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10 Reasons Why Your Social Media Campaign Failed

Updated on January 6, 2018
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Yong earned a bachelor's degree in communication studies in 1999. His interests include history, traveling, mythology, and video gaming.

10 possible reasons for your social media campaign failure
10 possible reasons for your social media campaign failure | Source

Sucks when it happens, does it not? You expend all that time and effort on a social media campaign. You end up receive no likes. Worse, you also do not receive any dislikes or retweets or repins. Your painstakingly crafted message is drowned in a sea of information. And it gets submerged deeper with each passing second.

Social media is the miracle of the information age. Yet with a myriad of platforms and millions of competitors, social media might actually be more difficult to harness than traditional print and broadcast media. Here are ten possible reasons for why your social media campaign is failing. By failure, I mean either you are not receiving the attention or conversion you desire, or for whatever reason, your social media campaign ended up generating disgust towards you.

1. You Attracted a Lynching Mob

Social media is not only populated by potential buddies and customers. There is also a digital lynch mob. A bloodthirsty horde hungry for any scandal and the chance to have a say in it. End up on the wrong side of their opinions, and your campaign is over before you can say, TWEET! You might even be forced to make a public apology.

To prevent such catastrophes, scrutinise your message to eradicate any suggestions of racism, ageism, sexism, or any other -isms. So that you aren't blind sighted by your own opinions, it is usually prudent to run the message by some trustworthy associates. In all cases, avoid tasteless or insensitive references to unfortunate incidences. It might feel a golden opportunity to tweet about your surveillance technology in the wake of a terrorist attack. But I doubt the rest of the world, especially kinfolk of victims, would feel the same as you.

2. You Used the Wrong Platform for Your Social Media Campaign

Few people use the entire plethora of social media platforms. Because of their differentiated natures, each platform has its own definable audience.

Therefore, if you are targeting wealthy retirees looking for financial stewardship, you really aren't going to have much luck campaigning on Pinterest or even Facebook. If you are managing the publicity of a teen pop star, you are truly wasting your time, and even incurring distaste, if you flood Reddit or Quora with your announcements. Before starting any social media campaign, clearly define your audience and determine which platform they are most active in. Research findings such as this one by Pew Research Center are most helpful.

Which is the best social media channel for promoting professional services?

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3. You Are Inconsistent / You Do Not Engage

The very word "campaign" implies a series of efforts. And it is just simple logic. With so much information sharing on going, your message is going to be buried within seconds. You can only achieve something if you sustain the communication.

At the same time, you need to interact. Social media is all about engagement, not just information sharing. It is about building relationships, through easy and immediate and continuous communications. If you pump out only one message a month, chances are you would be disregarded as white noise. After all, isn't it more interesting to talk to someone, than stare at a poster that has been on the wall for months?

4. You Do Not Have a Strategy. Your Accounts Do Not Complement Each Other

Your accounts should grow together. Not compete against each other in a social media campaign.
Your accounts should grow together. Not compete against each other in a social media campaign.

This is elementary, isn't it? What happens to the businessman who starts operations without a sensible plan? Business doom.

Each social media platform has its own strengths and weakness. None are omnipotent. Several also require quite a bit of effort to craft an attractive message for, or simply to maintain. A proper social media campaign strategy therefore should not only determine where the target audience is [as mentioned in (2)], but also evaluate the resources required to utilise each platform. There must also be a master plan on how different platforms can complement each other. For example, can you use Twitter and Youtube to direct traffic to your content marketing blog, which in turn provides easy sign-up for people to follow your Twitter and Youtube accounts? Only by weaving a strategy that integrates all your platforms are you fully exploiting the potential of social media.

5. You Have Boring Content

Classic advice for all social media campaigners. You must have interesting content. If you don't have interesting content, at the very least have an interesting way of talking about your content. While this seems elementary, this task is possibly the most difficult. What is the key to attracting attention to yourself? What stops your target audience from scrolling down the page, and reading your message in full? Unfortunately, only you have the answer. And that is provided you know your audience inside out.

6. Your Social Media Campaign Has No Call to Action

Do you wish to read a novel with no ending? That’s how a lack of a value proposition feels like.
Do you wish to read a novel with no ending? That’s how a lack of a value proposition feels like.

I see this quite often on Facebook. Organisations post about their events. Happy faces, group shots, picture after picture of the setup process. I scroll past the pictures. I get a vague sort of feel about the imageries. And then I promptly forget about everything.

Of course, it is not lost to me that the postings are intended to encourage participation in future events by those organisations. Or that they are meant to encourage a good impression about that organisation. Just that, it's a very soft, hazy message. I'm also unsure about so many things, such as, when is your next event, where is it, am I welcomed or not?!?! You want conversion, ask for it. Always be unabashed with your call to action. Cherish that few moments of attention you are conferred. Push immediately for a firm decision.

7. You Have No Value Proposition

This is a continuation of (6), for it is in essence a refining of the call to action. Many amateur marketers discount their own efforts because they adopt the wrong position in their messages. In other words, they make no value proposition to the audience. They confine themselves to talking only about their own greatness.

These are the folks who tell you how great they are, how trustworthy they are, how etc etc they are. They neglect that fundamental question of, what do I get from having a relationship with you? Let's face it. Everybody is selfish to an extent. We want and we need to know what we stand to gain from doing something. A message that is unclear in its value proposition is an uninteresting message. If you can't tell me how your capabilities can fulfil my desires or needs, then it means we have no alignment. We should cease communicating.

8. You Are Unaware That Social Media Is a Two Way Process

If it is not already obvious from the above points, the advantage of social media over traditional media is its ability for immediate interaction.

Because of that, presenting yourself on social media also means opening the door to all your enemies who want your blood.

An unfortunate example is the NYPD Twitter Fail incident. Whoever conceptualised the campaign didn't realise there were loads of people who cherished it as the chance to voice their dissatisfaction with the force. In other times, it might not even be any opponent of yours. The Internet is choked full of trolls. Bored but skilful people who get a massive kick out of humiliating others for no rhyme or reason. Unless you have a proper strategy for dealing with these detractors or a way to predict how they would attack you, your social media campaign is going to be a very unpleasant experience. Worse, the more inept your response, the uglier the whole confrontation gets.

Question. What Should You Do If You Commit a Gaffe on Social Media?

See results

9. You Do Not Analyse Your Analytics

Analytics are not just numbers. They form a summary of your progress.
Analytics are not just numbers. They form a summary of your progress.

We return to the basics here. Analytics. The raw data that represent the success or failure of any campaign.

Data that tell a story but often not in a direct way. For example, a Facebook post that has hundreds of shares and likes, but brought in no sales. The tweet that went viral for one hour, but directed no traffic to the blog it pointed to. Why? What happened?

Analytics provide hints. They form a coherent picture when considered together. To use the earlier example, where are your retweets coming from? Who were the ones retweeting? If you're selling to an American market, but the ones retweeting are mostly Asian people, then obviously your Twitter campaign is flawed? In the case of the Facebook example, could it be all the shares were due to your post having a "WOW!" graphic, but actually nobody is interested in the product promoted because there were no visits to the web-shop the post pointed to? Analytics, on the whole, offer you indicators. There is that difficulty in proper interpretation, and the risk of misinterpretation. But to ignore analytics is really to throw out a marketing message and to hope for the best. Real social media campaigners use analytics to constantly refine and sharpen their messages.

10. You Do Not Understand That Social Media Is All About Growing Social Capital

To put it simply, social media is not just about getting people to view what you want them to see, or luring customers to hear what you wish to say. As the name itself implies, it’s about being social, being an identity that others wish to associate with. Other than what’s already mentioned above, take the time to be a genuine friend, one who listens as much as he talks, and one who doesn’t only share information with an ulterior motive. Most importantly, be aware that such attractiveness takes time to grow, and only with consistent effort. Don’t be disheartened if your publications and post receive measly likes and traffic. Every right step you take is a brick towards a higher step. Patience and perseverance are the key ingredients here.

© 2016 Kuan Leong Yong

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