So, you decided that a social media campaign would be the right thing for your business, but now that it's over, it hasn't been as effective as you expected, or it hasn't worked at all. But, why?
Most businesses think about social media as a platform that will attract new customers to the business, and in the long run, more sales. While this in part is true, there's a lot more to a social media strategy and social media campaign than just setting up the channels and posting the odd tweet. But before I tell you how your social media strategy will work, we need to take a look at the reasons why it failed...
1. There is no plan
"Fail to plan, plan to fail".
This could not be more true here: As with any marketing effort, your social media campaign should begin with a plan. The first step is to create social media objectives and SMART goals; these should always be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. Having these in place will also allow you to react quickly when social campaigns aren't meeting your expectations, making sure you always stick to plan.
Once you've determined your goal and objectives for your social campaign, you need to understand how you're going to get there. What are you going to say? Do you have any content that will be relevant and engaging to share with your audience?
The beauty of being active on social media is that it gives you an insight into the world of your consumers, but also your competitors. Use social media as a listening tool and turn to your competitors for inspiration to determine which content types and information your audience engage with the most, and the ones that don't perform well.
2. Your 'strategy' is a Facebook page
Facebook is just one small piece of a colossal social media puzzle, but so often I hear the following... 'yes we use social media, we have a Facebook page'. This is fantastic if you have determined that's where most of your audience is and where you're most likely to get engagement, and you keep it regularly updated with relevant and engaging content - but often this isn't the case.
You need to decide what social media networks work best to meet your social media goals; there's no point in setting up on every channel that you can think of unless it really would be a benefit to your business. Remember, every social media channel has to be treated differently; they all have different users and are better for different things, so you need to develop content that is in line with these variations.
For more tips on making your social media work harder, take a look at these Top 30 lead generation tips.
3. Measuring success by the number of 'likes'
Okay so this links back to you having a plan in place, and goals.
Most businesses or marketers that are fairly new to using social media for marketing purposes will be a 'likes watcher', does this sound familiar? While your social media following or amount of 'likes' should steadily be growing the more you're using these platforms; it isn't a metric that you should be focusing on when assessing the success of social media marketing.
What was your goal? Was it to grow your blog subscriber rate, or increase sign ups to a webinar, or even expand your customer base by a certain percentage. Whatever your SMART goal was, the way to measure success is by determining if you've met your goal, or hopefully, surpassed it.
4. Using social to SELL
Overt selling is probably one of the worst, but most common problems that I run into as a digital marketer. Social media is not for selling. Social media is about being social.
Use your social media channels as an opportunity to capture the attention of your buyer persona, to highlight things that they will be interested in; that will help and educate them. Gone are the days where consumers are waiting to be marketed to, marketing now is all buyer led and that is how it should be. You need to remember this with every message that you craft - and ask yourself, are you being salesy?
Don't be a brand that just talks and never listens. You need to engage with your audience as well as providing them with interesting content. Always try to encourage conversation and keep them flowing once they've started - social is a great way of building relationships with consumers if you devote the time and effort to using them correctly.
5. You're using social media in isolation
While social media marketing is great and I would always recommend that businesses get involved with it, it doesn't work to its full potential in isolation.
For instance, what are you going to share on social media if you haven't done any content marketing and don't have any blogs or eBooks? How can you dial up the engagement if you're not offering any webinars or similar educational content? On top of this, your website needs to be optimised so that your user has a clear journey of which actions that you want them to take - and that's only scratching the surface of what is possible with great marketing.
Social media marketing is an art, and a science and needs to be treated as such if you're going to see results. It's a powerful way to encourage word-of-mouth marketing and to open lines of communication between your business and your consumers, which leads to satisfaction, and hopefully, repeat purchases and referrals.