Overcoming challenges and succeeding on social media

It's crowded on social media, but it's an important part of modern business. Here's what companies are struggling with and how to win in the digital age.
20 September 2018

Social media is a big challenge. Source: Shutterstock.

Succeeding on social media isn’t the easiest thing in the world, especially as the digital world gets crowded. Everyone is vying for attention and standing out is increasingly difficult.

However, as the wise said: When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

True, there are quite a few obstacles and challenges to winning big on social media, but it’s something companies can’t afford to give up on. Instead, they must work harder, learn faster, and make every effort to do better — because social media is where all of today’s business happens — be it B2C or B2C.

According to a recent survey by Hootsuite, companies are expanding their social presence to include more networks and profiles, and to drive business results across a broad spectrum of initiatives beyond marketing.

In fact, 87 percent agree that social media is important to staying competitive and 80 percent report that social media is more important to their business and customers than it was last year.

Hootsuite also found that 67 percent of respondents agreed that social media will increasingly contribute to their company’s bottom line, with more than 54 percent of them agreeing that social has moved outside the marketing team — assisting with customer support and recruitment efforts.

Based on the findings of the report, here are some common obstacles that organizations face:

# 1 | Measuring return on investment in social

Most businesses across the world find it difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of social media investments — 58 percent of respondents said they find it difficult to say whether or not their social media campaigns are working, while 50 percent struggle with understanding and interpreting social data.

Only 34 percent of organizations report that they measure social ROI.

Organization size, however, does not seem to play a significant role in whether or not it measures social ROI.

According to experts, using an effective measurement framework helps build a case for greater investment in social media and specific social media programs, and can also boost the effectiveness of social initiatives.

# 2 | Integrating social media across the organization

Social media is now playing a bigger role in initiatives beyond just marketing. As a result, organizations are finding it tough to coordinate larger and more distributed social teams, and to manage a growing number of social profiles.

Forty-two percent of respondents report finding it challenging to effectively coordinate social strategy across multiple departments—and in enterprise organizations, that number rises to 60 percent.

Hootsuite’s survey found that a coordinated social media strategy and collaboration across departments were lacking in most organizations.

Forty-two percent of companies find developing a global strategy a challenge, while 46 percent struggle to tie social to business goals and 37 percent experience poor cross-department coordination.

While social media is still managed centrally, most of the resources and expertise can be found in just a single team.

Larger organizations are less likely to centrally manage all of their social activities, giving departments more control over how they use social for their own purposes and objectives.

To overcome this, companies need to take a collaborative approach and adopt a coordinated social strategy that ensures a consistent approach to social media governance, content creation, campaign execution, measurement, and other social priorities. This is especially true for larger enterprise organizations.

# 3 | Time and resource

According to Hootsuite’s survey, 56 percent of organizations said they are strapped for time when it comes to managing social effectively, while 51 percent said their social media budget could be better.

With companies finding it challenging to measure social ROI, it’s no surprise that it’s also difficult to convince executives to allocate more budget and resources to social media teams.

As we’ve seen, declining organic reach across some social networks is highlighting the importance of social advertising and high-quality content in enabling organizations to maintain an effective presence on social media.

While budgetary challenges are consistent across the world, there are small regional differences when it comes to time management: lack of time is seen as a bigger challenge for companies in the US than in the Asia Pacific and Latin America.