Every business talks about it, most are doing it, but only few do it well.
Whilst Social Media marketing may be on top of most marketer’s toolkit in 2018, the sad fact is that for most businesses, Social Media just doesn’t deliver the ROI businesses expect which means too many businesses decide to end their marketing efforts prematurely.
This is a shame, as whether on the social web or in real-time, human psychology hasn’t changed and in the same way that word of mouth and referrals work so well in the offline world, they do too in the case of Social Media.
However, by taking a long-term view and having a well formulated Social Media strategy, you can decrease the chances of avoiding burnout, forcing you to abandon your efforts midway and making it pay off over and beyond a simple branding experiment.
So, let’s take a closer look at the common pitfalls many businesses fall into and how you can avoid becoming a part of that statistic.
You don’t have a long term strategy
If I was to name the single biggest reason I see businesses stopping their Social Media marketing efforts, it is because they run out of things to say.
This is where having a content calendar can be extremely useful.
Whilst you will need to allocate some time every day or week to think or share content for your channels, having a 3-6 month content calendar in place can be extremely beneficial esp. during crunch time when you know you need to post but just can’t think of what.
For example, an Ecommerce site can plan for promotions or messaging strategy that is inline with the important sales periods such as Valentines or Mother’s day and so on.
A restaurant could deploy a similar strategy wherein messaging is consistent with events planned in the vicinity or locality.
This can often minimise the need for ad-hoc updates and posts and serve as a useful guide for your content strategy.
Thinking you don’t have the budget or time
If the number 1 reason for stopping social marketing efforts is lack of content, the number 2 has to be lack of time.
It’s true, whilst the direct cost of Social Media marketing i.e. content generation is less than other typical channels, you do need to spend a commodity just as valuable as money if not more so and that is time.
It’s a good idea to get realistic about the amount of time you will need to dedicate to make your social efforts a success and then committing to it.
If you feel you just won’t have the necessary time then you can use the services of an external agency (Routes 4 Media for example!) to get the job done.
If Social Media is a completely new endeavour for you, speak to us, other agencies or even other businesses to get a sense of the time commitment you will need and take that into account.
There isn’t a one-time-fits-all number as the amount of time you will need to invest will vary on various factors such as how common having an active Social Media presence is in your industry or sector, which channels you use (and therefore the type of content you will need to produce), how often you should be posting and son.
Focusing on quantity rather than quality
If content is king, consistency is queen on Social Media.
However, posting content for the sake of it or to have an ‘active Social Media presence’ is all but wasted time and effort as your posts are likely to have low engagement at best and drive your audience to hit the unfollow or unlike button at worst.
Instead, think about how you can strike the right balance between quality and quantity.
One way to do this is to use a scheduling tool like Hootsuite or Buffer to batch-schedule posts in say 14 day chunks. Then, on an ad-hoc basis, whenever you come across content that you think will resonate with your social audience or is going to be helpful, you can post that as and when is necessary.
You’re trying to sell and self-promote too much
Mari Smith, one of Facebook most prominent marketers often says that the 80/20 rule applies to Social Media too : 80% of your posts should be about engaging with your audience, promoting other businesses content and without any sales agenda. Only 20% should be messages to promote a sale or generate leads.
Not realising it’s a marathon not a sprint
At Routes 4 Media, every day, we help businesses grow and get more out of the social web and one thing we notice time and time again is how many businesses think that Social Media marketing is going to be a quick-fix to low sales level and that is seldom the case.
Social Media is less about selling and more about connecting which in turn will help your business grow.
You need to make sure you’ve given your social marketing efforts a reasonable period of time to come into fruition before you start seeing any quantifiable results from it.
Not targeting the right channels
Before you deploy Social Media for your marketing efforts, decide on which channels matter the most.
From Facebook to Pinterest, LinkedIn to Twitter and everything in between, most channels have a certain audience profile and no matter how engaging and insightful your posts are, if you’re showing it to the wrong audience, you’re wasting an awful lot of time and resources.
For example, did you know that online women are more likely to use Instagram than online men (31% vs. 24%)? Or that 41% of LinkedIn users earn a salary over $75,000?
The folks at Pew Research Center carried out an extensive study back in 2015 where they profiled the audience of all the main Social Media channels and this is definitely something you want to take into consideration when deciding on which channels to deploy.
If you already have an active presence on Social and want to determine the profile of your fans and followers, tools like SproutSocial can enable you to do just that.
Another thing to bear in mind are the channels your prominent competitors are deploying as that can be a useful indicator too.
Once you’re clear on which channels you’re going to actively target, you could use a tool like Hootsuite to link all of your social accounts so that inactive channels can still display posts from your active channels.
Not posting the right type of content
Take a long hard look at the feeds that garner engagement from various Social Media channels and chances are you will find some key differences.
For example, most engaging posts on Facebook comprise of video and that would generally outperform images. On Instagram however, images can work just as well, even those ubiquitous image with a quote for which Facebook is not that conducive.News updates on Twitter usually performs well.
When thinking of what to post, keep the above in mind and tailor your content accordingly. You’ll get a lot more mileage from your efforts if you make sure you’re posting content that is most suitable for each channel.
You’re only posting, not connecting
Whilst your main objectives on Social Media is to increase your brand presence by posting useful, engaging and informative content often, an often overlooked aspect of Social Media for businesses is its ability to create relationships with users and even other business.
Some of the ways you can do this is by linking posts, commenting and replying to recommendations even from people or businesses you may not currently know.
That way, you will be adding value over and above your channel’s posts plus it means greater brand exposure from an audience that may not have come to know about you otherwise.
You’re not promoting your Social Media presence
Perhaps the most ironic reason Social Media doesn’t work for many businesses is that they simply don’t talk about it!
Time and time again, I will come across business pages that are regularly posting out engaging content but when I ask about their strategy on gaining followers and increasing their audience size, they are often speechless.
Here are just some of the ways you can promote your Social Media channels and audience size:
- Telling your customers about it
- Linking to your Social Media profiles from across all your marketing collateral such as website, online brochures, leaflets and so on
- Including your social links in your email signature
User-generated content can be a great and effective way to get your audience involved and expand your online reach. For example, you can offer a promotion to all diners at your restaurant who upload a food pic. If you’re a media consulting company, you could offer a discount off your services or some other incentive for clients visiting your offices for a meeting who check-in via Facebook.
The list is endless, all it requires is a plan in place and good ‘ol creativity.
We hope this short guide will give you a better idea on why your Social Media efforts may not quite be working as well as you’d hoped as well as suggestions on what to do.
Of course, as always, if you have any questions, please get in touch with Routes 4 Media and we’ll be happy to help.