.
- Raffle off free products or discounts – each share or retweet can equal one raffle entry.
6.) Creating High-Quality Media
I recommend hiring a professional photographer to take pictures of your products, business venue, team, etc. Using stock photos – even premium stock photos instead of free ones – isn’t very effective on social media. Social media is all about being as personal as possible, and stock photos are the opposite of that.
Remember, people will be scrolling through their feeds looking at pictures of their friends. If they see a stock photo, they’ll scroll right by.
You should also hire a graphic designer to create unique banners, graphics, illustrations, etc. If you are posting memes, be creative! Don’t rip off a meme from the internet – take popular memes and make them your own.
7.) Dealing With Increasing Ad Costs
One of the biggest challenges social media marketers face is dealing with increasing ad costs. This problem isn’t limited to the sphere of social media – it’s prevalent all across digital marketing.
Thus, advertisers need to come up with new ways to keep costs low. The alternative is shying away from social media ads and focusing on email marketing or other low-cost methods, or even spending more money on physical advertising instead.
How can you keep your social media ad costs low while they are rising?
Here are some strategies to try:
- Target low-hanging-fruit keywords or interests. The fewer people are targeting a keyword, the less you will pay per click.
- Drill down and be more specific in your demographic targeting. By targeting audiences that others aren’t, you’ll lower your costs.
- Target people who are more likely to convert, you’ll end up earning more from your ad campaigns overall.
- Use better graphics that are more eye-catching. Use better CTAs. Improve your ads by using A/B split testing.
- Try advertising on different platforms. Sometimes, you can target the same audience on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for varying costs.
8.) Determining ROI
Figuring out how much ROI you’re getting from your paid social media ads is easy. The hard part is determining whether your organic social media efforts bring you profits.
First, figure out how much you’re spending on social media overall. Costs can include graphic design, paid tools, social media marketing managers, etc. See how much your profits have gone up since you’ve invested.
Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager are your friends here. They allow you to track social conversions. It’s the only way you’ll get an accurate picture of how many conversions you’re getting from social media.
Relatively, your conversions should go up as you post more content and invest more time and money into your strategy.
Wrapping It Up
Becoming successful on social media is a journey. Don’t expect results overnight. As you keep on posting on social media, you’ll learn new tricks and strategies – as long as you split-test different types of posts and keep on measuring your success.
Above all, be relatable. Social media is about growing a following through creating connections. Without that personal aspect, you won’t succeed.
P.S. If you’d like to hire a firm to manage your accounts check out these Social Media Marketing Agencies.