As someone who writes about social media a lot, I am often asked why a brand's social media programs isn't working like the business owners thinks it should be.
There is a lack of education on the topic of social media. There are also a lot of misguided social media gurus and consultants out there who believe that gaining a large number or a giant audience within the platform is the most important item to accomplish.
This trickles down to the company owners and leaders. Let's clear the air with eight reasons why the problem at your company is not your social media program.
1. You are measuring the wrong things. Likes and followers aren't nearly as important as you think they are. If you are judging your program's success by the amount of Facebook page likes or Twitter and Instagram Followers you are heading down the wrong path. Don't get me wrong, you want to see steady growth in your social audiences over time, but it is not the important piece of data to monitor. You need to start measuring how much content you are producing and the value you are giving your audience.
2. You are looking at social to save your business from collapsing today. If your business is in such poor shape that you need social media to drive sales this quarter or your company will go under, chances are it is already too late for you. Social media is and has always been a long-term marketing strategy. If you don't have patience for long-term business growth you shouldn't be investing your time in it.
3. You are comparing social media to advertising. Stop comparing social media to traditional forms of advertising such as print ads, commercials, billboards, banner ads and email. Social marketing is a completely different strategy and it needs to be treated not as an advertising vehicle but a way to communicate with future brand loyal customers.
4. You brand doesn't look good in the mirror. If your company is only worried about making as much money as possible and not providing a valuable service or product, you will be exposed on social media. I highly suggest if you have holes in your company to not use social media at all.
5. You are not giving your social program enough time to grow. Social media programs need time to grow and find a voice. When I say time, I mean years and decades. If you plan on retiring or selling your business next year, then don't bother. If you plan on being around for a while, like most of us, then you should already realize the importance of building a community around your brand.
6. You are taking advice from friends who think they know what they are talking about because they have a lot of friends on Facebook. It is natural to turn to your friends and peers for business advice. However, today everyone has an opinion on everything. Just because your friend is using social media for personal use, it does not make them an expert.
7. You are not doing anything unique to set yourself apart from competitors. How is your business different from all the other people you are competing with on a daily basis? How are you showcasing this key factor on social media? If you have the same failing approach as every other person in your field, why would you expect to have different results? Do yourself a favor and stop looking at what competitors are doing in your industry on social media. Look at other industries and then think of how you can incorporate effective techniques.
8. You leave it all up to your social consultants. A social media consultant's job is to execute your vision. As a business owner in 2014 and 2015 you cannot brush your hands of social media and think, oh that is outsourced. You should work with your consultant by providing them constant insight to your industry. Consultants simply cannot tell your unique story without you. Stop looking at providing them content as doing their job. Take ownership in your brand and you both will win.