Let’s get real. Common sense pretty much tells us most of what we need to know to get our fans and followers engaged with our social media content.
The problem (as I see it) isn’t so much a lack of knowledge, as a lack of time, energy and resources to consistently carry out the proper strategies.
It’s easy to read an article about social media engagement, and say, “That’s SO true! I really need to do that!”. But, as often happens, life gets in the way. The phone rings, a deadline looms or we simply lose the motivation to carry through on our plans.
So this article is going to be a little bit different. Below you’ll find 5 reasons why your social media accounts aren’t getting any engagement, along with an easy, practical, actionable tip that will help ensure you avoid falling into each trap.
1. You’re not consistent
Social media works best when you’re able to be active consistently. Problem is, things come up that impede our ability to hop onto social media at regularly scheduled times.
How to Avoid This: To ensure you post regularly, you need to have a posting plan in place. This involves using a tool like HootSuite, Buffer or SproutSocial for social media updates, and scheduling your blog posts to go live at set intervals (if you’re using Wordpress, scheduling is built in. Just click ‘Edit’ next to ‘Publish immediately’). You may also want to consider having an editorial calendar for your content: here’s one you can download from HubSpot, and here’s an editorial calendar Wordpress plugin. Be sure you also schedule in time to read and respond to comments and reply to questions.
2. You’re not offering anything unique
Too often, business owners invest an insane amount of time and money having excellent content written for their blog or social media accounts. But content can be extremely well-written, and still not provide anything of value. You need to have a unique angle…something that’s different, special, and tailored to your particular audience.
How to Avoid This: When you’re coming up with ideas for your blog and social media posts, don’t be content to just post what everyone else is posting. What unique angle or spin can you put on the topic at hand? How can you tailor it to your audience? When you come up with a schedule for your posts (see #1), keep these questions in mind to avoid rehashing the same old content and ideas.
3. You’re focused on receiving rather than giving
A trap most of us fall into (at least sometimes), is focusing more on what our followers can do for us, rather than the other way around. There’s a time and place on social media for promoting your products, but these should only make up a very small portion of your social media activity.
How to Avoid This: One of the best ways to keep your focus on your customers is to have a clearly-articulated mission statement that guides all your content creation and promotion. Write out your mission statement, and keep it in a place you can see it when you’re at your computer. Take Starbuck’s mission statement for instance: To inspire and nurture the human spirit — one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”
When you let your customer-focused mission statement guide your content creation, your social media content can’t help but meet the needs and desires of your target market.
4. You’re not using the right networks for your audience
You can post the most engaging content, but if it’s not finding your target audience, what’s the point? Many businesses choose the social networks they prefer, without determining if that’s actually where their audience wants to connect with them.
How to Avoid This: Do some research into where you target market is hanging out. There are a number of ways you can do this: First, do some research on the key demographics of each of the social networks. This recent study by PewResearch is a great place to start. Second, ask your current customers where they prefer to connect with you. You can set up a quick survey using Survey Monkey or KwikSurveys, and post it on your site or send it out to your email subscribers.
Here are some articles to help with determining the right social media network for your business:
5. You’re impersonal
Sometimes big brands can get away with generic, impersonal posts…particularly since we know that a majority of people still cite coupons and discounts as the #1 reason they follow a brand on social media (who cares if a post is impersonal as long as you’re saving 30%?).
But for most businesses, being impersonal will turn away followers and make them disinterested in your posts, your brand, and your company. One of the core purposes of social media involvement is humanization of your brand, which builds loyalty, awareness, trust, traffic, and conversion rates.
How to Avoid This: Here are a few tips for connecting with your audience in a more authentic, personal way:
1. Sign your name occasionally so your fans and followers know there’s a real person behind your posts. This is especially useful if you have a social media team. Barack Obama is famous for doing this when he personally posts Tweets to his Twitter account.
2. Don’t be all business, all the time. Don’t be afraid to post a personal photo, opinion or anecdote from time to time. This will help you stand out by bringing a strong human element to your brand. Your followers aren’t one-dimensional, and they don’t expect you to be either.
3. Don’t overcomplicate things. Focus less on strategy, and more on being real with your audience. When you make a mistake, admit it. Put yourself in the shoes of your audience and give them what they want. In his book Human to Human: #H2H, Bryan Kramer writes, “Communication shouldn’t be complicated. It should just be genuine and simple, with the humility and understanding that we’re all multi-dimensional humans, every one of which has spent time in both the dark and delightful parts of life.” Focus less on being a marketer, and more on being human.
It’s time to move beyond just knowing what makes for great social media engagement, and actually do it. Hopefully this post has given you some ideas for how you can be more proactive, consistent and real on social media…and increase your engagement levels as a result.
What would you add to this list? What are your best tips for getting more engagement on your social media accounts? Share your thoughts in the comments below.