We spend a lot of time on social media each day, each week and each month and so it is painful to get the sense that people just don’t want to follow us. It can feel almost soul destroying, especially when you know that others in your industry are making connections hand over fist and it looks like their sales are going through the roof to boot! Even worse occasionally you post something and you get way more unfollows than you had thought possible.
You ask yourself, ‘What am I doing that’s so wrong?’
Do you remember your mother taught you to ‘think before you speak’?
Social media has a similar requirement.
To be successful on a social media platform as a business, you need to plan what you are going to say and how you are going to say it, BEFORE you say it.
Take a look for a moment at the most successful examples on say Instagram, those beautiful accounts with 100k+ followers. Do you honestly believe that any of these photos are just snap shots taken on a whim? The answer is no, of course not. Even the most homely, or casual photographs on these accounts are taken with specific intent and a planned outcome. They are created to elicit a certain response, whether it is community engagement or awareness of a sponsor, or product they are selling.
They plan this successful content because they have come to understand what their customer wants to see from them and they do this by carefully learning to understand their customer and what makes them tick.
They always question;
- Who is my customer?
- What are their needs?
- How can I inspire my customer?
- How can I engage with them better?
- How can I show them that I understand their needs and desires?
- How can I show them that I am useful to them?
Along with their research they plan their marketing message.
There’s no quick fire solution here, no band aid that I can give you to answer what your customers need of you. Instead this is a sit and watch game you need to play. Over time you will learn what your customers are asking for and how you can best for fill that.
What I can do right now, is give you 10 reasons why your current social media content might not be hitting the mark.
10 Reasons Why No-One is Following Your Social Media Account
I’m not clear what you are here for.
People like to pigeon-hole you, it’s true. It doesn’t come from a negative place and it’s not the same as passing judgement (that is a much more thought through process), instead it’s how we are wired… a need to compartmentalise and process images, thoughts and feelings about a given topic in just a few seconds. It helps us to work out how we respond to our environment, to each other and how we might come to interact or discuss a subject.
We do it when we walk into a room full of new people… we often look around and assess the mood, the types of people we are about to mix with and how we might fit into all of that. Our mind reacts in exactly the same way on social media.
So look at your social feed on any given platform and ask yourself if you were a new potential follower what would you think it is that you offer?
Are you being clear?
You have no defined value to me.
After people take those first few seconds to view your social profile, they ask themselves how valuable is this person to me? Again we do this on a subconscious level when we meet potential new friends. It’s not about judgement, but instead a reaction to the question, how would this person fit into my social group?
We do the same thing when we connect with businesses. We ask ourselves, ‘What can this business do for me/us?’
Being clear about your business message is incredibly important.
You are shouting at me.
Sometimes businesses try to make themselves stand out by shouting. They do this by continually telling us what it is that they do and how good they are at it. Yes, we need to know this, but there is also a fine line between making me aware and taking a loud-hailer to my social feed. It quite frankly turns potential customers off.
To avoid this make sure to pepper in a liberal amount of direct selling with a healthier balance of help and engagement. It will boost your ‘usefulness’ to followers.
You are hard selling.
People don’t like to feel like they are being sold too, even if they are well aware you are in the business of selling. So try to make sure that your sales pitch content is toned down and adjusted to your audience. People prefer to buy when they feel it is their decision to do so and they will back away from feeling pushed.
You are cold calling.
Put simply this is SPAM!
People throw away junk mail, that’s why it’s called ‘junk’ mail. By the same token they will ignore, or worse still get angry by unsolicited messages, comments and other interactions that just look like you are asking them to notice you, or buy from you.
So don’t do it!
Instead show people whom you interact with, that you can be helpful and maybe useful to check out. Don’t just jump in with a product link, or a ‘hey, follow me’ request.
Your feed is boring.
Your followers want new content. So make sure that while you want to promote a discount, or that killer blog post you wrote about a new product, that you don’t endlessly ram it down my throat for weeks on end. Instead vary your content, or come up with new ways to say the same thing it feels like you are constantly creating ‘new’ content for me to digest.
I believe there’s an idea that you should promote the same piece of content in the same way, no more than 3 times over a 30 day period. If you change the way you say it, or the type of content you create around that subject, like switching an image to a video then you can in effect recycle the same content and post it more regularly.
The other issue here is about understanding what sort of content your customer likes to receive. This you can find out by seeing who else they follow and how those people create content and interact with their clients. With a few tweaks your content could be much more in line with what your customers expect.
You haven’t captured the spirit of the channel.
Just as people like to pigeon-hole other people, they pigeon hole things.
How often did you initially think it was weird to want to use a toothbrush to clean something other than your teeth? The answer is whilst after a while you found it acceptable (because a toothbrush reaches those hard to reach scale marks around your bathroom taps) the truth is that you originally pigeon-holed that object into what you were told it should be used for, cleaning teeth. We do the same thing with social media. We pigeon-hole which platform we prefer to digest certain content types. So for example we might like to watch videos on YouTube, we might prefer to chat about a new TV series while it airs on Twitter and we catch up with family and friends on Facebook.
Imagine then if you were posting videos solely to Instagram. How much traction in terms of likes and then follows do you think you’d get compared to someone who posted pictures? The chances are you’d get far less. The reason being is that people pigeon-hole Instagram as the social platform for photos and maybe something like YouTube for videos. So think about the channel you are on… are you there creating content that people understand and find to be the right kind of content for that platform? Does your content align with how they use that platform?
There are hundreds of people doing what you do, so why are you so special?
If you have taken the time to establish what your business USP is, then you should easily be able to establish your marketing message and therefore show why you are more of an expert in your field, or why your product fits a customer’s lifestyle better.
If you are feeling stuck then you need to go back and ask yourself, ‘why should my customers buy from me and not someone else selling the same things?’ What do I offer them in product, or customer experience that makes me unique? Once you understand this you can create a message that you can then plan content around.
Too much personal stuff/Too little personality.
I hate to say this, but as a business there is a fine line between how much personal stuff you should share. Yes, I love that I feel part of your journey and that’s why I follow you… BUT I don’t want to know what you ate for dinner, or if you are debating what to wear to go out tonight… UNLESS it is directly related to your brand. So for example if you are a fitness guru, then I’d expect to see some healthy choice food in your content along with your training regime, or maybe that like the rest of us occasionally you give into the dark side and eat a doughnut! Show me it’s ok not to be perfect and then show me how there is a better choice and that you are the person to teach me that.
It’s also ok to briefly explain to me why you won’t be able to for fill orders this week, because you’ve been in hospital, or you have really bad flu… that is not overshare (well depending on how you do it), but instead it shows customer service. It shows me how important your business and customers are to you. The chances are I’ll send you a get better soon message, felling happy in the knowledge that my order will be on its way when you are better.
It’s also important to say that whilst people don’t care about your every move and whim as the owner of a small independent business, it is important to show personality. People like to buy from people and so getting to know you and your business is a really great promotional tool.
Big, bold, contentious statements and shouting down customer opinion.
I took a diploma back in January about social media and one of the course modules centred around how to use social media as an extension of your customer service. Specifically in light of the fact that people are now turning to social media to give both positive and negative service reviews and they are also using these as recommendations for buying decisions.
Anyway there was one example of a business that was featured on Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmare (a programme where acclaimed chef Gordon Ramsay visits ailing restaurants to help them back into a profitable concern). In the programme a couple who owned one of the restaurants showed no intention of taking any advice from chef Ramsay and instead continued on their same path. After the show aired they go a lot of online comments, ranging from disbelief to outright abuse at their choice to continue on in the same way. Whilst I can only imagine how hard it was to receive negative comments like that, the couple decided to make a series of statements to defame chef Ramsay’s abilities and knowledge, on top of that they also hurled abuse back at the commenters and past customers who left negative reviews about the restaurant.
Needless to say that this really didn’t do them any favours.
Needless to say that they went out of business.
I must say that online abuse should not be tolerated, whether it is aimed towards any one person, or business… BUT I do believe there is a way to handle your business in light of negative social reviews, from a professional stand point. It is ok not to agree with someone else’s opinion and its ok to make what you feel is the right decision for your business, but in order to keep your customers and to gain new ones you need to placate any negative situations in order to move on. So my advice is to be clear about your response and the reasons why you are choosing to do something a certain way. While customers might not always agree, they will at least do this from a better point of understanding why you have chosen to do something. You can do this in an overall acknowledgement of the comments you have received and show that you are handling customer reviews by reaching out offline either by email or phone. Showing that you are doing something is better than arguing a point that people may not understand, or agree with.
It’s also ok to mess up every now and again. It’s how you show that you have learned to grow and get better at all aspects of your product, service and business that endears you to your customers over the long term.
Show in your social media that you are growing, show that you are learning.
Customers are constantly looking to understand how your business aligns with their views, or needs. So be polite, be clear, stay on topic and be approachable.