April 19, 2014

10 Reasons Why Social Media Marketing Isn’t Working for You

A lot of bloggers use social media to promote their site because of the huge potential that it brings. Despite the fact that some marketers and website owners are able to get floods of traffic with social media, the vast majority of people using social media are not getting the results they are looking for. If this is the case for you, by changing your approach you may be able to move into that group that is able to get big results with social media.

Of course, social media will always benefit a small percentage of marketers and users the most, as the nature of social media is to provide exposure only to the best or most popular content. However, your chances of success can be greatly improved if you understand the community of users that you are marketing to and if you create the right content.

If you are not getting results with social media, check this list to see of any of these issues apply to you.

1. You’re a Marketer, Not a User

Yes, marketers can certainly have success with social media, but the key is to be an active user who contributes to the community of the site. Be a user first and a marketer second. If other users feel that you are only there to market, they will not be receptive to your submissions, votes, or suggestions.

2. You’re Only Submitting/Voting for Your Own Content

I had a client a while back who told me that she was getting no results with social media despite working very hard at it. She sent me links to her profiles at a few sites and as soon as I checked them out I could see that they only links she had ever voted for were her own submissions. If you’re doing this you are not able to be a true member of the community and it’s very obvious that you are only there to promote your own content.

Make a habit of going to your targeted social media sites every day just to be active and vote on quality submissions from other users. It’s a good idea to also submit some content that’s not from your own site, and at some social media sites it’s frowned upon to submit your own content. In these cases you can either wait for someone to submit it or ask a friend to do so if you don’t think it will be submitted naturally by a random reader.

3. You’re Not Creating Content Specifically for Social Media Audiences

Not all types of content will do well with social media, even if it is high quality. Social media users like to be entertained and each social media site will have its own unique audience. Take some time to observe what the users of a particular social media site tend to appreciate. Pay attention to the types of content that draw a lot of votes and comments and this should help you to know what type of content you need to create.

Effective social media marketing involves creating content that will pique the interest of social media users. Once you are familiar with the community at your targeted social media sites, take some time to brainstorm article ideas that may appeal to them.

4. You’re Not Targeting Specific Social Media Sites

One common problem is trying to use too many different social media sites. Because being an active part of the community requires that you visit the site frequently to submit and vote on content, it’s very difficult to be effective with more than a few different social media sites. Evaluate the various sites and try to identify a few that would be a good fit for your content and your audience. Think about your blog’s readers, what social media sites do they use? It’s better to be active and effective with 2 or 3 social media sites than to occasionally use 25 with no real results. Just because you are not active at a particular social media site doesn’t mean that you can’t get traffic from it. Others may submit your content without your prompting, or you could ask friends to submit if for you if you know that they use that site.

5. Your Visitors Are Not Social Media Users

Many sites and blogs, especially those with large audiences, benefit from having readers who are social media users. This makes it more likely that your content will be submitted without you initiating it, and it will make it easier to get votes. If your blog has a low number of social media users you may want to consider introducing them to specific social media sites in your posts. For example, if your blog covers finance related topics, you could write a post about Tip’d, which is a financial social media site. If the site is useful to your readers, they may start to use it, and they may vote for your posts. Also, in addition to introducing them to specific sites, you could mention that if they like your content they could help to support you by voting at their favorite social media site or by voting at a particular site.

6. You’re Posting Commercial Content

Social media users do not like to feel like they are being marketed too, and many social media sites even prohibit commercial content. If you are trying to promote your company with social media you will need to do it passively in order to have any success. The best approach is to use social media to build links and exposure to your site, and leave the marketing to other times and situations. If people find content that they like and appreciate at their site and they become a regular visitor, they will be more receptive when you do start to market to them.

7. You’re Only Focusing On Digg

Another common mistake is only focusing on the major social media sites, especially Digg. While the major sites are the ones that will send the most traffic, they also have far more users who are competing with you. If you focus on smaller sites or niche social media sites you may be able to get a “popular” submission with only a few votes. This traffic is much easier to come by and at least you will have something to show for your efforts. A very small percentage of Digg users will ever get results with their submissions.

My advice is to pick one or two major social media sites to use as well as one or two smaller sites. This way you can still go after the more significant traffic of Digg, Reddit, or StumbleUpon, but you will also not put all your eggs in one basket and you’ll be very likely to get some results with the smaller sites.

8. You Haven’t Built a Network

The most successful social media marketers are very well connected. Having a network of friends and fellow social media users allows you to help each other with votes and submissions when needed. Many social media marketers share voting requests with their friends via email or IM, and sometimes even via Twitter. If you haven’t yet built a network, focus on getting to know some fellow social media users, particularly those who are bloggers or marketers. These people will likely be interested in building a connection with you because of the potential for mutual benefit.

9. You’re Asking for Too Many Votes

Although it is good to be well connected, you don’t want to be annoying to your friends and contacts by asking for votes all of the time. People who do this are likely to alienate others and not get the votes that they are requesting. Save your requests for situations when they can make a real difference and don’t be requesting votes for everything you submit.

10. You’re Not Using Voting Buttons

I’m sure you’ve seen voting buttons and widgets on blogs. When used appropriately they can be very effective. Ideally, you should not put too many buttons on your blog or it will look cluttered and will be more of a distraction than anything. Pick one or two sites that you want to target and try using voting buttons on your site. If you have some established traffic you may be able to rack up a lot more votes this way. I have had good success with the Tweetmeme button on my blogs for getting more tweets and visitors.

What’s Your Experience?

What have you learned through your own social media marketing that you can share with readers?

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About Steven Snell

Steven is a web designer, blogger, and freelance writer.

14 comments

  1. This is very useful post ……It gives Direction to the thinking process for a social media marketer….thanks fer useful information …….

  2. Excellent post. An interesting follow up would be an article about the qualitative differences between social media traffic and search engine traffic.

    social media is important but if a web site owner is selling either goods or advertising clicks nothing beats the search engines, specifically Google.

    Ultimately a mixture is the best way to go and the social marketing can be viewed as the thing that can prime the pump by building back links that lead to page rank.

  3. Steve,
    Excellent points. I really feel the same way you do. Many people say that social media traffic is worthless, but it is valuable in part because of what it can lead to, as you point out.

  4. You have to contribute to the community. It’s completely fine to talk about your stuff and link up things your doing. But you must be providing other useful resources. Talking with the people who do click on your stuff. And just over-all offer that helping hand just like you would to a best friend. This is what builds community and trust which leads to social media success

  5. I really enjoyed reading this post and I can see that you obviously have a great deal of expertise in your field.

    Mark McCulloch

  6. You’re not on Twitter. These days Twitter is the most important site in social media. Facebook is bigger but you can’t use FB the way you can use Twitter.

  7. Excellent post, you have discussed some important mistakes many marketers tend to make. I especially like point #5, where you discuss Digg. Digg is great, your right, but I agree that it’s important to focus on small niche social networking sites, it is one of the best ways to target your correct audience and engage the people who you really stand to benefit from.

  8. This is an excellent post and already found several things we are doing wrong in marketing our content. Thanks for the useful tips.

  9. “You’re a marketer not a user”…true..there’s so much to learn…this is really an interesting article.

  10. Most people I find give up too early in there Social Media efforts.

    They don’t post any content or ask questions to invite comments and relationships.

    So many people call themselves an ‘expert’ in their profiles. Especially in Twitter it seems.

    Focus on one or two networks. Link the others to your main focus.

    A

  11. Once again may I say what an absolutely fantastic blog you have and the quality of your writing especially in this post is tremendous because it is giving me constant new information on social media makreting and business in general.

    Thanks again

    Mark

  12. Hi thanks I have bookmarked your website and an going through pages of really useful information on marketing.Social media sites and random business efforts to get off hand exposure seems pointless and without any true return.Video seems(imo)the only one aspect of marketing promotion that really does work.(a picture a thousand words) Twitter and the like are so static filled as to make most(especially service based)businesses fall off the map.

  13. Great pointers. As an add on the #9, many people are taking that one step further and creating their own stand alone social networks.

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