SHOCKER: Social Media Marketing Is HARD!

I sometimes get a little disgruntled with all of the assertions that social media, more specifically social media marketing, isn’t hard. In fact, we’re ever so often told that it’s quite easy.

As an aside, I agree with the premise that part of social media marketing involves being social and, in and of itself, being social isn’t particularly difficult unless you’re a recluse or suffer from a seriously bad attitude. But if we don’t take it a little further that would mean that a social nature is all that’s required to be a success at social media marketing.

SCREEEEEEEEEEEEECH. Sigh. That’s a big old scratch on the vinyl record that is my social media marketing mojo. OUCH.

It takes a little more than a sunny and social disposition to effectively monitor, manage, connect and engage across social platforms.

Sure, the ability to either be social or, at the very least, act socially if you aren’t really feeling it at the time, is a must. However, it’s a slap in the face when I see anyone – especially a social media marketing professional, proclaim that social media is EASY, that all it takes is being social.

MALARKEY!

How about the ability to quickly read and assess the articles of those in your feeds and connected circles? Don’t you have to do this in order to best share the content that will best suit the needs and interests of your audience?

Or, what about the ability to repurpose content for different platforms, each of which require specific and unique intent and purpose. Do you think that might be important?

Do you have the tools in place to effectively monitor and manage your presence across a variety of social media channels? It’s not particularly social to miss out on a share or a message because you’d don’t have the means to monitor notifications.

Can you write? Do you have the ability to take the glimmer of an idea and transform it into a short snippet (in say, less than 140 characters for Twitter)? Can you stretch it out for Facebook or Google+? Do you have the ability to create content that draws attention to your own website, the digital real estate you actually own. Those who are truly successful social media marketers know that your hub has to be stronger than any social media outpost.

I could go on and on and talk about measuring ROI, cultivating great connections, taking part in online events, time management, etc. I don’t think I really need to belabor my point, here.

If you’ve spent any time at all carefully cultivating a list of influential social media marketers, you’ve probably heard of Jay Baer. While you might not take what I say as gospel, many in the social media marketing industry are inclined to take what Jay has to say seriously. He agrees with me, that effective presence and success on social media platforms isn’t all that easy: Nobody Said Social Media Should Be Simple.

To put an end to this in brief, here’s my summary:

1. While a social nature or the ability to be social certainly helps when you’re considering taking on social media marketing, be it for yourself or for a client …

2. A social nature is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to managing and maintaining a successful social presence. It’s hard work that requires a diverse and strong skillset.

Chime in. What makes you a social media standout? Or what part of social media marketing have you found the most difficult?

10 replies
  1. Don Purdum
    Don Purdum says:

    Hi Mallie,

    You bring up a really interesting issue that I honestly haven’t thought of before. I both agree and disagree with you.

    Here is where I disagree: It’s not hard for people who have built the habits over time and learned how to connect with others in their own way.

    I don’t find social media to be particularly hard and I receive a lot of shares, engagement and conversations.

    BUT, that’s me.

    Here is where I agree: Its’ hard and it takes a lot of work, energy and effort. Plus, if you’re not familiar with the ins and outs of social media it is very challenging and overwhelming.

    I work with clients who don’t understand and for them it is hard.

    Why?

    It could be a couple of reasons:

    * Lack of familiarity
    * Time pressures and stress
    * There is always something new to learn and stay on top of
    * Change is a constant
    * There are other priorities

    Keeping up and doing what you’re not used to and then the changes on top of trying to run and build a business is just not something most people are prepared to mentally handle.

    I completely get it. I am sure there are many more good reasons and perhaps you could help me come up with a few?

    So, I agree 99.9% with you. It’s just that some of us have been doing it for a long time and for it is easy; and we forget what it was like when we were starting out.

    Thanks for the great reminder to remember where others are at and how we need to communicate with them to set realistic expectations.

    I hope you have an awesome weekend!

    ~ Don Purdum

    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      I described my love of hyperbole on Google+, so I won’t get into it too much here, Don. Yes, I love the work and yes most of it comes fairly easily to me (except remembering to put in the proper time on Linkedin, darn it), but it’s still my job. And my affinity for the skills required by my job certainly makes it easier, but it still involves plenty of time, effort, spending money on the proper tools, etc. To say I simply have to possess a social nature in order to succeed is ridiculous.

  2. Jon
    Jon says:

    Great points Mallie! I completely agree. As a social media marketer myself, one of the biggest problems I see is a time crunch. Most of my clients are small business that can’t or choose not to have a full time social media and/or marketing manager.

    Most people have no idea the sheer volume of time that proper social media marketing takes. Whether it is engaging with your audience and influencers, content creation, measuring and analyzing or finding the latest tool that fits well with their workflow and needs.

    But back to the easy part. I see two big reasons that its hard

    #1 most small businesses don’t have a strategy for their marketing. They just throw things out at will and hope something sticks and works. Normal marketing is incredibly challenging without a strategy, but when you throw in the every changing realm of social media with no or little strategy its nearly impossible. How can I be successful or consistent if I have no “north star” by which to measure my progress by?

    #2 Is the amount of change/adjustment that is required on a monthly basis combined with the fact most business owners feel its often just a matter of throwing a quick random post up on facebook and leads will stream in.

    Unfortunately I don’t see it getting easier for businesses anytime in the near future. Platforms keep springing up and from my perspective it seems as if customers are fragmenting their attention. instead of the big two, we know have 5, 10 or 15 that are all valuable depending on a businesses’ target audience, goals and strategy.

    The good part is that is where people like you can provide so much value to your customers! Solving the hard part with them. Finding their strengths and communicating them effectively!

    Have a great weekend Mallie!

    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      Hi Jon,

      Thrilled you chose to read and even more thrilled you took the time and effort to leave such a smart comment. You nailed it. I LOOOOOOOOOOOOVE what I do for a living, but it’s still my job. It’s still hard work, no matter how much I enjoy the hours and the efforts. I still have to pay my dues and put in the time and the talk to maintain any semblance of industry clout (not Klout, LOL) that I’ve managed to build. I still have to stress over the slow payers, the non-payers, the scope-creepers, etc.

      I’m running a digital marketing firm, an agency so to speak. It’s about a whole lot more than my sunny and social disposition.

  3. Karen
    Karen says:

    Maddie, I think those of us who find social media a “good fit” don’t find it hugely difficult, but that’s because we’re inclined to be social, assess situations quickly and accurately, determine the norms and best practices across various platforms, analyze results and reassess strategies, etc.

    On the other hand, my son is a dev ops guy in a fast-growing tech company. He does eye-wateringly complex coding, and he flits from language to language, and platform to platform, with the greatest of ease. He’s told me that he doesn’t find his job particularly hard…but I would suggest that’s because it’s a good fit for his aptitudes, skills, and knowledge base. It’s certainly not because keeping an array of servers up and running and processing zillions of hits per hour is inherently easy.

    As with many jobs, I think we content marketers need to cultivate a healthy respect for the skills and aptitudes we tend to take for granted. Sure, we might find it “easy” to do what we do…but if it’s really that simple, why not automate it all, and have done with it?

    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      Karen, no worries. I agree with you. I was going for the hyperbole a bit, of course. I did actually see another social media marketer professing that social is just about being social, though. And no matter how easy we find the research, the maintenance, the monitoring, it still requires time and effort and it’s still a job. Because we love it and have an affinity it might not seem like hard work, yet it’s still work.

    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      And no worries on the name! It’s a lot closer than the folks who think I’m just mumbling Natalie! 🙂 Have a great weekend.

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