Okay, so you figured out that this whole “social media marketing” fad isn’t really going away. You heard all the buzz and got yourself started, and you post on a regular basis (at least by your standards). Who knows? Maybe you’ve even built yourself up a little following. But there’s a problem—and it’s a big one.
Your followers don’t really give a shit about you.
I mean, they’re there. They count toward your “follower” or “like” numbers, but they aren’t really invested in your brand at all. It happens a lot (trust me, I’ve taken over enough failing social media channels to know), so if this sounds like you, you’re at least in good company.
But successful social media campaigns can’t be built using an apathetic audience. SalesForce put together this awesome list of successful campaigns from 2015, and it’s worth a look—scroll down and see what they all have in common. They’re all interactive, and they all either generated or communed with followers that genuinely care about their brands.
Right now you’re asking “WHY DOESN’T MINE LOOK LIKE THAT?”
Well, let’s figure that out.
Diagnosing the Problem
Okay, so maybe you aren’t sure that your followers don’t care about your brand. If you’re in this gray zone, there are four distinctive signs that, together, indicate your audience is apathetic to the max:
- You don’t receive comments or responses. If your customers were into the content you posted, they’d respond to it. Often. They’d ask you questions, respond to yours, and engage both you and your other followers in more discussions.
- Your followers don’t share or forward your content. Share counts aren’t everything, but they can tell you about your average audience disposition.
- You aren’t receiving much traffic. If your followers were interested in what you posted, they’d be flocking to your site in droves.
- Your follower churn is high. This can be hard to see, especially on larger scales, but pay attention to your growth patterns—do you see a lot of followers dropping off over time? That’s a bad sign when it comes to engagement.
Why It’s Your Fault
At this point, I’m assuming you meet the criteria and your audience doesn’t care about your brand. Here are the likely reasons why:
- You jumped in without thinking. You thought social media seemed so cool, so you claimed your accounts and got posting. Unfortunately, social media is just like any other marketing strategy—you need to have a plan if you want to see results. Do you know who your audience is? Do you know who you’re competing against? Do you know what your audience likes or doesn’t like? Take a step back even further—do you even know what your goals are? If you don’t know this stuff, you need to rework your strategy from the ground up; otherwise, you’ll be trying to hit a target in the dark.
- You’re boring as hell. How often do you post, really? Retweets and shares don’t count (though, those can be important as well). The only way to build up any kind of engaged audience is to post consistently, and establish a unique identity for yourself. If you look like everyone else in the social media world, syndicating the same boring types of posts and rarely putting forth new content, how can you expect people to be excited about your brand? Make a name for yourself. Take a risk. Piss a few people off if you have to, but make yourself stand out.
- You never say anything interesting. “Interesting” here is pretty subjective. If you take a look at the types of factors that make content go viral, you’ll see that there are a variety of possibilities. Oftentimes, it’s a strong emotional connection that makes people share content and engage with brands—such as an inspiring case study, or an exciting announcement. Other times, it’s a degree of practicality or utility, such as instructions on how to change a flat tire. Your content needs to be valuable—either entertaining or informative—or it’s going to fall flat.
- You made it all about you. Speaking of value, self-promotional content is not valuable to anyone other than you. Constantly making posts like “check out my new product!” or “order now for X percent off” are going to make you seem overtly advertise-y, and people aren’t going to trust you as a result. (Plus, they’re going to be bored out of their minds). It’s fine to generate some attention for yourself and your brand, but take your foot off the gas pedal. Remember, this is a value exchange; you need to make it worth your followers’ time to engage with you.
- You forgot to be (ahem) SOCIAL. This is a big mistake I see on a daily basis. It’s called SOCIAL media for a reason, guys and gals. That means you have to interact in a dialog with your followers and fans. When they ask you a question, give them an answer. When they make a comment on your work, acknowledge them. If they give you feedback, incorporate it into your strategy. Hell, you should even go out of your way to engage with people outside your existing following. People don’t want to be spoken at, they want to be engaged with. Otherwise, they’re not going to care what you have to say.
- You’re just copying someone else’s work. There are a number of brands who have already become massively successful on social media, and there’s a lot you can learn from these brands. But learning a lesson and carbon-copying a strategy are two different things. Remember, your brand is unique—you’re in a unique industry with a unique audience, unique goals, and a unique value proposition (UVP). Your social media strategy should, therefore, be unique as well.
- You aren’t putting the time in! Social media marketing, at least from an organic perspective, doesn’t cost any money. But that doesn’t mean it’s free. On the contrary, if you want to be successful, you need to put a ton of time and effort into it. If you’re not willing to invest in your followers, why on earth would you expect them to invest in you?
Just because your audience isn’t into your brand right now doesn’t mean they won’t or can’t be interested in it in the future. All you need is a bit of guidance. If you’re interested in learning more about how to build up your personal or corporate brand with attention-grabbing content and genuine social interactions, contact us—you’ll work with me or Sarah directly, and we’ll help you figure out exactly what your business is missing.