I recently answered a question posted on LinkedIn about the challenges faced by small and medium-sized businesses in starting and maintaining an effective social media engagement, and I thought it would be helpful to share it here on this website.
For small and medium-sized businesses, in particular, the common social media engagement challenges and constraints are:
1) Lack of internal resources to initiate and maintain their social media engagement.
Management, after getting onboard with social media strategies, often lack the time to participate. Other staff who are assigned to the social media channels may lack the business experience or big-picture perspective to engage fully with prospects, customers, potential partners, referral sources, industry experts, members of the media, and wide range of others who may become your audience. Companies need an experienced partner or member of their team to champion their social media program and coach others to utilize it fully.
2) Difficulty generating a steady flow of good quality content to share on LinkedIn and other social media platforms, and then missing an opportunity to drive traffic back to your website or blog.
Rather than posting content only about yourself on your social media channels, you can use your social channels to share your content, as well as other peoples’ content that is of interest to your audience, and providing links that bring visitors back to your blog or website that you control. Not only does content marketing and blogging show how the people at a company think and what is important to them, it also provides regularly updated, keyword-rich content that search engines like.
3) Fear of failure and loss of control can inhibit social media engagement.
By teaching your audience, entertaining them, or providing a resource to share with their friends, you create value; you build trust. Think of social media as an extension of your customer service, business development, lead generation, and sales teams; and enable these departments to “go social” where your external visitors expect to find and engage with you.
4) Getting siloed and not integrating social media engagement across all marketing touch-points: website, email, business cards, and other forms of business communication.
You want all the tools in your business/marketing toolbox to work together seamlessly to establish connections, build relationships, and engage in conversations with customers, prospects and your community of advocates; and this is best done as part of an overall business/marketing plan.
5) Wrongly equating number of followers and likes with engagement and more relevant business metrics, such as leads, conversions and referrals.
I agree with the comments of others in the LinkedIn discussion, who mention the importance of having pre-set goals for social media activity, recognizing the importance of relationship-building over “selling,” and setting up tracking mechanisms to evaluate the performance of your social media efforts and how well they meet your goals.