Why Businesses Start Social Media… And Then Give Up
Social media can be something of a revelation to businesses who spent years spending a fortune on traditional advertising while bringing only limited results. The feeling you get when the first leads start coming in from your first Facebook advert, seeing your ‘like’ counter growing day by day, realising that this stuff really works - is simply priceless. In retrospect it is easy for businesses to see why so many companies use social media, and many kick themselves for not getting on the bandwagon years ago.
Social media marketing is affordable, fun, scalable and delivers results. No wonder so many businesses set up new accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram every day.
The Road To Ruin
So why do so many businesses give up on social media after an intense honeymoon period of frenetic activity?
After an initial period of activity, with regular posts, engagement with suppliers and customers and experimentation with paid adverts, engagement declines in the following three ways:
- Social media content becomes formulaic and less original, with a heavy emphasis either on shared third-party content, or on personal business promotions. Either approach risks coming across as spam.
- Updates and advertising campaigns become sporadic or less frequent.
- Social media activity stopped altogether.
Worryingly, it is common for businesses to start hitting the decline phase within 3 to 6 months of setting up an active social media account. When this happens, you will start noticing an immediate impact on the results you achieve: fewer new connections, fewer leads, fewer shares, a reduced number of likes and subscribers, less income from social media adverts.
Why The Decline?
Without the ROI coming in from social media, it is hard to justify the resources spent on it. Thus you spend less time and effort on your content. As this becomes a vicious circle many businesses stop measuring the results from social media, making it hard to identify improvement points. Without the time to commit to sufficient engagement and without the returns to justify further investment, social media marketing stops.
Within a year, many business social media accounts are effectively dormant.
This is a shame, as social media marketing has enormous long-term potential as a business growth tool. It just has to be used strategically, with sensible use of resources and an eye on the future.
How To Avoid Social Media Burnout
If you are one of the thousands of businesses embarking on a new social media adventure today, future proof your strategy by making the following long-term resolutions:
1) Pace Yourself
There is a sweet spot to aim for with social media activity. Set a pace that you can sustain day in, day out for the indefinite future. If your schedule puts your team under strain, scale it back. You don’t want to set the bar too high and then burn out. Be careful not to over use your social media accounts. 2 to 4 updates per week on LinkedIn is fine. You can post on Facebook 1 to 5 times a day so long as you have something valuable to say, and 10 to 20 tweets per day is okay to, as long as you have the time to sustain the pace and your content is relevant. Before you start, do a bit of research to find out what the best times are to post on social media for your market. This is far more effective than taking a shotgun approach or posting content at random times.
2) Take Time To Listen
Many businesses use their social media accounts like an electronic loud speaker, always proclaiming the virtues of their own products and services. They then get frustrated to find the people aren’t listening. Take a step back from this approach. Social media marketing isn’t ultimately about you, it’s about your customers. Take time to listen. Read comments and reply to them, take note of where target customers are viewing and responding to content on social media. Listen to what people want, and let this inform your social media content strategy. It will make you more responsive and give you a better hit rate when you do share content.
3) Provide A Service To Your Market
Social media is as much, if not primarily, a customer service platform, rather than a sales tool. We don’t mean that you should treat your social media platforms like a free helpdesk, although this is a valuable function. Rather, see it as a means of providing a free service to your market. Try and think of the type of content that will make your customer’s life easier, save them money or just bring a smile to their face – and be the person that provides it. Providing something for free is not a waste of money. Potential customers will appreciate it and you will very soon start to see an increase in conversions, customer value and repeat business as a result.
4) Measure Your Results
The only way to know what you’re doing right and what you are doing wrong is to measure your results objectively over time. This means using a good analytics package to quantify your social media activity and assess it based on the number of shares, new leads, conversions, income, repeat business, ROI etc.
5) Don’t Take On Too Much Yourself
It takes time to run a successful social media marketing strategy. You need to be sure you have the resources to commit to a long game before you begin. Having to cut back on your social media activity or give up after a few months due to time constraints will reflect very negatively on your business. A dormant social media account may lead potential customers to think you’ve gone out of business, even if your company is thriving. Most businesses who start social media try and make do with the staff resources they have. This invariably means expecting existing employees to squeeze social media activities on top of their already busy work schedule. Something has to give – so either the social media updates slip or it may impact on your employee’s primary role.
Don’t feel you have to do it all on your own. By working with a growth specialist you can gain access to physical support when making updates and posting content, as well as valuable advice on how to work smarter and reap better results from your time.
FREE Social Media Marketing Resources
Chat with one of our business growth specialists to find out more about sustainable social media growth strategies, and how this can have a positive effect on your income from marketing and sales. You may want to have a look at some of our other social media marketing articles. Also, download our free 10 step Social Media Daily Workout Guide as a good starting point for newcomers to social media marketing.