22 Experts Reveal Their Biggest Social Media Marketing Challenges

Jun 12, 2019 18 min read

Social Media is a simple yet extremely powerful tool supporting nearly every marketing objective from brand awareness to advocacy over the past few years. This value that social media offers, forces social media management teams to think more critically about their online marketing efforts as a whole.

However, despite all the potential social media has, marketers still struggle to fully embrace its effectiveness. 47% of marketers say that developing social strategies to support overall business goals is their number one challenge. And 22% of marketing leaders worry about their brand's social media strategy.

To understand what all challenges social media managers face and how do they deal with them, I reached out to my network of social media industry experts and asked them a simple question: What are the most significant pain points you face as a Social Media Expert in executing your day-to-day operations? And how do you overcome them?

Here's what they had to say.

  1. Lack of sufficient time to discover and create interesting content
  2. Targeting the right platforms and audience for maximum engagement
  3. Originality and lack of design resources
  4. Ensuring right sizes for social media graphics
  5. Keeping up with the ever changing world of social media
  6. Adopting a unique platform-specific approach
  7. Aligning social media strategies throughout different departments
  8. Staying up-to-date with latest trends on a daily basis
  9. Balancing the daily tasks
  10. Sorting across the most engaging content
  11. Getting to know your audience
  12. Limited social media budget
  13. Keeping up with the unwritten rules
  14. ROI on social media
  15. Scaling up the social media efforts
  16. Developing an effective social media strategy
  17. Dilemma of choosing between quality and quantity
  18. Managing and growing your community
  19. Tweaking the strategy for each social media platform
  20. Staying inspired, optimistic and consistently creating and executing strategies
  21. Lack of details from clients
  22. No proper funnel set

Lack of sufficient time to discover and create interesting content

Social media managers can face quite a few challenges in their day to day operations; or at least they do if they're not leveraging the right tools.

Time management, for example, is one of the most significant issues faced by marketers - there's never enough time to create the content needed, post it at the right time, research hashtags, get approval from managers and clients and so on.

And that is a big challenge - one that is only solvable by being super organized and by using the right social media management tools -- tools that help you plan your posts, create them quickly and schedule them on multiple accounts. And what's more, being organized is key: prepping your updates ahead of time, getting posts approved in time, ensuring you have extra content that you can use and so on.

Another huge challenge is, getting stuck and not being able to come up with great ideas in time. Because social media moves at such a fast pace, and you always need to come up with new ideas, this is entirely understandable. One way to solve this is to regularly brainstorm with your team and come up with multiple ideas in one go, as well as to follow similar accounts and influencers to help inspire you.

Lilach Bullock

Lilach Bullock

Social Media Specialist @ Lilachbullock

Statusbrew acts as a one-stop solution for all your problems. You can use Statusbrew to stand out from the competition by streamlining your publishing workflows, creating compelling content, and connecting with the right people. All in one place!

Targeting the right platforms and audience for maximum engagement

Social media is its own monster that needs care and attention to serve you in the way you intend (with the right strategy, of course). But even with the right goals and techniques to get there, managing social media accounts can still have its challenges:

Leverage each platform for maximum engagement
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn; they all serve a different purpose, and your audience utilizes them for a specific reason (even if it's subconscious). Finding ways to align those purposes with what the audience wants to see and engage with can be a game of trial and error.

Understand who your audience is and what they want to see
In comparison to public speaking, posting to social media is a curated effort and is tailored to a specific audience. Knowing who they are so that you can keep their interest can be difficult. It's about listening to them, too. It takes patience. Refrain from sounding the same in all your posts. Variety is the spice of life. It can draw new eyes to your content. But when it's a one-person show, it can be a challenge to be the voice for the hundreds of people in your company.

Bianca Pasare

Bianca Pasare

Social Media Manager @ G2 Crowd

Originality and lack of design resources

For me, one of the most challenging parts of social media management is coming up with new content ideas to stand out in the sea of sameness. It's easy to fall into a routine of repeating the same types of content (e.g., new blog post announcements, new course launches, upcoming webinar promotion, etc.) to keep up our social presence on multiple channels. There's a real challenge in curating new and out-of-the-box content.

That leads to another challenge I often face: lack of design resources. Our in-house design team is overloaded with design projects outside of social media, so finding and coming up with creatives is something that I often have to do on my own. This is time-consuming.

Lastly, organic social media is hard to measure. Given our industry (CRO, digital analytics, and growth), it's imperative that I'm able to clearly measure ROI on all of my efforts spent on social media and communicate that with data back to the team. Tracking engagement and other social KPIs are siloed into various social platforms. I've yet to find a tool that consolidates all of that data accurately into one central repository. This is a time consuming, manual process right now.

Kyndall Ramirez

Kyndall Ramirez

Growth Marketer @ Conversion XL

Statusbrew is a complete social media analytics suite that gives you a comprehensive view of all your social efforts and how your engagement translates into business success in one place.

Ensuring right sizes for social media graphics

Honestly, I think the biggest challenge I face right now is creating content that fits all social networks. Also, because I create so much visual content, making sure that a graphic will meet the different "recommended sizes" of each social network is a significant pain point.

Ryan McCready

Ryan McCready

Social Media Manager @ Venngage

Related: Read our guide on Social Media Image Sizes 2019 + Infographic

Keeping up with the ever changing world of social media

Probably the biggest challenge that I experience as a social media manager is keeping up with the latest updates of each social media platform because each update would impact our social media process. For example, when Twitter limited auto-cross-promotion of the same content/tweet on different twitter accounts, we had to think fast and act fast because some of the twitter accounts we handle won't have anything to post because of this. And don't get me started with YouTube Analytics, which changes almost every month. But you know, some of these changes are necessary and most of it we're thankful that it happened.

How do we overcome this? We have a good leader on our social media team, Vengreso CEO Mario Martinez Jr. who keeps us focused on what we need to do to find a solution... we meet.. we plan.. we execute. AND this is important... we are also fortunate to have a great social media tool, E clincher, who was able to adapt to these sudden changes. That's it.

Chamcham Gumin

Chamcham Gumin

Social Media Strategist @ Vengreso

Adopting a unique platform-specific approach

There are many challenges to daily social media management, but so many of them can be bundled together under the problem of creating meaningful content that ignites a spark with audiences across various social platforms. When you think about it, content that’s bright and fresh is what captures attention and gets people engaged. Coming up with content that effortlessly accomplishes this daily can be a struggle, especially once you start considering the nuances of each platform. The response you get to a post on Twitter might be completely different than what you receive on Instagram.

Fresh, meaningful content is what fuels interactions, which are necessary for gaining any traction out of a social media campaign. But how useful content is defined changes between audiences. Discovering how to reach, deeply engage and encourage audience interaction most effectively requires a platform-specific approach, even if it’s just in the minor details.

The solution begins with getting to know your audiences on a personal level, not just by their demographics. Then analyzing each platform separately, followed by looking at them all together for a more cohesive snapshot of who you’re reaching and who you’re missing the target with. Too often, assumptions are made about social media audiences, and it results missed opportunities.

Finally, going all in on varied content strategy – video, podcasts, blogs, infographics, memes, etc. – until you find what sticks and generates the engagement you’re looking for.

Tabitha Jean Naylor

Tabitha Jean Naylor

Aligning social media strategies throughout different departments

Another problem for any social media manager is getting other areas of the company to share what is happening in their business. Many do not see their day to day progress as newsworthy; but, it may very well be for the social media manager.

Social Media Managers often need to push to be invited to meetings for business development, operations as well as the more obvious sales and marketing meetings to be able to find opportunities to both help these other areas but also generate strong content for social channels. So many aspects of a business (from a company recycling program, the product launch date or even a new hire) can be essential and relevant for social media.

Getting team leads thinking of their ongoing business progress as potential social media posts take time but can be fun for everyone involved once you get that ball rolling. I have found that training employees from other business groups can help this.

My tip: push to get yourself invited to the meetings for each business sector and keep reminding teams of what could be social media relevant.

Lexi Mills

Lexi Mills

Managing Partner @ Shift6

Social media is continually changing, so one of the biggest challenges can be staying up to date with everything daily. This can be changes to one of the platforms, such as Facebook introducing a new algorithm or function, a client dealing with a community management issue or even just daily trending events in popular culture that warrant a reactive social post. Given how quickly space is evolving, this is almost a full-time job in itself and becomes a real balancing act alongside the more day to day tasks. Reactive content and posts are the other tricky bit of the job to balance, given that these often need to consider client sign-off time and design resource means they are always keeping you on your toes.

Hannah Thrope

Hannah Thrope

Business Director @ Found.

Balancing the daily tasks

As a social media manager, one of the biggest problems we face is balancing #allthethings that need to get done in a day. From scheduling social media posts, to creating graphics, to writing captions, to sending client reports - it can be tough to know which tasks to focus on. One thing that's helped me is time blocking. I create my client content in batches, and I work on specific tasks at specific times. This helps me stay super focused on what needs to be done, but it also allows me to do more with the time that I have. Since I'm spending my time block tuned into a particular task, I'm actually able to accomplish more in that higher concentration state.

Andrea Jones

Andrea Jones

Social Media Strategist @ Onlinedrea

Sorting across the most engaging content

Sorting across the most engaging content which can be scheduled for the social media pages is the big challenge for Social media managers today. With tons of content being published and shared across the social media platforms, it is hard for the managers to predict which content will be most engaging among their brand followers.

Social media managers need to practice with many sets of updates among their social media followers to test which post will be engaged by most of the followers. Now the organic decline in social media post is one more challenge among the managers.

Ankit Prakash

Ankit Prakash

Co-founder @ Aritic

Getting to know your audience

While social media managers have metrics for engagement, too often that extends only to company posts. But real engagement with your audience also involves getting to know them by interacting with them in the conversations they are already having on social media as well. And that takes time and commitment to do so! You can't just try to do 15 minutes of social listening per day and check the box on having been working on engagement.

Erika Heald

Erika Heald

Marketing Consultant @ Erika Heald Consulting

Limited social media budget

I believe that there are many challenges a social media manager faces in their day-to-day operations. I suppose the first one is probably internally always having to fight for more budget and resources, as the job of a social media manager might not be as highly valued as it should be. That aside, a social media manager is always challenged with creating or curating or finding content that is going to truly engage his or her audience and drive the results that's the company social media program is looking for. Unfortunately, or fortunately, if you are a multimedia content creator, the content that is needed is becoming overwhelmingly visual, and not just photos or even videos, but creative visual storytelling through stories. Of course, every social network algorithm becoming more and more pay to play over time creates an increasingly tricky atmosphere for social media managers to operate in, challenging them to be more creative and collaborative in the content they create.

Neal Schaffer

Neal Schaffer

Social Media Author, Consultant Speaker @ Neal Schaffer

Keeping up with the unwritten rules

I would say that keeping up with the rules, especially the unwritten rules, is the biggest challenge. On Facebook, it’s how to make sure your content gets seen by your friends and followers, as it’s hard to keep track of the algorithm. On Twitter, it’s how to keep track of the follow and unfollow limits and what number of each in what period will trigger a locked account. Related to that is the ebb and flow of followers. When you wake up to find your twitter account has lost 150 followers, that’s a pain point.

David Leonhardt

David Leonhardt

ROI on social media

To succeed and prove measurable ROI, Social Media Managers face these key challenges:

Need sufficient budget and access to business resources for

  • Technology and tools to monitor, schedule and engage on social media
  • Paid social advertising and influencer promotion
  • Headcount to respond and engage in real time across critical platforms 24/7
  • Ability to contact key management and legal executives when PR issues arise

Must have a documented social media plan to prove contribution to ROI. It must include defined social media goals, and social media tailored brand guidelines aligned with business objectives.

  • Track social media interactions using calls-to-action, UTMs, and targeted landing pages.
  • Encourage social media followers to join your audience on owned media, ideally by sharing their email address.
  • Support from sales and customer service to respond to visitors, prospects, and customers in a timely way. Includes cross-organizational training.
  • Have marketing team integration to provide relevant content, new social media presentations, additional content formats, and additional content transformations.
Heidi Cohen

Heidi Cohen

Chief Content Officer @ Heidi Cohen

Scaling up the social media efforts

I work with and speak to many social media managers, all around the world, as part of my role with Agorapulse, and in those conversations, the same issue keeps coming up.

How can I scale my effort?

Whether it's onboarding more clients or handling more social media activity or creating more content, the desire to grow, hindered by the lack of clones, is what's tripping folks up.

The solution is to get organized and implement more efficiencies. Document everything that you're doing and look for tools and faster tactics that you can use to save yourself time or outsource to other employees or contractors!

Imagine, for instance, a social media manager that's currently monitoring a Facebook Page, a Twitter profile, a YouTube channel, a LinkedIn Page, and an Instagram account. Every day they open all the tabs and routinely bounce back and forth watching for incoming comments or mentions or messages. What if, instead of that time-consuming, fallible manual method, they used a social media management tool that gave them a single place to check for everything? Wouldn't that savings in time and efficiency be worth a nominal monthly fee?

Yet too many social media managers see a monthly dollar amount and mistakenly think it's another cost, rather than an investment in their business.

Mike Alton

Mike Alton

Author, Blogger and Speaker @ The Social Media Hat

Developing an effective social media strategy

The biggest challenges social media managers are facing: developing a social media strategy, tracking social media ROI & knowing which social media platform to use.

I have seen many social media managers still struggle with developing a social media strategy for their clients; they should start by creating a list of social media objectives and goals. They are not able to track clicks, impressions & conversions for their client businesses; they lack in metrics.
Also tracking social media ROI & checking the brand presence of clients is a very daunting task for social media managers, you have listened to customers what they are speaking about your brand online on different social media channels. Using tools like Brand 24 can easily smoothen the process of tracking brand presence online.

Also, social media managers puzzled between which social channels to use to get maximum ROI, As the study says 66% of adults in the US use social media & 74% of consumers use social media to make a buying decision. Once you’ve established yourself on a social channel, use a great social media analytics tool to track engagement with your account and audience demographics. This will help social media managers to leverage the right social platform for their clients.

Jitendra Vaswani

Jitendra Vaswani

Social Media Specialist @ Bloggers Ideas

Dilemma of choosing between quality and quantity

It can be extremely challenging for a Social Media Manager to find time for everything – from coming up with content ideas to posting that content at the right times. There’s always the dilemma of choosing between quality and quantity. It’s even more challenging when there are limited resources to execute those ideas.

Social Media Managers may also face challenges in developing a unique voice for each client. Another huge problem is cutting through the noise and ensuring content visibility amidst all of the content from other users and brands.

Shane Barker

Shane Barker

Digital Marketing Consultant @ Shane Barker

Managing and growing your community

Underestimation of the challenge

SMM is not about posting things which seem catchy for you and waiting for the growth of sales. Media space is already overloaded, and people are tired of content, which is unusual for someone else. «The more, the better» principle doesn’t work in SMM, so be precise. If you want to attract your clients, you have to care about them, to know what bothers them. Therefore analysis, predictions, and awareness of current trends are your tools.

Working without strategy

You are supposed to move the company you work for from point A to point B. That’s called a strategy. If you don’t know where you are going, you will hardly be able to reach any particular result. So don’t turn your work into chaos — set the goal and define the steps. It will show you what channel to use, what content to choose, and when to post.

Lack of interaction

Mastering mechanism of Facebook and Instagram is an excellent skill, but some SMM-managers often forget that they work with people, and people like being heard. So there shouldn’t be a one-way communication. Talking to your subscribers, answering their comments will not only help you to understand your target audience better but will also make them loyal to the brand.

Ann Pyshna

Ann Pyshna

PR and Outreach Specialist @ Promo Republic

Tweaking the strategy for each social media platform

While there’s no ‘ONE’ thing that works on social, there are a few tried and tested methods a social media manager can use to get going. For example, having a theme for Instagram, using Twitter to spread awareness and Social Listening, Advertising on Facebook, and so on. However, the challenge comes when you’re trying to do all of this all at once.

Tweaking the strategy for each of the social media platforms I manage has been the most significant pain point for me so far. The reason is that you’re continually testing what works and what not! And you tweak things accordingly. This opens the doors to a lot more content ideas and the fact that you have to execute them. Here’s where the second problem comes in. Creating and managing these huge buckets of content. It’s not just images, graphics, and videos, but also blogs, infographics, snippets, and even podcasts in some cases. Figuring out the content distribution is, and possibly one the pain points that hurts the most.
If there were a Social Media Spider-Man, he’d say- “With a great strategy, comes great execution difficulty.” ?

Aditya Madan

Aditya Madan

Lead, Social Media Marketing @ Statusbrew

Staying inspired, optimistic and consistently creating and executing strategies

As a Social Media Manager, you wear a lot of hats. You're responsible for the entire process from coming up with ideas, planning to the execution and that's not something you do once in a while, you keep doing it, over and over again, sitting in front of a screen, thinking about new ideas, analyzing your efforts and keep it up no matter what. That's a part of the process that most of us enjoy. However, to keep the cup of inspiration flowing is easier said than done. Yes, there are ways to keep your Social media calendar filled up, but no, it's not easy to keep it interesting and compelling. The fact is you come up with 50 thoughts, 25 of which sound good only in your head, you try to execute 10 and only 1 or 2 actually work the way you'd thought. And then you repeat.

Staying inspired, optimistic, and consistently creating and executing strategies is hard. And you know, each platform works differently, so you NEED to think creatively for all of them. So now, we've added one more factor, and we need to create tailored-interesting-effective-content for OUR target audience ALL.THE.TIME.

But you know what, if it were easy, everyone would do it.

It's not about filling your Social Media calendar; it's about filling it with purpose.

Sneha Mehta

Sneha Mehta

Social Media Manager @ Crowdfire

Lack of details from clients

My biggest pain point is customers that do not share enough about their business for me to generate posts for. Some of the clients post the content on their personal social media pages but do not email or text me about these new developments in their business. Whether it be sale for a retail store or a new list for a realtor. Are social media managers supposed to be mind readers?

The more information a client can provide, the better a social media manager can help them. Often if clients can give a social media manager an hour or two a month to meet it greatly helps their social media marketing for the month.

Another pain point is the many changes that social media networks make to their platforms almost daily. I have Google alerts that alert to such changes, but I must be agile enough to change on the fly.

The last pain point is the expectation. I try to explain to clients that social media does not bring results to their business right away. It takes time to develop and generate an engaging audience. Sometimes, it can take 6 months.

Social media is a process and is about building relationships. That cannot happen overnight.

Lisa Sicard

Lisa Sicard

Social Media Marketer, Owner @ Inspire To Thrive

No Proper Funnel Set

The biggest challenge for a social media manager is having the proper funnel set up that you feed with your creative social posts. Sometimes there is just a lot of creativity being thrown out without a clear plan which often results in confusion and frustration of the results created.

David Reimherr

David Reimherr

Founder @ Magnificent

Wrapping it up!

We are grateful to all experts for taking out time to share their biggest pain points. Interacting with them helped us to develop a better understanding of what all difficulties they face as a social media manager on social media.

Our idea of compiling a list of these Social Media Managers and their pain points was to help you learn from the mistakes and identify opportunities and optimize your social media strategy in the best way possible.

We are hopeful that these social media tips would help you to grow your business on social media. Don't hesitate to share this post with your friends & followers who could get benefit from these social media tips.

If you have any comments on how any of these challenges can be dealt with, your experiences on social or anything else you'd like to share, feel free to drop a line in the comment section. We'd love to know!

Ritika Sharma

Ritika is a digital marketing specialist and a writer who works on putting together creative and useful content for Statusbrew. Other than this she's an adventure seeker and a photography enthusiast.

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