The world wide web is brimming with numerous success stories about social media marketing. On the surface, it seems like everyone has aced social media.
The average retweet rate for a single for a single tweet, for example, is 1690.46! Statistics say that a good engagement rate on Instagram is 4.7%. That’s easy to achieve given that using even one hashtag can fetch you 12.6% engagement. Posting regularly and consistently is enough to keep your follower count increasing.
One cannot justify social media marketing ROI using numbers achieved on vanity metrics. That’s not how success with social media is supposed to look like anymore. Even Lil’ Bub has 1.4 million followers on Facebook! Social media marketers can do better, we suppose.
With nearly half of the world’s population now actively using social media there is a sea of untapped potential.
What holds most marketers back to tap into it are the many challenges that they are faced with.
New social channels sprout everyday. Old channels are witnessing a dramatic change in usage based on demographics. Facebook, which was once the most popular channel of engagement for people in their mid-20s is now largely used by people who are over 60 yo.
No wonder, it is extremely taxing for digital and social media marketers to keep up with the shifts happening in the social media landscape. The only thing that can keep them afloat is understanding the challenges facing them. We talk about five such challenges in the following section.
- Steady decline in organic reach
Social media channels are choked with content. Every single day, over 500 million Tweets are shared on Twitter. And, nearly 95 million photos and videos are uploaded on Instagram.
This over-saturation of content has made marketers come face-to-face with the challenge of diminishing organic reach. Research has even predicted that there will be a time when there will be no place for content that hasn’t been paid for.
Rising above this challenge:
Continuing to share content that was once giving results might not be a good idea. Monitoring your social media performance will give you a complete picture on what is working and what is not. Dig into analysis tools. Is there a noteworthy trend? Probably, video content is working better than before. Maybe, meme’s are winning a lot of engagement.
- Identifying the right channels for reach and engagement
Most marketers today are faced with the challenge of understanding which channel will win them maximum engagement from their target audience. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Whatsapp, Snapchat – there are too many platforms that can be leveraged. Each of them, however, serves different purposes.
Additionally, the social landscape is undergoing a massive change. Demographic and usage profiles for different social channels have undergone a makeover too.
We’ve discussed how Facebook’s usage for youngsters has consistently declined since the past five years. Pew’s research points out that in 2013 around 94% teenagers used Facebook. The number, today, has come down to a mere 50%.
For marketers, this means, continuously studying the changing trends, being proactive, and quickly adapting to newer channels of communication and engagement.
Rising above this challenge
All answers lie in demographic and social media usage statistics. Marketers should be up-to-date with demographic data. They should not ignore insights that location demographics, age & gender demographics, and income demographics unleash.
Instagram demographic data, for example, bring out that:
- 43% of people using instagram are females
- 72% of people who use Instagram are 13-17 yo
- 46% are from urban areas
These insights will give you a clear picture on whether people within your target audience are actively engaging on the channels you are planning to use. It doesn’t make any sense to amass hundreds of followers on Instagram if your target audience isn’t even visiting the platform twice or thrice a day.
2. Making people share content with others
Creating content that wins the right audience and cuts through the noise is undoubtedly challenging. It is, however, only a small fraction of social media marketing. The real problem lies in making people share, re-share, and promote content on the platforms.
Most people end up only ‘liking’ photos that have been posted on instagram. Tweets are largely re-tweeted. How do some Tweets then get ahead and win comments, which a more meaningful form of engagement, on them? How do you win people’s involvement?
Rising above this challenge
A study by The New York Times revealed that the social media game is all about creating relationships. People in the study mentioned that they share and engage with social media content that they think will add value or entertain others.
Focusing on adding value for and an emotional connect with users helps create content that has the potential to go ‘viral’
Adidas #MYNEOSHOOT was a tremendous hit social media marketing campaign run on Instagram. The target audience for Adidas showed tremendous interest and engagement in this campaign because they were emotionally vested in it. Followers were asked to create content for the campaign, and the best of them, were invited for a professional shoot.
The campaign generated nearly 71,000 mentions for the hashtag MYNEOSHOOT and gained 41,000 new followers for the brand. This is the kind of creative boost that wins meaningful engagement and promotion for content.
3. Getting footfall on your website and actual sales
Thousands of followers on Instagram or Facebook do not depict anything about actual sales. What are the chances that people sharing food recipes from a Youtube channel are actually buying ingredients from the eCommerce merchant who owns and runs that channel?
Getting followers is one thing, getting them to engage is another, and finally to get them to buy is a whole different ball game.
Rising above this challenge
People trust what other people are saying about a brand or company. When a friend or any person within a social circle shares content, it is considered credible. That’s why using your brand advocates to fetch more traffic and sales for your business never fails. Therefore, try out referral marketing. Going by numbers:
- Customers acquired through referrals spend 200% more than the average customer
- Lifetime Value of a referred customer is 25% higher than others
- Those acquired by referrals are 18% more loyal than others
In the words of Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook:
“People influence people. Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message. A trusted referral is the holy grail of advertising.”
Marketers should leverage this ‘trust’ to acquire more subscribers, and sales. Read this Birchbox case study to know how companies can use social media referral marketing to increase subscriber count.
4. Measuring the ROI on social media marketing
Attributing your wins and sales to social media marketing can be puzzling. Not every activity or campaign directly translates to revenue.
It is a continuous game of building an audience base, creating meaningful engagement, keeping their interests alive, retaining them long-term, and turning them into advocates. There is hardly any ‘direct’ focus on sales and conversions.
For 55% of marketers social media ROI is a top concern or challenge today! While marketers study metrics like followers, engagement, and shares, very few are actually able to dig deeper into metrics like conversion rates (21%) and amplification (16%).
Rising above this challenge
Attribution is a major hurdle. To overcome this challenge marketers should always track social media interactions using UTM parameters, and call-to-actions. Have landing pages linked to your social media posts and campaigns, and measure conversion rates on them.
Creating goals and funnels helps streamline the attribution process. It is a tedious task, nonetheless, a fool proof one.
Make use of free and paid tools to ease reporting troubles. BufferAnalyze, Zohosocial, SocialBakers, Cyfe, BuzzSumo – the list is endless. Regularly tracking and analyzing data on the defined KPIs keeps attribution troubles at bay.
Challenges and hurdles in social media marketing are a blessing in disguise for enthusiastic marketers. And, although it might seem overwhelming to match pace with the shifting trends, with a well-thought out strategy marketers can work things out in their favor.