Opinion: Businesses fail at social media marketing for so many reasons, but more often than not, it is due to weak strategy
Research shows that there are currently more than 2.8 billion social media users, and a whopping 83 percent of Americans use social media. Based on this, it is an easily established fact that social media is a force to reckon with.
Despite increasing social media adoption, available data shows that a good percentage of businesses are not getting results from their social media efforts: According to research from Simply Measured, the percentage of businesses “struggling to measure the return on investment” of their social media marketing efforts is as high as 60 percent.
Businesses fail at social media marketing for so many reasons, but more often than not, it is due to weak strategy. Below are six really critical social strategy mistakes you should avoid:
Assuming your social media marketing operates in a vacuum
The No. 1 mistake most businesses make with their social media marketing strategies is that of assuming that their social media marketing operates in a vacuum. Many of these businesses believe that simply investing huge amounts in social media marketing, or going viral, will solve their business woes. Usually, it won’t.
More often than not, your social media marketing efforts are aimed at achieving a certain goal. Even if this goal is not a direct goal, such as increasing sales, the fact remains that you’re probably not on social media just to be on social media.
To make social media marketing work for you, your strategy must incorporate the big picture. If your goal is to boost sales and conversions, how do your social media efforts tie into your sales and conversion efforts? It is very essential to consider this factor when working on your social strategy.
Overextending yourself and your budget on social media
Picture two businesses: Business A spends about $2,000 monthly on social media content and is able to create 200 pieces of content and distribute them to 10 different social media sites. Business B spends just $500 monthly on social media content and is able to create 800 pieces of content and distribute them to 10 different social media sites. Which of these businesses will get the most ROI? I think we can safely assume that it is business B.
While so many factors influence social media ROI, at the end of the day, social media budget doesn’t play as much of a role as many people assume it does.
So what mistake is business A making that business B is avoiding? That of overextension. Simply put, business B has mastered the art of maximizing its budget. This is possible in several ways:
- Repurposing content: Whereas business A keeps creating original content, business B repurposes the same piece of content into one-dozen different formats. Costs of production goes down while quantity of content goes up.
- Content syndication: Business B is able to have the same piece of content distributed across multiple different channels, while business A focuses on having original content on every social channel.
Not realizing the importance of the mere-exposure effect
It is a well-established fact that more exposure to something increases our liking for it, regardless of how good it actually is. Psychologists have coined the term “familiarity principle” or “the mere-exposure effect” to describe this phenomenon.
Interestingly, BuzzSumo’s recent research that analyzed more than 100 million pieces of content came to support the mere-exposure effect. The study found that sharing old pieces of content over and over again on social media can boost conversions by up to 686 percent.
Not being well prepared on the back end
Every business using social media needs to be familiar with Tina Henson’s story. With her startup taking up, Henson realized that there was an opportunity to generate some viral traffic and boost sales by tapping into the holiday season buzz. So she created a marketing campaign and things went bigger than she anticipated. She suddenly got a lot of attention, and visitors to her site suddenly increased by 40 times what she got on the average day. Unfortunately, she wasn’t prepared. Her site crashed, and she lost several thousand people who came to her site during her campaign.
Henson’s isn’t an isolated incident. Many businesses make preparations to key into a social media buzz, only to end up losing out. While your site might not even crash, being slow by one second could significantly decrease your conversions. There are so many reliable and inexpensive web-hosting options, so make sure your site is prepared.
Only targeting your offers to your followers
If, as a brand, your social media strategy mainly involves simply targeting your offers to your followers, you’re missing out on a lot of sales and conversions.
According to research from Edison Research, only 33 percent of Americans have ever followed a brand on social media. It also doesn’t help that most social media sites significantly reduce your reach to followers.
If you’re only targeting your offers to your social media followers, then you’re missing out a big deal. Instead, explore targeted advertising options, consider reaching out to influencers and brands that share a similar audience and encourage them to share your offers and regularly tap into trends to promote your brand.
Playing the quantity game
It is essential to realize that social media isn’t simply a numbers game. While numbers indeed do matter, it isn’t only about numbers—channel-audience fit and engagement are more important metrics to pay attention to. If you run a services business that targets professionals, for example, LinkedIn will yield more results compared to Twitter.
Focus on being on the right social channels and put in more effort into creating engaged, loyal followers than in boosting your follower count.