Why does social media marketing exist? Why is your brand participating in the first place? This may not be a popular opinion but social media marketing is MARKETING, just like any other channel, and with any channel, there will be challenges.
When social media doesn’t yield the results business owners expect, they want to know why. Often they aren’t asking, but merely declaring social media to be useless and insisting it brings no results. Results take time and unfortunately don’t happen instantaneously.
Here are some reasons why your social media marketing efforts aren’t working out the way you’d expected.
1. You’re Misunderstanding “Community”
Community building is vital in social media marketing; however, many marketers misunderstand the type of community they are trying to build.
When social media marketers think of a social community, they imagine people gathered around their brand, just waiting for their content to come out. In reality, as a business, you’re supposed to be showcasing the value of your brand and products. Educational and informative content is what your business should be posting, in the hopes that your community will choose you when a need arises.
People don’t want to be friends with brands, and this idea could harm results from social media efforts. Of course, getting to know your audience is essential, but a friendship does not need to be formed. The “community” businesses need to build need to be made up of people who will actively engage with the brand. You should not just be looking for numbers, but for the right people.
Research is crucial here. Ask your current followers questions and run surveys. Both Facebook and Instagram have survey and poll options in their stories feature. Take advantage of simple (and free) tools like these to learn about what your audience is feeling and thinking.
This will help to understand how to keep those followers and how to gain new ones. Don’t forget about the competition either, look at their strategy and how they are interacting with their relevant audience. Understand what type of community you’re trying to build and why you’re building it.
2. You Don’t Have Clear Goals or Purpose
Your social media strategy won’t work if you don’t have a clear vision of your overall social media goal or the purpose behind your posts. If you don’t know what you expect to achieve from your efforts and you don’t have a clear plan laid out for making it, then chances are you won’t get the results you want. Each post on your social media channels should be thought out and strategic.
Write down some goals you would like to reach with social media marketing. Conducting a social media audit will help when deciding on your goals. It will give you insight into where your business stands at the moment and will help to see if there is any room for improvements. Remember to keep your goals specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. (S.M.A.R.T). Hootsuite has three steps on how to set social media goals if you need help.
3. You Aren’t Consistent Or Engaging
Consistency is another key part to the success of your social media strategy. You have to post and interact with your audience regularly to show up in their feeds. This is especially important since there are social media algorithms that choose what we see in our feeds.
Most social media platforms now run off an algorithm. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all base user’s timelines off of accounts they engage with and content that will most likely resonate with them. Engagement = Clicks = Cash. Facebook and Instagram decrease your views on people’s timelines if your posting decreases and Twitter shows tweets from accounts people are interacting with.
Engaging with your community is essential for your social media efforts to work and to see persistent growth. Get out there and like photos and tweets, join Twitter chats, leave comments on Instagram and Facebook, start conversations. Interacting and engaging is the best way to get your account in the eyes of your target audience.
Posting is also a vital component of any social media strategy. If you’re infrequently posting, for instance, once a week, the perception is you don’t have enough content to offer the rest of the time. If that’s the case, then there’s no real benefit from following you on social media is there?
There are tools out there to help schedule posts consistently, and many of them are free. These tools can help manage more than one social media platform and all in one place. Posting AT LEAST 3x a week is a good number to start with. It is essential to experiment with post frequency to see what works best for your specific audience.
4. You Don’t Understand Data
One of the most significant potential weaknesses in any social media marketing strategy is failing to understand the data. You need to be able to measure, analyze and react to the data created by your social activities. Also, invest time to understand attribution models. Consumers tend to bounce around before they purchase, and by not following the data behind how your audience shops, you may misinterpret the effectiveness of your campaigns.
Familiarize yourself with Facebook Insights, Facebook Analytics (from the Pixel) and Google Analytics, so you fully understand exactly what your efforts are producing. Other social media platforms, like Twitter and Instagram, have their own analytics and insight tools as well. Some guides offer assistance in learning how to use these tools.
5. You Act Like a Big Brand
If you’re modeling your social media marketing strategy after big brands like McDonald’s or Target, you’re probably way off the mark. These big companies have managed to build impressive brand equity, but it did not happen overnight, this took decades. Unless you’re prepared to use large budgets, then trying to borrow ideas from them likely won’t work.
Smaller businesses have to work smarter and harder to cut through competitor noise on social media. Never assume that people know who you are and that they’ll automatically understand what you’re trying to accomplish. Be realistic, go to market with a smart plan to build your brand every day.
You can’t skip years of building your brand and hope that assumed brand equity is going to indicate success for your business. Spend the time and money building awareness, and prospecting new clients. With time, your brand will grow.
If you have been doing any of the above, then now is the time to fix it. Understand that social media marketing may take time to yield results. Research is a friend here, and there are many tools out there to help. Once you fix the above mistakes, then you will undoubtedly start to see slow and steady improvement for your social media efforts.