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?
What's an Investor to Do When History Doesn't Repeat Itself?
We’re in an era of extremes. It seems a day doesn’t go by without the word “historical” popping up in the financial news.
The equities market and consumer debt are at historical highs. Interest rates and high-yield credit spreads are at historical lows. We haven’t seen even a 5% pull-back in the market this year—for the first time since 1995—and the DJIA is exhibiting its narrowest trading range in history. These are indeed historical times. And whether this fact has you filled with extreme optimism or extreme pessimism, you have some important decisions to make going forward.
There are theories about how we landed in this particular era of extremes, and most are rooted in the significant changes that have impacted both how we live and how we invest. At the top of the list are globalization, automation, and the largest aging population in history (yet another “historical” to add to the list). It’s said that the most dangerous words in investing are, “it’s different this time,” yet one has to wonder if, in fact, it really is different this time. Not just because of the historical market highs. After all, there always has been and always will be a new market high waiting around the corner. What’s different today is the sheer number and confluence of these extreme highs and lows—and their duration. It’s a situation no investor has experienced before, which can make these waters feel pretty daunting. History repeats itself, and investment strategies are largely built on that conviction. But what do we do when it doesn’t? When history fails to repeat itself, how can investors plan for tomorrow with confidence that they are positioned to protect their assets and gain a reasonable level of yield?
The first step is to recognize that, at least in many ways, the investment landscape really is different this time around. All you have to do is look at the numbers to be sure of that fact. And the catalysts I mentioned before—globalization, automation, and the aging population—aren’t going anywhere. If anything, the impact of each will only grow as time moves on. What that means is that there’s no way to predict what’s coming next. The only thing we know for certain is that predictability is a thing of the past (if it ever really existed at all). The result: you need to approach your portfolio differently than you ever have before.
Your goal, of course, is to find return given a risk tolerance. Current yield is an important part of total return and getting it is an elusive proposition in today’s market. If, like many people, you’re less than confident that the four major sectors that currently drive the equities market—healthcare, discretionary, tech, and financial—are poised to continue to rise at even close to recent rates, it may be wise to seek out alternatives to help drive yield without adding more risk to the equation.
But if alternatives are the wise path forward, which alternatives are the best options?
Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), Business Development Companies (BDCs), and energy stocks, traditionally the favored “non-correlated alternatives,” defied expectations when the stock market crashed in 2008, inconveniently revealing high correlations just as the equities market began its freefall. Anyone who was invested in these alternatives at the time knows all too well the devastating impact “non-correlated investments” can have on a portfolio, especially when they fail to do their job when it matters most.
Luckily, there is one alternative that can be counted on to remain uncorrelated to the traditional financial markets and, ultimately, deliver that precious yield: life insurance-based investments. And because this asset is literally built on one of the irreversible catalysts of change, the aging Baby Boomer population, owning life insurance may in fact be the ideal alternative to help investors generate non-correlated returns, regardless of where the market turns next. Even better, these investments typically deliver those returns with very low volatility.
What makes life insurance different is that, unlike typical alternative vehicles, secondary life insurance returns aren’t based on the economy. Instead, they are inherently non-correlated because returns are based solely on the longevity of the individual insureds.
As much as we would all love for the bull market to continue on its merry way, one thing history does tell us even today is that a bear market will come. It’s only a matter of when. As you strive to hedge your portfolios and prepare for the inevitable, life insurance-based investments are one tool that can help you achieve the three things you need most: diversification, low volatility, and yield.
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