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7 Common Social Media Challenges And How To Overcome Them

social media challenges

Updated July 2023

Today, social media runs deeper than vanity likes and follower counts. With an estimated 4.89 billion users of social media across the globe, social networks are undeniably a powerful form of marketing.

We’ve all heard of them and most of us use them on a daily basis. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter – each has played their part in transforming the way we communicate and buy. As behaviour has evolved and online communities have formed, so too has the way businesses interact with their customers.

While the world of digital has many a success story, there are still common social media challenges that businesses are sussing out. So, don’t give up just yet! We’re taking a look at the social media challenges regularly seen and how you can solve them.

1) Creating a social strategy that performs

Creating a social strategy can be intimidating. First things first, let’s make sure we’re on the same page when we talk about a social media strategy.

A social media strategy pulls together everything you want to achieve on social and how you plan to do it. A good place to start is to define your social media objectives. Here are a few things to consider when it comes to your objectives:

  • They should slot in with your wider marketing strategy and business goals
  • They should be as concise as possible
  • They should be realistic  

Not only will a social media strategy help to keep you on track, but it will also allow you to measure how you’re doing.

When defining your strategy, it’s a good time to choose which metrics you’re going to monitor. These will be influenced by the objectives you have. We recommend looking beyond vanity metrics such as likes and follows alone. To really understand the value of your social media, it’s best to place focus on metrics like impressions, clicks and leads.

If you already have a social media presence but want to improve it, a social media audit is a good place to kick things off. An audit allows you to assess your current social media presence including what works and what doesn’t. Reviewing content across all social channels, audience insight and performance alongside industry and consumer trends can help to form a successful social strategy. Once your social strategy is underway, we recommend carrying out an audit on a quarterly basis to keep track of performance.

2) Proving your social media ROI

Social media campaigns aren’t always based on monetary goals. This makes proving ROI one of the biggest challenges. You may reach thousands of users every day but how do you translate this impact into financial return?

Social media ROI comes back to those well-defined objectives which can be easily communicated to senior management and stakeholders.

Defining quantifiable goals allows you to attach a number to them so they can be tracked. For example, this could include app downloads, purchases, newsletter sign-ups or gated content downloads.

Alongside this, the majority of social media channels now have impressive analytics functionality allowing you to track your performance with accuracy. Here are some of the top metrics we recommend keeping an eye on:

  • Page engagements: Comments, shares, saves – they’re all important. This metric gives you an idea of how well your audience is engaging with your posts allowing you to track performance and take learnings from your campaigns.
  • Sales: Some platforms, such as Instagram, offer shopping functionality within the app. Using features like Instagram’s shoppable tags now makes it possible to attribute purchases directly to the platform.
  • Referral traffic: Use UTM parameters on all the links you use on your social accounts. This will allow you to accurately track and attribute traffic to these channels using Google Analytics.
  • Bounce rate: This is the percentage of people who visit one page on your website and leave without going any further. If you are driving people from Facebook to your website and they are leaving after a couple of seconds, it could be worthwhile taking a look at the content you’re posting and whether it’s relevant.  
  • Return on ad spend: ROAS can tell you how effective your paid social ads are. This metric can be used to show how much revenue you are generating through your social media marketing and is also another way of proving engagement.

3) Keeping up to date

It’s no shocker how fast the digital world moves. But as platform features, best practices and algorithm updates progress at speed, it can be hard to keep up. And that’s even before adding the countless other areas of marketing you’re likely trying to keep tabs on into the mix.

One way to remain up to date is to subscribe to reputable sources and publications to receive the latest news and announcements. As cliché as it sounds, it’s crucial to carve some time out to keep learning – it will bring huge benefits to your marketing efforts and helps keep those creative juices flowing too.

We know it isn’t always that easy though. If you’re really struggling to make time to keep up to date on industry happenings, seeking support from an expert can really help. A social media or digital marketing agency’s time is dedicated to driving results for you. A big part of this is being in tune with what’s happening in the wider landscape and applying what’s relevant to your campaigns to drive even better results.

4) Improving social media engagement

Engagement is a significant part of social media marketing. It’s more than just a metric to measure effectiveness. It’s also used by many of the major platforms such as Instagram and Facebook to decide which content to deliver to a user. Yes, we’re talking about dreaded algorithms.  

Algorithms can make even the savviest social media master shudder. They’re often seen as the unknown that’s holding your content back from performing. But they’re extremely important and not as mysterious as you may think.

Social media algorithms sort posts in a person’s feed based on what they think that user wants to see rather than displaying content in reverse chronological order of when it was published. For example, Instagram might place posts from your closest friends or favourite influencer up top because those are the accounts you interact with most often.

So, how can you decode algorithms to improve your reach and engagement? These tips should help:

  • Engage with your audience: The more engagement a piece of content gets, the more likely it will be rewarded by the algorithm. Ask questions and encourage comments from your audience to not just generate likes but also comments and shares. Don’t forget to respond to your audience too. If they’re asking a question or making a comment, it’s good social media etiquette to acknowledge the interaction. This engagement with your audience is a great way of connecting with them too.
  • Tag other accounts in your posts: Where relevant, tag businesses and customers in your posts. For example, if you’re mentioning a brand in a post, tag them in the image. If you’re republishing content from a customer wearing one of your products, tag them (don’t forget to ask for permission first before reposting other’s content). These types of posts are particularly successful for promotions and competitions but should be used sparingly so they’re not seen as engagement bait.
  • Use relevant hashtags: Hashtags make your content searchable and also categorise your campaigns making it easier for users to find your posts. Hashtags can help the algorithm by assigning a category to your post so it’s more likely to appear to users interested in that topic. It’s important not to use the same hashtags over and over again. Instead, make them specific to each post for better engagement.
  • Encourage UGC: User-generated content is content that your audience creates which you can then share on your accounts. Not only does it encourage users to share your brand with their following, but it also creates authentic and real content for you to promote which will help build trust with your audience. You can encourage your followers to post photos and tag your business in the image before asking them permission to use it on your accounts.
  • Work with influencers: Collaborating with influencers is going nowhere and can be a valuable part of your social media marketing. But making sure your influencer marketing is authentic and natural is key to a successful partnership. Micro-influencers are a great way to reach highly engaged and relevant audiences.

Experiment with different types of content and ways of engaging your audience. Don’t forget to track your performance to capture what’s working best for you and your customers!

5) Growing your social media following

Growing your social following fits hand in hand with growing your engagement. The more people you reach, the more people discover your brand and the more likely they are to follow and engage with you.

Make it easy to find, follow and engage with your profiles. Add social media icons to your site and product or delivery packaging. If you’re an eCommerce business selling visual products, why not add your social feed to your website’s home page? Ask people to follow and interact with your social platforms at the end of your blog posts and don’t forget to promote your social media accounts in your email marketing too. The more places you can feature your accounts, the more exposure they’ll receive.

It’s also important to be regular and consistent with your posting habits if you want to keep reaching new followers. One way to ensure this is to use a social media scheduling platform such as Hootsuite to help you plan and automate your posts.

6) Building authentic connections

As great as social media can be, it has inevitably reduced human interaction. Many people now turn to their phones to be part of an online community, to engage with one another through comments and likes and even ‘meet’ new people. After all, social media is about being social.

You may not speak to your followers in person, but as a brand operating on these channels it’s still important to connect with your target audience in an authentic and personal way. The key to achieving genuine audience engagement and, in turn, greater reach and more followers, is to build connections that are real and rewarding.

Developing connections builds brand loyalty and soon, you’ll have first-time customers returning to you time and again. To get your audience engaging with you, you need to engage with them. This can be done by:

  • Replying to comments with a personal response
  • Asking your audience questions that are relevant to them
  • Respond to negative feedback as well as positive to make them feel valued
  • Show them how you are listening to them
  • Don’t make all your social media efforts about selling – tell your story, introduce your core values and give them a reason to stick around

7) Making sure your visuals are on point

When people hear information, it’s estimated that they’ll only remember  10 percent of that information three days later. If relevant visual content is paired with the same information however, that percentage jumps significantly to 65 percent!

Many social media platforms revolve around visual content and great visual content can make you stand out on the feed. It takes time and skill to create imagery and videos that really work. Here are a few pointers to consider when creating your visual content:

  • Avoid overused stock imagery: There’s nothing worse than seeing multiple brands using the exact same images across social media. Not only does it lack personality, but users won’t remember who you are. Where possible, use your own imagery or create graphics to support your posts that are on brand and unique.
  • Test what works: Whether it’s short, energetic videos, single high-quality images, multiple images in one post or graphics, test what works! This is the only way to understand what resonates with your audience. In an ideal world, a mixture of all formats is best as it keeps your feed looking fresh.
  • Optimise your imagery for SEO: Visual content can be used to drive traffic to your website and social media channels by tagging and using keywords that Google will recognise. It’s also important to tag your images using alt text which describes the image.
  • Use infographics: If you have more to share than just product imagery, infographics make a happy medium. They’re a great way of communicating information in a faster, more engaging way.

Visual content helps brands tell stories with impact. Tapping into the emotion can help drive deeper engagement that can set you apart from the competition. Make sure your visual content is always adding value and don’t use just for the sake of it.

It’s time to get social

Whether your aim is to increase brand awareness, build customer loyalty or boost conversions, the power of social media can be transformational to your marketing. If you’re struggling with your own social media challenges or need a hand figuring out which platforms are right for you, we can help. Our social media services span strategy creation, social media audits, creating action evoking content and everything in between. Find out more about what social media can do for you and how we work by getting in touch.