If we want to look at the question of whether social media marketing is failing we first need to examine what we mean by success and how we are going to measure it.
Many companies set up their Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest profiles but then do very little in terms of measuring what effect the social media networks are having on their marketing, and ultimately on their level of sales.
Firstly, you need to ensure that you have set up and are using your social media profiles in the most effective way possible. If you need guidance on this The Pink Group offers a comprehensive overview of the main networks.
If your business is already tracking your return on investment for your social media efforts, and you are not seeing a great deal of success, then read on to discover where some of the issues could lie.
Changes to the Social Media Networks
The social media networks are constantly evolving and making adjustments to their algorithms. Nowhere is this more keenly felt that on Facebook, where recent changes have meant that business page posts are showing up less often in followers’ timelines. Facebook now gives more weighting than ever to posts which are commented on, shared and liked and the more this happens, the more those active posts will be shown to others.
Social media is a place where people gather to communicate and therefore they are not receptive to the hard sell. It is important therefore, that you ensure you are creating status updates which inform, educate or entertain. The more interaction you can get on your posts, tweets and pins, the more exposure you will get to potential customers.
Not Having a Clear Picture of Your Target Market
Some companies jump into using multiple social media networks as fast as possible. However, this can backfire in two ways. Firstly because you spread yourself too thin and secondly you may not be reaching out to the right people.
Time is an issue for everyone in business. There are only so many hours in the day and social media can only have a certain amount of time spent on it, especially if you are a sole entrepreneur or run a business with a very small team. It is vital therefore to focus on maybe one or two networks initially, and to use them consistently, so that you have the time to build up a larger audience.
You should also be very clear about who your target market is in terms of demographics, so that you publish content which will appeal directly to those followers.
How you use social media needs to be tailored to your particular type of business. Assuming that your profiles are set up properly, with clear branding and good visuals, you also need to consider how you are going to attract followers.
If you are a very vibrant company with an audience that responds well to social media, you have a definite advantage. If you sell a less exciting product or service then more careful thought needs to be put into the type of updates you are going to add. Some businesses find it helpful to use social media as a support area, so that potential clients can get answers to their particular questions. This definitely sets you apart as an expert in your niche and should provide a level of trust when people are making a decision to purchase.
The bottom line is that not every social media profile can be run in the same way for every type of business. It is easy to become disillusioned if you see a competitor with a thriving page and thousands of followers, but what you need to examine is the steps they have taken to get there. Look at the types of posts they publish, the interactions they have with their audience and whether you can learn anything for your own business.
Finally, it all comes back to measuring your level of success. You will not know if your business is failing or succeeding unless you track your results as you make changes over time. Consistent testing of what works, and what doesn’t, is an essential part of any online strategy and this is no less true of social media.