Every conversation we have these days leads to big questions about social media results. How to measure them, and more intriguing to me, can you get results at all? There are those who claim they aren’t and they can’t and they won’t. We have many social media case studies that show otherwise. But we’ve also seen companies fail. Here are 5 main reasons why:
1. You still believe that “posting” is a social media strategy
If you’re still thinking of growing a business solely by posting on Facebook, think again. Much has changed since the early days of Facebook and Twitter. Actually, everything but the simple act of pressing enter to “post,” has changed.
Stop wasting energy thinking about “posting,” what to “post” and when to “post.” “Posting” means nothing. 100% of companies I talk to say they “post” on social networks, every day. Mostly on Facebook. The same companies report not seeing any results.
Whether it’s everyday or once in a while, it doesn’t matter. “Posting” is like singing in the shower – only you and your annoyed neighbor know it happened.
Towel off and start building relationships with people, before you try singing to them. Social networks are still all about people and conversation. You must chat with people about things THEY care about, if you want to be noticed. And you must chat with people a lot more than you realize. Dozens of tweets and comments every day is what it takes to be heard by enough people to matter.
Creating and distributing content is the lifeblood of your online presence. Spend your time and energy on the message you want to get out and the quality of content. When you start the process by focusing on “posting” instead of what you’re going to post, you’re shooting blanks so you won’t catch any game.
2. You’re still thinking social media is Instagram
Stop thinking about isolated social networks, and start thinking digital. The Internet is a social network.
So, where online are your targets and how do they spend their time? What is all that needs to happen online for you to meet your goals?
This one is linked to knowing your target audience is. Find who needs your services the most, then tailor it to suit them. Same principle applies to social media, if your target audience does not spend time on Tik Tok, then there is no need to have an account there.
some of us get stuck in wanting to do what is trending then spend a large portion of our time creating trending content that never reaches your target audience and never results to sales or website clicks. Instagram is just one spectrum of the digital marketing landscape. Learn your target audience, the opportunities in digital marketing then match the two according to your brand needs and desired results.
3. You’re confusing goals and strategies
Recently we heard someone describe their social media objectives as, “having a more cohesive voice across social networks.” That sounds wonderful, but that’s a strategy, not a goal in itself. If you chase smoke you’ll get smoke… if you don’t chase a goal you won’t make a goal. So of course you won’t see results.
When Branding Africa was a young company we made the mistake of going along with clients who said their goal was to get more Facebook followers. A few months in and inevitably the question would pop up – where are our sales?
You need to be honest and clear about what you’re hoping to accomplish and you need to be realistic as to what’s possible. If what you want is more sales, then be honest about it. And be prepared for an honest conversation where you discover that you’ll need a lot more than just “Facebook engagement” in order to get those sales.
4. You still believe overnight results are possible
Let’s say you’ve honestly described your goal as wanting a 10% increase in sales. The question is, by when?
There may be companies out there that promise you results right away. If your brand is established, you may be able to see a quick and brief spike in sales by running paid ads. But if you need to build an audience AND convert that audience you’re looking at a year of solid marketing before you should expect results.
5. You want a 2-step sales process
We talk to many companies that have this idea that if you put a post online it should immediately lead to sales. One ad, and sales should flow.
That’s not how people buy things. Unless you’re dying of thirst right now and I show you a bottle of water, you most probably won’t buy anything at first sight, just on impulse. And the higher the ticket price, the longer it takes for someone to decide to buy.
Digital marketing is made up of a series of communication strategies designed to move a potential buyer through a series of decisions.
- At this stage you’re starting to build an audience. They are now hearing of you for the first time. To grow sales you must keep building the awareness. But awareness alone won’t get you sales. A number of marketing tactics play a part here, from PR to social media posts. You need a vast audience at this stage, which implies a vast and varied effort to make them aware.
- Information gathering
- Those who heard of you will next do their research. They’ll either wait or look for more information. They’re not convinced yet. So you’ll need marketing that does the convincing. Many call this the reputation building stage. Reviews, case studies and education-focused marketing plays a big part in this stage.
- Decision making
- A smaller portion of your “information-gathering” folks will be making their final decision at this stage. This is where they’re deciding how badly they need and want product or service and if they can afford it. Education-focused content marketing is key at this stage. This is where you can also be a bit more salesy. Offers, discounts, negotiation plays can move your audience at this stage.
- Even they’ve decided to buy, they may be procrastinating. Or they’re not by you, or they’re busy with other things. It’s important to have repeat reminders and calls to action at this point. Email marketing, ads, outbound calls and marketing automation are musts at this stage.
6. You gave up too soon
When we tell startups that they should invest 25% of their expected yearly revenue in marketing, they choke. But those competitors you admire invest the equivalent of that or more. And they do so early and for the long term.
It’s not all marketing spend. Some organizations make social marketing part of their DNA, where every employee contributes to spreading the word digitally. Some organizations have an outstanding thought-leader in their midsts and although their time may not feel like marketing their proselytizing gets results. Other companies open the digital doors to their audiences and make them their virtual marketing team.
There are many ways to go about it, but the one thing all growth-focused companies have in common is that they always do marketing, and they always make it a priority. They don’t stop, they don’t waver and they don’t ever wonder if it’s worth it.
What have you seen stand in the way of companies seeing social media results?