Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Five Reasons Why Your Social Media Campaign Didn't Work

Not long ago I posted an entry that received a great deal of interest.  If you missed it, it was, "Five Reasons Why Your PR Campaign Didn't Work."

Well, keeping in the spirit of that entry, I've decided to post a follow-up, only this time, focused on Social Media.  I know a lot of you are in the process of creating your own social media campaigns, or perhaps you've already done so and are maintaining it daily in hopes that it will drive customers to your door.

But you might not be seeing the bounce you were hoping for.  Maybe you're not seeing any results at all.  There are a number of reasons for this, some of it requires a simple tweak on your part.  However, some issues will require you to completely overhaul either your approach or your expectations.

Let's take a look at the five most obvious reasons your social media campaign simply doesn't seem to be working.
1.  You're talking AT your audience, not TO them: 
First and foremost, social media works best when it's a conversation.  Sure, platforms like Twitter work well when simply trying to exchange links and let people know what you're up to, but for real results, conversations work best.  There are a number of ways to initiate a conversation, such as asking questions, or starting a thread about a particular subject of interest.  You can also use social media to monitor what others are saying about your organization and respond.  If youre just using your platforms to give information and not using to listen as well, you're likely not going to get as much interest from your friends or followers.

2.  You aren't expanding your network:  
This is a toughie for most folks since it's hard to grow a network online without actually knowing anyone.  But the online communities and social media platforms allow for all kinds of connection with folks you've never met before.  For instance, when you initially signed up for Twitter, you were prompted about your interests or type of business you are.  Most folks skip right past this part of the sign in process, but you should go back and check it out again.  It will connect you to individuals and organizations that are interested in the same things you are.  Facebook has groups you can join that target your specific audience, as does LinkedIn.  Blogs require a little more effort, but you can start linking to other blogs of interest and expand your blog network very easily.  Sending a quick note to other blogs letting them know you're linking to them and asking them to link to you takes little time and can help you reach thousands upon thousands of new sets of eyes.

3.  You don't have a call to action: 
Putting information out on your Facebook and Twitter and blog pages is great.  But what do you want readers to do with this information?  This is key, because if all you want to do is raise awareness, then you can get away with this.  But more likely you want to get people to do something specific like, go to your store, or buy a product or give money for a cause.  This means you have to tell them to do it.  Simply telling them that you exist isn't enough.  You have to tell them to get out or get online and check out a website or drive to your store.  People need to be prompted. Sometimes this means offering a special promotion, but at the very least you HAVE to tell them to do something specific in order to start seeing results.

4.  You're being impatient:  
Again, this is typical of most social media campaigns that don't succeed.  While there are some viral campaigns that become internet superstars overnight, they are rare.  A more likely scenario is that you'll establish your identity on your platforms and watch as your friends and followers grow at a steady pace.  Think of it as a plant that needs to be watered and cared for in order to grow.  It takes a minimum of three months online to even begin to reap visible results from a solid social media campaign.  If you put up your platforms and expect customers to suddenly be beating down your door, you have to adjust your expectations.  It's okay to make adjustments as you go along, but you have to be patient and give it time to really work for you.  Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither will your social media success.

5.  You're operating in a vacuum: 
This is important, so listen up; Social media works best when used in combination with other marketing and public relations tools.  You can build a small network by only staying on your platforms.  But in order to really get the bounce you want, you have to add your pages to all of your marketing materials, you have to do some public relations to get your name out in front of the public at large and drive them to your blog or your website or your Facebook and Twitter.  Every time you do a community outreach appearance, you have to let people know where to find you online.  I know this sounds like simple stuff, but you might be shocked at how many organizations simply believe that by putting up a Facebook page, they'll suddenly get hoards of new customers.  It just doesn't work that way.  You have to combine it with an organized and targeted PR effort as well as making sure your information is viewable on every bit of marketing collateral and every time you're out in public.
One final note:  There are two things that you should attempt to implement into every social media campaign you do if you want to see steady growth and long term results.
1.  A call to action - I mentioned this above, but this is so very important.  You have to tell people what you want them to do, otherwise, it's just interesting facts that they'll read and move on from.

2.  A promotion - Folks like deals.  They like bargains.  They LOVE it when they feel as if they know something not everyone else knows.  You can offer promotions for your social media followers and believe me, those followers will tell their followers and your network will grow.  Plus, a promotion is a great way to institute a call to action, i.e., "Get your FREE appetizer, only good till Friday, so come on by!"
If you've been diligent in your efforts with your social media campaign, but you just aren't seeing the results you expected, take a look at the list above and ask yourself if you're guilty of committing one of those mistakes.  Also realize that none of those mistakes is fatal if acted upon quickly enough.  The beauty of social media is that it's ever-changing and you have the ability to make fast changes on the fly to try a new idea or correct a miscue that may be costing you potential customers. 

The good news is that you're already online and interacting with others in the social media environment.  And that, my friends is half the battle.

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