The #1 reason businesses suck at social media

The #1 reason businesses suck at social media

Since the inception of social media, the way we communicate has fundamentally changed and with it, the way we do business. Most have yet to fully adapt to the social ecosystem and fail to see the one thing that could change their failures into success stories.

92% of companies today consider social media important for their business. Let’s get real, and be 100% honest – the majority of businesses are failing to gain traction or achieve an ROI.

Many of these business owners and marketers are joining the social media pessimists among us – you know who you are.

The ones who say that social media doesn’t work for their business. Or they’re not convinced it’s where their clients are spending time.

Blaming the platform and not their ability to leverage the platform to capture the attention of their target market….

And it’s not just small businesses…

Last year, 95% of the Fortune 500 companies in the US lost market share.

This is due to utilising old media instead of young, agile start-ups spending a lot less and gaining a lot more reach with social media.

…. Wake up people!

I am not going to spend half the article going into a stack of social media usage stats to prove the point that your audience is on social media.

It is your ability to target them and engage them that is the variable factor. If you’re not 100% convinced of this yet, drop me a comment below and let’s discuss.

The current iteration of what we all call social media has been around for at least 3-4 years but apparently brands are still not capturing their audience’s attention on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, etc.

This is a huge missed opportunity to communicate with your customers, prospects and community.

Now, for a reality check.

Is your business one of those ones that set up their Facebook page a couple of years ago and is sitting at 106 ‘likes’, mainly from your friends. On your Facebook wall is a history of posts with 2 or 3 ‘likes’ on the occasional post, most with no engagement at all.

Posts about new team members joining, your products, website links and staff parties.

Maybe not exactly like this, but you get the picture…

Social media platforms are getting smarter now, so not only does nobody engage with your content now nobody even see’s it unless you pay to promote it.

No attention. No attraction. No visibility. No engagement. No ROI.

Yep, time to face it. Your social media sucks….

… So, who’s in this category? Are you?

If you know what I am talking about, listen up. Don’t beat yourself up, I estimate that at least 70% of businesses out there are in the same boat.

The 1st step of solving the problem is identifying it. Tick!

Write down these 4 words and pin them above your desk or somewhere so you can engrain it into your soul. Drum roll…

The 4 words that can change your social media failures into successes:

It’s not about you.

Yes, you read that right.

A newsflash for many I am sure, but your social media activity is never about you, how good you are, or what great stuff you peddle. Or to be precise, it shouldn’t be. It’s always about the community you are trying to target.

It’s ALWAYS about them.

Your audience.

Your blogs, updates, and tweets must comprise what’s interesting to your target market, not you.

So we need to build a social media plan based on sharing information, giving away insights, engagement, helping, and generosity.

Not pumping out job vacancies, stuff about how great we are, and data on our services.

Whether you are an individual wanting to build a brand in your niche, or a giant company, using social media to drive your global profile, in social media, you have got to give to get.

And give a lot. Without expectation.

Part of the problem is that most companies are not inherently “social” to begin with. It’s not in their DNA to understand what it means for individual employees to start having conversations with the social web at large as representatives of a company personality.

Marketing is about many things including connecting audiences with products they want to buy.

Marketing on the social web is less about the tradition of packaging and distributing information and more about companies being able to connect with customers in ways that are both meaningful to those customers and to the goals of the business.

  • Listen – Social media monitoring.
  • Create – Content that customers actually want.
  • Engage – There is no substitute for direct participation with customers in social communities.
  • Be open – Stop deciding what’s best for your customer and be open to letting them show you how they’d like to engage.
  • Be brave – Show leadership in your social participation.
  • Test – Moving corporate mountains is tough, so try proof of concept campaigns, run business case examples and get your feet wet.
  • Change – Organisations can only be social if leadership buys in and a commitment to change is made.

So get up with times and build a social business…

Define your strategy

Get started by asking yourself some of the following questions:

  • What are my audience’s pain points?
  • What type of content does my audience consume on social?
  • What social media platforms do my audience like to use?
  • How will I measure effectiveness or results?

Now, remember these points…

1. Listen first

The whole point of social media is to provide a space for people to engage in sharing and discussion. For brands, it’s important to have a voice, but it’s also important to encourage others to have one, too.

2. Add value

People seem to think that the best way to grow their business or brand is to use events like social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to constantly push their own agenda. To push people to use their product, to attend their events, or to join their community. No, this isn’t how it works.

The key is to create value for people and let the cards fall where they may. This will create infinitely more value for your brand than constantly “taking”.

3. Optimise for search

All social media platforms contain their own search engines and many of them can be indexed by Google, Bing and other third-party search engines, making SEO an important component of any social media profile, post or content.

4. Take action

Success in social media requires that companies do things. Test, learn and evolve. Don’t just spend time learning and planning. Allow your employees to get out there and do things.

People and brands need to rethink how they market and engage in social media. Start from a “giving” mindset, understand your audience, develop ways to add value and execute.

For more updates on social media marketing strategies for business and free training, live webinars and stacks of added-value follow us on You Tube.

About the Author

With over 12 years of Digital Marketing experience, Nathanial has been at the forefront of the attention age.

He has assisted 4,000+ businesses with their online marketing, is a speaker, author and MD at Bibby Consulting Group.

>> Connect with Nathanial

What mistakes do you see businesses making on social media?

This post originally appeared on Nathanial’s LinkedIn profile.


Nathanial Bibby is the Founder of LinkedIn marketing agency Bibby Consulting Group, 2x winner at the Social Media Marketing Awards for Best Use of LinkedIn 2019-2020. Nathanial is the creator and host of LinkedIn Heroes, Monday Night Live & The Nathanial Bibby Podcast. The Social Media Marketing Institute ranked him #1 on the Top 20 LinkedIn Experts in the Asia Pacific region.