If you’re one of the 90% of businesses that have taken to implementing social media into your marketing strategy, but aren’t getting the results you hoped for, we can guess why. The truth is, many businesses will continue to make the same mistake and never get the most out of their social media efforts.
Why are they failing?
They think anyone can be a social media expert. We may live in a digital age where billions of people flock to their social media feeds daily, but running a business’s social media page takes a certain level of expertise and finesse.
To put it simply: Just because everyone is “doing it” doesn’t mean anyone can do it and make an impact.
No offense to you or whoever is scrambling to grow your audience; the social media realm is highly saturated and more complex than breezy lifestyle influencers make it seem – especially for businesses. Here’s why:
Those Social Media Tips Aren’t Actually Transferable
When you’re building a brand on social media and not just posting to share with friends and family, there’s a lot more you have to do to make a good impression. And you have to do it in the right place at the right time to the right people – consistently.
To be successful, the person responsible for your social media accounts has to understand all of these moving parts. They need to know the platform, brand and audience they’re working with and how they impact each other.
The trick, then, is that not all those social media hacks, tips, trends and strategies that you see others using or that you read about online are going to work. Many of them were conceived by social media experts to work under a certain set of circumstances (i.e. a specific audience, brand and platform).
So, it’s not as easy as just posting, and you can’t just copy what others are doing and hope for the best. In other words, you need your own unique strategy.
A Commitment to Strategy (Not to Stubbornness)
A solid social media strategy is the only way you’ll get the attention you want on social media. The process of devising a great strategy is notoriously meticulous, but the good news is that it will work and make managing an effective feed easier.
When defining a social media strategy, it’s imperative to consider the interacting components discussed above while deciding on objectives, a target audience, tactics and more. Your strategy should include content ideation, plans for obtaining content and scheduling. It will be tedious and detailed, but it will work.
Regardless, building a great strategy only gets you so far. You also have to say your “I Do’s” and commit to implementing it each day.
This does not, however, mean a commitment to stubbornness. Like water, the right strategy takes on the form it needs to. You have to be able to recognize when certain tactics are and are not working, and you have to be willing to adapt with the times. With new platforms, processes, tools and events, the world of social media is always shifting. You have to keep up.
Failing to take into account all the moving parts of social media isn’t just detrimental to meeting your goals – it’s also dangerous. Your brand reputation is everything, and online, it moves fast. Users don’t see businesses as people, and mistakes are not easily forgotten, as these brand social media horror stories show.
Businesses Are Boring
Not just anyone can run a business’s social media, and it’s partially because businesses are boring. But yours doesn’t have to be. What we mean by this is that nobody wants to listen to a business talk about itself.
While getting users to care about a company may be challenging, it is possible. About 68% of people spend time reading about the brands they love, after all.
So, how do you break that barrier?
Your audience is on social media to follow the lives of their friends, families and the occasional influencer. What you need to do is find and present the lifestyle behind your product or service. A guiding rule for posts is that 80% be educational or lifestyle-based content, while only 20% is actually promotional. The key is to blend in while maintaining your authenticity, but it’s not easy to do. A good social media manager can make an inhuman business feel like a friend.
Your Posts Have to Engage Leads
Anywhere you go, attention is an energy source. People only have so much attention to spare these days, and your social media page needs to be more than “aesthetic” to earn it. It needs to engage your audience to the point that they want to continue giving your brand their time.
To do this, you need to offer real value and experiences. No one wants to be solely sold to by a brand, so your posts need the perfect percentage of promotional content tossed in.
This is why running an effective page requires a heavy dose of creativity. Other than product posts and user-generated content, you need to produce enough engaging content and ideas to stay fresh with your posting every day, eternally.
Social Media Is Still Marketing
It’s easy to forget when everyone has a phone and social media account, but your social media is still part of your marketing strategy. Studies even show that the leads developed through social media are 7 times more likely to close.
As such, it needs to be treated with the same care as the rest of your marketing campaigns.
Where organic content keeps your followers engaged and loyal, it primarily reaches your current audience. Reaching new leads requires investing in paid social media advertising, and like any other paid marketing tactic, you don’t want to waste money. You want it to continue to become more efficient, measured, targeted and impactful.
So, why wouldn’t you hire a professional who knows the terrain the way you would with any other marketing investment?
A Large Following Doesn’t Equal Success
You should know that your social media accounts don’t exist just to check off a box on a list. You have marketing goals, and you’re on social media to help meet them. This requires knowing how to choose and implement the right social media goals for your business. Common goals include boosting awareness, engagement and conversions.
What many non-experts get sucked into is an emphasis on follower count. As alluring as it can be, you should avoid purchasing followers as a quick way to grow your audience. Not only are these followers usually fake, but social media platforms can penalize your account for using a follower growth service. Furthermore, for a number of reasons, your follower count is largely irrelevant to your social success, and focusing too much on follower growth over other metrics can be damaging.
This is because you can have thousands of followers, but that doesn’t mean they’re engaging with your posts, building brand loyalty or becoming a lead. If these interactions are missing, your follower base isn’t contributing to your business’s success and is essentially pointless.
A smart social campaign measures goals that mean something for your success. If you have a large follower base and aren’t meeting your goals, it could be a sign that you’re targeting the wrong people or not posting engaging enough content.
Listening Is Just as Important
A great strategy is not solely defined by creating great content, but also by mastering the art of social listening. This skill can be hard to come by. Depending on the size of your business, social listening might be the responsibility of your social media manager, brand community manager, or public relations specialist.
Social listening means garnering an understanding of how people are talking about your brand and competitors. It’s what allows you to respond in a timely fashion to positive and negative statements about your business and get ahead of a crisis. What people are saying can guide you in how to improve, and if no one is talking about your business, something needs to change.
Being a good listener also means keeping an eye out for upcoming trends, so that your brand stays relevant and ahead of the curve.
As important is the ability to hear out and understand customer comments and direct messages so that you can respond in a timely and appropriate manner.
There are social media monitoring tools that make a listener’s job easier, but you have to know how to use them and implement them into your larger ongoing strategy.
Not Everyone Can Be The Expert You Need
True social media expertise is harder to come by than you would think, and if your pages are failing to produce results that benefit business, it’s not your fault. Despite popular belief, not everyone can navigate the complex intricacies of the social media realm – let alone for a business. You might consider getting the education you need to take full advantage of what your social media could be accomplishing.
Don’t have the time or passion? Partner with a digital marketing agency that can provide the results you’re looking for.