If you haven’t caught on by now, social media marketing is crucial when it comes to a successful inbound marketing strategy.
Let’s be honest.
No one’s saying this is an easy task, myself included.
It’s frustrating when you pour hours into your social efforts only to get little in the return.
If you’re having trouble getting results from your social media efforts, there could be several reasons why your return on investment isn’t up to par with your expectations.
Let’s run through some troubleshooting…
1) Did you actually make a strategy?
Let’s be real for a second.
You can’t just post to social media whenever and however you please and expect to get a positive result.
It’s just not going to work as a strategy.
It is absolutely crucial for businesses to have a social media marketing strategy in order to be successful.
Every social media network has its own unique culture and set of “rules” that dictate the social behavior. Not observing the etiquette of each individual platform makes it far more difficult for you to find success.
For example, Facebook users typically use the platform to connect with family and friends.
…and nowadays is not so much used source for sharing news anymore, considering the latest update to their algorithm. But that’s ok:
Twitter, on the other hand, is all about that short form, instantaneous content particularly good for headlines and snippets which is also a great source for news.
Side-note: I recently took a poll on Instagram asking if people still use Twitter or not. And out of the couple hundred people that answered, over 80% of them said they do not use Twitter at all. But the people that did, I asked them why. This was a response from one of my co-workers:
“I do actively use twitter. I don’t tweet every day, but I get a lot of real time breaking sports news from twitter. I also follow most bloggers involved in #CavsTwitter so I see a ton of Cavs stuff. And @dog_rates @dog_feelings are two of my favorite accounts.
I also love seeing all of the viral tweets on twitter before they’re screenshotted and turned into memes on instagram. – Connor Clay—Strategist at TKG
Now, between the two of these platforms, which do you think would be best for multiple promotions about a limited time coupon you’re offering?
…the platform that’s more about connecting with people you know or the platform that’s more impersonal and limits you to 140 characters?
Twitter for sure, right? Repetitive posts like that on Facebook will get you un-liked real quick. And now that “engagement-bait” is frowned upon by Facebook’s algorithm, it’s likely not going to reach anyone if you DO, in fact, post it.
Your primary job here is to determine:
- which networks you need to be engaging on to reach your target audience,
- how often you post (relative to the platform)
- what kinds of content work best on each platform
- what the proper etiquette is for each one.
Create a detailed strategy using the best social practices.
2) Are you using social networks that fit well with your business?
Instagram is the visual marketing gem of the social media world.
What’s not to like about Instagram?
Why wouldn’t using Instagram be a key part of your social media marketing strategy?
Well, for starters, if your buyer persona doesn’t use Instagram, you’re likely not going to have much luck.
Secondly, if your product or service isn’t dependent on visuals for marketing (like content marketing, for example), you’re going to have to get seriously creative.
But, it’s not impossible. (See The Modern Marketer!)
The common consensus is every business should be on the big four: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.
The Modern Marketer consensus is every business should be on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, LinkedIn and highly consider emerging platforms that either amazing features or have massive “younger” attention—like Snapchat, Musically, Anchor, etc.
And it’s not just about understanding WHICH social platforms to use, but also HOW to use them.
Our client Dash is a fitness guru (and totally looks like Thor) who had spent 8 months of creating videos on YouTube. He had about 1,000 educational fitness videos that just weren’t getting attention.
He began repurposing and upcycling content and also running Facebook ads on every video he dropped each week.
Every video since has gone viral.
He went from 400 fans on his Facebook Page to 100,000.
He was also putting out a ton of educational videos on YouTube but his subscribers weren’t growing.
But 90% of YouTube’s audience is Millennials who are there primarily for entertainment, not education.
So he started videos ranting about the top industry fitness dudes who claim to be “100% natural” but are so clearly juiced. His YouTube channel the first 10 months was at about 600 subscribers, and a few months after dropping those videos he’s at almost 5k subscribers.
Now Dash’s educational videos on YouTube are getting attention because we supplemented them with these rant-y, trash-talking videos.
You’ve got to be distributing your valuable content where the attention already is. Put it in front of where people’s faces are.
3) Are you too focused on promo?
Ok, so it’s not a terrible thing to be promoting your stuff on social media, but far, far too many businesses do just self-promotion and nothing else. It comes off a bit stale. You can’t have a strategy for your social media without diverse content.
“Customers aren’t as interested in promotional content as they are in thought leadership.”
According to a 2015 study done by AMCF, after referrals, thought leadership is the most important source for finding consulting expertise. So, you should be really focusing on sharing content that will inspire—yes, even if it’s not yours!
You might ask, “But isn’t it counterproductive to be sharing a competitor’s content?”
Nope. It’s actually considered good social media manners—and it keeps your content fresh.
However retweeting solid content isn’t the only means for avoiding the sharing of too much promo-y stuff on social…
- Take a video
- Snap a photo
- Ask an engaging question
- Talk about something funny that happened today
There are plenty of ways to engage with your people.
4) Are you rolling out fresh content?
I get it.
Keeping up with your social media accounts can be a daunting task.
The last thing you want to do is give off the impression an account has gone stale due to inactivity or repetitive content.
It may seem like a burden to maintain all your accounts by being both fresh and relevant, but it doesn’t have to be a time consuming task.
An immensely helpful tactic for social strategy is to plan a schedule for your posting.
There’s plenty of different software to help manage your posting, depending on the networks you’re using. Just a few mentionable examples…
- Sprout Social is great for scheduling and monitoring engagement and activity on social.
- Iconosquare is a MASSIVE help to managing Instagram accounts, with scheduling and insane analytics available in the platform. Pictured here is JUST the dashboard of Iconosquare, let alone all of the sub-sections of usable data you can look at.
Putting your social posting within a strategy and platform will not only serve as reassurance that you’re active and coming out with fresh stuff, but it frees up your time to engage with your customers.
Which leads me into the next question…
5) Are you being social on your social media?
Using all the aforementioned software to help you manage your social accounts is great and all (we do it too!)…
…but if everything you post is automated, your social media strategy will fail.
After all, the whole point of social media is to be social!
You can tweet every 20 minutes and post on Instagram once an hour (even add all the most relevant hashtags,) but if you don’t actually log into your account everyday and talk to your followers, then you’re not giving them much reason to follow you.
To them, you might as well be a robot.
Being social doesn’t have to take all day. In fact, it shouldn’t.
It only takes a few minutes to log in, shout out some followers, engage with content others have shared, leave a few comments, and move on with your business day.
According to a study by the Social Media Examiner, at least 61% of those investing a minimum of six hours per week in social media marketing saw improvements in search engine rankings.
But if you’re engaging with your followers and keeping your content fresh yet still not seeing results, maybe you’re facing another problem.
Maybe, you’re having difficulty delighting people…
6) Does your brand have a personality on social media?
Some businesses run the risk of a social media presence that’s just sort of blah, particularly B2Bs. But even some B2Cs can sound kind of fake or, even worse, that they’re trying too hard.
It can be easy to forget amidst all this strategizing that the reason you’re making a strategy in the first place is to get the people going. People aren’t going to be interested in a business on social that’s devoid of any character.
I mean, you’re not going to be captivated by the guy at a social event who says nothing or does nothing memorable, so why would you wanna be that guy on social media?
While this isn’t “new” news, Wendy’s is a solid example of a great Twitter personality with its sassy attitude and ability to roast people:
Now that’s some memorable brand personality. People tweet at Wendy’s now just asking to be roasted—and people love it!
If your brand doesn’t let people shine through on social, it’s going to be ignored.
7) Are you building a tribe that cares about your posts?
Having a personality is important, but if you’re not posting about things that your audience cares about, you’re going to struggle to grow.
It’s just like that friend on Facebook who overshares or posts things so uninteresting that no one will even touch it with a Like button.
Kind of awkward and annoying, right?
Well, it’s the same for business. If you continuously push a product or service, people may very well not care.
Maybe what they really want is to just casually scroll through their feeds, look at cool pics, and like your posts. It’s important to understand what captivates your audience so that you can continue to engage them time after time.
To crush your social strategy, you have to be growing a tribe that loves you and cares about what you’re posting.
“By the way, building this tribe takes time. Every successful social account started out with zero followers. It takes some experimentation, some patience, and lots of listening and engaging with other accounts to find that sweet spot. It’s a commitment. They didn’t build Rome in one day, your amazing following won’t be built that quickly either.”
8) Are you looking at your metrics, and are you looking at the right metrics?
Analytics across all networks are getting more comprehensive and detailed.
This presents big opportunity for marketers to have a more in-depth understanding of their ROI.
Granted, there is always some error of margin to consider.
But if you’re not actually looking at your analytics, your whole social strategy is for naught.
The whole point of strategizing is to see what, for who, when, where, how, and why your posts are successful or not?
You don't need a degree in data science or data analysis to understand what is working for your business. Take the next 24 hours to study the metrics and KPIs you need to be tracking for your inbound marketing efforts. – From there, start analyzing in small chunks to get used to the data and what it means. Do this for each area of your business: email, content, social, and ads. – Then, after you've completed the above and only then, compare your recent results to the benchmarks for your industry. – Does this data compare, is it greater or less in performance? Don't you see how simple data can be when you break it down into steps? We need to get practical with what we track in our business, how we interpret it and most importantly, HOW we take action. – Stop measuring the success of your online business by followers & traffic. That doesn't matter if you can't grow your bottom line.
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This data is crucial for justifying ROI. You need to be looking at it.
…but, you also need to be looking at the right data. Clutching at any old metric won’t work. You have to use the metrics that work best for you.
Likes, fans, and followers are great but who are these people? If you have a lot of followers but most seem distant and don’t care about engaging with your posts, you might not be reaching a quality audience.
And quality should always come before quantity in social media marketing, because ultimately all of this effort is to build relationships and generate solid leads.
Be sure to analyze engagement levels, and not just the quantity of likes and followers.
Conclusion: Make your social media strategy work for you
Now that you have a better understanding of why you’re having trouble with social, it’s time to fix it!
Develop a solid strategy strategy for your business that makes use of the right networks, has fresh and diversified content delivered with personality, and seeks to engage an audience in a way that captivates them.
And remember, my team and I are here to help with your social.
A stellar and successful social media presence is absolutely crucial to your business’ growth and prosperity, so put in that time and effort to make it a priority.