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Social Media Marketing: The Three Signs That You’re Doing It Wrong

Every time you’ve looked for business marketing advice online, you’ve read that social media marketing is an absolute must. The experts say that you need to be on social media because that’s where your customers are. They say that you’ll get an explosive source of free traffic when your content goes viral.

In the real world, social media marketing isn’t that easy. Much of your content never reaches your followers — if you have followers at all — because social networks want you to pay to increase the reach of your commercial content. When you do dabble in paid social media marketing, you see a temporary boost in website traffic — but the traffic doesn’t seem to directly generate revenue.

Are you not seeing a tangible result from your social media marketing efforts? These are the three signs that you’re doing social media marketing wrong — along with some actionable tips that you can use to kick your social media game into high gear.

Few Followers

If your company is trying to establish a new social media presence, you’ve probably found it hard to attract followers. People know that following a company on social media means that they’ll see commercial content. Gaining followers becomes even more difficult if your page lacks the social proof of a large existing follower base.

When you’re trying to gain your first followers on social media, a little bribery never hurts. Offering single-use coupons is one good way to gain social media followers. You can also give a free product to a random follower each week.

Another important aspect of gaining social media followers is that your profile needs to show that you have a track record of posting great content. If your social media content isn’t interesting to your followers, you’ll probably experience the next issue on our list:

Little Engagement

When you post content on social media, you want that content to reach your followers. More importantly, you want your followers to engage with your content by reading it and sharing it with their friends. If no one is interacting with your content, it’s because you’re having trouble getting past one of the two major social media stumbling blocks.

The Content Filter

The first stumbling block is the content filter that most major social networks employ to ensure that their users don’t have to wade through irrelevant content to read what interests them. Most of the content that the filters catch is commercial in nature.

Follower Interest

The second stumbling block is your followers. They aren’t interacting with your content because you aren’t giving them what they want.

Why do people use social media? Broadly speaking, people use social media for entertainment — not to read about retailers’ weekly discounts. A typical social media user may follow dozens of companies. To that person, your sale announcement isn’t that interesting. There are plenty of other announcements just like yours in that person’s news feed.

Successful Social Media Content Stands Out

To post content on social media that gets through filters and inspires your followers to act, you’ve got to be different. Unless you’ve got something truly remarkable to share, you should avoid commercial content. Instead, try to write content that’s surprising and entertaining — maybe even a bit sensational.

Suppose you’d like to promote a product that you’re currently selling at a discount. Rather than simply announcing the discount — which probably won’t get past the filter anyway — try to post entertaining content in which the product plays a secondary role. Here are a few example post titles:

The 10 Craziest Uses for (Product) That Our Customers Have DiscoveredYou Won’t Believe Who We Saw Using (Product) This WeekThis Mother Used (Product) to Save $2,000 Last Year

Poor Return on Investment

No matter how great your social media content is, filters will ensure that it only reaches a small portion of your followers. If you want your content to reach more of your followers — or the social network’s user base at large — you’ll need to pay for greater exposure.

Many companies find paid social media marketing challenging because it can be difficult to tell whether the investment is profitable. If you pay to promote a great informational post on your website, for example, the promotion may generate brand awareness — but what is that awareness actually worth? If you have a limited marketing budget, you need to advertise in a way that produces a more tangible return.

Target Action

The way to get the most from a small budget on social media is to have a target action that you want a user to perform after clicking your advertisement. Suppose, for example, that you’ve paid to boost a post similar to one of the three examples above. You’ve advertised that content with the goal of generating interest in your product — so you probably want visitors to indicate their interest by visiting the product’s page on your website. Make it as easy as possible for visitors to do so.

Many people will visit a website more than once before they buy from it — so you may have trouble using social media as a means of generating direct sales. If that is the case, try using social media to attract subscribers for your mailing list instead. When you capture an email address, you can market directly to that person without worrying about a content filter or paying for repeated exposure.

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