Unhappy with your social media campaign results? You might be doing it wrong. Here are the main reasons why some social media campaigns do not work.
1. Full Automation. Automation is an amazing thing and a huge time saver, but when it comes to social media, where the goal is communication and interaction, you can’t fully automate your social media efforts. If everything is automated, from finding people to follow to posting messages, you’re missing the point and your social media campaign will move nowhere.
2. Broadcasting instead of Interacting. It’s OK to use social media channels to broadcast information about your brand, but if all you do is broadcast and you never listen or interact with others, you’re missing out on an important aspect of social media. As a result, your social media campaign will be less effective.
3. You’re Not Using The Right Channels. Before diving into social media, ask yourself where you should be. Every business should have a blog, but other than that, not all businesses need to use all social media channels. For example, Facebook can be a wonderful tool for B2C companies because you can do lots of fun things on Facebook including uploading photos and videos and running contests and promotions, but for many B2B companies, Facebook is not the right medium. These businesses would do better on LinkedIn and sometimes on Twitter too.
4. You Didn’t Appoint A Dedicated Person To Manage Your Blog and Your Social Media Campaign. It doesn’t matter if the person that runs your social media is an employee or a contractor, but it IS important to have one person oversee your entire social media operations. If you’re a small company that’s probably a part-time position. If you’re a large corporation it could be an entire department. But someone needs to own your social media efforts and answer to the title of “social media manager,” “social media director” or “social media consultant.”
5. Your Social Media Budget is Too Small. I get many inquiries telling me that they need “five monthly hours” of social media work. But if you want a blog, a Facebook account and Twitter and you want these tools to be effective, five hours per month just won’t cut it. It’s better not to start a social media campaign at all than to allocate so little of your budget to it. Ten hours per month is probably reasonable for a small business.
6. You Haven’t Given It Enough Time. Just like SEO efforts, your social media efforts won’t produce amazing results after 4 weeks, or even after 4 months. Give your social media consultant time – at least six months and preferably a full year – to build your campaign, create content and connections. Check your search engine rankings and Google Analytics quarterly to see if there’s been any progress, but try to be patient. Relationships take time and effort, and social media is about building relationships and trust – with prospects, with customers, with peers and with search engines!
7. You Expect Too Much, Or You Expect The Wrong Thing. When starting a social media campaign, it’s very important to define what would be considered success, and it’s always good to tie social media success to business parameters. But for most businesses, deciding that “success” means being able to show that a social media budget of $10,000 per year resulted in, say, annual sales of $40,000 would be impossible. Even my most successful clients, the ones that see direct correlation between their blogging and social media presence and increased sales, can’t usually quantify it that accurately.
What would be reasonable expectations? If you have a blog, it’s perfectly reasonable to expect to see gradual improvement in your search engine rankings; if you use social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter, it’s reasonable to expect to see them among the top 10 external referrers to your website; and if your sales cycle is short, it’s also reasonable to expect to see a certain percentage of traffic arriving from social media turning into sales.
Having said that, don’t forget that social media offers benefits that are not that easy to quantify, namely building brand awareness, loyalty and trust. These processes take time and you will not see immediate results, but the very fact that your brand is out there in social media, opening itself to conversations with customers, is priceless in terms of the value it brings to your brand.