6 Reasons Why Social Media is Ineffective

April 12, 2012 Shane Gamble

Many organizations are increasing the amount of money that they devote to their varying social media campaigns. The reason for this increase is because it is an incredible way to connect with your customers, build relationships, and provide them with engaging information. Social customers are very valuable for your organization. In fact, according to a report by Bain & Company, people who engage with brands via social media demonstrate a deeper emotional commitment to those brands, and they spend between 20% and 40% more than other customers on the products and services offered by the brands.

social media is ineffective customer retention

An effective social media campaign can help to significantly improve your customers engagement, loyalty, and retention. It can also help to give you a competitive edge over similar organizations in your industry. On the flipside, poor social media campaigns can frustrate customers and cause them to leave your organization for a competitor.

Here are 6 reasons why your social media campaigns are ineffective.

1. You Don’t Have a Plan of Action

As the old saying goes, “if you fail to plan, then you should plan to fail.” Social media initiatives should be treated the same as any other initiative in your organization. You need to set objectives and track the progress of your social campaigns. Review the progress that you are making towards your goals at regular intervals, just as you would with any other initiative.

social media is ineffective set goals

Find out the goals that are most important for your organization at the current time, these will help to determine what the goals of your social media campaign are. With a plan of action in place, you can always monitor your performance in comparison with stated goals and make adjustments accordingly.

A sound plan of action is your first step to improving the performance of your social media campaign.

2. You Are Not in the Right Channel, and Not Speaking in the Right Language

Your organization has a target market. While each individual in your target market has their own individual personality, wholly they have similar traits, characteristics, and behaviors. With this, one can surely assume that those within a target market will have similar preferences when it comes to social networks.

social media is ineffective target demographic

Find out the social networks that your customers are using the most frequently and engage them in that channel. This will ensure that you can interact with your customer as much as possible, and that you aren’t sinking money into an initiative that won’t yield any return.

For example, if your target audience is 30-45 year old males, they are most likely not actively using Pinterest. So why bother trying to interact with them there? Sure, some of your users may have accounts, but your time and resources could be better spent interacting with this demographic on Twitter or Google+.

social media is ineffective target channelsReach out to your customers on social networks and ask them questions. These don’t necessarily have to relate to your business in any way and it demonstrates to them that you care about their opinions and ideas. Their responses will also allow you to see the type of language that they use including any common terms or slang. Being able to speak in the same language as your customers will help you to foster the emotional connection that is so sought after by modern businesses.


3. You Are Posting Irrelevant Content

Providing relative, compelling content is a must-have requirement for your social media campaigns. Your customers aren’t only interacting with you on social media because they love your products. They want to receive your advice and expertise as they see you as an expert in your industry.

It is pretty easy to find and share relevant content within your industry. Find some top blogs, major influencers, or use a service such as Bottlenose to find out what is trending. Use a service such as buffer to schedule your content so it goes out on a consistent basis.

social media is ineffective quality not quantityIf you are constantly pushing products on to your customers, they will almost certainly react in a negative manner. Remember, they can go to your eCommerce store (and probably already have) and see the products or special offers that you have. Give your followers the quality content that they are looking on a daily basis. In time they will become engaged, more loyal, and soon wonder how they ever lived without it.

4. You Are Not Using Social to Build Relationships

You should never quantify the success of your social media initiatives based on the number of followers that you have. This number does not give credence to the effectiveness of your social media campaigns. What really explains the effectiveness is the engagement and emotional attachment to your brand among your target audience.

Studies have shown that up to 70% of brands ignore customer complaints on Twitter. You cannot expect your audience to develop an emotional attachment towards your brand if you don’t even respond to them! If they reach out to you, reciprocate, it takes both parties to develop a great relationship.

social media is ineffective jay baer quoteI agree with Jay Baer in that: “social media (and Facebook, in particular) is mostly a retention and churn reduction tactic – the thing your company uses to keep customers coming back for more and telling their friends (not unlike email, incidentally).

Your focus in social media should not be about increasing the volume of the relationships that you have, but on improving the quality of these relationships. Be proactive in your relationship building. Don’t wait until your customers interacts with you, monitor conversations that include your brand and interject with relevant information and assistance.


5. Social is Only as Good as the User

Just simply belonging to social networks won’t ensure that your customers will be engaged, and develop into loyal customers. The effectiveness of your social media campaigns is truly dependant upon the individuals who are monitoring them. With this in mind, it would seem foolish to not give those who handle social media the training necessary to build relationships and develop a loyal following. While this seems like a no-brainer, Rapid Boost Marketing found that only 27% of B2B companies have trained their staff on social media.

social media is ineffective trained staffDuring the on-boarding process, try to select individuals who have experience with social media. They will have a good knowledge of how to interact with clients (current and future), provide valuable information, and build relationships.

Encourage all of the members of your team to use social media. This will give customers the perception that your brand is transparent and reachable at all times, not to mention a lot more human. Be sure to give these members the proper training needed on the front-end to ensure they flourish in the social media world.

social media is ineffective transparencyNow that you have everyone on board with social media and they have the necessary training, it is imperative that social networks are used consistently. If a customer sees that you are cannot count on you to provide them with the information they need, they will find a competitor to fill that void.

6. You Aren’t Creating an Experience

There has been a recent shift towards organizations creating an entire experience around your brand. The day where consumers only interact with your business at various touch-points is gone. This is forgotten too often by many organizations and each point of contact with the customer is its own experience entirely.

social media is ineffective overall experienceIf you can create an experience around your brand, interacting with you becomes much more than simply buying your products. It is something that your customers grow to expect. They like interacting with your brand because it fits into their lifestyle and is familiar to them. Each interaction that you have with a consumer is an opportunity to positively impact the brand experience.

Use social media to help create this brand experience. It allows you to develop your brand’s voice and personality and connect with your customers on a much more personal level. Having a consistent brand experience makes interacting with your organization hassle-free. This will ensure that customers return, make more purchases, and become loyal customers.

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