February 28, 2014

“Social Media isn’t working for us…..”

Social Media not workingEvery week, we meet businesses who have tried to incorporate Social Media into their marketing mix as a way to grow their business but given up, not having yielded the kind of results they expected.

Once, we’ve had some time to take a closer look into their previous Social Media efforts, it’s quite clear that the reason(s)  they didn’t experience any positive impact wasn’t because Social Media doesn’t work for them (as we now know, Social Media can work for every business). It’s usually to do with one or more of the following factors.

If you’ve given up on Social Media already, the following may help you discover why your previous attempt didn’t quite work out. If you’re currently marketing via Social Media but not seeing any return on your investment yet, this post may help identify areas of improvement.

So, let’s take a closer look at common reasons why Social Media fails to deliver results for businesses:

Reason 1) There’s no strategy

Every marketing plan needs to have a strategy behind it and in most cases, businesses know this. For some reason however, time and time again, we find businesses jumping onto the Social Media bandwagon without much thought to strategy or a plan of action apart from pushing loads of content on the chosen Social Media channels.

Marketing on Social Media is no different than any other form of marketing – you must start with a strategy in mind. We’ll talk about defining a Social Media strategy in another post but here are some questions to help you start thinking:

  • Who are my current customers? What size of businesses? Annual turnover? What businesses are they in?
  • Am I most likely to find them on Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn or somewhere else?
  • How can I add value when interacting with them? What sort of content will they find useful?

Reason 2) You have a strategy but it’s not the correct one

Let’s say your businesses got started with a clear, well thought-out strategy in mind but you aren’t experiencing the kind of results you did. What could be wrong?

If this sounds like you, then there’s a good chance that your Social Media strategy isn’t right.

Social Media can be used to accomplish various business objectives – build customer loyalty, generate leads, improve your customer service, Quality Assurance and so on. Your business objectives should be defined within your Social Media strategy which will then also help you determine the kind of audience you’re looking for.

Let’s say that you’ve defined one of the goals for your Facebook page to build customer loyalty or improving your customer service.  In most cases, your roadmap to generate likes should stem from converting your existing customer base into Facebook fans.

Now, let’s say you decided to try out Facebook ads as a way to generate more likes.  Assuming that your content strategy is in line with the defined business goal(s) (customer loyalty and improving customer service), even though you may end up increasing the fan count of your Facebook page, there’s a good chance that the engagement levels (E.g. ‘No of people talking about this’) will remain low as the other audience set (likes from current non-customers) will not find your content as engaging.

Reason 3) You have the correct strategy but not getting the results you’d expected

So, now you have the correct strategy and the right audience, your fans are talking about your brand, sharing your content and you’re still not getting the results you’d hoped for. What could be wrong?

In 2 words, unrealistic expectations.

Social Media is a relatively new marketing channel and in spite of it’s monstrous growth, it’s still difficult to targets with a high level of accuracy.

Defining your Social Media objectives and quantifying the Return on Investment from your Social Media activities is important, no doubt. However, the turnaround times on Social Media is slower than other forms of marketing, Pay Per Click, for example and you should be prepared for this.

Reason 4) Absence of a marketing plan to increase your Social Media audience

You may have the most well thought-out Social Media strategy and distributing engaging content that’s second to none. However, without an effective plan of action on how to generate likes or followers, you want have an audience to show it to.

The techniques or tools you deploy to increase your audience will be determined by the type of audience you’re looking for. However, it all starts with having an audience in the first place.

Here are some ideas:

  • Sending out an email to your current customers requesting them to connect with you on your Facebook like box examplechosen Social Media channels. We find that an incentive, no matter how small, can increase conversion rates by 40-50%
  • Advertising your Social Media presence on your website. It’s a good idea to include buttons or links to allow them to connect with you immediately as opposed to opening up your Facebook page (for example) in a new window. That’s twice the number of clicks for them. If you can incorporate a Like Box such as the example shown to the right, that’s even better and you’ll likely experience 30% higher conversion rates of website visitors into Facebook fans
  • If appropriate for your business offering, you can allow fans to tag themselves in photos. For example, many restaurants allow customers to tag photos of themselves or a fashion Ecommerce brand could allow fans to upload photos wearing something they purchased. For more restaurant marketing ideas, check this out.
  • Paid ads on Facebook and LinkedIn, Sponsored tweets
  • If you’ve got a blog going (and we highly recommend you do, not just for Social Media but it will help your SEO as well), allow commenting via a Social Media enabled plugin such as Disqus (speaking of this, we should finally get that done for our own blog!)

And, that’s about it for now. I hope this helps and if you’ve got a question or comment, we’d love to hear from you.

If you’re looking for a digital marketing agency why not give Flow20 a try? We can help you with PPC management, SEO, Facebook ads, LinkedIn Advertising and Social Media campaigns and even Google Ads training.

About Shirish Agarwal

Shirish Agarwal is the founder of Flow20 and looks after the PPC and SEO side of things. Shirish also regularly contributes to leading digital marketing publications such as Hubspot, SEMRush, Wordstream and Outbrain. Connect with him on LinkedIn.