The Hamster Wheel - Why Social Media Marketing Fails
It is clear that in any sector, social media marketing is a vital part of a thriving marketing strategy. Why, then, does social media marketing fail so often for businesses trying to keep up?
The “hamster wheel.”
Many businesses fall into the so-called “hamster wheel” of social media marketing. Endlessly churning out blog posts, tweets, Facebook posts and LinkedIn adverts, they seem to gain no traction while doing hours of work. Growing a following on social media channels seems impossible, and there is barely a spike in the SEO for the corporate website. Conversions are nearly unheard of, despite large-scale efforts to make them happen.
However, with a few simple rules - and most likely, some affordable expert advice - businesses can avoid the dreaded hamster wheel and make social media marketing work for their particular needs.
Don’t try social media marketing without a plan
The first hurdle that trips up many businesses is to assume that social media marketing can be handled haphazardly on an ad-hoc basis. By neglecting to draft up a scheduled and coordinated plan, key messages are lost in the ether and efforts are wasted.
First of all, businesses should throw the idea of what they “should” be doing out of the window. Each business, in its own specific sector, will require its particular strategy for traffic generation and for conversions to be made. For example, a financial technology start-up is unlikely to need to use Pinterest, as its target audience are unlikely to use that medium to communicate or to source useful information. However, using LinkedIn with a strategy for targeting potential investors with specific interests in their sector is much more likely to be beneficial for their marketing strategy and growth business model. By developing a specific, targeted strategy for each individual company, businesses can make social media marketing efforts work for them, rather than being a source of endless frustration.
It is worth bearing in mind that not only will businesses require a targeted strategy, but they will need to have specific key performance indicators to evaluate their strategy, and to develop it until it is a successful vehicle for promoting their business. This can be tough to do in-house, particularly when the social media strategy is handed off to a junior member of staff and considered to be an extraneous activity that “has” to be done to be seen as equal to competitors.
KPI's that should be taken into consideration are such things as follower numbers, conversions and assisted conversions, and impressions. The specific terminology to each particular social media outlet can be jarring for businesses with no prior knowledge of social media, so those with concerns should definitely consult an external agency or individual with more experience.
Have a strategy for traffic and conversions
Many companies see their fellow businesses using social media and assume that they need to have a constant stream of social media updates with no actual goal in mind. This is entirely the wrong way to think of social media and online marketing.
The rewards of a targeted traffic and conversion strategy for social media marketing are that businesses’ products and services are actively bought or used, rather than merely browsed. It is not enough in today’s modern era for people to peruse your site briefly after being directed by social media; marketing online can actively draw website traffic into “converting” into customers and clients.
For many companies, driving traffic to their site can be a nightmare, with each social media channel proving to have their own individual difficulties. For example, Facebook no longer generates as much organic traffic; posts have to be boosted and advertising placed for traffic to be drawn to the company page, and onto the corporate website. Conversely, Twitter follower numbers can be grown with a little effort put into following people with relevant interests and engaging them in conversation. Knowing the ins and outs of each social media channel is vital for real progress to be made, particularly when the accounts are for businesses, rather than individuals.
However, this traffic generation and conversion will be highly unlikely without some serious effort and planning being put in, preferably by someone with experience. This is where the consultation of an external social media marketing agency is advisable.
Avoid making your competitors’ mistakes
It is quite highly advised that companies seek the advice of skilled experts before embarking on a doomed social media marketing strategy. By consulting online marketing agencies with experience and know-how, businesses can avoid the mistakes of their competitors caught in the hamster wheel and can reliably leave the social media campaigns to the experts.
As with many marketing strategies, input cannot come just from sheer legwork. A budget for advertising on specific outlets, such as Facebook, will be necessary for growth, but by handing the difficult part of planning a strategy over to an expert, the hassle of determining the most successful strategy right off the bat will be overcome.
Social media marketing is expected from businesses looking to grow their customer and client base, but it certainly does not have to be a fruitless chore. With the right amount of time and resource invested into a skilled social media executive or agency, social media marketing campaigns will provide a solid return on investment that will be simple to maintain and easy to quantify in terms of success.