According to a recent article in The Telegraph, nearly two-thirds of small business owners believe that social media doesn’t provide them with any commercial benefit.
That’s a worryingly large number of businesses investing time into something they don’t feel is working. So lets dig a little deeper, and look at some of the most common reasons social media might not work for a business of any size.
It’s impossible to judge the performance of your social media marketing, if you aren’t tracking and measuring what you do. How many of the small businesses surveyed were truly tracking their activities and not basing their responses on gut feelings?
The following 7 questions will help you to work out where you might be going wrong, as you should be able to answer a resounding yes, to all of them.
1. Are your activities strategically driven?
Strategy is everything, and you need to know what it is you want to achieve and how you intend to do it. Having a clear content strategy informing what, when and where you post is crucial. Without this, you can’t possibly start to evaluate your activities, and you won’t know if your activities are successful or not.
2. Is your tone and messaging a good match to your audience?
If your posts consistently receive no engagement, then your content strategy could be wrong, or worse, you may not have a content strategy at all! If people aren’t responding and if you aren’t measuring key metrics, then you’ll never truly know. I’ve had clients with lousy engagement on Facebook, but crucially, despite people not commenting, liking or sharing on their wall, the activity was driving traffic to their website. So people really were engaged after all! Without tracking referral traffic though, the business could never have known that.
3. Do you know what engagement is, and how to craft an engaging post?
The aim of all social media activity should ultimately be to get followers on to your website, or to engage with you (i.e. share or comment on your posts). The former gives you an opportunity to capture a new customer, and the latter allows you to build trust and improve brand awareness. If the style of your posts doesn’t invite engagement, then people aren’t going to engage with you.
4. Are you growing your community?
Are you attracting random followers with no interest in your business, or are you attracting followers who are also potential customers? A strategic approach to social media will help to attract the right kind of followers and grow your communities, so more people see more of your posts.
5. Are you using calls to action?
Even if you are using calls to action, they might need to be crafted better to make them appear more compelling. Without strong calls to action and links to follow-on information that get people on to your website, you’re wasting your time.
6. Are you varying your messaging or just shouting at your followers to buy, buy, buy?
No one likes people who just talk about themselves, they are seen as self centered and boring and people will go out of their way to avoid folks like that. It’s no real difference when it comes to what you post about as a business. Just regurgitating your own services or posting about your products will bored people, and really misses the whole point of social media, which is to build relationships by fostering trust, and keeping your business at the top of their mind.
7. Are your customers using the social networks that you’re using?
Businesses often flock to Facebook, and for many, particularly B2B businesses, this social network provides a poor fit. The social media channels that your target audience use will depend largely upon your sector. Selecting the right social networks is a basic strategic step that should not be overlooked.
The simple fact, is if you aren’t writing engaging posts that resonate with your audience, and using compelling calls to action, your activities are unlikely to have any impact. Having a clear picture of success of failure however, depends on a clearly laid out social media strategy, and defined metrics that are regularly tracked and measured. Without these, it’s impossible to gauge the ‘success’ of your social media activities.