Brands of every shape and size struggle with these challenges in social media: lack of resources, low engagement rates, siloed channel strategies, and low revenue generation. Whether working in-house for a single brand or at an agency working across several brand partners, as marketers, we feel the impact of these challenges in our daily efforts. However, our biggest concern should not be how these challenges impact our work lives. What we should focus on is how such challenges are perceived by customers.
Let’s take a look at how these issues play out for customers and find solutions to resolve these problems, regardless of the industry, product, services, or audience segments you or your company may currently be working with.
Problem 1: Lack of Resources
A lack of resources for social media can result in a number of different customer concerns. Most importantly, it can create slow response times on support issues for your customers. When customers can’t get a response from a brand via traditional support channels, they often turn to social media. Customers have learned that this public forum elicits a response more quickly than traditional methods. If you are unable to provide timely support due to a lack of resources, even a simple response stating that you’re looking into the issue, you can create a negative feedback loop.
Solution 1: Create a Response Plan
Even with limited resources, thoughtful and diligent preparation for how to handle customer support can help make the process more smooth and thorough. A well-thought-out response plan should include:
- Messaging guidelines
- Decision trees
- Responsible parties from various departments
- A chain of command for expediting customer questions or concerns
It takes some work upfront to put all this information together, but the efficiencies and organization it offers will be worth it in the long run.
Problem 2: Low Engagement Rates
When a brand is experiencing low engagement rates on social media, it’s often because it is providing little value to its customers, resulting in a noisy din of messaging with little substance behind it. Using social media as push medium – a one-way communication channel to blast a brand message with little consideration for what the consumer wants – at best, results in being ignored. At worst, it incites a spurring of negative comments.
Solution 2: Know Your Customers
Use data and consumer insights to learn who your customers are. Understand what your customers’ pain points and desires are, and study how they behave in digital environments.
From there, you can determine the kind of content that’s going to be most useful and therefore, less noisy. Even if your goal with social media is to sell products rather than to raise awareness and build community, you still need to know about your audience to comprehend its preferences for learning about, viewing, and ultimately buying these products.
Problem 3: Siloed Social Media Channels
When social media channels are managed independently of each other, it creates an inconsistent and unbalanced perception of the brand. When fun and friendly Instagram posts don’t complement the curt, formal Facebook comments, a customer might wonder if this is even the same brand they are engaging with. Additionally, promoting a sale or discount on one platform, like Facebook, and neglecting the others, such as Instagram or Twitter, does a disservice to your customers. This ultimately limits the effectiveness of your campaigns.
Solution 3: Create a Content Strategy
To create consistent messaging and a steady experience with your brand, you need a content strategy that is fed by your broad digital strategy. Even if you have different staff members managing Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and your blog, they should all be tied together in a larger plan that establishes the proper messaging, cadence, and content format for each channel. This helps to create consistency, not only in messaging, but also activity frequency and response rates.
Problem 4: Low Revenue Generation
Despite what many people may think, it is possible to drive revenue with social media. Mind you, this is rarely at the levels of paid search or email, but social does drive sales and at a faster growing rate than other marketing channels. According to Business Insider, revenue generated from social media channels was up 26 percent last year, compared to 16 percent for the overall U.S. e-commerce market.
For customers, this challenge is often interpreted as any and all of the issues presented above. Brands looking to primarily use social media as a revenue engine may ignore customer questions and push messages with little value. They may not follow a larger communications strategy because each channel is desperately trying to hit their numbers. This results in diverging messages and experiences.
Solution 4: All of the Above
In order to make social media revenue more of a reality, a detailed, well-formed strategy that considers the consumer’s mindset and needs is required. This strategy should also include ways to effectively identify and address these nuances. When you understand where social media fits into the consumer journey and determine the right content, messaging, and channels for each stage, you can improve conversion rates for each channel.
Turning the spotlight on your customers, as opposed to fixating on obstacles with your brand or internal teams, can provide a better comprehension of what the true problems are. This level of insight will give you a clear idea of how to fix them.
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