Social media is an opportunity. It is also a challenge. It’s often said that social media is perhaps one of the most powerful modern age business tools. With power comes responsibility and social media is no exception to that rule. From a business perspective, social media opens up a new world of opportunities and it’s exciting as well as crucial to keep pace with the latest changes on the social media front.
I’m often asked about what I consider as the biggest social media challenges that businesses need to overcome. I often iterate that social media isn’t a shortcut to success and using social media for business gains is no walk in the park. There are challenges which need to be dealt with and opportunities which need to be capitalized upon. In my opinion, businesses need to overcome the following 7 social media challenges to make the most of this opportunity.
First and foremost, you need to learn that users won’t tolerate any privacy violations. It doesn’t matter if you are Facebook or a SMB, if you don’t get the privacy aspects right, you are bound to suffer. Further, privacy is deeply coupled with security. Cybercriminals are constantly on the prowl and business owners are often the targets for sophisticated social media attacks.
It’s the opposite end of the tunnel. While you need to respect user’s privacy, as a business, you need to be completely transparent in your operations. Tell the users what they need to know but don’t ask them what they don’t need to tell. If you aren’t transparent, you’ll have trouble establishing trust with your users. A lack of trust can often lead to a lack of customers.
The USP of social media is that it is borderless. As a business, you can interact with people form diverse geographies, cultures, religions and ethnicities. Very often, businesses find it difficult to cope up with such diversities and culture clashes. As they say, social media has a language of its own and if you can’t learn it, you don’t belong to it.
Very often, businesses find it difficult to integrate social media with their main line of operations. Being a ‘social business’ impacts nearly every function of a business. Marketing, PR, communications–even supply chain and any function that deals with employees. There’s a learning curve involved and once that gap is filled, businesses can realize the value of integrating social into their entire ecosystem.
The convergence of social media and mobile is inevitable. In fact, almost all social media networks have a large proportion of mobile users. I strongly believe mobile represents a crucial piece in the social media puzzle and smartphones will play a key role in helping businesses tap the true potential of social media.
Relationships mature over time. From a social media perspective, it’s important for businesses to be able to maintain a healthy relationship with their users. Relationship is far more valuable than any one-time sale and social media is no exception to that rule.
Measuring social media ROI is easier said than done. In fact, several businesses give up their social media aspirations simply because they can’t evaluate if they’ve managed to fetch the expected ROI.
In your opinion, what are the top social media challenges for a business? Please share your experience by leaving a comment.