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  by Nate Gadzhibalaev |

Why Your Social Media Strategy Isn’t Working

The emergence of social media is one of the best things to happen for small businesses. It’s opened up a vast landscape of marketing possibilities previously unheard of and gave us the tools to strengthen our visibility and branding organically, sometimes without even spending a dime. Even when we do invest in ads or subscriptions, though, we can now do it affordably and invest in our marketing budgets where it actually counts – by showing it to the right people.

Not to mention that it’s becoming quite easy for marketers to know where their money is going – analytics tools have become more sophisticated, and so have social media algorithms.

If you’re already being smart about your business strategy and embracing this hot new way of doing your marketing, then kudos to you! However, there are chances your social media strategy has left you yearning for more.

Maybe you aren’t seeing any progress? Or, you’re disappointed with how little you’ve achieved. Planning a sound social media strategy takes a bit of time and effort, and it often involves a process of trial and error (sometimes a lot of error). That’s exactly why we are taking a look at all the things you could possibly be doing wrong and showing you how to possibly fix them.

Trust us when we say that there might be quite a few reasons your social media strategy isn’t working as it should be, so consider the items on this list carefully. It’s okay if you find yourself guilty of some, identifying the problem is one step towards solving it after all.

Identifying whether your social networking is simply not working

The first thing you need to do is eliminate all doubt and find out whether your campaigns and efforts are cutting it or not.

Sometimes, it’s only a matter of (im)patience: people get hyped up about their social media strategies far too often, which in turn makes them too anxious to see results. You find your target audience, post the things they like to see and you expecting your likes, followers and engagement to soar magically overnight? Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work that way. Building a following is a painstaking affair. It can be excruciatingly slow, so you might want to grind your teeth and hang on until you start seeing your first real success.

But how to track success? There are five distinct parameters that you need to focus your attention on. Note that these are only relevant if the goals you’ve set for them are realistic and achievable:

  • Traffic
  • Exposure
  • Followers
  • Engagement
  • Revenue

Traffic and revenue numbers are more relevant to social marketing strategies whose objective is to sell, exposure is more relevant for brand recognition, and if you are searching for social media influence – the most important parameters will understandably be followers and engagement.

But if you haven’t noticed any spike, or even a slight upward spiral in your most relevant parameters over a period of time, you might want to reconsider what you’re doing for your marketing strategy.

Here are some possible answers:

  1. Re-analyze your goals and current strategy

If your social media channels are not taking off in any relevant way, the first thing you want to do is go back to the basics. Consider your goal, your brand voice, your audience and research the best social media marketing tools. But most of all, decide which content marketing techniques you’ll be focusing on:

  • Blogging
  • Taking the time to work with influencers and guest post
  • Freebies and giveaways
  • Ads
  • Producing videos or engaging visual content
  • Trying out a more entertaining tone of voice and the content types that go with it – infographics, memes, polls, and quizzes

You have to know what you want to achieve and what your business is about before you proceed.

Best practice

  • Reevaluate whether your goal, brand voice, target audience and content marketing techniques are coherent to your business vision
  1. Your social media channels are too promotional

There’s a time and place for promoting your products and services, but let’s get real – that’s not going to get viral.

The consumers of the digital age are savvier than ever and most of them actually understand that they are being marketed to. Research supports this, as it shows that the content people usually engage in is actually content where the focus is not on the product itself, but rather explores it from a unique angle – and it’s either entertaining, educational or visually appealing. With content devised to fit one or more of these three concepts you’ll still be selling, but you won’t ever be too salesy.

Best practices:

  • Overly salesy content never gets viral
  • Create or curate entertaining or educational, visually appealing content
  1. You are using the entirely wrong channels

We’ve seen a lot of business owners stick to the platforms they are familiar with and expect they’ll find their perfect customer there. As you already know how the platforms you most frequently use work and you’re probably equipped with the knowledge to make them work for you, that’s not entirely wrong. But it’s not nearly enough for optimal results.

Never limit yourself to the platforms you are personally using as the most adequate platforms for your SMM. Always take the time to research where your users are, what channels they are using, and in what ways. Defining a target audience and finding out their favorite digital spot is what could make or break your business. So, always, always pay attention to audience demographics and infographics.

Let’s illustrate an example: Twitter can be awesome for support issues (as it’s growing as the number 1 platform for social customer service), Facebook, on the other hand, can be great for marketing with videos (especially native videos, as its algorithm woke up one morning suddenly favoring them) and awesome for businesses with locations, while Pinterest has a particularly active female audience (more than 45% of women online are Pinterest users).

Instagram and Snapchat are great if you’re marketing to younger audiences or if you’re a highly visual brand. Google+, on the other hand, can help with content you’re trying to rank on google. LinkedIn might be the best social media environment for advertising your services – just look at the education and income demographics of its users and you’ll see what we’re talking about.

Don’t forget to explore your audience by location, as you can find some interesting facts about people in your particular market and where they like to hang out.

Best practices:

  • Choosing a social network should be an informed decision.
  • Research audience demographics and infographics
  • Go where your audience is
  1. You don’t have enough fresh content

Recycling content is an uninspiring way to run a social media strategy, and it can be argued that it’s entirely uneffective. Even if the content you’re reusing is phenomenal – there are only a few occasions where you can re-use it in a fresh way to draw in any further traffic. In most scenarios, posting something a second or а third time will even drive in less engagement than the first time around.

Now, every social media platform is entirely different when it comes to optimal posting times, and there’s a fine line to walk between always having fresh content for your followers to look at, and spamming. For Twitter, up to 20 tweets a day is great; the less you post, the fewer chances you allow your content to stand out in the avalanche of posts on this particular social platform. This works for any network that prefers shorter types of content – Instagram and Pinterest also fall into this category as well.

But posting a dozen times a day on various platforms is seriously time consuming, and this is exactly why you need a rock-solid content calendar or plan.

Best practices:

  • Limit reusing old content
  • Research optimal posting times for different networks
  • Research types of content that work best on a particular network
  • Take the time to create quality fresh content
  1. You are not consistent

Ever noticed how YouTubers often have a schedule for posting videos? Their audience knows when to expect their favorite content, which ensures more viewers. You don’t need to be as elaborate as them on your other social media profiles, but working hard to stay consistent pays off in the end. If your audience likes your content, they’ll come back for more, and it would be great if there’s always something fresh to hold their attention. Social media tools that have scheduling and automation features can really help in this regard – they can make posting with consistency a breeze.

Whatever you do, don’t miss this step – set specific goals to be met on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis (or whatever works best for you). Once your goals are set, focus on creating a content plan that incorporates all the techniques and content types you would like to use across your multiple social media profiles.

Always plan your content in advance – write it down in an editorial calendar, or add it to a social media tool dashboard. You should aim for consistent posting times based on the times your audience is most active. Don’t ever leave posting for when you have the time. Instead, make the time for it on your calendar!

Best practices:

  • Create a content marketing plan
  • Schedule and stay consistent
  • Pay attention to your audience’s peak activity times
  • Take advantage of social media management tools
  1. Your content is not unique

We’ve already established that users are used to the comings and goings of the internet (at least enough to tell whether you’re being genuine or not.) In saying that, you always have to make sure you brainstorm new ways for them to interact and engage with your social media input.

Your content can be the most well written out there, but if it resembles too closely to what the market is already saturated with, it’s not going to get more engagement or reach a better ranking. That’s why you need to make sure that you provide something of value – a new angle or an interesting twist to a particularly hot topic, all tailored to suit the tastes of your target audience.

Don’t settle merely for whatever everyone else is posting. Keeping a close eye on your competitors is one thing, but outright copying is another. The same goes for copying social media strategies or social media marketing specialists. You can benefit from research and learn from professionals in this field, but keep in mind that having a unique personality or approach is very important for your success on social media.

And remember, no one can know your particular customers better than you do –  so the only thing you need to do is put that knowledge to good use.

Best practices:

  • Make sure your content is both unique and well written
  • Copying your competitors will only make you second-best
  • Maintain the personality of your business or brand
  1. You need to engage more

If you want people to engage – engage back! Answering comments and questions, following up on support issues on your social media profiles can only do good for your business.

And what’s the best practice?

The more, the better!

Adapting to the changes in social media algorithms

A special mention goes to the step that most business owners tend to overlook, as getting comfortable with what works and what doesn’t can easily turn into a habit. But social media is a fast-paced, constantly evolving field, and a strategy that has worked extremely well in the past can suddenly cease to exist.

One example is what happened to Facebook’s algorithm when it started favoring native videos (videos that are uploaded directly to the platform, as opposed to links from YouTube for example). It also happened to posts that urge visitors to interact with them: “Share if you agree”, “Tag a friend who laughs funny” to name but a few. Practices can go from highly effective to shady in the blink of an eye, and it’d be best if you learn to mend your marketing strategy to adapt to these changes if you don’t want your business or brand to suffer.

Best practices:

  • Keep a close eye on social media’s ever-evolving algorithms
  • Always make sure to adapt your social media strategy in time

Always remember that a social media strategy involves three steps: setting the foundations, implementing it, and waiting patiently for the results. With these three in mind, you would be able to create an effective social media strategy.

About the Author:

Nate is the founder of Amplifr, a service that assists individuals and businesses by automatically scheduling their social media posts, helping them to earn more money.

With a background in product managing, business development, and international growth, he aims to help individuals and businesses by showing them how they can continue to grow their audience profitably and efficiently.

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