I heard from a business person last week telling me she has done social media marketing on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest and listed her products on a very large eCommerce site, but has seen no results. She said, “I’ve tried lots of things, but nothing is working.”
You may be like her or you may be in the group of people who used to do very well on Facebook, but not anymore. You were posting updates and interacting with your audience. New people were becoming aware of your business. People were sending you messages and coming by to buy products or services. But not any more. You are struggling to reach the people who liked your page. Your sales directly attributable to Facebook have declined. You’re not alone.
In my experience there are some simple reasons why your social media marketing is failing in today’s environment. Here are the most common, along with some things you can do about them:
- Failing to segment the market and target your specific audiences. You may be doing what I call “spray and pray marketing.” You throw stuff out at everybody and hope that something sticks. You are spending time, effort, and money with low or non-existent results. Success in marketing, especially social media marketing, is to segment the market and create content to meet the needs and desires of each. Social media is “new,” but timeless principals of marketing are not.
- Not creating buyer personas. Personas of your typical buyers in each market segment should drive the social media platforms, content, tone, images, ads, and value propositions to communicate with them. It is also the basis for very targeted advertising on social media to augment your organic reach.
- Spreading across too many platforms or the wrong platform. In the evolution of social media we are seeing some maturation and segmentation. If you are only using Facebook or Twitter, you may be missing the platform where your target audience spends its most time and engagement. If you are only using Instagram, you may be missing audiences who only use Facebook or LinkedIn. But trying to be everywhere can also backfire. Your content and formats either won’t be optimized or you will spend an excessive amount of time posting natively to each platform.
- Focusing on selling something immediately from social media. Marketing is about meeting customers needs profitably over time. I am incredibly annoyed when someone asks me to connect on LinkedIn and then immediately sends me a sales pitch. They know nothing about me or my business. I have expressed no interest in their product or service. They have ruined a potential future business relationship with me by jumping into sales mode. If you have sales people and they are doing this, stop them! They are hurting your business, not helping it.
- Driving people to a landing page or web site that is not mobile friendly. As I have blogged before, mobile is where it’s at now. If people go to a page or site they can’t easily read on their mobile device, you have lost them as a potential customer.
- Not promoting discovery of your content. You are not using the right hashtags on platforms where they should be used. Or you are using irrelevant hashtags. Or you are not doing keyword research for your personas and creating content that highlights those keywords. Or you are not reaching out to others and engaging on social media so that they may also come and look at your content.
- Relying on organic reach. I’ve blogged about this previously. Facebook is now pay to play for businesses. Other social media platforms are moving that direction as they plan and experiment with ways to monetize their users. You must at a minimum pay Facebook to occasionally boost key content to your followers. And you should be considering highly targeted ad campaigns based on demographics, interests, and behaviors. You still have tremendous opportunity for your content to show up between photos of friends and family, but you will have to pay for that privilege to go beyond 2-6% of your followers.
- Not being social. The mantra at Social Media Marketing World this year was, “Don’t be on social media. Be social!” Engage with your followers. Ask them questions. Thank them for following you. Reply promptly to comments or questions from them. Use a variety of posts. Remember that people are on social media to stay connected, be entertained, and be informed. They are not there for a hard sales pitch.
- Not being visual enough. The posts with the highest engagement are photos and videos. I’m still amazed at how many tweets I see on Twitter without an attached photo. Your content is much more likely to be attention grabbing if you have an image or video. Great images are keys to success on both Instagram and Pinterest.
- Driving traffic to a web site without an email opt-in or to a landing page that is not optimized. Despite the hype around social media, the data show that email marketing is still the most effective way to deliver personalized marketing to people over time. They are giving you permission to get to know you better even if they are not ready to purchase from you right now. They are more likely to look at your email after opting in than they are to see your social media posts.
- Ignoring data analysis, testing, and adjustment. Digital marketing is unique in being able to give you a wealth of data about what is working, what is not, and whether it is cost effective. It is also fairly easy to do A/B testing. Conversion pixels are making it better to track exactly what converts and what doesn’t. Watch the data. Stop what doesn’t work and do more of what does. There is also research data available online to guide you in areas such as highest converting content, highest converting landing pages, social media post types with the most engagement, best times to post on different platforms to maximize engagement, etc. Your mileage may vary, but this data points to useful starting points so you don’t waste a lot of time and effort. And if you have a personal Pinterest account, convert it to a business account so you get data analytics.
Social media expertise is not the same as marketing expertise. Good marketing is still good marketing. But social media gives us new, cost effective ways to target audiences to drive our marketing objectives. Social media gives us some new tools and communication methods. Social media platforms will continue to evolve and change as more commercial, business features are added.
Have you identified any other reasons why your social media marketing hasn’t worked? Are any of these the reason your social media marketing is failing to produce the desired results?
Help all of us learn more by sharing in comments.