I love social media as much as the next marketer, it can be an amazing medium for creating brand awareness, spreading content, and creating conversation. But social media marketing isn't all sunshine and rainbows for some businesses.
I've seen a lot of businesses invest far too much time in social media with far too little reward. There are business owners that invest hours into their social channels, instead of the areas where they excel, and then they'll wonder why they're not seeing a return on their investment.
Today most businesses know that social media is a necessary marketing channel, and one that deserves attention. But what they don't realize is this: social media marketing can't do everything - it's only a slice of the larger digital marketing pie.
I can show you hundreds of brands that have spurred success out of a strong social media strategy (ie. detox teas, teeth whiteners), but the truth is that social media marketing is not the be-all-end-all of marketing.
If you're investing time in social media and not seeing a return, here are 4 reasons why your business could be wasting time on social.
1. You're On Too Many Social Media Networks
How many social media networks is your business on?
How many hours of your working day do you have to invest on those social media networks?
If you don't have a dedicated social media manager on your team keeping his or her finger on the pulse, then it may be time to reel it in.
Let's say you started with a Twitter profile - you shared fun content daily, retweeted customers, and responded to comments. Everything was going swimmingly.
Then you signed up for a Facebook business Page, doubling the amount of mentions and content you needed to attend to. Still, you could handle it in a few hours a day, no problem.
Being the ambitious business person you are, you sign up for Instagram, then Pinterest, then LinkedIn, then Snapchat - jumping onto every platform can quickly make social media an all-encompassing task that you just can't do well, no matter how hard you try..
The result is comments being missed, requests being ignored - and now you only have time to post content once a week.
I'll tell you right now, one well-maintained social network is better than 5 poorly maintained ones. If you're trying to juggle 5 social networks, things are slipping through the cracks, and balls are getting dropped.
With the recently announced content algorithms on social networks like Facebook and Instagram that favor updates from family and friends, businesses no longer have the reach they once did. That means that even more time needs to be invested into posting content if you hope for any of it to hit your audience's News Feeds.
Take a look at which social networks are generating the most sales or leads for your business then slowly eliminate the ones that are only creating more work.
On each social network you'll be able to see how many clicks you've gotten per week/month.
To check which social network is sending the most traffic to your website:
- Head into your Google Analytics and click on the "Acquisition" > "All Traffic" > "Channels" tab on the left hand side.
- There you'll be able to see which of your digital channels is sending the most traffic to your website.
3. Click on "Social" to get a list of your top performing social media channels.
The data will show you which platforms you need to be focused on, and which are just taking up time.
It's a common mistake to think that not being on every hot social network is a missed opportunity, but you're doing your business a disservice by poorly representing it with an unmaintained profile.
I strongly advise starting with only a Facebook business Page. If you find responding to comments and posting valuable content to be sustainable, add in the second most popular social network in your niche.
Spreading yourself too thin is a recipe for disaster.
2. You're on the Wrong Social Media Networks
Who is your target audience and which social media networks do they hangout on?
Knowing which social network your target audience is on is a huge part in being effective on social media. Not knowing is a swing in the dark.
Some social networks are best suited to B2B, others B2C. Some do best with visual content (ie. YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest), others are better with informational content (ie. LinkedIn, Twitter).
Investing your time into a social network where your target audience isn't is a complete waste of time.
Do a quick social media audit and see which social networks are garnering the most engagement with your content. Take a look a which social media networks are sending the most people back to your website, where you can then convert them into a sale or lead.
If you're a photographer, for example, your time would likely be better spent posting your photos to Instagram as opposed to tweeting on Twitter. On Instagram you can engage with other photographers and curate a collection of your best photographs.
The Vancouver Canucks diversify their content and only post content well-suited for each platform. In-depth content like a behind the scenes video with their players will be posted to Facebook, while news and quick updates are posted to Instagram and Twitter.
3. You're Forgetting To Be Social
One crucial time waster businesses make is ignoring what social media was made for: being social.
Using social media as merely a broadcasting platform is a missed opportunity to engage with your audience, and often a big reason that finding a positive ROI might be hard.
Posing questions, creating conversation, and opening discussions are important strategies that will increase the reach of your content. The more your content is engaged with, the more it'll be shown to your followers (especially after the algorithm changes). And the larger audience you reach, the more opportunity there is to convert them into paying customers.
Casper, the direct-to-consumer mattress company, does a fantastic job at interacting with their followers on Twitter. Aside from engaging with customer input and responding to comments with funny GIFs, they make an effort to go further with fun social experiments.
Experiments like LateNightSnapHacks.com, for example, which tricks your friends on Snapchat into thinking you're out partying instead of laying in bed, provide a new and exciting way for users to engage with their fans and be discovered by new audiences.
Remember to include calls to action in your content and ask for shares or comments to increase the lifespan of your content - shares and comments are positive signals which are among those that platform algorithms use to determine how far your content will go.
One powerful way to engage with your audience is to run a social promotion - it incentivizes active participation from your social media audience .
To date Wishpond has run over 31,000 social media promotions and found that they're still the number one way to engage with your social media audience and turn your following into leads and sales for your business.
4. You're Tracking The Wrong Social Media Metrics
Why these metrics?
By monitoring these key indicators you can get an estimate of how much social media as a marketing tool is helping you achieve a positive ROI.
Metrics like, likes or views are great at making you feeling important but they don't contribute to the bigger picture. If your goal is to make money through your efforts on social media you'll want to focus on these metrics to get more traffic from your social channels to your owned property (your own website).
Focus your time and attention on improving the following high-impact metrics:
Click Through Rate gives you a clear picture of just how much your target audience is engaging with the content you post. Clicks on your content show you how many people were sent directly to your website. The higher the click through rate, the more you know that your content is interesting enough to be clicked on.
Bounce rate is the percentage of people that click on your content, land on your website, and leave after viewing only one page. It tells you just how much your visitors are interested in your content and sticking around to see what else your website offers. A high bounce rate tells you that your visitors aren't interested in what you've lead them to and don't want to stick around to see more. You can improve it by focusing on clearer communication. By meeting their expectations they'll be more willing to see what you're offering.
Social media shares is a metric that directly affects the reach of your content. It tells you that your content is interesting enough for your audience to share it with their own networks. If you'd like to reach more of your audience, focus on having content valuable enough to share.
Tying It All Together
Social media can be a powerful tool if it's focused in the most effective direction. Used in the wrong way it can be a huge waste of time for a well-meaning marketer.
There are 4 reasons why your business is wasting time on social media:
- You're on too many social media networks
- You're on the wrong social media networks
- You're forgetting to be social
- You're tracking the wrong social media metrics
Main image via Sonja Langford/Pexels