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Social Media Bottlenecks: 54% of Professionals Experience Communication Breakdowns Between Businesses and Agencies



social media bottlenecks

There is no secret that working in the social media field is not a child’s play. The demanding clients, frequent algorithm changes and the daily struggle to keep engagement rates high can really place a high tool of even the most experienced social media manager. 

This is especially true in uncertain times like these when all brands need to worry about crisis management. Most people working in social media agencies will have to face certain bottlenecks and overcome them as fast as possible if they want to succeed as social media specialists.

In order to pinpoint these social media bottlenecks that usually happen between businesses and agencies, the team at Socialinsider has conducted a thorough social media survey, with over 320 professionals pitching in. 

This data can be used by agencies to automate key processes, discover the industry benchmarks and find innovative ways to better manage their resources and time.

Whether you are working in social media for an agency or you are employed by a corporation, the information presented below is detrimental to your success in 2020 and beyond.

social media bottlenecks
Main Social Media Bottlenecks

The Challenges of Generating Sales

Probably one of the biggest challenges social media agencies face is to translate their social media efforts into actual sales and return on investment (ROI). The client’s focus will also be on sales and ROI. 

On the other hand, the agency needs to take into account several factors.

This bottleneck is quite common nowadays, with over 35% social media managers who responded to the Socialinsider survey claiming that they have a hard time delivering on sales. While views and conversions may be instant, conversions take much longer. This usually happens because social media is a medium perfect for boosting brand awareness and interacting with the target audience, instead of conversion. 

Granted, social media interactions should play a key part in the conversion funnel and are usually rewarded in a linear attribution model. However, companies have to understand that they should perceive social media campaigns as a long-term investment in their brand and not as immediate means of getting conversions. 

During a crisis, time is of the essence. However, communication with customers is more important than ever, despite the fact that results might not be immediate.

In order to overcome this bottleneck, social media professionals have to make their clients understand that they need to consider potential leads as anyone who engages with their posts. For example, if certain users keep leaving comments or liking posts, the company should either contact them privately or simply create dedicated lead ads for them.

Of course, while providing tangible ROI can be quite a difficult task, professionals should create bespoke performance reports that are tied to the client’s KPIs and goals. Each goal should be personalized to the unique needs of the customers. 

When customers understand their goals and can see an estimate of how the agency can achieve these goals, they become easier to manage and begin to realize how things work in the social media world.

Communication is a Big Problem

Over 54% of respondents to the study, which is more than half, struggle to make their clients understand the true value of their investment. Communication is a huge problem especially when it comes to setting a budget.

Bluntly speaking, social media managers have a hard time convincing their partners that they need to invest more money in social media if they want to expect good results. 

If the results are lower than desired, it might mean that businesses have to invest more money, use advanced automation tools, create a strong business strategy, have in place a customer care plan, and also focus on audience and retargeting campaigns.

Additionally, another major issue is setting up a proper customer care strategy. Without it, most of their social media leads could go away, or go cold. To make it easier to convert, positive reviews online and promptly responding to prospects’ questions and queries can make a difference.

Businesses and Agencies Perceive Social Media Metrics Differently

Some metrics are more important than others. However, many clients fail to understand which metrics are truly important in social media. This is how the next bottleneck starts to reveal itself. There is a global misunderstanding that happens when businesses fail to grasp the importance of metrics that are valued by SMMs from the agency. This bottleneck is directly diet to the two bottlenecks presented above, such as communication and the need to generate sales.

For social media professionals, the most important social media metrics are engagement rate per post, followed by comments & likes per post. The third spot is total reach, while the fourth one fans or page growth. On the other hand, clients and businesses have a totally different opinion on the importance of goals.

Social Media Metrics for Professionals
Social Media Metrics for Professionals

First, they are impressed most by page growth or the number of fan growth, they by comments & likes, followed by engagement rate per post. The bottleneck that SMMs have to overcome at this point is clearly explaining to business owners that the average engagement rate per post is considered to be more important than the number of new fans or page growth. 

social media metrics for clients
Social Media Metrics for Clients

A complete monthly social media report should include growth, average engagement and reach, together with information about the audience, clicks, number of comments and of course conversions. Side by side comparisons are mandatory, especially when these show constant growth in key areas.

Spending too Much Time on Monthly Reports

Over 51% of respondents to the study by Social Insider declared that they create monthly reports for their clients. However, over 55% said that they take around 4 hours to create a full report. 

While the importance of monthly reports cannot be minimized, spending too much time is not a good practice. Far from it, it represents a bottleneck that affects a growing number of social media agencies. 

time spent on reports
Spend Up to 4 Hours on Reporting

What’s even worse is that around 31% spend between 4 and 10 hours on the report, while 14% spend a whopping 16+ hours. This is a huge bottleneck that is affecting the performance of social media agencies and is taking a lot of precious time. The best way to overcome this bottleneck is to leverage the power of automation wherever you can: analytic tools, publishing tools, reporting tools. etc.

Investing Resources in the Right Platforms

Lastly, social media experts are facing an interesting bottleneck, by not knowing on which platform they should advertise their clients’ businesses. Normally, the client asks for recommendations from the agency when it comes to advertising mediums, so the agency needs to be prepared with a complete list.

You need to be able to identify the right social media platform that you want to use for each customer. To overcome this bottleneck, you need to start by understanding the pros and cons of each social media platform. 

 For instance, Twitter might work better for companies in the US & UK, so you should probably not use it for a Russia-based company. On the other hand, you should advertise Russian companies on VK and other local platforms. 

For B2B sellers, LinkedIn and Quora work best, while B2C retailers can make the most out of paid ads by using Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

According to the survey, over 320 social media managers, specialists, and directors have chosen Instagram and Facebook as their main platforms, but the efforts and resources allocated for promotion on these two platforms are being reduced in 2020.

For instance, Instagram, a platform used by 71.5% as primary in 2019, has gone down to 68.6% in 2020. Obviously, due to numerous scandals and a lack of profitability, Facebook also decreased in the preferences from 66.4% in 2019 to under 49.6% in 2020. 

Social Media Platforms
Interest in Social Media Platforms

While Facebook and Instagram are the only two losers on this equation, the other top social media platforms seem to be doing just great. LinkedIn grew in interest from 27% to 37.2%, YouTube from 14.6% to 30.7%, Pinterest from 8% to 18.2%, and even Twitter enjoyed a small growth from 17.5% to 22.6%. The big surprise comes from TikTok and Whatsapp, two new players that will grow from 4.4% to over 18%, respectively 2.2% to 10.9%.


Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster



Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”


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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.


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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.


Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

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