7 Reasons Your Social Media Strategy Failed in 2019
Posted at Nov 19, 2019 11:45:00 AM by Michelle Sternbauer | Share
Imagine a cocktail party, filled with all the colleagues, clients, associates, contacts, and connections you need to help you reach your business goals. Now, imagine that you’re late, and you insult some guests while ignoring others. You talk, loudly and endlessly, about your favorite topic: you. And, worst of all, you eat all the bacon-wrapped shrimp. How effective is that party in driving your career and company to new heights?
Social media is the world’s largest cocktail party. It’s an opportunity to meet, greet, mingle, make connections, strengthen brand value, and enhance results. The question is, are you the savvy guest everyone wants to talk to - or are you the one people roll their eyes at and try to avoid?
The Importance - and Challenge - of Engaging on Social Media Channels
Social media isn’t an option: nearly half the world’s population has at least one social media account and around 70% of Americans dig into Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and YouTube. Your prospects and customers are there. So are your competitors: about 90% of US companies utilizes social media channels as a business tool. But quantity doesn’t make quality. The news is filled with stunning social fails.
In this ad, Snapchat thought it was a good idea to minimize domestic violence. Rihanna was having none of it: she issued a scathing response. An excerpt: “I’d love to call it ignorance, but I know you ain’t that dumb! You spent money to animate something that would intentionally bring shame to DV victims and made a joke of it!!!”
Shares dropped 5% virtually instantly.
Then there was the time Cinnabon “honored” actress Carrie Fisher after her passing:
Tasteless, to say the least.
In addition to these highly-publicized fails, though, is an equally - and perhaps even more insidious - problem: no one notices you. You are the wallflower at the cocktail party. Your social media strategy doesn’t help you build brand awareness, engagement, loyalty, or bottom-line results. Whether you fail with a bang or struggle silently, the end result can be the same: wasted time, resources, and effort.
Getting it right is essential, and the first step is analyzing how you’re getting it wrong. Some of the most common social missteps include:
1. Not Researching Your Audience
There are over 2.5 billion social media users in the world - and you do not need to reach them all. In fact, casting too wide a net can prevent you from achieving your key objectives. Start by asking this basic question: Who are the people who will help you reach your goals? Employees? Prospective recruits and customers? Millennial women? Baby Boomer consumers with disposable income?
Conduct market research which encompasses your industry, trends, competition, etc. Using secondary sources and primary interviews/surveys from current stakeholders, you can access the information you need to narrow your audience. Then, find out where they are (e.g., Baby Boomers frequent Facebook in droves, Twitter tends to attract males and more affluent demographics, etc.).
The first commandment of social media: know thy audience. This informs every aspect of your strategy, from platform choice to content creation. And because there is an abundance of resources available for audience research, there is no excuse to break this commandment.
2. Not Researching Your Competition
Take a look at what the competition is up to. You can start by simply checking out their social media advertising. The goal is not to steal their ideas - or attack them! - but to see what’s working and what is not in terms of their social media strategy. You can dig deeper by using competitive analysis tools or enlisting the help of an agency partner. Before you start creating content, you have to have the most complete picture of the social landscape as you can.
3. Not Setting Strategic Goals
If you don’t know where you’re going, it’s awfully hard to get there! Before you ever post anything, ask yourself: what are we trying to accomplish here? What do we want to happen through our presence on these social media channels? Do we want to increase traffic to our website, where we can convert leads? Do we want to raise brand awareness? Do we want to increase in-person sales or improve ROI?
Identify and then clarify your goals - and ensure they are realistic and attainable.
4. Not Creating and Curating Great Content
This is sort of the point of social media! One of the reasons your social media strategy failed in 2019 may be that you did not post content that people wanted to engage with, that you were boring or offensive, that you were inconsistent...
The key to a great social presence is delivering answers to your audience’s questions, giving them information on subjects that matter to them, relating to them around common interests, entertaining them, etc. Content - whether in the form of written word, images, or video - is a powerful way to connect.
5. Not Interacting or Responding in a Timely Manner
Put yourself back at the cocktail party, but this time, envision yourself as the host. What if you ignored your guests, didn’t take the time to ask about them or listen to them, and generally behaved as if you were doing them a favor by letting them come to your party? Likely, they’d leave!
The same is true when it comes to social media. This is an opportunity to build relationships, interact, and connect. If you fail to engage them in compelling conversations, they will go elsewhere - and take their money, talent, connections, and influence, with them.
Today’s consumers demand answers to their questions - and they want them now. Taking a day to respond is not acceptable: in some cases, nor is taking a few hours. Make every attempt to get back to people as quickly as you can.
6. Not Establishing Key Metrics
Go beyond how many likes and shares a post generates. Look at click-through rates, mentions, profile visits, and impressions. Tools like Sprout Social and Hootsuite can help you track these. Doing so enables you to tweak your strategy and really connect with your audience when, where, and how they prefer.
7. Failing to Assess Results and Use Insights to Improve
What’s working? What’s not? If you do not diligently track the key metrics we spoke about above, you are wasting time and money. Moreover, you are failing to capitalize on key opportunities.
If you are “guilty” of one or more of these seven mistakes, it is time to reevaluate your strategy. Social media has the power, and the enormous usership, to take your brand to new heights - or to sentence it to stagnation. Success requires more than popularity; it’s the value that you can demonstrate and provide to followers. Which type of cocktail party guest/host do you want your brand to be?