18 Social Media Challenges Marketers Face in 2021

Unless you haven’t been online since the mid-2000s, you’re probably aware of how social media has emerged as one of the most powerful marketing tools. It can play a vital role across the whole nine yards of the marketing journey by helping navigate past the traditional brand-customer interaction challenges. Social media marketing, in some sense,...

Unless you haven’t been online since the mid-2000s, you’re probably aware of how social media has emerged as one of the most powerful marketing tools. It can play a vital role across the whole nine yards of the marketing journey by helping navigate past the traditional brand-customer interaction challenges. Social media marketing, in some sense, has become omniscient, from creating brand awareness and customer advocacy to accelerating promotions, campaigns, and product launches.

Look at it this way – “There are in excess of 3 billion people across the world who actively use social media on mobile devices.”

How social media adds immense business value

  • Connect with existing and prospective customers, partners, investors, industry forums, and media houses
  • Drive traffic to your website, blog, promotional page, or even brick-and-mortar store
  • Generate leads, drive sales conversion to boost bottom-line revenue
  • Improve search engine visibility – we all know how much Google likes social media!
  • Showcase the human side of the brand through positive and meaningful interactions
  • Go viral and boost brand identity – you can’t plan for it, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying

But if marketing history has taught us anything, it’s that the plan always sounds better on paper. No matter how carefully you plan for success, unpredictability on social media sites makes it seem so near yet so far.

A recent report on social media challenges even showed that “80% of companies online are under the impression that they deliver exceptional social media customer service, while only 8% of their customers say they agree.”

Today, the competition on social media is at an all-time high. Brands are facing off, all guns blazing, to create and promote immersive content that capture’s their audience’s attention. There are so many opportunities that it’s just as easy to stumble into some of the social media challenges.

18 social media challenges in 2021

Challenge #1 – Time management

It’s common knowledge that there are cutting-edge automation tools for social media marketers to execute crucial steps like content curation, enhancement, and distribution. But in 2020, due to the expansive nature of these platforms, prioritizing your time and effort can cause insurmountable challenges every day. Make sure that you put in the right effort at the right time.

One way to overcome this challenge is by using a social media management tool like SocialBee that can help you post on all your social media profiles while saving you at least 8 hours a week.”

Challenge #2 – Quality of followers

The quantity vs. quality dilemma presents a tricky situation for social media marketers. On the one hand, you would love to see their follower count skyrocket past their expectations. On the other, you want your followers to be relevant so that they can be converted into customers. But with the increased demand for authenticity these days, the focus is on improving the quality of interactions.

Challenge #3 – Understanding channel dynamics

Each social media platform, whether Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram, serves a purpose that is unique to the audience. Your social media strategy, content, or design must adapt accordingly. There are no single-size-fits-all remedies when it comes to maximizing channel engagement. For instance, “LinkedIn generates 277% more leads than Facebook and Twitter”.

Challenge #4 – A future-proofed strategy

Since the dawn of social media marketing, the paramount importance of strategy has remained unchanged. In 2020, social media marketers must develop a list of short-term and long-term goals. Include trackable milestones so that you have a roadmap towards meeting your social media challenges.

Challenge #5 – Keeping in touch

As the adage goes – it’s easy to get on top, but it’s hard to stay there. Bringing people, be it prospective or existing customers, to follow the brand on social media is merely the tip of the iceberg. Keep finding creative ways like running polls, organizing giveaways, etc. to reconnect and stay in touch with the audience is the real challenge.

Check out this awesome social media marketing guide from Bynder.

Challenge #6 – Professional design consistency

Social media marketers are under pressure to make their brand’s profile looks great. Without visually-appealing designs, you have a content-heavy marketing strategy that may bore people. But that can present monumental challenges. So, ensure that your design teams are equipped with enough branded templates to improve their delivery speed.

Challenge #7 – Content freshness

There’s so much of content out there that your audience has probably typecast most of them are dull, uninformative, or just plain irrelevant. While the intention is to increase sales and marketing reach, refrain from sharing the same old stuff on why your brand is awesome. As a social media marketer, you may face challenges while keeping your content refreshingly authentic and reasonably unique.

You might also like: 10 Social Media Marketing Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Brand

Challenge #8 – More trust and transparency

There’s nothing like distrust to push your customers away into the open doors of your competitors. Data manipulation and privacy leaks can shake their confidence in your brand. So, it is one of the challenges you must tackle from the get-go. It’s also critical to create an open and transparent feedback system through social media so that others can voice their opinions.

Challenge #9- Measuring ad effectiveness

Running paid ads on social media saw wide adoption when brands became more focused on targeting customers in the digital world. But it also leads to business challenges. In 2020, though, you must track both engagement and conversion rates. And if you can use a single platform to achieve these tasks, you can seamlessly monitor and increase ROI.

Challenge #10 – Building brand stories

Content marketers have come far from being unable to talk like regular people. In the social media world, they can engage and grow their audience with real conversations. However, some of the more significant challenges lie in controlling your brand’s tone and narrative to deliver consistent and proactive interactions.

Challenge #11 – All play and no work

Establishing thought leadership, telling employee stories, and commenting on topical issues is all well and good, but what are you talking enough about your business? Social media marketers shouldn’t get carried away with the casual nature of conversations. Remind your audience about what you offer and why you’re the best at it. That’s just one of the social media challenges.

Challenge #12 – Get your customers talking

There’s no business like the business of customer love. When your customers talk about their great experiences on social media, it adds a lot of credibility to the brand. Share customer testimonials that showcase what’s on their mind. And create opportunities on social media for them to voice their opinions.

Challenge #13 – The personalization-privacy paradox

While ‘personalization’ has been the battle-cry for many social media managers, there are privacy regulations that they must abide by. Hence, focus on delivering contextual social media experiences while being sensitive about customer data privacy.

Challenge #14 – Continuous improvement

Effective social media marketers don’t ask – “Why to fix it – if it isn’t broke?” – because they know that surpassing the audience’s expectations is better than meeting them. Even if your brand is getting a lot of social media activity, there’s always room for more improvement. Keep asking yourself – “How do I increase the quality of social media interactions.”

Challenge #15 – Getting the budget right

Proving measurable ROI is how social media managers can get their stakeholders on their side. From getting the most out of your paid advertising to leveraging marketing influencers, you need technology and resource firepower to analyze, plan, and engage on social media. Whether for Facebook or Instagram, create a detailed budgetary plan to set and prove ROI.

Challenge #16 – Support to social media

Despite the influx of new channels, many customers may still be more comfortable reaching out to your brand through the traditional call center. So, your agents must make them aware of your social media accounts and the type of available services. Otherwise, your customers may run into service challenges.

Challenge #17 – Crisis management

Poor social media posts can create a negative response within the blink of an eye. There’s also enough evidence out there that it can cause irrevocable damage to your brand’s financial standing and market reputation. Develop a crisis management plan so that you can deal with negative feedback without resorting to deleting comments on Facebook or deactivating Instagram accounts.

Challenge #18 – The funnel factory

Customers no longer have sales interactions with brands; they embark upon purchasing journeys. Social media marketers can play an active role throughout this journey, from initial consideration and evaluation to closing the deal and post-sales experience.


As we march towards the end of 2020, in the middle of a pandemic, social media platforms will present brands with bigger and better opportunities to grow their business. But it also means that there will be more complex social media challenges to deal with. We hope that this article could offer some insights into the steps you can take to overcome such evolving challenges.

With customer expectations on the rise, social media marketers must brace for maximum impact.

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Christy Bharath is a writer, with 13+ years of content marketing and branding experience. He helps clients tell their stories across industries like Banking, Retail, Healthcare, IT Services, etc. He also trains writers to help them generate authentic and creative content. Christy is a birdwatcher, and he tweets @contentbirder.