Five Reasons You Haven't Been Able to Make Social Media Work
I know evolution is a slow process, but we’ve been using social media channels in our marketing for over ten years, and I still get daily questions like, “How do I make social media work for me?” “How to do I build my social media presence faster?” “Why isn’t anyone following me back or clicking to buy my products?”
Very few people want to know how to listen to customers better on social or how to discover what their ideal customers are wanting to read or engage with on social media channels.
Here are 5 reasons you haven’t been able to make social media work for you and your business, regardless of how long you have had accounts set up:
1. You’re Impatient
Everyone wants to know how to get thousands of followers and fans right out of the shoot. Three weeks after setting up an account people wonder why no one is following them back or buying their products. Building a following on any social channel takes planning, writing, focus, consistency. All of those words that equal WORK. Who wants that route? Just buy 10,000 fake followers for $5 and we can all pretend they will buy from you.
You need to do some research (and no, there’s probably not a cliff note version of a book at Barnes and Nobel to give you all of the answers), go to competitor pages and see what type of content they post that people find interesting. Make a list. Don’t say you have no competition unless you have all the customers for what you are selling. Look at the images they share. What type of questions or tips do they share? How often are they posting? Now take the time to create great content that your potential audience would like. And if you are concerned about posting good content before you have an audience there to read it, keep in mind, you don’t want to invite people to an empty house. You need something interesting and helpful there before you start inviting people to join you.
Once you start posting, don’t stop. Do it daily. Multiple times a day, and before you groan too loud saying you don’t have time, keep in mind the organizations that have large followings are doing the work. They are not getting the engagement by posting once in a while.
2. You Don’t Really Care What Other People Have to Say
In face-to-face conversations, you know those people who watch your mouth move while your talking, just waiting for you to stop so they can tell you all about themselves? That’s what many people do on social media channels. They don’t want to spend time having to read other people’s posts or engage in groups where you’d have to spend time actually listening to other experts and people discuss things that aren’t about YOU.
On social channels, you have to be…SOCIAL! It isn’t all about you talking and everyone else listening. It’s about you listening and answering and listening some more and asking some questions and listening to the answers before you talk again. For some of you, I can almost see you reaching for pencils to jam in your ears already. Relationships are built on two-way conversations, and on social, it is those small conversations with hundreds of people. (Go ahead…poke just one in.)
If all you are doing with your social marketing is posting content with no conversations or responses, you may as well just stick to your website that you think is interactive because you have the words CONTACT US on it. Social may not be in your blood, and you can check if you pull that pencil back out!
3. Your Content Isn’t That Great
This is a hard one. We all fall in love with our own content and are convinced that everyone else will as well. Like the 2009 movie with Ben Affleck and Jennifer Aniston, “He’s Just Not That Into You.” It could be you need to pitch what hasn’t been working and give your brand a makeover because they’re just not that into you…YET.
We need to consistently be refining our message and finding the voice that is both authentic and yet one that will connect with the audience we are seeking. There’s an old joke, “Be yourself. Unless you’re a jerk, then be someone else!” You just may need to tweak how your brand is coming across in your content.
Many of us have gone through management or leadership training where you take a communication style assessment or behavioral assessment to discover our strengths and “areas for improvement” when it comes to building relationships. We learn where we need to adapt. It is the person who can most easily adapt that survives and thrives in any environment.
The bottom line in any communication or relationship is to be able to adapt to the styles of others if you want to be successful. Our content is no different. We have to see what people engage with and what they don’t, and then make changes accordingly. Do you write using language that is too “verbose?” Do your images need more visual appeal? Go back to your competition and see what is working there and then make some adjustments.
4. You Have Siloed Your Marketing
Many companies suffer when their marketing team is siloed from the other departments as if they don’t need input from everyone. Social media has been siloed from many marketing teams as well. People see these channels and activities as separate, not needing to coordinate or blend with other company objectives. Whole campaigns are created in some organizations without giving social consideration. No input or thought about how ideas and objectives can be met on social channels.
Another way we put our social marketing into a silo is when we don’t tell our face-to-face audiences about our social channels. We have a website without links to social channels (or the links that are there don’t work). We have business cards with no reference to an online presence. Our email signature never eludes to other ways someone may want to connect.
One of my favorite quotes came from a presentation by Avinash Kaushik, who said, “If today’s social tools are not in your blood it is difficult to imagine their power & use them for good.” There are many who know they should be using social media tools in their marketing, but they truly cannot fathom how they can work to build relationships and ultimately impact their business. These are the ones who end up saying, “social media is a waste of time.” Their short-sightedness and impatience will never allow success in.
5. You’re Too Busy
This is by far, the most common excuse (or reason) I hear for why people are not experiencing success using social media in their marketing. After all, you have real work to do. You have a business to run. Perhaps the good news is, you won’t have a business for long if you don’t learn to use today’s tools to connect with your audience. Think of all that free time you’ll have.
I live and breathe this industry 24/7/365 and I know the struggle. It is very real. There are too many things to do in a day. I don’t have time to sit on Facebook or Twitter, and don’t even get me started about Snapchat. Because this is our industry, of course, I make time for these activities, but when it comes to payroll, bookkeeping or paying taxes, I don’t have time for those things! But if I don’t do them, or hire someone to do them, I wouldn’t be in business very long.
Instead of using this excuse for why you have spent a few hours here and there over the past 10 years (adding up to a gazillion hours) and still haven’t made progress, commit to making time to do it right or hiring someone to help you. Of course, you can always stop those time-sucking activities like watching television and spend that same number of hours per week working on your marketing.
So admit it, which one of these reasons has been holding you back?
When it Comes to Your Money, Does the Truth Hurt?
“We’ve been arguing about this for year, and here we are in our 50’s. It’s time to stop!” Laura said empathically.
Paul’s downcast eyes and silence spoke volumes.
Laura continued, “We’ve worked with several advisors who have tried to help us invest our money in a sensible way. Then whenever the market goes down, Paul calls the advisor and tells him to sell everything! In all these years, no matter how much we work to build our financial security, we’re always playing catchup.”
Her words hung like a rain cloud about to burst when Paul began to speak. “I know, I know. I just can’t help it. I get nervous that we’re going to lose all our money. When the market goes down, I scramble—in my thoughts and in my actions. The driving force behind it is: At least if it’s in cash, the balance won’t go down.”
This is the moment where I felt I could lend my advice. First, I needed to learn about this particular couple and their values. Then, I could begin helping them take control of their finances.
“Tell me Paul,” I said. “What did you learn about money growing up? What messages did you hear as a child about money? From your father? From your mother?”
Paul’s eyes moved up and to the left, indicating his mind was reaching for memory. “My parents never talked to us kids about money, really. The one thing that stands out is my grandfather talking about The Great Depression and how it was such a tragic time. My parents both worked, but they never made a lot of money. They fought about money sometimes.”
“Any other memories about money?”
“Actually, yes. I remember when my father took me to the bank to open up a passbook savings and how exciting it was. The bank manager typed the passbook on this old manual typewriter and gave it to me. He showed me how the interest on the account added to the amount I deposited. I felt very grown up that day! But I guess that was the sum total of money training from my parents.”
“Can you help me understand how you and Laura make financial decisions?”
The question couldn’t be more impactful if a boulder had landed on his head. While Laura looked at Paul with a mildly accusatory glare, Paul searched for something to say that would keep his well-conceived protective fortress from crumbling. I interjected to ease the tension. I could feel the guilt in the air.
“Let me frame that another way, Paul and Laura. We all do the best we can as we live our lives. Let’s face it, our lives are filled with responsibilities in our families and our jobs, not to mention outside interests, health, and friends. While financial issues are important, unless you either have the knowledge and experience—or the help, most people avoid getting too deep into the confusion of managing their finances by doing the very least they can. What we don’t know scares us. So we defer, delay, make rash decisions based on our lack of time, knowledge, desire. Add a dash of fear to that equation, and you have a formula for financial problems. I want you to know, you are not alone. It’s more common than you could even imagine. The question is, do we allow the truth in so that we can move forward?”
It’s important to admit the truth behind our actions in order to rectify past and future mistakes or regrets. Living in denial only perpetuates making decisions that could potentially lead to financial disaster.
“I hate to admit it,” Paul said. “I guess in my desire to protect Laura from stress, I’ve made decisions that have hurt us, and I’m sorry. Michael, you hit the nail on the head. You defer, avoid, and allow your emotions to take over. And as a result, bad stuff happens. I think I’m ready to ask for help.”
Laura’s expression softened, and said, half-kiddingly, “You think?”
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