5 New Social Media Challenges to Overpower in 2020
**Originally published April 22nd, 2019. Updated January 23rd, 2020**
Social media platforms seem to be changing and evolving at lightning speed. At the same time, selling online has become a bustling yet complex market, where today customers not only seek but expect attention and service on social media. Maintaining a balance on social media with a brand’s marketing efforts has very much become one of the biggest challenges for a social media marketer in 2019.
Social media managers know that influencer marketing – in conjunction with social media content creation – provides an effective online vessel for extensive reach, including the benefit of direct interaction with customers. But while social media marketing is a highly effective strategy for reaching and engaging with customers, it also comes with more than its fair share of challenges.
Competition on social media has never been more fierce than the present. It’s substantially more difficult for a social media manager to derive valuable returns from social media marketing if they are not adjusting to the industry in real-time. Overcoming the challenges that shifts within the industry take a level of focus that some may say borders on obsession. But while there are numerous challenges that a social media manager faces in today’s sometimes volatile marketplace, here are 5 that we think are worth noting. Let’s break them down, and discuss ways to overpower them in 2020 and beyond.
Challenge#1: Algorithm changes
Beginning back in early 2018, when the Facebook algorithm change was implemented, brands have seen an unprecedented decline in organic reach. And it’s not in the sense that the media is just falling upon deaf ears in an oversaturated social space. It’s worse. Simply put, content posted on brand pages is just flat out no longer reaching the eyes of their followers. It’s buried deeper in the feeds of their followers than the treasures of Atlantis.
This is an issue that has only continued to compound. Reach was already suffering before the major algorithm shift in 2018. According to the Buzzsumo Content Trends Report 2018, social sharing had already been cut in half since 2015 based on a sample of 100 million posts published in 2017. These results have left many businesses unsure of how to once again connect organically with their target audiences on Facebook. So what do brands need to do?
Overcoming the challenge: Create content that generates authentic conversations
If your brand’s organic reach on social has dramatically fallen (and likely it has), and you are no longer achieving the engagement numbers you once were, don’t panic. There are numerous strategies that you can implement to improve your brand’s organic reach performance, despite these crushing algorithm changes.
Facebook itself has stated that “the type of content produced and how people interact with it” are key elements in determining a Page’s reach. While there are plenty of cynics who question the validity of that statement, there does seem to be enough correlation to lend the notion some merit. Therefore, emphasizing an increased focus in creating quality content that generates conversation and interactions between followers is your best defense.
Engaging content (and even more importantly, shareable content), will boost the engagement actions your brand needs to begin moving back up the ladder of consumers’ social feeds. This is both a short term and long term play, as the process requires time and consistency to build its engagement and show results. But getting your brand and product in front of consumers will always remain top of mind, and this is the ideal place to start in your response to these sometimes crippling algorithm shifts.
Challenge#2. Measuring ROI
Social media marketing is a hot topic of conversation, especially when the word ROI comes into play. Marketers are constantly evaluating their techniques and strategies to more effectively measure their success…or at times, their failures. The topic itself is arguably the most challenging aspect of being a social media marketer in today’s environment.
Overcoming the challenge: Identify your KPI’s and customize your analytics
Identifying your key performance indicators is the foundation of measuring ROI in this ever-changing market. You have to compare your social media goals to the overall goals of the business. Then you must compare with competitors, of course, to see how you measure up….set up all your analytics. This time-consuming process is seemingly endless, especially when you typically want these data sets on a daily and weekly basis.
No need to fear, there is an easier way. There are now hundreds of social media management tools available in the marketplace, many with niche and specialized tools and data sets to fit the needs of specific types of businesses. With the help of one of these, or better yet a social media management agency, you will be able to get the required information in the palm of your hand. It can also help with a lot of the heavy lifting associated with preparing and publishing a stream of social content across all your companies platforms.
Challenge#3. Getting noticed in overcrowded feeds
As we touched upon earlier, getting noticed on social media – and even getting your content to appear on your followers feeds, to begin with – has become an increasingly difficult task. And even if your content is appearing organically in your audience’s news feeds, or you are achieving reach in a paid capacity, ensuring its engaging content is perhaps one of the more difficult challenges of today.
So what can you do to stand out?
Overcoming the challenge: Content, Content, Content
To make a real impact on social media, you have to be very active and engaging. Moreso so now than ever before. Utilizing social features like Stories to enhance viewership and build a relationship with your audience is paramount. The popularity of video on social media is growing at an exponential rate, so leveraging this trend is much less luxury and insular focus today and much more necessity for attaining and maintaining brand relevance on social media. With numerous video formats to choose from (live streams, Stories, GIFs, etc.), there are always ways to keep your content fresh and appealing to viewers.
Another huge reason behind the growing trend in videos is that they greatly increase user-to-user interactions, which provides substantial benefit in regards to ‘feeding’ the updated Facebook News Feed algorithm. Peer to peer interactions, especially when done consistently, is sure to boost you back up int0 users content feeds, where you can also hope to reap the aggregate benefits of the algorithm boost as well.
Challenge#4. Increasing audience engagement
Social media isn’t going anywhere, and it’s established itself as a viable, if not preferred, source of communication for people. Therefore, it’s now used highly by brands to interact with fans and potential customers. And with this increased use of social media, marketers face the challenge of finding ways to connect with their audience to increase engagement; which is far more than just liking and sharing posts. It’s about building authentic relationships. Which leads us to the solution.
Overcoming the challenge: Create a conversation around your brand
Produce engaging content that gets the attention of your audience, and further pushes them to like it and share it. Ask questions, perhaps even run polls in your brands’ Instagram Stories to get people talking, and sharing their feedback about your brand. Engaging your audience in conversation and sharing great social content (text, video, and images) is a surefire way to get followers to start getting the word out and also getting their friends and peers to engage with your brand organically.
You can also then control the tone and voice around your brand on social media, which is crucial in maintaining control of your brand image. Social media is the place where people talk, express themselves, and speak their minds. You want to have a positive influence on any of their thoughts or opinions on your brand.
Challenge#5. Establishing Trust and Transparency
In many ways, 2018 was a year of tribulations for social media platforms and users alike. The disclosure of Facebook’s user data leak to Cambridge Analytica, the surge in fake news, and a notable spike in data manipulation not only shook people’s faith in their cyber-safety and online privacy; it also made them wary of trusting the platform as a whole.
Today, Facebook users are far more careful about sharing their information then they were before the scandal, and understandably so. So how do you avoid falling victim to a similar downfall and establish a level of trust and transparency with your customers?
Overcoming the challenge: Be honest and always obtain consent
Edelman’s 2018 Trust Barometer Report noted that ‘60% of people no longer trust social media companies.’
Regaining customer trust is a priority for just about every brand or entity that participates in any data related activity on social media. So by establishing transparent and honest strategies for tasks like data collection and usage, sponsored social media content, and paid social media marketing methods, you help to restore that trust once again with your customer base. Obtain explicit opt-in consent from customers if you intend to use their data for anything, especially retargeting. Use customer advocacy to enhance your brand image and win over potential customers.
But above all, it can’t be stressed enough…deliver consistent, high-value content with each interaction, and both your prospects and current customers will feel more compelled to share their information with you.
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