Solution Vs Problem Solving - Business ConsultingMost businesses today know that social media can play a huge part in their success. Many maintain social media and other online properties, and rightfully so. With hundreds of millions of potential customers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and other networks, it makes sense to try and reach out to even a small fraction of them online.

However, there's a big gap between simply maintaining an online presence, and making the most of this presence. Many businesses are earnest in their attempt at social media marketing, but the results they get often fall far short of their expectations. There are many possible reasons for this, but in this post, we’ve outlined a few of the most common.

  1. They don't invest enough in it - Like we said, there’s a big gap between simply having an online presence, and making the most it. Setting up an account on Facebook, Twitter, or elsewhere is pretty easy, but continually updating it with fresh content isn’t quite as straightforward. Some treat social media like an afterthought - something to do if you have time left over when all your other tasks are done. Some others are a tiny bit more proactive, assigning social media duties to current employees. This usually results in a stagnant page, or a profile that gets updated sporadically. The ones who get it hire staff specifically assigned to social media, or work with an outside team. They understand that maintaining a lively and engaging social media presence requires a significant investment of time, funds, and do you know what they want? To find the answer, you have to listen to them. Social media is a place for conversation - not pushing your message.
  2. They keep pitching - We’ve mentioned time and again that constantly pushing a sales pitch is a no-no on social media, but apparently, some businesses never received the memo. Treating your social media page as a channel for your advertising will just push users away. What you want to do is pull users closer to you, and the key to doing this is by treating them, not as consumers, but as people - real people. Don’t try to push your product down their throats, and instead, give them what they want. If you’re in the business of selling barbecue grills, don’t advertise them on you page. What you want to do instead is post barbecue recipes and grilling tips. Share tips on hosting a poolside barbecue, or discuss the nuances of cooking on coal vs. gas grills. Just don’t try to sell. It’s okay (and encouraged) to have selling CTAs (Call-to-Actions) on your site. Just don’t make it the main thrust of your social media.
  3. They don’t listen - We've covered giving your customers what they want above, but here's a question for you: Share interesting things with them to break the ice, but make sure you also talk with them, ask them questions, and encourage them to talk with you too. Engage them in conversations, and learn what you can from your customers. They can tell you what they like and what they don’t like about your brand. They can also tell you what they want or need. If you listen, you can learn how to improve, or even expand, your products and services. Listening to your customers can also help you shape your message, making your marketing efforts more effective. As an added benefit, listening to other people makes them more likely to listen to you too.

There are many other reasons businesses fail at social media, but as we mentioned above, we’ve only shared some of the most common reasons here. Can you think of others? Please share them with us.