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Social media marketing strategy – the biggest challenges today?

6 ways to use social media marketing to support your marketing activities

Getting social media marketing right is THE most common challenge mentioned by marketers I speak to today. But what are the biggest strategy challenges within social media marketing? At a strategic level, we all know social media marketing is about much more than getting more Likes, Follows and Shares...

So which activities, which need to be managed as part of social media marketing strategy, are the most important challenges (or you can look at them as opportunities)?

Looking across different types of organisation, there seem to be some common issues everyone is grappling with to try to work out how social media can be applied. I think every organisation has to decide how to best manage these 6 core activities as part of social media marketing strategy.

So I asked how you rated these challenges - thanks to everyone who completed the survey

What to include from our informal poll? It seems that:

  • The different business aims of social media are proving challenging to many!
  • Reputation management, measurement and getting cut-through and engagement are the biggest challenges
  • Applying social media for acquisition is a greater challenge than using it to existing customers

While our poll was running my friend @conversionation alerted me to a survey of marketers in Belgium which also looked at perceptions to how social media is used in organisations.  I thought I'd share it here - it's also useful for thinking about your overall social media strategy.

The 6 Key challenges for social media marketing in 2011

Here is a little more detail on the opportunities or challenges and outline of how they can be achieved as we see them. What do you think?

1. Managing reputation. Use brand monitoring tools to review customer conversations and then respond to these based on the sentiment expressed.

2. Delivering customer service. We have this interview with Guy Stephens on the options for delivering customer service through social media.

3. Acquiring new customers. New audiences can be reached through social media marketing by mentions and recommendations from other contacts in the social network, but how effective is this in practice.

4. Increasing sales from existing customers. Many see the sweet-spot of social media as encouraging engagement with existing customers. But how does engagement translate to sales.

5. Increasing engagement with brand. Creating the right content and having the right offers to get engagement maybe the greatest challenge for many organisation which aren't selling online.

6. Harnessing insights (Analytics, ROI measurement and learning about brand preferences). Measuring return on investment is often mentioned as the biggest challenge in social media. This may also include social listening to learn about customer likes and dislikes, so it overlaps with 1.

Let me know how you find this breakdown - which are the other activities forming your social media strategy.

By Dave Chaffey

Dave is CEO and co-founder of Smart Insights. He is editor of the 100 templates, ebooks and courses in the digital marketing resource library created by our team of 25+ Digital Marketing experts. Our resources used by our Expert members in more than 80 countries to Map, Plan and Manage their digital marketing. For my full profile, or to connect on LinkedIn or other social networks, see the About Dave Chaffey profile page on Smart Insights. Dave is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Emarketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing.

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