stressed social media marketing manager

3 Common Challenges in Social Media Marketing


Each time I deliver a two-day workshop on Facebook and Twitter for Marketers, I take away some new observations and insights from fellow marketers.

This most recent class I delivered December 7/8 in San Diego was comprised of 18 marketers from a cross-section of industries ranging from universities, retail, banking, government, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, healthcare, and publishing. These marketers were focused on B2B and B2C nearly equally.

3 Social Media Marketing Challenges

The three most common social media marketing challenges discussed during this class were:

#1: Producing Content

No one can convince me that a business or organization lacks content to produce and share online. Content production is one of the two strategic pillars of social media marketing.

The most common challenge in social media marketing is for a business to get cooperation from its team members to contribute content. I have referred to this as getting more rowers in the boat.

The advice I gave this class is to educate internal team members on the impact of being a content producer on their own personal brand, and the contribution each one can make to produce sales opportunities through their content. I suggested they tap into someone as a “head bowling pin.” In other words, if this person’s content is well received then others will take notice and say “Hey, I want in on this action!”

Once some momentum is created with a few people, the list of contributors can grow. Before you know it, you’ve created an editorial calendar of content with lots of people contributing. That’s the end game in producing content for a social media strategy.

#2: Being Relevant

Truth be told, these are not the words used by class attendees to describe this challenge. But, this is what I heard consistently as a challenge in social media marketing. It’s one thing to produce content but how do you produce content that is relevant to your target audience?

We discussed the content marketing strategy process we use at Find and Convert where we map out the target audience into a matrix by persona and pain point. When you literally illustrate your audience in matrix listing columns by persona label and pain point attributes under each one, you can easily identify relevant content for each of them. This approach ensures you can create a content strategy that is relevant to your target audience.

#3: Management Comprehension

Once again, these are not the words used by my class attendees. To be more blunt about it, I’m referring to the “get it” factor.

When management doesn’t understand social media marketing, they can have unrealistic expectations. I stressed the importance of clearly defining goals that align with management’s goals and reviewing them in a documented format with management. The absence of such alignment can be a risk of failure if the marketing team is marching to the beat of their own drums disconnected from management’s goals.

Equally important is to educate management on the realistic metrics that will illustrate progress on the written goals. One goal we discussed as an example during class is improving customer service. One way to measure the results for this goal is to measure the impact on traditional call center customer service. If call volumes go down, or the time per call goes down, these improvements can be attributed to effective online customer service.

Another is to measure the frequency of positive mentions online by customers when they have a positive customer service experience. The types of activities and details measured in social media are often different than what management has measured in the past.

Align Goals with Your Social Media Strategy

Getting management alignment on the front end is necessary to have harmony when reviewing the progress of the social media marketing plan.

While this two-day class was all about how to use Facebook and Twitter for Marketing, the strategic discussions we had about social media marketing strategies helped put the tactics into a healthy perspective.

If you have a “Facebook strategy” or a “Twitter strategy” are they positioned with an overall marketing strategy that aligns with management’s goals?

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