We’re sure you’ve seen and heard all the hoopla surrounding social media. Brands boasting tens of thousands of followers. Startups outperforming all expectations because of a few campaigns that went viral.

Social media can be a huge asset to any 21st-century business. Why then are so many people failing at it?


The rise of social media marketing


Tons of brands are dominating social media marketing. National Geographic had 1.6 billion social actions in 2015 alone, proving that social media is worth the investment.

But investing dollars and man-hours to your social media doesn’t mean that you’ve mastered the concept of social media marketing. Just look at the numbers:

66% of companies have a dedicated social media team.

Imagine that! A few years ago, the position of social media manager didn’t even exist. Now, far more than half of companies have an entire team, yet few of these companies are seeing the ROI they should be seeing.

But it’s not like social media is a waste. Sure, years ago business execs would scowl at you if they caught you looking at Facebook while on the clock. Now, social media is an integral part of your business success:

  • 54% of B2B marketers have generated leads from social media
  • People who follow a brand on Twitter are 72% more likely to make a future purchase from that brand
  • For online merchants, the average order value influenced by social media in 2014 was $143.46

In other words, social media does work.

But here’s the thing: companies are approaching their social media marketing all wrong.


You know social media is great for responding to your followers, but …


A whopping 90% of enterprises use social media to respond to customer inquiries. That makes sense. Most consumers will flock to, for example, Twitter, to either complain or ask a question of a company.

Why, then, do 58% of consumers who’ve used Twitter to voice their bad experiences about a brand not ever receive a response from the offending company?

That’s a recipe for disaster! Not only do you risk losing that one customer for life, but you can be certain other prospects will be monitoring how you broach complaints in social media. If they don’t like what they see, you might never convince them to become a customer.

Dig deeper: Read our 3 step guide for the Ultimate Small Business Marketing plan

Here’s what else brands are doing wrong: they’re doing a lot of social posting, but the posts aren’t engaging. Seventy percent of the time that a brand spends on Twitter, that brand is broadcasting new posts or updates without ever engaging with followers.

Remember the social in social media? Having conversations on sites like Twitter and Facebook is just as important as posting your latest update. In fact, some would argue engagement is far more important than your occasional update.

And then there’s the delay in response time. Earlier we discussed how 66% of companies have a dedicated social media team. Why, then, does it take up to nine hours for a complaint to be addressed on Twitter?

Before social media, nine hours might not have been that long. But now that we have access to our social profiles no matter where we go, customers expect to get a pretty quick response to complaints and questions.

Pro tip: Your immediate response to customer complaints or questions doesn’t have to be a resolution. You could simply tell the customer that the message was received and you’re working on providing the best possible answer.


Don’t always get distracted by those shiny pieces of jewelry


Little children and animals are easily distracted by shiny new things. Apparently, so are businesses.

Social platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat have garnered a ton of attention in recent years. As a result, businesses have ramped up their spending and time investment within these platforms.

That seems logical. Instagram, in particular, has become widely popular with pesky whipper-snappers. However, that doesn’t mean that these social platforms are delivering the best possible ROI for your brand.

In 2014, 4.2% of followers interacted with brands on Instagram. That number plummeted to 2.2% in 2015. Pinterest, as well, saw similar declines.

Do you know which social platform didn’t see a decline in brand interaction? Facebook. That’s right. Interaction with brands’ fans increased from .07% in 2014 to .02% in 2015.

Now, we know what you’re thinking: .02 for Facebook vs. 2.2% for Instagram? There’s no comparison. Instagram is a much better place to spend your time, right?

We agree that for the right brand, Instagram can be the best social platform to invest time and money in. However, keep in mind Instagram is in the middle of updating its algorithm to mirror that of its parent company, Facebook. Who knows how brand engagement will be impacted.


Not sure if Instagram is the right platform for your business? We’ll show you which networks work best for your needs. Learn more now!


The future of social media marketing – there is most certainly an app for that


Most people are under the assumption that the internet will never go away. Facebook, of course, is doing its part to try to make the web irrelevant. You can read news, talk to friends, make purchases and talk to companies all within the Facebook app.

But consumers in general aren’t relying on the web as much as they used to, and mobile devices are likely to blame. Despite a massive push toward mobile-friendly/responsive website designs, the mobile surfing experience is still not ideal.

Apps, on the other hand, provide consumers a far more fluid user experience. That’s why 89 of the BrandZ Top 100 most valuable global brands in 2013 had launched at least one app. In fact, 42% of B2C content marketers say they use mobile apps.

Just think of social media’s popularity – each social platform has its own app. A growing number of the population prefer to spend their time in specific apps rather than the expanse of the internet.

Why, then, do only 22% of small businesses have a mobile app in place?  It appears that most SMB owners think building an app is out of their budget or capabilities.

But app development has come a long way. Years ago website design was extremely technical; now, systems like WordPress have simplified the process.

The same has taken place with apps. There are countless SaaS solutions out there that will help you design a custom app without a huge price tag or time commitment.


Failure is fleeting. It’s time to ace your next social media exam


While a bad user experience can turn into the loss of a customer for life, it’s never too late to revamp your social media strategy in order to stop the bleeding.

Each new day presents countless opportunities for your brand to use social media to gain new leads and lock down more conversions. Before your next social update, think to yourself: am I truly engaging with my audience, or am I just posting for the sake of posting?

That question alone should help you get more out of your social media marketing.

We want to thank the editors of the Socially Aware Blog for creating a powerful infographic that illustrates the points we made above (and more). Check out this infographic for more!