Why your social media content strategy isn’t working

23rd July 2019
Author: Chris McKay
Posted in: Distribution & promotion, Strategy & planning

Are you suffering from a social media dry spell? Low followers? Poor engagement? Well, I hate to break it to you, but your social media content strategy probably isn’t working. And this is a problem. But, fortunately, it’s one that can be fixed pretty easily.

Whether you think it’s revolutionised communication or turned today’s youth into drooling zombies, there’s no denying it – social media is huge, and it’s just getting started. 3.48 billion people use social media (that’s 45% of the total world population). Crazy! And brands have been flocking to it like moths to a flame – or the artificial glow of an iPhone. A reported 90% of brands use social media. But how many are using it effectively? If you’re not seeing the results you want, there’s a good chance you’re guilty of some (or all) of these common mistakes:

a) Your social media content strategy isn’t aligned with your company’s marketing plan

So you got 500 retweets this month? Awesome! But what does that mean for the business?

I’m not asking to be mean, I’m just preparing you for the questions you will absolutely hear from the powers-that-be.

A successful social media content strategy usually isn’t decided by success on social platforms, but by how that success translates to the business’ overarching marketing plan. If one of the goals of your marketing plan is to drive more traffic to your website, and those 500 people who retweeted you aren’t then heading to the website, then your head of marketing isn’t going to be as excited as you are.

Your social strategy HAS to offer measurable value to the wider business as a whole.

I’m not saying this is right or wrong – it’s just how it is. Social media is huge, but it’s also very new. The people in charge might not see the value in it. Don’t fall into the trap of focusing your social media strategy on vanity metrics. Things like follower count and number of likes have their place in growing brand awareness, but you also need to be delivering hard results like web traffic from social and new lead generation.

b) You haven’t chosen the right social networks

iPhone with various apps on screen.

This is probably one of the most common reasons a social media content strategy doesn’t work.

Think of it this way: If you’re handing out flyers for an over 60s walking tour company, where would you go? A school? A university? One of those hipster vegan cafes that sell organic nitro cold brew coffee served inside an avocado? (I really hope that’s not a thing – but we both know it probably is.)

You need to know who your audience is and which social networks they’re using.

You can check out a full breakdown of social media demographics here, but here’s a brief summary to get you started:

  • Facebook: A pretty safe bet. Used by most age groups. Leans more towards women (54%) than men (46%).
  • Instagram: Used by a much younger audience (72% of 13-17 year olds as opposed to 40% of 30-49 year olds). More popular with online women (39%) than men (30%).
  • Twitter: Great for social customer service. Most popular with people in their 20s. Fairly even genders (24% online women and 23% online men).
  • LinkedIn: Best for B2B. Educated. Most popular with 30-49 year olds. Even ratio of online women and men (25% each).

Your content should change depending on what platform you’re using. Memes and Gifs might be all the rage on Twitter and Instagram, but they’ll probably be met with awkward digital silence on LinkedIn (their loss).

There’s no point having a social account on a platform where your target audience is nowhere to be found. It’s just a waste of time. It’s much better to go in hard on one or two platforms than spread yourself too thin across them all.

c) You’re not monitoring social media analytics

Laptop open on analytics page.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Most social media analytics dashboards give me PTSD flashbacks to math class too.

But whether you like it or not, when making a social media content strategy, data is your best friend. There’s no avoiding it.

You need to be able to measure the success of your strategy and make changes as you go along. Your content strategy should essentially be following what you see in your social media analytics.

Numbers, graphs, and pie-charts make you vomit in your mouth a little? Then let’s simplify things. What are the most basic and essential metrics you need to be measuring?

  • Reach: This is more than just simple follower counts (which can be a bit of a vanity metric). Reach is how many people see your content – even if they don’t follow you. This gives you a much better idea of how far your content is spreading.
  • Engagement: This is literally every interaction your post sees (likes, retweets, comments, shares, and even just clicks). Use this to see what type of content your audience is most interested in.
  • Conversions: Use in-built analytics or external software to measure how many leads are coming in directly from social.

You need to know a lot more than this about analytics if you want to absolutely nail your content strategy, but if you’re allergic to numbers, this is a good place to start.

d) You’re not being consistent

You need to be consistent in two aspects: content and schedule.

Content: This can be a tricky one so bear with me. Content should be consistent, but flexible. You need to slightly adjust content between social media platforms, but still keep a consistent message. Voice should be flexibly consistent too. Whether it’s just you managing the social accounts or you have a full team of people, the voice of the account needs to sound like one individual person. What that voice sounds like will be determined by your brand and audience, but it needs to stay consistent.

How is it flexible? Because voice is not tone. Do you speak in the exact same tone when you’re in a business meeting and when you’re inhaling tequila shots with your friends on a Saturday night? I really hope not. But in both situations, it’s still your voice. It’s the same on social media. Your tone probably won’t be the same on Instagram and LinkedIn, but it should still be recognisably “you”.

Schedule: You can’t post 20 times one day and then nothing for weeks and expect results. If you’re on radio silence for too long, people will forget about you. At the same time, you don’t want to overpost. No one likes a spammer and you’re one click away from an unfollow. Not sure when the best time is to post? Here’s what Hootsuite has to say:

Facebook

B2B brands: Between 9 am and 2 pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.

B2C brands: At 12 pm on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday.

Twitter

B2B brands: Between 9 am and 4 pm on Monday or Thursday.

B2C brands: At 12 pm or 1 pm from Monday to Wednesday.

LinkedIn

B2B brands: 7:45 am/10:45 am/12:45 pm/5:45 pm on Wednesday.

B2C brands: 7:45 am/10:45 am/12:45 pm/5:45 pm on Monday and Wednesday.

Instagram

Instagram is much more varied. Check out the best time to post for your industry here.

e) You’re not engaging with your audience

Posting good content is only the tip of the iceberg. Many social media content strategies forget one of the most important things you can do on social – actually talk to people!

People want brands to interact with them. How do you feel when you message someone and they ghost you? Probably not so hot.

Then don’t do it to your audience on social! Customer engagement is just as important on social media as it is on other channels. If you’re not spending a significant amount of time nurturing good relationships with your followers, then your engagement and brand identity is going to suffer.

Reply to questions on messenger, like and reply to comments, and share other people’s content. This all helps build a loyal community around your brand.

f) All of the above

Uh oh. Are you a little guilty of all these social strategy mishaps? Don’t stress about it. The good thing about social is it moves quickly. Make the necessary changes to your content strategy and you should see things get better fairly soon.

g) None of the above

Well, well, well. Aren’t you just perfect? If you honestly think you’re innocent of all these common mistakes but you’re still not seeing results, then probably the best thing you can do is trial-and-error. Social media is very new. We’re only just beginning to understand how it can be applied to business use. And what works for someone doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. Play around with your strategy until you find something that suits your audience and your company.