The life of a Social Media Manager involves multiple social media challenges they have to deal with every single day. We asked 88 social media professionals to tell us what they struggle with the most. We heard back from freelancers, brands, and agencies. They weighed in on engagement, algorithms, content creation, and measuring results, among others. You can find their biggest social media struggles and solutions below.
Top social media challenges in 2022:
Social Media Challenge #1: Engagement or Reach
32.2% of the interviewed Social Media Professionals struggle with engagement and reaching their target audience in an ever-more-competitive environment.
Main pain points:
- get the audience to notice and engage with the content
- getting to know the audience
- new social media algorithms downgrading the engagement
- standing out against the increasing competition
Solution 1: partner up with a micro-influencer
Social media users are flooded with content every single day, so the biggest problem for our business was simply getting our content to find its way on their screens. You can use all the right hashtags and try to boost your content, but sometimes it still doesn’t cut through all the noise. But, what ended up working for us was partnering with a micro-influencer.
Being a small business, it wasn’t realistic for us to try to partner with an extremely popular, well-known influencer, so we figured that if we could partner with someone a little less mainstream but with the same niche audience as us, we might find success. And we did!
Larry Snider, VP of Operations @ Casago Vacation Rentals
Solution 2: make data-driven decisions
We’ve found our organic reach on the most popular social media networks started to dwindle over the last two years. Things like the pandemic and new algorithms are being rolled out constantly are contributing to this.
It’s discouraging when something you publish doesn’t perform well after you put a lot of time and effort into it. However, we’ve found that drilling down on your target audience and finding the correct content mix that will work on them has been really helpful in increasing reach.
Keep track of which postings are doing well and which aren’t. Do you see any patterns in your performance? Are posts with photographs, for example, performing better than those without? What is the best time to post on social media in your industry? Make data-driven decisions about your content strategy moving ahead using these social media insights.
David Reed, Co-Founder @ LLC Stars
Solution 3: make it easy for your followers to interact with you
One of my biggest challenges in social media, that I struggled with for a while, is getting followers to actually interact. Although I had grown my accounts and had plenty of followers, most of the time I didn’t feel as though they were as involved as I wanted them to be. More and more, I find that people spend less time liking and commenting on posts, and instead just view them and move on.
The way I solved this, was by realizing that followers did want to interact, as long as it was in a more direct way: through stories and messages. Especially on Instagram, I started using polls and question boxes, allowing followers to have a say in the content I post, as well as sharing their opinions and thoughts on different matters. And now, it truly feels as though I have grown into a community, rather than a mere following. So I guess it’s all about finding the right form of engagement and interaction, depending on your type of followers.
Shane Paarman, Founder & CEO @ Awesome Stuff 365
Solution 4: increase posting frequency
We encountered a challenge on social media where our engagement rates were stagnating instead of going up. We found that users weren’t resonating with our content as much as they once were. We found that the best way to tackle this issue was a two-step content re-alignment approach.
First, we carried out extensive research to understand what it is that our audience wants to see: not only in terms of content, but also in terms of common questions and pain points. It became clear to us that while our content was engaging and industry-relevant, it didn’t do enough to align itself with what our audience were actively thinking about.
We then committed to posting more frequently – at least once a day – and creating content based on our research findings. Using this targeted approach, our social media engagement increased by more than 50% over the first two weeks, scaling up to a staggering 110% in the following months. People just want to feel listened to, and the content that they engage with is no different. Make sure to always ask yourself what your audience wants to see before moving forward with any content marketing approach.
Aaron Gray, Co-Founder @ Agency 101
Solution 5: get to know your audience
The biggest challenge for our social media was in the first year of my company’s existence. We didn’t fully understand who our target audience was, so the content we were putting out just wasn’t clicking. To fix this problem, and to discover who our audience really was, we started using social media analytics tools to help determine our target market.
These tools helped us discover the specific demographics of our target audience – age, gender, location, income, etc. Understanding those demographics allowed us to better understand their behaviors and desires, which then helped us to more effectively curate the best kind of content.
Jeremy Yamaguchi, CEO @ Lawn Love
Solution 6: try paid ads
It can be tough to grow your following through organic content and have your new followers be engaged and interested. Reaching your target audience isn’t as easy as you think in this noisy world we live in where there is so much competition. Especially if you are starting from 0, it’s extremely tough to make a big change.
Solution: Some paid ads can help boost your results on social media. You don’t have to pay a ton of money, but think of it as an investment. It can help you make a difference with your channel and it will allow you to see some escalated results. It’s worth the investment.
James Parsons, Founder & CEO @ Content Powered
Social Media Challenge #2: Trends and Algorithms
21.8% of the replies mentioned struggling with the ever-changing trends and algorithms of each social media platform.
Main pain points:
- authentic content means spending time getting to know each social media platform
- juggling multiple social media platforms at the same time
- keeping up with social media algorithms
- giving up on long-term campaigns in favor of passing trends
- choosing between brand identity and trending campaign
Solution 1: factor everything into your prices
One of the hardest aspects of effective social media marketing is that each platform has its own quirks, in jokes, language, and memes. In order to generate authentic content for these platforms, social media teams really do need to spend a lot of their time on the platform simply browsing and interacting. It’s something that we need to price into doing business this way and staff accordingly if we want the best results.
Adam Rossi, CEO @ Total Shield
Solution 2: plan posts in advance
I think the biggest challenge with social media management is simply keeping up with the demands of the job. Social media is constantly evolving, with different trends entering the market nearly every second. I find that implementing strategy sessions and planning posts a few weeks in advance guarantees I am on top of the game and never searching for content when I need it the most. Keeping a big catalog of content and posts will guarantee you are always in the game!
Nick Mueller, Director of Operations @ Hawaiian Islands
Solution 3: hire social media professionals
The biggest social media challenge a business could face is staying up to date with the constantly changing algorithms and trends. Social media platforms are always tweaking their algorithms to give their users the best experience possible, so businesses need to constantly adjust their strategies to keep up. Additionally, social media is always evolving, and new platforms are constantly emerging, so businesses need to be flexible and adaptable to stay ahead of the curve.
The best way to stay on top of social media is to constantly learn about new trends and features to make the most of them. Additionally, it’s critical to listen to your audience and respond to their feedback promptly. Finally, consider working with and investing in social media professionals who have experience in this rapidly changing field so that you can stay ahead of the game.
Darren Litt, Co-Founder @ Hiya Health
Solution 4: create a branding manual and a social media calendar
When we launched, Facebook being the only major platform was our main focus. Today there are many channels that are equally as important to us. Delivering relevant content in the correct format, at the right time across multiple social channels is challenging. We learned early on that a ‘one size fits all’ approach was ineffective.
We already had our standard branding manual, but we added a section for each channel. Having a defined tone and style that appealed to each audience, as well as a social media publishing calendar, allowed us to create messages that retained our branding but easily cut through the digital noise.
Amy Bos, COO @ Medium Chat
Solution 5: be persistent and stay in the know
The biggest social media challenge at the moment is the algorithm of different social media channels. It can feel as though I’m fighting a losing battle with the exposure I’m receiving as a result of these changes. The algorithm changes fairly often, and just as you think you have cracked it, bam, it changes again.
The best way to overcome this is through persistence and patience. The more you research the current algorithms, the more successful you will be. It can be a long process to try to figure it out, but when you do, this will be beneficial and will have a positive impact on your content.
You will want to take a look at what is working for other people and then take a look at your own analytics to see what the best-performing posts are. This will help you to know what does and doesn’t work currently for each social media platform.
Aimee White, Co-owner @ Keyboard King
Social Media Challenge #3: Content Creation
When asked “what’s your biggest social media challenge”, 12.6% answered content creation. The biggest concerns with creating content for social media are not knowing what content to create, how to grab attention, and how to scale social media content.
Main pain points:
- not knowing what kind of content to share
- little time to create fresh, high-quality content
- creativity counts more than information accuracy
Solution 1: offer value
I struggled with knowing what content to share. As a service provider, I wasn’t sure how much was too much, if I was giving away my secrets. But then I realized that there are thousands out there already sharing the whole game. And that I needed to share what I knew so my audience would know that I was the expert here.
So my content is always geared toward education, encouragement, and entertainment. With the mindset of giving and providing value to others, I’m able to create freely and overdeliver. This attracts people to my brand as a resource and as someone they trust and want to work with.
Christianna Johnson, Founder and Chief Copywriter @ By Christianna
Solution 2: share industry data
Research shows that social posts with images have higher engagement than posts without. This doesn’t mean that everything you post needs an image, because some posts genuinely may not call for one.
Show off important industry data in an infographic, share stats from a report in a colorful graph, or add a relevant gif to a “Question of the Day” type post to get people to stop their scrolling and pay attention. Once you have their attention, you’ll start to see those engagement numbers and measurements soar.
Kristin Stump, Marketing Manager @ My Enamel Pins
Creating fresh content from conception to the publication is extremely time-consuming for small businesses with limited manpower. Repurposing content significantly reduces time, and allows you to skip the conceptualizing step which can in itself be lengthy.
My team and I have found that breaking down relevant long-form content into short videos, is both highly effective and streamlines the process to a manageable length.
James Chapman, Founder & Director @ Bella Bathrooms
Solution 4: strike a balance between creativity and integrity
Reining in creativity in the struggle to stay factual
On social media, not everything that is presented to an audience is true. However, despite this twisting of the truth, these posts have such high levels of creativity that they grab a lot of attention and provide great traction to a brand. However, what proves to be a difficult choice is to pick one over the other.
And this is a challenge that social media teams running brand campaigns face each day. The solution is to strike a balance. While creativity is crucial when it comes to sculpting social media campaigns that grab everyone’s attention, it is also equally important to maintain the integrity of your brand by avoiding any temptations to falsify or twist facts.
Mary Jurgensen, Community Outreach Director @ Gary and Mary West PACE
Solution 5: share insider information
One of my biggest social media challenges was how to come up with new ideas for my social media content. I tried a lot of different ideas, but none of them worked that well. In the end, I realized that posting my daily thoughts is the easiest way to get people talking. I would wake up, think about something related to my industry, and immediately post a question on my social media profiles.
It seems to me that a lot of people have similar ideas to mine, so just posting those ideas on my social media is enough to get the discussion going. Today, I like to post random thoughts and questions on my social media, as well as share unique screenshots/ conversations with people in the industry that I talk to every day (with their permission,) and this is how I come up with new ideas and content every day.
Harry Campbell, CEO & Founder @ The Rideshare Guy
Social Media Challenge #4: Strategy
9.2% of social media experts shared that their biggest challenge is creating and executing a social media strategy. The most difficult parts of this process are tracking results, monitoring performance, and having to focus on too many platforms.
Main pain points:
- defining marketing goals
- implementing a social media strategy
- creating Lead Generating Content
- choosing the best social media platform for the brand
Solution 1: establish clear business goals
I feel the first step to social media marketing of defining marketing goals is the biggest challenge. If the business cannot draw a clear picture of specific marketing goals across platforms, the whole process will be in vain. Marketers are often confused between increasing brand awareness, generating leads, increasing web traffic, enhancing community engagement, and growing the brand’s audience as KPI.
Measuring and demonstrating marketing performance to stakeholders with unclear key performance indicators becomes difficult. I advise social media marketers to ask questions about the business goals and purpose of the business’s presence on social media to zero down on the company’s social media objective. Then proceed with SMART goals, i.e., Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound goals for each marketing campaign.
Rakhi Oswal, Social Media Manager and Founder @ Edrio
Solution 2: focus on lead-generating content
Although we aim to educate our audience so they are better placed to make informed decisions, a big part of our content strategy is based around generating leads. We are not at a point to use influencers to help us create content but instead do this inhouse.
We now produce a wide variety of social posts, with each referring back to a different profile to help us understand what we are doing right – so we can do more of it. This simple technique has given us the insight we needed to produce content reaches our audience and generates leads.
Keron Howe, Co-Founder & CEO @ Property Nation
Solution 3: create separate landing pages
My team and I post regularly across multiple channels. We use images, video, and short content posts to engage our audience. As our channels matured, there was a need to accelerate some posts but determine which was a mystery.
After a few attempts with PPC with little return on our investment, we decided to create a separate landing page for each campaign. This simplified tracking, and clearly showed what worked and where we needed improvements.
Andrew Porwol, Owner @ Garden Center Shopping
Solution 4: consider focusing on a single platform
Determining which social media platform you will market your brand on is one of the social media challenges businesses face. Many social media platforms have grown in popularity over the past years.
While you may think that it’s best to manage accounts on all those platforms, focusing on one platform will be better for your business. Talk about quality over quantity. It’s not a one-size-fits-all strategy. What worked for one platform won’t necessarily work for the other.
Ryan O’Donnell, Co-Founder @ Replyify
Social Media Challenge #5: Authenticity and Relevancy
6.9% of marketers say their biggest social media challenge is staying authentic and relevant. The majority of the replies mentioned how hard it is to stay relevant on various platforms with fleeting trends and algorithm changes constantly coming and going.
Main pain points:
- making brands sound more human
- keeping a consistent presence online
- defining the brand’s voice on social media
Solution 1: show your humanity
One of the biggest social media challenges businesses face is not using social media like a human being. A business may post and ghost, meaning they don’t hang around to respond to the comments and questions their followers are asking. Or they may speak too formally, coming across like a robot instead of a human being.
When a business is using social media, they need to be personable and authentic. Even if they’re in a traditional field, like medicine or
We encourage our clients to carry on a conversation. You can be funny. You can use emoticons and emojis. Slang and colloquialisms are perfectly acceptable ways to communicate with your audience. And you should respond to comments your followers leave, even if it’s something simple. People need to know there’s a real person behind the screen, a person who cares, not someone who’s just posting for the sake of posting.
Devin Schumacher, Founder @ SERP
Solution 2: share happy customers stories
Brands can struggle to stay relevant and interesting on social media. But brands can share user-generated content (UGC) across social media to establish social proof and boost sales. Your customers are probably already raving about your brand by sharing photos, videos, and reviews.
You can use these pieces of content, with consent, to easily show your target audience that your customers love your products. This will likely continue to be a social media trend, with brands utilizing Instagram and Facebook Stories, along with TikTok, to showcase their happy customers.
Rachel Roff, Founder & CEO @ Urban Skin
Solution 3: establish your own identity
Staking your claim as an up-and-coming company is a tall order. Focus first on establishing your own identity and community versus obsessing over others’. It’s easy to get stuck comparing follower counts and engagements isn’t doing you or your followers any favors.
Remember: a smaller, thriving community is more valuable than vanity metrics. Creating a distinct brand voice is a way to stand out. Don’t discount the power of personality (think: humor, reliability).
Austin Dowsy, CEO @ Aim Vein
Solution 4: be a conversation-starter
While you don’t want to get too personal, it’s essential to write about things people in your community can relate to, such as favorite podcasts, business books, or the fun team-building event your company just held. Tweeting about topics people can easily respond to will create higher engagement in your feed and increase awareness for your brand.
Chris Gadek, Vice President of Growth at AdQuick
Social Media Challenge #6: Measuring ROI
5.7% of responders said their biggest challenge is measuring social media ROI.
Main pain points:
- measuring overall marketing efforts
- measuring the impact of a single piece of content
Solution 1: use SMART goals
You’ll have a hard time measuring your marketing effectiveness and demonstrating its worth to your stakeholders if your goals aren’t well-defined. This could harm your campaign budget in the future.
Begin with big picture goals. Consider why your company is on social media. This exercise will assist you in determining the business goals you want to achieve through social media marketing. Then you may start thinking about your social media marketing objectives.
Set SMART goals for each campaign after that. Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound are the acronyms for SMART goals. SMART goals help you stay on track with your marketing and stay within your budget. The SMARTer your goals are, the more effective your campaign will be. Plus, you’ll be able to compare your KPIs to your objectives and receive management support for your next budget.
Jenny Ly, Entrepreneur @ Go Wanderly
Solution 2: establish measurable objectives
Social media ROI is not the same as traditional web marketing ROI. As such, it can be difficult to see the worth of your Tweet or post shared in comparison to ad clicks.
This challenge has plagued us for years. But in 2020, we took the time to evaluate and rehaul our existing social media strategy. We made sure to add well-defined goals with measurable objectives so we could come up with accurate numbers for our ROI.
Allan Borch, Growth Hacker & Founder @ DotcomDollar
Solution 3: keep performance reports
A common social media challenge is to generate ROI from social media strategies. Not every strategy will bring you the expected results. This is where most marketers get stuck during the journey. The solution here is to keep performance reports of your social media campaigns and connect them to certain goals and KPIs that you can set beforehand.
This will also help you understand the right direction to invest your money and energy in. Simultaneously, you can discover different aspects of your social media strategy that can be improvised to bring better results. Thus, you can adjust your tactics depending on the KPIs and generate more expected results. Also, consistent performance tracking will help you stay on track and understand whether the campaign is going well or not.
Christian Velitchkov, Co-Founder @ Twiz
Social Media Challenge #7: Social Media Management
3.4% of the Social Media Managers interviewed said managing social media is one of their biggest challenges.
Main pain points:
- managing many social media platforms
- automating social media management
- scheduling posts
Solution 1: plan in advance
Social media platforms are a great way to present interesting information to an audience. They are also great ways for the audience to communicate with your brand. This means that with every social media handle you create, you are adding yet another communication channel to your list. And yes, any messages or comments on a social media handle should be considered as important as an official email or any other type of communiqué. This is simply something that you have to plan in advance, for where there is a way to get in touch or leave a suggestion or complaint, an audience is bound to use it.
Konstantin Kuligin, Owner @ K5 Mortgage
Solution 2: use a social media management app
As a small business without a dedicated Social Media Manager, the task of scheduling posts across multiple channels can weigh heavily on the team. Using a social management app has released the pressure and simplified our approach to posting.
We schedule content creation, prioritize it’s release across channels, and use the management app to ensure it’s delivered at the right time. In my opinion automating social media is essential for any small business.
Tom Bruzek, Co-Owner @ Selling Land Fast
Other Social Media Challenges
8% of the interviewed Social Media Professionals had specific social media challenges that they’re trying to overcome:
- balance paid & organic content
- managing the social media budget
- getting client buy-in
- navigating client collaboration
- dealing with fake accounts/ trolls
- handling negative comments
- exploring partnerships and promotions
- handling unrealistic expectations