5 Reasons Social Media Is Not Working for You

Huge numbers of people are active on these networks, but many businesses fail at capturing their attention.

learn more about Kim Garst

By Kim Garst


Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Everybody is on social media now. OK, that is a slight exaggeration. Only 2 billion of the planet's 7.2 billion people have active social media accounts. What is even more incredible is that there are almost 1.7 billion active mobile social users now.

Strictly from a business opportunity standpoint, I would like to say, "wow!" How and where else can you reach almost a third of the earth's population so easily, so cheaply and so personally? It is a marketer's dream and, if you are doing it right, you should be using social media marketing to dominate your market.

So, why isn't social media working for you? The following are five common reasons why I see most people, companies and brands fail at using social media to grow their businesses.

1. You have to "pay to play" on Facebook.

Facebook is still, by far, the largest social media site with 890 million active daily users and 1.35 billion users overall. In 2014, the network earned almost $12.5 billion in revenue almost exclusively from advertising on the site. Coinciding with this massive jump in revenue is the dramatic decrease in the percentage of traffic that reaches fans and followers organically (meaning free).

Related: What Matters More, the Quality or Size of Your Social Media Audience?

Facebook has publically admitted that it is systematically decreasing that "free traffic" percentage over time to 1 to 2 percent of all traffic. For you, the business owner, that means if you plan on using Facebook to sell your products and services to your fans, you will need an advertising budget. Even a small budget can create huge return on Facebook.

2. You are "push" marketing when you should be "pull" marketing.

Most business owners make the mistake of thinking that social media is just a quick and easy tool to blast market their products and services out to large numbers of prospects quickly. Then, they are stunned when nobody wants to buy them.

The problem is that it is too easy to click away, ban, or worse, report you as a spammer. To win on marketing with social media you have to attract or "pull" people towards you. People are attracted to you via your message and the content you share on social media.

3. You are not "useful."

This tip goes hand in hand with the point above. One of the best ways to "pull" market on social media is to be useful to your community on a consistent basis without the expectation of selling them something immediately. I know that seems a little counter-intuitive, but let me explain how that works.

Let's say that you own a landscaping company. What if you wrote an ebook called 10 Ways to Make Your Yard Absolutely Beautiful and used Facebook advertising to target and give it away on social media to people in your city? You are not "pushing" your landscaping service. You are just being "useful."

Guess what? Some of those people will get your ebook and want you to do the exact same things you told them to do in your ebook but pay you to do it. That is being useful, and that is pull marketing.

If you want more information on being useful in social media, you should read YOUtility by Jay Baer.

4. You are trying to be everywhere.

The top 10 social media sites have an estimated 2.2 billion unique monthly visitors. With that kind of traffic it is hard not to want to want to put your business right in the middle of all of that. However, being on just one site consistently takes a serious commitment of both time and energy.

Related: Secrets of Succeeding at Visual Marketing on Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube

Figure out which one or two sites you should be on (hint: they are the ones your ideal client is on) and then spend your time finding, creating and sharing great content and engaging with people in a consistent and meaningful way.

In short, in social media it is better to be really good on one site than bad on many.

5. You are not being authentic.

Social media is the easiest place to try and be something you are not. I hear stories and see it every single day. You want to be cool or hip or funny because you think that is what people want. Or worse yet, you want to be all business like.

You look for and share content based on what you think customers' interests are, not yours. You know that cute puppy videos get a lot of traffic so you start borrowing the neighbor's dog and dressing him up in every kind of crazy costume just hoping that people will watch and share your videos and somehow that will make them want to buy your products and services.

Sorry, that does not work.

Newsflash: People will connect with you around what they care about way before they connect around your business or your product.

The reality is that people buy from people they know, like and trust and authenticity is a huge piece of building that trust. Spend a few minutes thinking about what your real interests are, both personally and professionally, and create five to eight categories around those interests. Then, simply make sure to be yourself and deliver high-quality content consistently around the things you are actually interested in. You will have more and better engagement with people and these people will become your friends, your community members and, eventually, your clients.

Authenticity is the game-changer in social media marketing. I believe it so strongly that I wrote a book on the subject, Will the Real You Please Stand Up – Show-up, Be Authentic and Prosper in Social Media.

Related: Want to Look Smart on Social Media? 5 Tips From Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Kim Garst

Founder and CEO of Boom! Social

Kim Garst is a social selling pro, best-selling author and the co-founder and CEO of Boom! Social, a social selling training and consulting firm. 

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