Life of a SMM professional involves multiple social media challenges they have to deal with every-single-day. It seems that they’re dealing with problems such as productivity, efficiency, content outreach and branding on a daily basis.
At some point or another, all of us at Planable worked as freelance social media managers before. I personally thought “it shouldn’t be this hard”. We couldn’t believe that problems in the workflow with our clients and troubles finding new ideas were our day to day challenges. And we understand how it is for you as well. We’re here to help.
In the following piece, we’ll talk about challenges social media marketers face and how to can solve them efficiently.
Challenge #1: There Is Never Enough Time
I know. It doesn’t matter how much time you put into a social media strategy, there is always something distracting you from the real work. Due to not enough clear deliverables, you end up having to constantly explain that you’re not just browsing Facebook for a living 😤 . It’s not easy to plan social media campaigns on Facebook directly, as there are always diversions that make you procrastinate.
It’s a battlefield out there when we have to fight notifications, a message from a friend or an adorable post of Watson and Kiko hugging.
I’ve gathered that organizing my week helps me understand what I want to achieve and actually get shit done. On Monday morning, I put down on a piece of paper my biggest priorities. I list things such as promoting the latest feature update, engaging with new followers, creating next week’s social media content calendar or reaching out to an influencer. Now, studies have shown some real and effective productivity hacks to solve these issues.
Organise your time more efficiently by planning several time blocks on your calendar for specific tasks, social media posts or campaigns that you’re working on at this moment. I’m personally using Google Calendar, and planning these blocks of time organizes my brain as well. It keeps me under constant focus to create awesome content for our team and make sure we deliver on time.
One more way to solve this social media challenge is mind mapping. If you’re more of a visual person, this will help you remember things better and focus on the most important problems that you have at the moment. The framework is simple – draw a circle and write “social media” in the middle of it. Then draw a few lines connected to the circle and split the main area of interest into tactics – content calendar, outreach, Facebook ads etc.
I found out about this by listening to a Coursera course on Learning How To Learn that I highly recommend. You don’t have to use any tools for that, a piece of paper is your pal.
Productivity Hack such as the Pomodoro technique is another way to fight social media problems. The Pomodoro technique is a 25 minutes slot of intense work/study, uninterrupted. This tactic allows you to get shit done, step by step. As proof, I’m writing this article in a few Pomodoro slots.
In between iterations, you can get yourself treats or bonuses, such as browsing social media, watching a Youtube video, getting yourself a chocolate or a refreshed glass of water, which I usually do. If you want to dive deeper into productivity hacks, we wrote another blog post on improving your efficiency as social media manager. You can use tools such as Pomodoro Time, Pomodoro Keeper or Fotrack.
Visually plan your social media campaign on a platform such as Planable. You can see how the content will look like, before publishing and keep everything in an organized digital content calendar. It will also help you collaborate on posts and easily schedule your whole week/month on all the social media channels, making sure everyone is on the same page. By using tools such as Planable you’ll save up to 20% of your time each month.
Challenge #2: Keeping in Touch With Customers
Social media is not just about posting and then waiting for results. Social is about Social. It’s about discussing and debating new ideas, looking for users to engage with and sharing feedback on your product/service. Not to mention asking what prospects are looking for next and what their desires are (which helps identify user personas).
Due to the complexity of what social media entails, the second common social media challenge is to be 24/7 connected. 24/7 connected to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Messenger, Emails is A LOT. I got tired just writing that list. It’s an entire universe that has the power to drive anyone insane.
We’d all love to be able to do customer support on social media in real-time. But if that’s not the biggest part of your role, your chances are slim. Trying to reply seconds later will make your day very hectic.
A plausible solution? Be realistic and put specific time blocks for this particular activity. For example – you’ll reply to customers every workday, between 2 – 3 PM. Managing a brand by yourself is complicated and as a social media manager, there are multiple responsibilities – content calendar, engagement, gathering the data, measuring results, looking for ideas and delivering on time.
Everyone should be able to have an input. You can easily improve the company’s culture by making everyone involved in the life of your product or service. And how better to do that then encouraging direct contact with customers and addressing their issues personally. It will help every part of your business be more connected to the brand and company, by understanding what customer’s main needs are.
How to organize the team? Simple – divide customer interactions per day and per team member. For example, Josh will reply to users on Monday, Monica will do the same on Wednesday and Tommy will answer the questions on Friday. Use the calendar above to not get confused and make sure everyone is accountable. On more thing to be aware of is the risk of miscommunication. To ensure it doesn’t happen – create a good training for anyone who starts to practice customer support.
Also, any customer management process that can be automatized and take repetitive chaotic tasks off your shoulders – do it. Use tools to get back important time. For example, if you have a membership business, choose a great membership management software like Wild Apricot.
Challenge #3: Providing ROI with Social Media
Convince and Convert says that measuring ROI was listed as one of the biggest social media challenges by almost 59% of digital marketers in 2017. Turning followers into customers, making money using SMM and making significant sales online is a frequent topic on the web.
Keep the performance reports of your social media campaigns connected to your goals and KPIs. Always keep track of your social media goals and adjust the tactics by looking into the budget spent vs the actual results. Do not look for generic goals, it’s always tailored individually to your agency, startup, company or brand. Before starting campaigns, define both the KPIs and the estimated results in order to know whether a campaign is going well or not.
You’ll have to constantly A/B test your campaigns for different audiences, based on age, location, interests, job title, and company.
Challenge #4: How to Be Different Than Your Competitors
In a place where competition is constantly breathing down your neck, it’s hard to be different and build your own identity. There are millions of companies always explaining to their customers how are they different from X or Y. We all know from history and experience that some of these fights never cease: Pepsi vs Coca-Cola, KFC vs McDonald’s vs Wendy’s or Zara vs H&M. They’ve all built a digital brand to specific markets and audience.
When you’re looking to build something better than your competitors you have to look at the personality of the company. You can look into the founder’s blog posts, podcasts he/she participated in, presentations they had, pitch decks available online, descriptions on forums, the way they speak about the company and what problems they’re actually looking to solve. What do you have that they don’t?
Provide excellent customer support. All studies show that customers leave after horrible customer support or because the company simply doesn’t care about them. As a social media manager, you have to be nice to your users, website visitors, and clients. It will make a difference, believe me. Especially, when you’re a small growing brand. People will love and remember the attitude you had towards them. This will make a difference.
Challenge #5: The Constant Decrease of Organic Reach
Facebook is growing like crazy each month and reached more than 2.2B users by April 2018. With the unbelievable amount of content produced on each social media channel, it’s hard for a brand to keep all of their audiences engaged. Especially since they have to guess and win the constantly different content algorithms. Social media networks are becoming a Pay 2 Play instrument for brands to promote their products or services.
As users welcome the new algorithm updates that make sure irrelevant content stays out of their screens, the life of digital marketers becomes increasingly difficult. Social media challenges are hard to overcome. Over the last few years, we’ve seen a drop in organic reach year by year. Forgotten are the days when users would see all the posts of their beloved brands. Now brands are reaching only 2-3% of their total audience on Facebook.
How to solve this social media challenge? There’s no quick win here. Throwing money at Facebook won’t solve the issue.
It puts more importance on collaboration in 2018. Brands have to work better with their digital agencies and social media teams for better content. With collaboration, you can easily exchange feedback, give ideas, brainstorm ideas and understand how to avoid fuck ups like Pepsi once had. Working side by side with all of your teammate plus good collaboration will save you time and improve the ROI of the brand.
All social media marketers have challenges, and not only they’re likely here to stay but new ones are waiting around the corner. You’re probably not gonna solve most of them tomorrow, but in time things get easier and less frustrating. Digital marketing is an exciting industry to be part of. It’s important to remember that you need to know your audience, channels, voice and what you’re passionate about. Doing this will help you concentrate on things that matter most.
Make sure that you’re creating content that users want to engage with. Follow the solutions we wrote above and it will help you avoid common social media challenges that are pulling you back.