One of the Biggest Social Media Challenges (and How to Fix It)

What’s the biggest challenge that social media marketers face?

Go ahead. Take a guess.

According to Social Media Examiner’s 2015 Industry Report, social media marketers want to figure out which tactics work (biggest challenge) so that they can better engage their audiences (second biggest challenge).

As we look at the report, it’s not surprising to see tactics on the list. They have long been a concern of social media marketers. Worrying about audience engagement, on the other hand, is a more recent concern. (In 2010, engagement wasn’t even in the top three, and now, it’s the second biggest concern.)

Why are marketers suddenly interested in engagement? And what can social media marketers do about it? Let’s take a look.

Why Are Marketers Concerned about Engagement?

1. Content Overload

It’s hard to stand out on social. According to the Social Media Marketing Industry Report in 2015, 97% of marketers use social media. With so many marketers on social, just imagine how many messages bombard buyers every minute of every day.

Can’t fathom that? Luckily, Domo has done a study on internet activity. It turns out that, every minute, Twitter uses tweet 277,000 times, Facebook users upload 2,460,000 pieces of content, and YouTube users upload 72 hours of new video.

2. Shrinking Reach

In the social media marketing world, it is no secret that organic reach is falling. Brands now reach between 2% and 6% of their fans organically.

I don’t need to preach to you about how pathetic that is.

How Companies Have Dealt With This Problem

Faced with declining reach and content overload, many companies have slapped a Band-Aid on this problem. Instead of trying to think of new ways to promote community and reach buyers, they’ve succumbed to the pressures of social networks.

Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter have marketers exactly where they want them. Companies are investing large amounts of money in paid advertising.

In the U.S. alone, social media ad spend topped $8.5 billion in 2014, and Business Insider estimates that the number could reach $14 billion by 2018.

In other words, it will become more expensive to reach more buyers. Marketers have to ask themselves if that’s a game they want to play.

The Problems with Social Advertising

1. Lack of Trust

If you plan to reach your audience through advertising, you have a problem on your hands, and it’s not just a monetary one. Buyers are savvy. They know an ad when they see one, and they don’t necessarily like them.

Nielsen has found that only 48% of people trust social media advertisements. People trust ads in newspapers and magazines more than they trust ads on social networking sites. Heck, they even trust ads on radio more.

So, what’s the point in spending hefty sums of money on social media advertising if only a few people will trust your ads?

2. Lack of Control

When you choose to advertise on a social network, you are at the mercy of the network’s algorithms. Sometimes, these algorithms work. Sometimes, they don’t.

Nielsen, for example, wanted to promote a webinar recording, so they created some Twitter ads. Where did those ads end up? On adult-themed profiles. That’s not exactly the reputation that Nielsen wanted to cultivate, I’d imagine.

Solution: Employee Advocacy

Forward-thinking companies are taking a different approach to their social media marketing. They are empowering their employees to act as advocates on social media: to share marketing messages, to increase engagement, and to drive sales.

Why does this solve several of the problems listed above?

1. Authentic Human-to-Human Interactions

It’s awkward speaking with a company on social media. Sure, brands have personalities, but those personalities are contrived. Corporate social accounts do not have a name or face, and many times, their messages are automated.

By empowering your employees to be active on social media, you remove a layer of awkwardness, and you replace it with a layer of authenticity. Your potential buyers can interact with flesh-and-blood humans — the people who are behind the company.

And believe it or not, buyers value this kind of interaction.

2. Real Trust

Buyers trust the recommendations of friends, family members, and colleagues. While only 48% of people trust ads on social media, 84% of people trust recommendations from people they know.

If you are not encouraging your employees to act as marketers on social, you are missing a tremendous opportunity. By constantly growing their connections, by demonstrating their expertise in their niche, and by speaking about your products and services, your employees build rapport with potential buyers.

Also, because your employees have connections with their followers, they can deliver highly personalized messages to potential buyers. And ultimately, that’s what buyers want. They are tired of messages that are blasted en masse across social.

Want to Learn More about Employee Advocacy?

Check out Employee Advocacy 101: The Rise of the Employee Marketer, and learn how to engage your audience on social media today!

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