Overcoming Social Media Hurdles

10 Point Checklist to Conquer Barriers to Social Media Success

Social media continues to grow in importance. While over 90% of US businesses use social media, there are hurdles to maximizing its effectiveness.

Here are ten common social media hurdles businesses need to conquer and tips to help you achieve this.

  1. Requires senior management buy-in and support. In the early stages, social media can be handled as a test project outside of regular corporate protocol. Once you’ve proven that social media works, you need senior management to endorse its use and provide the necessary backing to mitigate potential internal challenges. Actionable Marketing Tip: Get senior management involved in social media to help how your organization is perceived. Over 80% of employees believe social CEOs are better leaders and more trustworthy according to Brandfog research.
  2. Needs ownership. Social media must be incorporated into your organization. For many organizations, this represents a change in how business has been done to-date. To ensure it’s effectively integrated into existing processes and procedures, it requires a champion. Actionable Marketing Tip: Determine who is involved in social media direction/changes. Take a broad approach. Think in terms of managers and/or departments and decide who the social media resources report to?
  3. Entails cross-functional support. Social media requires leveraging skills from across the organization where there’s functional specialization. Take the time to assess what diverse skills are needed including social media engagement, customer interaction, content creation, customer service, marketing support and legal. Actionable Marketing Tip:  Set up a process for determining appropriate skills and where they’re located within your organization. Understand integrating social media into your organization will require changes in processes therefore decide who will manage which aspects of the process.
  4. Needs a collaborative corporate culture. Done well, social media isn’t something you do on the side. Rather it needs to be integrated across your business. This requires eliminating the silos and building a cross promotional team(s). Actionable Marketing Tip: Consider how your employees are assessed and rewarded since changing this dynamic can motivate them to change their behavior.
  5. Involves resources, both staff and budget. Despite social media’s maturity, many organizations still would like to get some of that “free stuff”. That said, social media costs are significantly lower. According to Hubspot, inbound marketing, is over 60% lower in cost than traditional outbound marketing. And social media is part of inbound marketing. Further, social media can’t be something that employees do only when they have extra time. Actionable Marketing Tip: Determine where you can redirect resources that already exist in your current budget. (Here’s help making the case for social media.)
  6. Requires additional marketing to convert social media followers into customers. Similar to other forms of digital marketing, social media adds extra steps to the sales process. Often, it’s necessary to gather an email address or another interim step before you can better qualify leads and sales. Actionable Marketing Tip: When advertising on social media entities, send prospects to targeted landing pages where appropriate. Then gather their contact information and follow up with a relevant email or other communication. Where posible, test how effective your marketing is.
  7. Entails on-going nurturing and support. Unlike other forms of marketing, social media isn’t a onetime campaign that you complete and move onto the next promotion. Instead, social media requires continuous care in the form of maintaining an active, engaged social media presence and providing an on-going stream of fresh content. Actionable Marketing Tip: Plan for regular engagement. This can be a member of your marketing, communications and/or customer service department. Additionally, have a continuous flow of content available to post regularly. The use of a social media editorial calendar can help you accomplish this.
  8. Can be difficult to scale. Since many businesses start their social media involvement as a test on the side, it can be hard to integrate into the overall business plan and/or to get the appropriate people involved.  Actionable Marketing Tip: Assess how you can integrate social media into existing processes and positions. Don’t just assume that people will do additional work. Also create a social media editorial calendar to help develop new skills.
  9. May have an impact on brand and/or reputation whether or not you are present and active on social media.  While many business executives worry that having a presence on social media will result in PR firestorms, the reality is being active and engaged on social media will help you mitigate the impact of a PR flare up.  Actionable Marketing Tip:  Monitor the social media landscape using the most effective tools you can afford and analyze the results to be aware of any unresolved issues and to integrate them into an existing process to respond before they become bigger social media issues.
  10. Can be difficult to track results. Many marketers measure what they have. Instead determine what’s important to track in terms of metrics. This should go back to your social media goals, target market and product. (Here’s a start for tracking social media results.) Actionable Marketing Tip: Incorporate a contextually relevant call-to-action and unique promotion code. Go one step further and ensure that your purchase process is streamlined to convert sales.

Accept the fact that integrating social media into your organization will take time. New processes and job functions require everyone to adapt to new ways of doing things.

What has your experience been integrating social media into your organization? What hurdles did you encounter? What do you recommend and why?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen


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Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/29895895@N00/4638951855/

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  • Hruthwik

    Kudos! A must have list for every social media marketer.

  • http://plexusengine.com/ Marshall Kirkpatrick

    Heidi, this is a meaty piece of evergreen content. One thing I’d like to add, provisionally, is that it can be helpful to systematize the tactics that will help advance your strategy. I’m working on a checklist of steps to take daily to build connections with leaders in a new market, for example. My company, Little Bird, finds the most trusted experts on any topic and then helps you engage with them – as I put together an experimental checklist to test before sharing with our customers, the first step was to follow someone on Twitter who doesn’t follow you. You, Heidi, were the most-connected person in Content Marketing who is not yet following me, so I just started following you. Now I’m posting a comment on your blog, hopefully adding value, which is another step on the checklist I’m drafting.

    The idea behind checklists, as I understand it, is that they lower the mental overhead of remembering which steps to take by simply making it a routine. I’ve been using checklists to build new habits in self-care and professional development (using the iOS app Lift) and now I’m testing the theory that systematizing tactical engagement with social media through checklists will be a helpful step to take too. I love the way you’ve backed up each item on your checklist with a statistic or practical tip, too! I think I’ll see if I can do that, too.

  • http://ziekenhuisdieet.eu/soepdieet.html soepdieet

    The hurdle that i encountered was that i didn’t know how to use it to my advantage and the advantage of my company.
    I wasn’t sure whether it would work even though i saw people using social media more and more..
    Now i can’t stand people thinking old fashionate about things like social media.
    Its a very beautifull thing since, for the most part, it’s free.