Why Your Organic Social Media Efforts Are Failing
It was supposed to be the silver bullet. Everyone said your business had to be on Facebook, or Twitter, or YouTube, but you’re just not seeing any results.
You’re not alone.
It’s easy to get discouraged and want to give up on social media entirely, especially if you’re not seeing the immediate success you hoped for, but it would be a mistake. The thing is, social media marketing does work – when you do it right.
There’s a huge amount to consider when developing a successful social media strategy, and a lot of ways it can go wrong. Here are just a few of the ways you could have messed up on social media (and how to do it right).
You didn’t have a plan.
There’s a lot more to social media marketing than just creating a profile and posting. You can’t just say you’re “doing social media” and expect results to appear. Without a plan, you’re just posting updates into the dark and just hoping people will care enough to seek you out and see them.
Firstly you need to figure out what you want to achieve from your social media presence. There is a huge range of potential benefits for your business, from engaging with your customers to reaching a whole new audience, but unless you have a particular objective in mind, you’ll have a hard time measuring the results – or getting any better.
Once you’ve got a goal in mind, remember it whenever you think about your social media. Will this post help you towards your goal? If the answer is no, don’t waste your time.
You were on the wrong platforms.
Social media platforms were not all created equal. Your foodies, your wedding planners, your arts & crafts bloggers – you’ll find them on Pinterest. Your business owners, salespeople, marketers and business decision makers are all on LinkedIn. Fitness gurus, makeup lovers and selfie addicts dominate Instagram. Everyone and their mum is on facebook (but that doesn’t necessarily mean they want to talk to you).
The point is, you’ve got to pick the platforms that your target audience are actually on, or you’ll never reach the right people. It doesn’t matter if 5,000 people saw your last post if none of them actually care about it.
You were posting the wrong things.
Look, there’s a time and a place to sell your products. It’s on an advert. It’s not on your target audience’s personal Facebook feed. How many people do you know that would voluntarily choose to be bombarded with advertising all the time? So why would anyone want to follow a page that constantly tries to sell you their products?
Of course, it’s possible to go too far to the other end of the scale. As much as people love pictures of adorable puppies on social media, unless you’re promoting an animal shelter or dog walking service, it’s unlikely that you’ll actually be reaching your target audience with your posts. You could argue that it’s getting your brand out there, but who actually remembers the company that shared the adorable puppy picture? No-one, because there are thousands of other accounts sharing exactly the same content.
Ideally, you’ll have a good mix of content on your social feeds, and you won’t be posting the same things to every platform (else why would anyone follow more than one of them?). You want to be sharing things that your target audience are interested in, that they’ll care enough about to want to pass on to their friends, and that’s actually relevant to your brand. Try to strike that fine balance between staying on-brand and having a human voice, and remember who it is that you’re trying to talk to.
You were posting too much (or, not enough).
Posting excessively brings you dangerously close to that most hated of all marketing practices – spamming. Not posting enough, and you might as well not post at all. What is an acceptable post frequency on Twitter, where tweets are quickly pushed down the feed by newer posts, could be far too much for Facebook, where posts are chosen by an algorithm.
How do you know what’s the right post frequency for your audience? Unfortunately, there’s no one answer. All you can do is test and learn. In-platform analytics tools such as Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics can give you the data you need to inform your decisions, from how many engagements your posts are getting and how many people you reach to when your followers are online and where they are in the world. Armed with this information, you can adopt a trial-and-error approach to your social media that, over time, will bring you better results.
You didn’t engage with your audience.
One of the defining features of social media is that it allows for two-way conversations with your audience. When your messages are just one-way, you may as well be shouting into a room and leaving. Engaging with your customers is essential for social media success, but it’s not something you can force.
Start by listening to what people are saying. Tools like mention.com can be used to track anytime someone is talking about your brand, but if you’re not generating much chatter, don’t fret. Search for conversations about your industry, for questions that you can answer and problems you can solve. Providing useful insights and contributions can help to bring your brand to a wider audience – and if you’re doing it in an authentic way, you can gain some followers who are happy to talk about and recommend your brand in a positive way.
Once you’ve got a follower base who are keen to engage with you, add some questions into your posts. Rather than just sharing information, ask for opinions or feedback – people like to feel like their opinion is valued, so acknowledge contributions, thank people for taking part and then actually act upon what’s been shared. This is how you turn customers into brand advocates – by showing that you care.
You didn’t promote your social media feeds.
So you made a facebook page, set up a twitter account and started pinning some photos of your products on Pinterest. Did you actually tell anyone you were doing it? Organic follower growth can be very, very slow if you don’t promote what you’re doing.
Adding visible links to your website header or footer helps people to find you when they’re already showing interest in your business. Including the news of your social accounts in your next email newsletter helps to spread some awareness and telling your recipients what they can expect if they follow you will encourage following.
If you want to reach new people with your social media presence, the fastest and most effective way is to do some paid promotion. When you advertise on platforms like Facebook you can reach thousands of people relatively cheaply, and you can target your content so it goes to the people most likely to be interested. We can manage social advertising for you at Clicky, so you get the best results from your promotions. What you end up with is a brand new audience of people who want to hear from your business, who in time could become valued customers!
You wanted immediate results
Social media is not a quick fix. It’s not going to start bringing in the big bucks straight away, but that’s not what it’s for. Unpaid social media activity is rarely going to work as a marketing acquisition tool (trust me, I wrote a lengthy dissertation on the subject).
Organic social media marketing is a slow-burn strategy that when done properly brings long-term results. More engaged customers, a better brand profile, wider brand awareness and word of mouth recommendations are all valuable assets, and they’re the sort of things you’ll get from a solid social media strategy, not immediate sales.
If you want to see what a well-considered, properly executed strategy could do for your business, take a look at Clicky’s social media management service. Treat us like an extension of your main team, and see your social media audience take shape.