3 Social Media Marketing Issues Facing SMBs

Social media has become an integral part of our lives. It’s where we connect with friends, family, and colleagues, and it’s where we get our news and entertainment. Podcast Rocket with Christina Warren and Simone De Rochefort, where they were talking about the Verge article “Social media is doomed to die” by Ellis Hamburger (https://www.theverge.com/2023/4/18/23672769/social-media-inevitable-death-monetization-growth-hacks). During Simione and Christina’s conversation I got thinking about issues I have with social media as a regular person and social media manager. However, as social media has grown in popularity, so have its problems. In this post, we’ll discuss three major issues with current social media:

  • Cluttered user design
  • Too many ads in the feed
  • The newness is wearing off after 20 years

Cluttered User Design

One of the most significant problems with social media is the cluttered user design. Many social media platforms are packed with features, buttons, and menus, making it difficult for users to navigate and find what they’re looking for. Additionally, the abundance of notifications, messages, and other distractions can be overwhelming and lead to a less enjoyable user experience.

A prime example of this is the Facebook News Feed. There was a time in 2014 they made the news feed simpler and cleaner. It has been my favorite design of the newsfeed they have ever released. Open your Facebook today, and stories, shortcuts, ads, and more dominate the news feed. My feed rarely begins above the fold for me to see what is going on. Note this is just a desktop; the mobile experience is better. 

Facebook has made its services for page owners so much harder to use with Creator Studio, Business Manager, etc. When Facebook first released pages, it was a more straightforward interface that you could do anything on the “main” Facebook site. They introduced Business Manager, Creative Studio, Ad Manager, and more as the years passed. These are robust tools for managing large pages with multiple needs. These tools are not easy to manage or navigate by an SMB owner with limited time. Many give up looking for things; I have on several occasions. People will leave the service when you make it too hard to manage. Facebook has lost its way and needs a more straightforward and cleaner back end for social media management, ad platform, and page management. 

Too many ads in the feed

Another issue with social media is the prevalence of ads in the feed. While ads are necessary for many social media platforms’ business models, excessive advertising can be a turn-off for users. Too many ads in the feed can disrupt the user’s browsing experience and make it challenging to find the content they’re interested in.

Instagram is the biggest culprit of too many ads, and the problem only worsens! While going through stories, they kept getting interrupted by ads, sometimes while viewing a profile. This is only some of it, Ads in the main feed are to be expected, but now we are having ads show up when we go to a person’s profile. This was jarring when I was looking at a brand, and then a competitor’s ad showed up in the feed and caught me off, guard. This goes too far when you put ads in a person’s/brand’s profile. This should be an opt-in feature with rev sharing. 

Social media is no longer new.

Finally, the newness of social media has worn off after 20 years. While social media is still a significant part of our lives, it’s no longer the shiny new thing it once was. As a result, users are looking for new and innovative ways to connect with others online.

Today’s primary social media networks are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and TikTok. Each platform has unique features and user base, but they all need help with similar problems, including cluttered user design, too many ads in the feed, and the newness wearing off.

The ages of Social Sites are:

  • Facebook is almost 20 years old, founded in 2004
  • Twitter is 17 years old, founded in 2006
  • Instagram is 13 years old, founded in 2010
  • Pinterest is also 13 years old, founded in 2010
  • TikTok is the youngest at seven years, founded in 2016. 

What we needed from many of these sites when they launched is now much different from what it was when it launched. Instagram focused on photography and has moved more into video content. Twitter, well, what can we say about it… I’ll leave that right there. 

In conclusion, while social media has brought us closer together and revolutionized our communication, it’s not without problems. The cluttered user design, too many ads in the feed, and the newness wearing off are all issues that need to be addressed if social media platforms want to remain relevant and enjoyable for users. As social media continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how these problems are tackled and overcome.

Note – I did use Chat GPT to help formulate this post but added dates and personal experiences. 

Tim is the founder of Element33. A social media agency specializing in education, management and strategy for small businesses. He comes from a traditional marketing agency but has embraced all things digital. He considers himself a marketing nerd and believes that all marketing is tied together. This means no matter what silo you are in, social, email, seach, etc, changes in one will affect the other!

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