As more and more companies jump on the social media bandwagon, they’re beginning to realize that running an SMM (social media marketing) campaign isn’t always as easy as it looks. It’s not like you sign up on Twitter, send out a few meaningless Tweets, and then experience a sudden surge in business. Social media marketing requires a long term commitment, and the results are not always easy to measure.
Today, I want to talk about some of the challenges you’ll face when you start an SMM campaign. By knowing what you’re up against, you’ll be better prepared to avoid these common pitfalls.
• Finding the time—Personally, this is my biggest challenge. I run a one-man show, so it’s overwhelming finding the time to do all of my work plus staying active on social media outlets. But here’s the thing you (and I) have to realize: Marketing can never be placed on the backburner. It’s just as important as doing your actual work. Marketing should be something you do day in and day out. It’s the only way you’ll ever gain any attention and build a following on the social networks. I recommend scheduling time each day (maybe in 10 or 15 minute blocks a few times each day) for handling your SMM business. Consistency is key.
• Handling negative comments—This is usually the challenge that leads to a company spiraling out of control with their SMM campaign. Look, at some point, someone is going to say something about you or your company that you won’t like. It might be a comment on your blog or a random Tweet, but how you handle it will determine how successful you’ll be with your social media campaign. The thing is there isn’t really one set method of handling negative comments. For me, if the comment isn’t just pure hate, I take the time to respond thoughtfully, letting the person know I respect their opinion and asking them some well thought out questions. There’s nothing wrong with a polite conversation between two people who disagree. However, if the comment is just pure Internet hate, it’s probably best just to ignore it.
• Balancing personality with professionalism—This can be a tricky challenge to overcome. The whole point of social media is to be personable and to connect with your audience. This means you can’t come across as a corporate stiff shirt. However, you also don’t want to be too informal and risk creating a negative image for your company. My suggestion is to find a balance of the two. Obviously, you probably shouldn’t post pictures of yourself doing a body shot at the bar, but you also want to avoid sounding like a corporate robot. Simply put, just be yourself, but always proofread everything before you post.
• Staying committed for the long haul—Like I said at the beginning of this post, social media isn’t a quick fix. It’s something you need to stay committed to every day over the long haul. Unfortunately, many companies fail at this. They’re very passionate when they first start a Twitter profile or a new blog, but inevitably, a couple of months pass, and they gradually disappear. This usually happens to those who don’t set any actual social media goals and who are just blindly blogging and Tweeting away with no real purpose.
• Measuring SMM results—The value of SMM has always been debated. Some people claim that, since they don’t generate any physical business through their Twitter or Facebook account, SMM is a waste of time. Others say that social media is a great way to increase brand awareness, gain insight into your target audience, and build useful business connections. The reason most people have a hard time measuring results from their SMM campaign is because they don’t know what to measure. Is the goal of your campaign to earn more back links to your site? Is it to increase search position? Or are you simply interested in boosting your sales? By having a clearly defined purpose for your SMM campaign, you’ll be better able to measure your results.
What challenges do you face when using social media marketing? Share them with us the replies!