6 Warning signs your social media strategy is failing

Social content can be critical in growing your business; it can help your business engage with customers and become more visible. But without the right strategy it can be like throwing money down the drain. So what are the warning signs that things need tweaking and optimising? We’ve pulled together six of the main red flags below;

1. You're not talking to the right customers or engagement is low

Often social media profiles can grow an audience organically, but either the business changes over time, or audiences can be obtained from unplanned or poorly planned means. A question every business should ask itself is "is my current audience here [on this channel or hashtag] my target audience?" (Another reason for investing in your social media audit!)

Quite often the audience has changed, which is totally fine, as long as the content plan is reviewed and adapted to fit the new target audience. This includes not only the content itself, but also the channel selection, timings and targeting. Consider the new audience persona across every part of the plan. Again, the customer must be the deciding factor in this, rather than what works for other businesses or the latest social media trend or newest channel.

There are many other tactical reasons that engagement could be low, but the strategy is an important, often forgotten area.

2. You're spending a lot of money for very little return

For some businesses, it is enough to post content updates to keep up a presence, but for most businesses there is a business outcome required at some point. Otherwise it is what we call 'content for contents sake'.

With social media content, especially in service-based businesses or businesses with a long buying cycle, or B2B, content isn't often immediately transactional (i.e. one post = one immediate sale). However, without clarity on the specific goals of each piece of content, whether the aim is to collect an email sign up to go into a funnel, or book an appointment, content can drift around without purpose and any clear results.

Engagement is a great content objective, but can't really be the only one in the monthly content mix in most circumstances. Unless generating buzz before a new launch perhaps, when launched the metric would change to a new call to action (which is where the ROI comes in). Returns aren't always financial, they could result in other wins such as Government advice being updated or the Net Promoter Score being improved. Clarity on these goals start with the strategy.

If it's been too long without any return you need to question your social media consultant about why this is.

3. Resources are not being spent in the most important or profitable areas

You should be able to trust that time is being used effectively, but if you find yourself wondering what time is being spent on for the outcomes you see it's time to find out more. Your social media team or agency should be providing you with updates and discussing reports with you, to check in on progress as well as planning and making any necessary adjustments.

Good digital marketing professionals will ask questions that others might not, such as considering other touchpoints within the business around profitability. For example, in a B2C business it might be prudent to work closely with stock management, operations or sales and marketing teams on promoting specific product lines, especially where there is a good fit with planned content and goals.

4. Goals are not being reached (identifying the barriers)

Keeping in touch and close to the reported performance figures against activities will help flag where there might be issues, ideally during particular campaigns rather than post-campaign analysis to allow time to shift focus.

It is not enough to simply point traffic to a website and not consider the onward journey towards the end goal. Working together to pinpoint why a particular part of the journey is seeing website dropoff and being able to test, refine and fix potential issues will help increase conversion and meet goals.

5. Customer feedback or response time is poor

We often see this area as one of the biggest challenges for businesses, but also one of the biggest opportunities. Unfortunately social media response times and rates can be below industry standard and best practice, but there are quick wins, automation and software options available to help improve.

Once your digital marketing audit has flagged issues such as a delayed customer response time on social media it is important that this is discussed and a team developed and with responsibilities allocated and powers given to make the necessary improvements internally. Our recommendations can include areas such as process improvements or smaller changes which aren't too onerous for the business to take on, but which pay dividends via improved customer satisfaction and brand reputation.

6. There hasn’t been a significant change in strategy as a result of external factors

When things change in the world, it is critical that the business reacts quickly, even if it is a relatively fluid process. Businesses which have fared better where possible to Covid-19 restrictions have been quick to pivot their marketing strategy, often putting the customer at the centre as a result. Changes in customer behaviour this year have meant that it is more important than ever for businesses to work in partnership with their customers; to bridge gaps, to be useful, to be supportive, understanding and compassionate. Listening has never been so key. Content marketing has come into its own and forward-looking brands are owning 'how-to' spaces, knowing that their expertise will still be in demand (and now top of the list) when restrictions are lifted.

Not changing or adapting your strategy in any way in the main part is a missed opportunity. Many businesses have been able to take advantage of alternative approaches through pivoting, targeting different customers with different products, changing focus and so on. Your strategy should be regularly reviewed anyway, but keep an eye out for warning signs that you need to change or adjust your plans to best meet your business goals.

If you'd like to discuss how we can help with your digital marketing or social media research, audit or strategy, get in touch here.