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Why Businesses Fail At Social Media Marketing

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By now businesses big and small are trying their hand at social media marketing, and most of them are struggling to create any engagement, let alone uncover ROI (we’ll save that for another post).

Effective social media marketing requires a mindset that embraces planning, consistency and experimentation, and many companies get stuck at the starting line because of unnecessary obstacles in their approach. Here are just a few reasons why businesses fail at social media.

Perfection Paralysis

You’ve put blood, sweat and tears into building a business and you don’t want to put something out to the world that is anything less than wonderful. We get that.

The problem is there is no such thing as perfection when it comes to social media marketing, and obsessing over it can actually hurt your efforts rather than help them. Content Marketing expert Marcus Sheridan made a great point when he wrote about why C-Students are better at online marketing than A-Students. He said that C-Students don’t care about making sure everything is perfect. Instead, they keep pushing content out there, making improvements as they go.

When you try too hard to make everything just right, it stifles creativity, frustrates your social media team, and halts progress. The general public doesn’t care if that post image isn’t the perfect shade of green. They care about what you have to say.

Fear Of Negative Feedback

Any organization that actively engages people on social media will eventually run into criticism. It’s inevitable, but you can prepare for this by empowering your staff to create a process for dealing with negative feedback. This process is important because different types of criticism call for different responses.

You may get a complaint customer service should handle, and a swift and satisfactory response can turn the complainer into an advocate. People are frustrated by terrible customer service every day and, when you have process in place to help them, you can turn a negative comment into an opportunity.

Using Social Media For Self-Promotion Only

Using your pages as glorified advertising billboards for your business is the single worst way to implement a social media strategy.

People do not go to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other sites to see you talk about your brand. They go to see what’s new with their friends, check out some pictures and have a few laughs. Brands that learn the native culture of each platform and blend into the user experience are the ones that are killing it on social media.

The first step is to create a calendar that breaks out what content you will post, as well as where and when. Focus on good storytelling and format it in ways that speak to the platform’s core users. Social media marketing is about experimentation, testing different content types and seeing what people respond to, but whatever you do, don’t bore people with an endless parade of sales offers and company news. You will lose followers so fast it will make your head spin.

A good social strategy uses the 80/20 rule. Focus 80 percent of your posts on content that will inform, entertain and engage your audience. The remaining 20 percent should be about your company. A well-timed sales offer will have far more impact if it’s nestled in a steady stream of valuable content people enjoy.

Not every negative comment will be constructive, of course, and it’s important to know when to take the conversation offline to resolve the issue and when to write off a hater who is just trying to get a reaction from you. The golden rule is to respond to a negative comment every time unless the user is just trying to antagonize you. We all know the difference between someone with a gripe and a troll. It is pointless to engage trolls, but helping someone with a legitimate gripe can actually produce dividends for your company.

Forgetting That Social Media Is “Social”

This is the most vexing challenge businesses face with social media and there are no shortcuts to a solution.

Marketers are always searching for time-saving tools and, thanks to sites like Hootsuite and Buffer, we can program posts ahead of time, allowing us to focus on other tasks. The downside of this is that your business becomes a link and meme posting machine, with little effort devoted to engaging people. There’s nothing wrong with using automated marketing software to keep your content stream fresh, but there is no substitute for having real conversations with people online.

Social Media Managers need to block off time every day to comment, like and share with other people and brands. Not only does this demonstrate the “human side” of your brand, it generates goodwill from the online community. Watch how fast you pick up Twitter followers by actually reading and commenting on the stuff other people post.

Companies that fail at social media marketing often put up unnecessary roadblocks to success, usually driven by fear and reluctance to truly engage people online. If businesses want to win at social media, nothing is more important than taking a genuine interest in what people want and what they have to say. If you can turn that curiosity into a strategy, and follow it consistently, your business will have no trouble apart from the noise.

Trying to get more ROI out of social media?

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Topic: Facebook marketing ,Social media marketing

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