Solving the 5 Most Common Social Media Marketing Challenges

Today, there are 2.307 billion active social media users around the world. That’s nearly one-third of our planet’s total population of 7.125 billion!

As social media marketing professionals, we’re lucky to reach even .000001% of that population with any one of our posts. This can feel a bit underwhelming for businesses and marketers looking to demonstrate the true value and ROI of social media.

Everywhere we look it appears that brands and companies have it all figured out on social media. With each new post to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter comes thousands of likes, comments, and shares.

Even Grumpy Cat has earned more than $100 million dollars since 2012!

This leaves the rest of us wondering, “What are we not doing right on social media?”

We’ve experimented, made mistakes, and even learned a little bit in the process. From that, we’ve put together a playbook on solving the 10 most common social media marketing challenges.

social media challenges, social media

Let’s jump in!

1. Authentic connection with the audience

We’ve been seeing a massive shift in what it means to be effective on social media over the last few years. One challenge that marketers are facing in this new era of social media marketing is connecting with audiences on an individual and personal level.

Connecting with your audience helps to humanize your brand and build real, authentic relationships.

Solving this challenge: 

Connect with your audience by utilizing free or low-cost brand monitoring tools such as Buffer ReplyMention, or TweetDeck and respond to every single comment on Twitter.

Monitor all additional social media channels and respond to each comment in an authentic way. You can do this by asking questions, linking to other blog posts, providing insights, or offering help with a problem.

You may also consider creating and growing a niche forum or group on Facebook or LinkedIn, or even creating your own dedicated community site similar to or GrowthHackers – this gives you the opportunity to engage with users as well as let them indulge their passions and connect with like-minded people.

2. Creating a social media marketing strategy

You may know what you want to accomplish and why, but without a social media marketing strategy, you won’t have a specific plan on how to get there.

Think of your social media plan as a roadmap to your goals – Sure, you can stop off and check out landmarks along the way (experimentation), but you’ll want to return to the road that gets you to your destination in the shortest time and distance (goals).

Solving this challenge: 

Creating a solid social media marketing strategy doesn’t have to take weeks to put together. For me, it helps to have 3 key things written down on paper:

  • Why we’re on social: Simply being active of social media channels for the sake of being there is one of the quickest ways to burn valuable time and resources. First, answer the question of ‘why’  your business is on social and what you would like to accomplish.
  • How we’re going to succeed: Next is to ask the question of how. This can be specific social channels, paid advertising budget, video or image creation, partnering with influencers.
  • How we’ll measure success: Key Metrics, Goals or OKRs that you would like to accomplish broken down into days, weeks, months, and the year. Breaking it down like this will allow you to focus on day-to-day activities while also keeping the big picture in mind.

3. A dramatic drop in organic reach

What worked in 2012 when organic reach on social was booming vs. what’s working now with the decline of organic reach has many social media managers scrambling to find tactics that work, including myself.

If growing your organic reach doesn’t seem to be working, there may be another solution.Solving this challenge: 

Marketers can overcome this obstacle by looking at the decline of organic reach as an opportunity in disguise. That opportunity is paid social media advertising.

Even if you only have $5 to spend on boosting a Facebook post or promoting a Tweet, putting a few dollars behind the content you’ve worked hard to create will effectively get that content in front of hundreds potential customers. Look for posts with high engagement but low reach as a good barometer for potential success.

Use a combination of Facebook Audience Insights and Twitter Audience Insights to learn about your audience and create personas. Once you have an idea of who they are, use those insights to create highly-targeted ads that will resonate with users.

4. Coming up with consistently good content

We completely understand. Managing social media is extremely time-consuming, and can become a full-time job. Which is why staying creative and original is one of the toughest social media marketing challenges to overcome.

The social media manager checklist seems to go on forever: curate, create, schedule, monitor, respond, update, and reuse content across several different social profiles.

That’s why it’s important for social media marketers to find little hacks to optimize their time.

Solving this challenge: 

Besides basic content curation and idea generation tactics like monitoring Facebook pages or scouring Buzzsumo and Quora for content, there are other less time-consuming tactics you can experiment with today.

Openness & Transparency: Some of our most popular content and social media posts are ones that feature an inside look into Buffer’s culture.

People love knowing that there is a “real person” behind the social media profile and by giving them a look into your company or brand you will evoke real human interaction.

Original graphics: We’ve also generated some excellent buzz by creating original graphics in Pablo or Canva and posting them to our social channels. This image, for example, received more than 100 retweets on our Twitter account in less than an hour.

To create it, we pulled stats from around the web and put them into a simple graphic, which only took about 30 minutes to create.

5. Content quantity over quality

For some brands, the way to cut through all of the noise on social media is to simply post more. While this tactic may work for some, for many it has the tendency to irritate followers.

The Next Web posts 30-40 times per day on Facebook due to the high amount of new content they’re putting out online. But many businesses who are creating less content may struggle to show value from more frequent posting.

Solving this challenge: 

An excellent way to think about the quantity vs. quality is to treat every piece of content—every tweet, every Facebook post, every CTA, every press outreach email—with the utmost care, as Leo explains in our Buffer marketing manifesto.

People will naturally follow your brand over time from posting great content, not posting morecontent.

Marketers can benefit from embracing the “everything matters” mentality when generating content for their blog, graphics for social media, and forums for connecting.